String of road games begins for Canadiens

Your Montreal Canadiens are in Boston Monday night for Game II of the Cunneyworth Era.
The latest chapter in the rivalry finds the Bruins first in the Northeast Division and 10 points clear of the Canadiens, who will play their next six games on the road.

Pat Hickey on what the new coach wants

Red FisherDave Stubbs and Sean Gordon weigh in the shake-up

Jack Todd: Pierre Gauthier has to look in the mirror

The language issue flares up


  1. vegas says:

    I think the biggest error was done in the Gainey era
    if he knew he wasn’t gonna re-sign all those players he shoud have traded some for what could have been very good draft choices

    Koivu, Kovalev, Streit, Komisarek, Souray, Ryder etc…….

  2. --Habs-- says:

    Pauline Marois for GM. Rule 1: players can’t speak English on the Bench. Rule 2: Bench language police will fine anyone who looks smells or remotely makes her fell English on the bench. Rule 3: No player can drink Molson because the name can’t be translated into French. Rule 4: She will test every player on the bench. Rule 5: If a player fails he must be given a 7 million contract be fore being released as a punishment to Molson Breweries for allowing this mess to happen.

  3. Natrous says:

    Jack Todd writes: “But he has been singularly inept when it comes to hanging on to his own talent – letting Dominic Moore go, and Roman Hamrlik, and Wisniewski, and the useful Jeff Halpern.”

    Of all the guys to throw in Gauthier’s face, I don’t think that any of the following stats look good on any team:

    Moore: 10 points on the season, -10 rating (2 points in the month of November)
    Hamrlik: -10 rating on the season (healthy scratch recently)
    Wisniewski: HUGE contract for a guy who’s had one more ACL reconstruction than Markov
    Halpern: 9 points on the season (2 in the month of November)

    I’m not saying that Gauthier deserves to stay, but when Jack Todd’s best argument of mistakes PG has made are the players listed above, you’re pretty much grabbing at straws.

    • rhino514 says:

      Totally agree. Knowing when to part ways with those players were actually all GOOD moves.
      His legacy will be Kaberle and Cunneyworth. If they backfire he is gone, and deserves to be. If they come through, it´s a gutsy gamble and he deserves to stay.

  4. rhino514 says:

    People think Gauthier goofed not signing Hamrlik, Halpern, and Moore? Moore??? Come on. Hamrlik has been benched and has maybe three or four points all season. Halpern doesn´t have much more. And you´d rather have Moore instead of Pleks, Eller, and DD, for alot more money in than the two kids?? That´s assuming you don´t include Gomez in the picture, but of the course no way the Habs could get rid of his contract then, even now it will be incredibly costly to banish him.

    Despite what people say, the Canadiens are singulary adept at getting the players`best years and are uncannily good at knowing when to unload them. Look at the impact players Montreal has let go in the last years, either by not re-signing, or via trade.

    Went on to be terrible value:
    Komisarek, Kovalev

    Went on to be subpar value:
    Koivu, Hamrlik, Halpern, Pouliot, Wisniewski, Halak, Moore

    Went on to be decent value half the time, bad value half the time, or decent value but non-impact impact player:
    S.Kostitsyn, Latendresse (good, but usually injured), Dagostini, Hainsey, bouillon

    Went on to be decent or good value:
    Ribeiro, M.A. Bergeron, Grabovski, Streit

    So I would argue that they gave up good value in four out of eighteen cases. In most of the other cases they succeeded in not getting stuck with over the hill players, or underperforming players, or bad attitudes and in some cases avoided truly disastrous contracts.

    Of the four “good” cases, Ribeiro is an immature player who does not havea good attitude. you don´t win with a guy like that in your room. Same, in the “half decent” category with S.Kostitsyn. Same with Grabovski. Tanguay (maybe its the hometown pressure) would not have flourished here and is a soft player even in a good year.

    Streit has turned out to be a good player, but he has a hefty contract. You could argue that they could find an equal value player for the same money. M.A.B. is proving to be very good value for the money, but he is a one dimensional player. But worst case you can say they goofed on two players off this list if you really want to be hard about it. How many other organizations have done better?
    The only major gaffes since the start of the Gainey era that have probably really hurt are actually acquisitions: Gomez (including the loss of McDonagh), and, on a lesser level, Tanguay for a first and a second pick.

    I can´t believe Lebrun and Burnside smirk about the “strange machinations” of the Canadiens and imply organizational instability, when they are based in Toronto, of all places!
    The Canadiens have made the playoffs every year but one since the lockout, and missed out one year by a point.
    You want to look at instability, at crazy contracts, at constant trades, and constant missing out on the playoffs? Look at the Leafs. you hear that Todd? Maybe if you were writing for the leafs your perspective would change just a tiny wee bit.

    • Ryan McDonagh as a throw in on the Gomez trade and you omit that one? Quite possibly the strongest d-man on the Rangers. And I would call Ribeiro’s performance better than “decent”, even though I truly didn’t like him when he was with the Habs.

      Gauthier’s 3-4th line pickups and 5-6 D-men pickups have been overall pretty good, but his mistakes are monumental. Not convincing ownership to eat the Gomez contract and free up 7+ million, and singing Markov to a terribly risky contract were monumental and we’ll have trouble recovering from those for a long time.

      • rhino514 says:

        Totall agree on Mcdonagh. Read thru my post. I don´t think you can pin Gomez on Gauthier. With the money involved in that one, you have to think it´s Molson´s call in the end.
        Re Markov, I know players aren´t loyal as a rule. But the Habs have been very loyal to Markov. They didn´t re-sign Wiz. I honestly think Markov will take that into consideration down the road; that the team did everything possible to keep him a Hab for so many years. I believe, sometimes you get back what you give and i think this is one of those cases.

  5. For those who were asking Gomez, Cammi, Pleks, Gionta, Cole and Markov ALL have no trace clauses or limited movement clauses. So the handcuffs are even tighter. Gill and Moen are UFA’s and could command some value in the trade market with their Stanley Cup experience. I’d be OK letting Kostitsyn go, especially if he thinks he’s due for a pay increase, and I’d do everything to resign Gorge’s. Goes without saying all the RFA’s have limited options.

    • vegas says:

      It’s only normal that AK will want a raise. he looks around the room and most of the guys are making 5 million + and producing less than him and are in the downside of their careers, what should he have to say. He’s 25 produces as much if not more than Gionta, Cammalleri and Gomez, he has size and hits (has lead us the past few years). If he takes 4 million I would sign him. Where else the Habs going to find a big young winger that plays both wings, can hit and can score 20-30 goals for less than 4 million. At 3.25 he is a bargain

  6. Un Canadien errant says:

    The fact that the Canadiens’ Erik Cole doesn’t receive supplemental discipline while Milan Lucic might reminds me of the SCTV skit where they were hosting the Emmys and had rigged the results so that their own shows were sweeping the awards. Under intense questioning from the goons at Price Waterhouse (Rick Moranis in glasses and a suit, who else) who were overseeing the accounting and process and were getting very suspicious, Guy Caballero got wise and decided to throw them off the scent by calling an audible, changing the plan to give the Best Dramatic Series to ‘Vikings and Beekeepers’ and instead awarding it to ‘Hill Street Blues’. Hervé Villechaise, the Emmy presenter in this category, gets trampled by Betty Thomas during the rush onstage and celebration.

    Not sure why that popped into my head.

    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  7. boonie says:

    Why even discuss RC?

    Unless Cunneyworth channels his inner lemaire and coaches the Habs to the greatest second half run in modern times, there’s a better than even money chance PG is gone at or before season’s end. With the new GM comes the new GM’s coach.

    Fait accompli.

  8. kakey says:

    Sorry for starting yet another Roy topic.

    I hear all the points for Roy as how he’s passionate, a winner, has matured as a coach, etc. But what about his system, his style, his strategies? We know very little of them. We seem to rely solely on his reputations.

    Coaches that have success in modern day NHL tends to be those who are acute technicians of the game, know how to use video to analyze every moves of other teams, can manage players who have bigger egos and salaries than you, and have the whole playbook in the back of his head, and have a GM who works in tandem despite ups and downs. In the likes of Babcock/Holland, Carlyle (when Burke was his GM), Maurice (before getting fired)/Rutherford, Bylsma/Shero, Ruff/Regier, and to a certain extent Boucher/Yzerman, these tandems have proven to complement each other in ways that we have not seen since I don’t know when chez nos Canadiens.

    If Roy can handle modern NHL players, and has become a good technician of the game, and has a GM that supports him through ebbs and flows, I have no problem seeing him as coach. He can be as flamboyant as he can be, as long as he truly qualifies to be a legitimate NHL coach.

    • TomNickle says:

      Good coaches adapt to their personnel. Which is why Martin is no longer here.

      As for Roy. They style of play he teaches means nothing in junior. Completely different game.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        One more crack at posting this. Not saying it’s all true or even reason enough, but it’s interesting:

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

        • kakey says:

          Thank you! That’s exactly the kind of information, among many others still to come, that we need to look at before an honest opinion can be made regarding his candidacy. As a plus this article was written in Oct 26, a time much less volatile as now, thus more level headed.

          (Like you, not saying I agree completely with the article, but it sheds light on his style and stats as a junior coach)

          • Habsrule1 says:

            I’m not saying that this means it’ll work out, but it’s just an interesting perspective. Perhaps what Roy does in the Q cannot be done in the NHL. Perhaps the players the Habs have would not fit into his system. This just gives us a bit more than the “he’s a loose cannon”, “he’s too crazy”, “he will send his goalie out to fight”, “he gave up on the Habs” points of view….none of which really address how he is as a coach.

            Go Habs Go!!

            “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

          • kakey says:


    • 24 Cups says:

      Good post, kakey.

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      Patrick Roy think Guy Boucher defence ruined hockey in the LHJMQ.

  9. ont fan says:

    So when Guy Boucher becomes the coach for the Habs..will it be any different than JM

  10. Nahlsy says:

    Who gives a flying fig what language is the coach’s first? This is a hockey coach, trying to win games with a hockey team. It’s not the Partie Quebecois, or the House of Commons, or a translator for the UN here.

    I thought the main objective for a hockey coach was to get his team together to get the most out of them possible and win games, who cares if the media doesn’t like speaking to him in a different language? TOUGH! Either get a translator to stand beside him or get a translator for the media if they’re that concerned. This team hasn’t won a damned thing in the 30 yrs of catering to the clowns that worry more about languages than they care about qualifications. Scotty, Toe, and Dick weren’t exactly French names, but they did JUST FINE. This team has fewer French players than either the Bruins or the Flyers for crying out loud, and the locker room has ALWAYS been conducted in English. Needlessly handcuffing themselves with discriminatory hiring procedures is the worst thing that the uneducated masses have forced upon this team. Forget the idiots booing Price, the clowns screaming about Kaberle before he ever played a game, the bozos that cried get rid of Martin and then complained that they got an English guy in return are the piece de resistance.

    To those complaining over this stupidity I say, STFU and let the team try to put the best chance at winning possible together, whether the guys speak French, English or Martianese. Your bigotry is as bad or worse than the hated Don Cherry’s because he’s just running his mouth and somehow your’s is crippling the most successful NHL franchise of all time and dragging them unneccessarily to the depths of mediocrity.

    • TomNickle says:

      Having a coach who can speak both languages isn’t a requirement of the media. It’s a requirement of the team. Pointing the finger at the media is a scapegoat.

      That said. I don’t feel that it’s bigotry. It matters to important people, and this is an issue that will always be controversial.

      • HabsPEI31 says:

        Not necessarily. The media is making an issue of it, or at least fanning the flames by publishing the prejudiced, biased and bigoted views of those who see language as an issue.

        Was it an issue when Bowman, Toe and other anglophones were coaches of the team?

        Not when those teams were winning Stanleys and planning the parade route on St-Catherine began in September.

        Language should NOT be an issue. The best candidate should be the issue. The head coach should have one job: coach the fricking team. Dealing with the media, as a part of the job, is solely that, a part, and should not come with the caveat of being able to address the media in both official languages of Canada.

        “Only a goalie can appreciate what a goalie goes through.” – Jacques Plante

  11. stevieray says:

    Lets cut RC some slack all you anti’s…
    He was a good jouneyman NHL with lots of playing experience under a lot of different coaches …and he did well in the AHL to me he has earned a shot with the BIG team .
    I liked how the Defense jumped into the play in the offensive zone against NJ ..lots of good scoring chances . Also everyone got some good ice time … nice to see LL on the ice in the last 5 minutes.
    the Campoli goof to me was the dagger in our back …
    So i think it’ll take a few weeks for RC to put his stamp on the team .
    tonite should be interesting indeed
    nuff said partner !!

    • shiram says:

      Not an easy task for Randy, but I like his mojo, and he seems to have a great attitude.
      Let’s all give him some time to put his system in place and see how that works out.

  12. habfan53 says:

    RE: Gauthier
    A lot of criticism directed his way has been who he did and did not sign last summer specifically on defence.
    -Did not sign Hamarlick he was either him OR Gill both are aging Gill settled for 1 year Hammer wanted more, Gill stronger on PK
    -Did not sign Wiznewski WOULD you at 5 million for 5 years NO THANKS
    Signed Markov there is nobody on this site that would not have taken the chance. Was he optomistic about his return maybe personally I did not expect him back till this week so it will be 1 month longer.
    Signed Kaberle I like this signing it has brought a little life back to the PP (a goal in all 4 games?) besides now that Pronger is out who does’nt think Philly would have gone after him.

    to paraphrase Nixon: If the Bruins do it, it is not illegal

  13. kerrgte says:

    JF’s note is right on the mark.

    In particular, M Gauthier truly risked the season on the return of Markov.

    But was this risk a smart move? We know that with an extra goal scored here and there, and one or two less goals scored against here and there, that the the team would be significantly higher in the standings.

    Is Markov of Lidstrom calibre? Will he come to resurrect the team?
    Should M Gauthier have foregone the Markov option and chosen another $5 mill blue line quarterback? We’ll have to wait and see but, as sure as M Molson will not accept mediocrity, the tenure of M Gauthier will ride on the team’s fortunes after Markov’s return.

  14. Gerry H says:

    Well, the season is clearly in the balance over this road trip. If the team responds over the next six games, picking up eight or nine points, playoffs remain a possibility and we will have something other than speculation over new coaching and management for 2012/13 to discuss.

    On the JM firing, I don’t have any special insight other than to say that something had to be done to shake things up. JM’s strengths and weaknesses are well known. But the bottom line is that major player moves at this juncture would have been sheer idiocy and WON’T happen under this GM. Unless Geoff Molson is a complete idiot, he will not allow the management that built this team start rebuilding midseason. By the same token, replacing the management midseason makes no sense, either. If there is an early exit, the process will begin and it will start with goat’s head soup.

    For now, I prefer to focus on THIS team, with this coach and these players. At this stage, you run what you brung.

    So what can one realistically expect? The probability of a deep run seems low, but it ain’t over yet. Cunneyworth could make a difference. If he allows this group to unleash its substantial potential for offensive creativity, they could and should start scoring more goals. Given the defense we’ve got, that will probably come at some expense on the GA side, but if Markov returns, Gill and PK turn it around and Carey stands on his head, the damage should be sustainable.

    So that’s five ifs so far.

    Offensively, we have one line that’s unimpeachable. Eller should be allowed to contribute more, perhaps with AK at his side. The real question mark is the Pleks and Cammalleri duo. Pleks started out strong this year, but – and there’s no avoiding ackowledgement of this – his play has fallen off a cliff since he became a daddy. I don’t judge, but there it is. Gionta has not been all that weak, but could do more. No point in even discussing Gomez. If he ever does anything, it will have to be considered a bonus.

    My sense is that the most likely of the offensive ifs to come through is the uptick in production from Eller. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cammalleri and Plekanec do a bit better on the road, but I’m not counting on anything consistently coming through at home. The biggest offensive if though, is the return of Markov to get something happening with the power play. Kaberle can probably raise it from pathetic to mediocre, but I don’t see a 20%+ PP without a healthy Markov at the helm. And that, my friends, seems like a long shot.

  15. Chris1138 says:

    PK potentially out with the flu as per Team 990… game-time decision

    –| Brad Marchand | Starley Cup Chanpiar 2011 |–

  16. Sportfan says:

    SO I have a question next season if we get a new coach people keep saying Roy! Would Patrick Roy actually be a good coach for the Canadiens?

  17. Old Bald Bird says:

    You might like to read Mitch Melnick’s blog on his thoughts about the firing.

    I didn’t know this below. Any confirmation?

    “Professional coaches can win with players who aren’t necessarily fond of them (Scotty Bowman, Ken Hitchcock…) as long as the respect factor remains high. In Martin’s case there wasn’t much respect left. Players were openly yelling at him to shut up during games. It was ugly. It was time for him to go.”

    • shiram says:

      Never heard of that before, and I did not see it during games.

    • Habtastic says:

      That….would be cause for concern. For real? I didn’t think there was ANY communication, not even the Boudreau/Ovechkin banter.

      JM: Ok guys we’ve got a 2 goal lead in the 3rd period. No way we can blow thi…

      Players: OH SHUT UP!!! ANTI-JINX!

      The Drive for 25

    • G-Man says:

      Funny Melnick brings up that fantasy now. Time for him to go, with his “I’m a better gm/coach/ waterboy than anyone else.”

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        Actually, he makes a point of sharing the only 5 firings that he’s called for over a long time and Houle was the only other Hab guy, the others being Expos. I’m not in Montreal, so I am not exposed to Melnick apart from his blog, but this post might be worth reading … or not. 🙂

        • He’s first and foremost a die-hard baseball guy, which explains why 4 of them are Expos, and I can’t disagree with his analysis of any of them. But to list Rejean Houle, without Mario Tremblay in tandem underscores how incredibly scary that time was for Habs fans. And now all we hear is Roy…………………….

    • kakey says:

      JM was never saying anything to begin with, so how can players yell shut up to him?

    • While Martin looked anything other than engaged during many, if not most of the games, I can’t think of a single time when a player was captured “openly yelling” at him, and we all know that would have been covered wall-to-wall by the media if it did. Once again Mitch’s hyperbole overshadows his astute comments.

  18. JF says:

    Jack Todd’s article is full of cheap shots at Pierre Gauthier, but I find it hard to disagree with the main thrust of what he is saying, which is that Gauthier has taken a series of desperate measures to try and get the team on track because most of what he gambled on before the season started has not worked out. The firing of Jacques Martin is the latest of these measures, and one has to believe it was motivated at least in part by fear for Gauthier’s own job. If the team does not make the playoffs, Gauthier will be gone. Jacques Martin was not getting them there (I went through the 33 games the Habs have played and discovered that in no fewer than 12 of them, the team blew a lead and lost the game); therefore Jacques Martin had to go.

    Even the timing of the move tells us something. The Habs had actually been doing reasonably well in December, the game against the Flyers being the first in which they got no points. Since Kaberle’s arrival, the powerplay was beginning to show signs of life. Jacques Martin was keeping the team more or less afloat despite injuries to key players and poor performances from others.

    Then the Flyers game. Two 5-on-3’s squandered (although I think most referees would not have disallowed the goal we scored, especially as the Flyers scored a couple of similar ones that were not disallowed). Leblanc scores his first NHL goal, receives a standing ovation, but is benched for pretty much the rest of the game. After the game, we’re told, Gauthier and JM had a heated exchange. It looks as though Gauthier seized on these events as a pretext for getting rid of his coach.

    I don’t think Jacques Martin deserved to be fired. I have said several times that I thought he was the best coach available for this team, and I’ve talked about the reasons the Habs are having so little success this season – Markov’s absence, an inexperienced blueline, overpaid vets who are not producing; problems that Randy Cunneyworth inherits. The Habs are not a good team, and I doubt Cunneyworth will get much more out of them than Jacques Martin did. Which isn’t to say he might not implement some changes that will be beneficial over the long term. More stability about the lines; more evenly divided ice-time, with in particular more ice-time for the young players; more accountability from the veterans; better in-game adjustments – these changes will help. Will they get the Habs to the playoffs? Possible, but unlikely. Will they win us a round? Unlikely bordering on impossible.

    I also agree with Todd’s evaluation of Gauthier as GM. He’s made a couple of good important moves (Price over Halak, Erik Cole), and he’s adept at making smaller moves to cover injuries. But he shows no sign of having a long-term plan, choosing instead to make a small improvement here and apply a bandaid there. One indication of this is the fiddling he’s done with the bottom two lines since taking over. Those lines have become almost a revolving door, and the reasons for Gauthier’s moves have been far from apparent. Why was Dominic Moore not re-signed, especially as a second-round pick was given up to acquire him? Why was Jeff Halpern not kept, especially as no replacement was acquired until the gaping hole on our fourth line became too obvious to be ignored? Short-term moves with no long-term plan beyond saving a tiny bit of cap-room. Beyond this, Gauthier is cautious, conservative, and polite; the Habs need someone with a vision and the ruthlessness to carry it out.

  19. WestHab says:

    I have little interest in Roy as coach unless he proves himself in the AHL first. I was a big supporter of Carbo as coach and I was very dissapointed. I felt he should have gone through the AHL first. I get a feeling the Roy thing will happen next season unless RC gets a SC. Say Roy gets in and the team still is in 11th place then what? We’ll be running out of Saints pretty fast.

    • habfan53 says:

      I agree the last person I want behind the Montreal bench is Patrick Roy.
      I am willing to give Cunnyworth a shot , he did well with Hamilton, seems to be a good communicator .
      IF and I do mean IF they want to go with a bilingual coach I would like to see Denis Savard I like what he did with the young players in Chicago.

      to paraphrase Nixon: If the Bruins do it, it is not illegal

  20. montreal ace says:

    I call for Christmas shiners for a few Habs tonight, and a 5/3 win.

  21. Bobcat Bob says:

    Bobcat Bob
    To CautiousOptimist:
    Very nice post concerning Gauthier: Actually I think he has done a rather good job. Hindsight is always 20/20. Is there someone out there who could have done better — I think not.

    • Thanks Bob (and 24 Cups). I really don’t think this is a bad team, and if our biggest gripes with PG have to do with his not re-signing a couple of 3rd- and 4th-liners, that’s really not so bad all things considered. He’s made the roster better but the team has become worse, so firing the coach seems like the logical next step.

      Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

  22. shiram says:

    I hate that the team feels obligated to employ french speaking coach when so little of it’s players actually speak french, clearly NHL hockey is an english speaking orginazation as well.
    You’d think the people investing hundreds of millions could do as they please in hiring the best people for the job.

    But this week-end, I was reminded that people care about the language the coach speaks, even if they never watch hockey, so of course the Habs management feel the pression, it just was not justified for me.

    Gotta have a thought for Randy Cunneyworth, not only is he thrown into a bad situation with the team not playing well, but the whole language thing will hang over him for as long as he is here. Still from what I read of him, he seems to do what alot of people were clamoring for, he wants to keep lines intact, will play the players that are playing well, does not want to favor the vets.

    As for Roy I don’t know, it would definately be a great PR move, but then so was Tremblay…

    Also, back to the poutine for now.

    • Bripro says:

      Your JM avatar was short-lived.
      I have an idea. Why don’t you change it to PG.
      Then perhaps the hockey-mad province can push for a new GM.

      • shiram says:

        I have not grown too annoyed with PG yet.
        Not saying he is awesome either… and I don’t think I really wanna look at his face whenever I post.

        • Bripro says:

          I am. Trading away decent draft choices for players who had an impact and are now gone…the Wiz, Moore, Halpern.
          And trading away players who have since stepped up on other teams, like Lapierre (I liked his style).
          Aside from picking up Cole, I can’t give him too much credit.
          And he doesn’t even make an effort to sit down with players’ agents to get it done early in the season.
          Instead, he throws insulting contracts at our main cast (see Gorges).

          • shiram says:

            Lapierre asked to be moved because JM would not play him, or played him on wings.
            Wiz was a no go at the salary he wanted, that’s overpayment. And PG did get him at a fairly reasonably price, and it helped the team tons.
            The Halak trade was ballsy and still seems like a good deal.
            Moore and Halpern, well yea…

            So yea he is not perfect, but he made some good moves still.

          • Bripro says:

            Lapierre asked to be traded because as you said, JM wouldn’t play him.
            Well it’s up to JM’s boss to insist if he sees the potential in him.
            We could have locked the Wiz at lower money when they first picked him up, but like I said, he has a habit of not signing his players early.
            They always seem to wait until the season is over.
            Halak? I think the jury is still out on that one, although that trade didn’t really bother me, given the pedigree we kept.
            Halpern is this year’s #1 face-off percentage winner in the NHL.
            And Moore plays his heart out every shift.

          • shiram says:

            Like I said, it all ain’t great, and it all ain’t bad.

  23. Bobcat Bob says:

    Bobcat Bob
    In reading some recent posts I am disappointed in the negativity in alot of them. I am not talking about the long time themes against Gomez,JM, and Gauthier — but rather the gloom and doom about a team only a 4 game winning streak from in the division. There is 2/3th of a season to be played !!!

    I am confident that the following can happen:
    1) Cammi stops hitting posts and starts to light it up
    2)All our wounded get back ( yes including Markov)
    3) Tomas K will help the power play immensely
    4) Gamers like Gionta will heal and be the clutch players they
    always are.
    5) Andre K. will continue to be a great Hab ( how in the world
    would anyone who knows hockey consider trading him????)
    6) Randy C. will bring a more aggressive offense utilizing Canadiens great skating advantage over other teams.

    Come on — 2/3ths of the season left to play — stop moaning
    and complaining and support the team.

    • rogus says:

      I’ve never understood the crap that’s piled on Andrei K. Limited playing time, and a carousel of linemates for our biggest game changer. He hits, can shoot, dangle, drives the net. In other words he has all the tools of E Cole, but gets punished for using them. With an offense minded coach, he is the top 10 player he was when he was drafted. Let’s hope RC can make some changes and get AK some playing time.

    • Bobcat, you call yourself a Habs fan? With all that optimism? Check your membership card at the door, my friend. Habs fans will never been mistaken for optimisits. I submit that you, sir, are a Leafs fan in disguise!!

  24. TomNickle says:

    A cautionary note to those of you who are dying for Patrick Roy.

    Be prepared for embarrassing moments. Like water bottle tossing, goalies fighting, players being publically chastised and referees being alienated. Also take warning that he would, depending on the duration of his stay, alienate players with his style. If you think asset management and tight lipped structure is bad, consider the alternative. Think for a moment about your coach being completely honest and forthcoming to anyone who will listen or has a microphone about everything related to the organization and how that can negatively impact key areas or franchise management.

    If Patrick Roy could demonstrate an ability to harness his temper and behave in a mature way, I’d be on board with him taking an integral role with this organization. If he can’t, I want nothing to do with it.

    • 24moreCups says:

      I doubt Roy would get Price to start fighting the other teams goalie.

      • TomNickle says:

        Didn’t have any problem with his own son doing it. Why would he have a problem with Price doing it?

        The last thing I’d like to see is a career ending concussion to Carey Price or a season ending broken hand because Mr. Roy’s ego got in the way of team success.

        Like I said, if he can grow up in a hurry I’m okay with it, otherwise, no thank you.

        • 24 Cups says:

          Tom – You forgot to mention the size of Roy’s ego, the fact that he has a very checkered past when it comes to dealing with the media and that he quit on his team during a crisis. Not to forget the fact that he has no experience at the pro level. (Almost every other coach in the NHL paie their dues in one way or another).

          In reality, he only has two things going for him – he speaks French and he’s a past hero as a player which makes him a direct link back to the last time the franchise was ever successful. Which was damn close to twenty years ago!

          • Habsrule1 says:

            Quit on the team? That’s your perspective. Everyone else I know blames Tremblay & Houle for that episode.
            Patrick Roy never quit on anything, hence the 4 Stanley Cups.

            Go Habs Go!!

            “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • shaver18habs says:

      Tom, I also am very curious…Carey Price happy or terrified with Roy in the mix as a coach or GM. People have sort of let go of the “big boots to fill” like Theodore/Thibault had after Roy left. Bringing Roy back into the organization could potentially put added pressure on Price that he doesn’t really need when we want him locked up long term.

      I sort of see Roy as more of an over your shoulder telling you how to goaltend than a teacher of the art but I’ve been wrong many times before

      • Habsrule1 says:

        Or maybe Price could learn from the best goalie of all time…?

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

        • TomNickle says:

          Price has turned a corner in the maturity department and the way to make him better and not regress is to put Patrick Roy in his ear?

          Interesting perspective.

          • Habsrule1 says:

            OMG. Patrick Roy is the best of all time. You’re saying he could not help out a 3rd year pro?

            Go Habs Go!!

            “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

        • Malreg says:

          Wayne Gretzky is the best player of all time, how did he do as a coach?

          The qualities of a great coach are very different to the qualities of a great player.

    • Psycho29 says:

      I don’t want Roy near this team, let him coach the new Nordiques someday.
      I loved him as a goalie here but once he left that was it. I lost a lot of respect for the “man” Patrick Roy with some of his antics.

    • Habsrule1 says:

      I think he has matured as a coach, but I’d welcome much of that passion.
      He’s always been a winner and if he can bring that to the Habs, I’m all for it.

      Go Habs Go!!

      “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • Could not agree more. I cannot fathom how Molson would allow a rookie hot head like Roy cut his teeth on the Habs. Want French? Marc Crawford. Bob Hartley. And I’m not even convinced the coach needs to speak french in the first place.

  25. montreal ace says:

    I wonder if the players will have some extra motivation for Cunney, as some of them might not like the musings of the press, and take some points personally.

  26. shaver18habs says:

    I’ve been mulling over a couple possible scenarios for the Habs management next season and keep coming back to the possibility that a Roy/Hartley tandem just might work. Roy I think could do the job as a GM he has experience winning and knows what it takes and he and Hartley have a past with a winner in Colorado so I believe they would be on the same page in building a team that it takes to win. St Patrick as HC I just can’t see working as he would have to answer to a GM and that has blow up potential written all over it.

    It’s just a thought but I think this type of scenario would bring stability along with an aggresive plan to win.


    • Ali says:

      Roy said he doesn’t want to be a GM, and that he’s more interested in and enjoys coaching and that he isn’t overly fond of the GM duties. But I think he would want final say on any player so he would be defacto GM when it comes to player acquisitions.

      • shaver18habs says:

        This is why I thought of him as GM but I didn’t realize he wasn’t interested so that answers that. Too bad because I can see it working out Hartley was very impressive with Colorado and Atlanta. Not sure of his coaching style mind you and if it caters to the “young uns” these days

    • 24 Cups says:

      An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms:

      Stability = Patrick Roy

      Roy/Hartley is Tremblay/Houle all over again. It would set this franchise back at least another seven years. That would make 24 Cups and Mike Boone 70 years of age when the dust finally settles and the team starts to rebuild (AGAIN!) in 2020.

      • shaver18habs says:

        24 Cups……..good point on the Stability = Roy. All I can say to that was what was I thinking there?!? I always liked Hartley as a coach I thought he did a good job with a great team in Col and a great job with a decent team at best in Atlanta.

        The other guys I was thinking of were Lemaire/Robinson and co. if you could somehow get them. Don’t ever see them coming to Montreal but I would like it if they did.

        • 24 Cups says:

          I understand the sentiment toward Roy – he is our last direct link back to when this franchise was still the Montreal Canadiens.

          It’s the same notion as having Gainey take over the reigns of the team. The only difference being that Gainey had some pro experience as well as a stable personality.

    • I like the Hartley suggestion, but NO MORE rookies. It’s a tough enough market to coach or manage in, and with no prior experience makes it that much tougher. I’m tired of training Vigneault, Therrien and Julien here so they can take their gig on the road and do great things. Guy Boucher would have been the same. Have you checked out TB’s record this year? How would it be for Boucher if he was in Montreal and had that record. Roy as GM scares the pants off of me.

  27. I gotta say, I don’t get why everyone’s so down on Gauthier.

    – Our D corps hasn’t been very good, but guys like Weber and Diaz have only been getting all that ice time because of key injuries to half our D squad — and good on Gauthier for ensuring that we have the kind of depth that allows us to ice something resembling an NHL D corps with injuries to our go-to guys. In his shoes I might have kept Woywitka and sent down Diaz, but Diaz really over-performed in camp, and in any case that’s a minor issue concerning our 7th or 8th defenceman.

    – Our fourth line isn’t any good — though part of the reason for that is White’s injury and Martin’s insistence on playing Moen on higher lines. Someone miscalculated thinking that Engqvist could take Halpern’s place, and there’s no getting around the fact that this is a mistake. But to Gauthier’s credit, he at least doesn’t have his head in the sand: he first went after Betts, and when that didn’t work out he dealt next to nothing in exchange for Nokelainen, who by all accounts is an unremarkable but solid fourth-line centre with a righty shot who kills penalties and wins faceoffs. If he can eat 8-10 mistake-free minutes per game, Gauthier looks great on this one.

    – Cole has been a revelation,a nd our most dangerous forward on any given night. Good on PG for nabbing one of the prize UFAs of the year, and at a bargain price compared to what Gainey paid for lesser performers.

    As for Gauthier’s other moves:

    – Dominic Moore and the Wiz were great moves for 2nd-rounders. PG let Moore walk, but replaced him with Halpern, who was probably just as good and brought some more leadership to the team. In PG’s shoes, I’d have tried to re-sign both Wiz and Markov — dealing Spacek to free up the cap space — but he spent that money on a big proven top-six guy in Cole instead, and that’s not exactly crazy. Even if you don’t like this situation, it’s hardly a disaster.

    – D’Agostini for Palushaj seemed to be of no consequence at the time, and while Dags has done well in St. Louis, I still think it’s an okay deal: Palushaj is 2 years younger, and may well become a solid top-nine guy too.

    – He signed Nash as a free agent — lots of teams wanted him, but Gauthier got him.

    – Eller for Halak is starting to look awfully good, and may very well look brilliant in another year or two. And Schultz was decent as throw-ins go — I’m not a huge fan of goons, but I’m happy to have one who’s reasonably responsible defensively maturing in the system.

    – He took a chance on Darche as a free agent, paid him next to nothing, and got 12 goals out of him last year.

    – He’s also made a point of drafting bigger guys like Tinordi and Beaulieu, and managed to bring the elusive Emelin to the NHL, who’s looking like a defensive force in the making.

    All in all, that performance has got to be classified as good-to-very-good. If he’d managed just one more big free agent signing and dealt Goemz for a 7th-rounder, we’d all agree he’s been excellent.

    Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

    • twilighthours says:

      Im neutral on the PG issue, but to counterpoint your excellent argument:

      1) The team has gotten worse since PG took over.

      2) I’m more afraid of what he’s about to do rather than what he’s done. If he makes silly deadline trades to try to get the Habs into the playoffs, then I fear we will be giving up picks/prospects/future cap space.


      • Thanks. If he makes silly deadline trades to squeak into the playoffs I won’t be happy about it either, though I suspect it would be at Molson’s request, as each home game apparently brings in $3M in profit, and an 8th-place finish is good for at least two of them

        And the team definitely is playing worse, but I really think that has more to do with the strategy and culture brought on by a particular coaching style than it does with the skill level on the ice.

        Not that I think Martin is a terrible coach — I just think he was the wrong coach for this team. If there’s one big thing we can blame Gauthier for, it’s building the speedy offensive team he wanted and putting a defence-first zero-flair coach at the helm. But then again, what other French-speaking coach would have been a better pick? Tough position to be in.

        Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

    • Bripro says:

      Without sounding unnecessarily negative, please don’t compare Don Cherry to my grandfather, a wonderful soul who never judged anyone and usually endorsed most of what people said.
      “A closed mouth gathers no foot” was his favourite expression.
      Don Cherry’s tongue knows exactly his foot size.
      As for Jack Todd, I agree that he’s a decent writer but not as great a sports writer.
      He’s better to stick to his books. That way, his vindictive judgements can be passed off as fiction.

    • 24 Cups says:

      co – You raise a lot of good points. I was going to write a post taking us back to September 19th and how most people viewed the team at that time. Pretty upbeat for most of us, all things considered. That was just three short months ago.

      I didn’t bother because nobody wants to hear it.

      The only blunders that Mr. Gauthier made (at that specific time) were not addressing the need for a 4th line centre and having someone in place to step in for White. People were upbeat about the return of Markov and Gorges as well as the additions of Cole and Emelin (although I bitched about Cole’s contract). The kids would mature, Subban and Price were golden and Gomez just had to be better. The icing on the cake was the notion (misconception?) that we were just one overtime goal from defeating the eventual Cup champions.

      As I said, most people were happy. Fast forward three months and we’re now the Islanders.

      It’s a bit like Elvis when his Mafia buddies wrote the book, “What Happened”?

      I think I know deep down inside but I really don’t want to have to deal with it.

  28. Norm0770 says:

    Mr. Boone,

    I have a serious question related to all of the uproar on both sides of the language debate concerning the head coach position of the Canadiens. I agree that as the face of the Canadiens the head coach should be bilingual (English and French not some other combination of languages). He has to address the media in a hockey mad society where the primary language is French but most of his players understand English better.

    Given the current players on the roster, and the salary cap implications and the fact he seems to be scrambing to save his own hide, I can’t imagine a scenario where Pierre Gautier is employed by the Canadiens after mid April. So my question is this: Given that fact the role of GM is different, and they do not need to address the media as often as the coach, or as Gautier feels at all, should it be a requirement for the general manager to be bilingual? Would the populace and media in both languages be satiated by more frequent unilingual interation with the GM than the current tight lipped trickle that comes down from above now? Can or should the Canadiens hire the best candidate for the GM posiont rather than the best bilingual, or even unilingual French candidate (I’m sure the English fans of the team wouldn’t mind a French only GM if he puts together a winner on the ice)?

    Thanks, Norm

  29. Shoowtime says:

    Please I beg We are no longer stuck in the past WE need to go in a new direction we have a young fast team that has potential .
    In my opinion
    1)We must give Gm Pierre Gauthier his walking papers He has done dome good thing and not so good but a new direction must be taken and a young fresh look is needed.
    2) As coach we need an opened minded coach who can open it up were young and fast we need energy and life behind the bench.
    3) The team needs to get some guys who have a mean streak a guy who isnt a fraid to fight and could put the puck in the net Not even fight just be physical.
    LAST BUT NOT LEAST no more former players no Patrick Roy please this trend needs to stop as for the language barrier WE are no longer in 1970 this has got to stop we put our team at a disanvantage right out of the gate we no longer are able to get the BEST available option we are stuck with the guy nobody elese wants.
    We are not a charity case for french canadiens who can’t find jobs else where if they were that good they would have jobs already.
    FRENCH ENGLISH WHO CARES GET A TRANSLATOR IT should matter any more…….
    Stanly cups matter because of this stupidity we have been cupless since 93.

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      I can’t necessarily agree with #1 — YET! PG inherited a situation, and he was really forced to see how it would play out. In the meantime, I feel that he made some incremental yet positive moves (Emelin, Cole etc) that indicate that he has a grasp of the situation.

  30. nbsjfan says:

    The problem I have with Todd’s article is, WHERE WERE YOU ALL YEAR? Many of us bitched about the moves Goat made in the off season – letting Hammer go, insulting Gorges, Wizniewski and on an on. The Canadiens had an opportunity to build a world class D this past off season and took a pass. They bet the farm on a broken Markov, Subban, Gorges and a bunch of small rookies and garbage can pick ups. Yes, Goat fired the wrong guy but its too late now.

    Anyway, the press now is circling the wagons but the complaints and the finger pointing are about 6 months too late. Where were you guys when this team was assembled? Where were the complaints when many of the fans were shaking their heads in disbelief at the team that Goat assembled? To me it was like the George Bush era – nobody wanted to complain lest they be singled out. So they all shut their mouths.

    Nice article Todd but the horse has long left the barn so I wouldn’t waste my time trying to close the door. In fact, leave it open, maybe we’ll get lucky and a better horse will wander in and stay awhile.

  31. smiler2729 says:

    I like ’em all but if push came to shove, I’d rather have Gorges, Subban and Price than Gomez, Gionta or Cammalleri.

    But other than Gomez, why are Gio and Cammy on the salary dump list when Plekanec and Markov should be too?

    Dumping Gomez and Markov’s salary should be enough to accommodate re-signing G, S & P.

    Who knows, after the next CBA, there may be a whole different set of rules…

    Jack Edwards sucks chowdah chunks

  32. Old Bald Bird says:

    (1) It’s amazing to me how offended some people get from Boone posting a link. It’s not as though he’s endorsing every link. Some people are too thin-skinned.


    (2) Theoretically, Cole’s hit probably deserves a suspension of no more that a game but not necessarily even that in light of past decisions.

    Lucic’s hit was to the back and into the boards. It definitely deserves at least a game.

  33. rhino514 says:

    Jack Todd may very well be a good writer. But he is not a good hockey writer.
    there is a difference between occasionally taking a stand, and always taking a stand, i.e. being invariably judgemental without being privy to the necessary information to make said judgements.
    Todd has trashed people many times and over the course of time has been proven completely wrong.
    Do you remember his stance on the Halak trade? He demeaned the organization as completely inept for making it.
    His attack on don Cherry was the most vitriolic and pretentious sports piece I have ever read. Cherry, like one´s grandfather, is out of touch and insensitive to many modern day issues, and insensitive to Quebec, like many older anglos. But your grandpa is not the Devil and neither is Cherry. The attack on him was full of contempt and completely unwarranted. He defended his right to judge him in the piece by going into a long segway about his own father being from the same generation, having also been to the school of “hard knocks” yet not sharing his views, which somehow carried onto himself; a thoroughly holier-than-thou view.
    You can disagree with people or groups. You can even criticize. But But I wouldn´t attack, view with contempt, or demean people EVEN IF I had all the information and qualifications to make such attacks. Todd doesn´t have them to begin with. Todd isn´t a natural hockey lover the way most hockey writers are, hence he actually views events and happenings the way a news journalist or art critic does does and draws his conclusions accordingly, adding gross judgement to boot, based on what appears near the surface, which he figures is somehow o.k. because it´s sports and not geopolitics or literary reviews.
    It´s easy to attack management because it LOOKED like Halak was the better goalie, it LOOKS like Cherry is obnoxious, and not just out of touch with some of views, and it LOOKS like Gauthier is just trying to save his own skin and there was almost assuredly no problem in the room; the truth is we can never know the latter, and time may well reveal that may not have been the case.
    The whole idea of having a heroe and zero ending in every column is that of a trash talker, not a responsible journalist.

    • Funny how Jack Todd actually resembles Don Cherry a lot more than he maybe realizes. Both are vitriolic reactionary blowhards who are well past their best-before dates, and who feel the need to weigh in on any and every subject that allows them to dump on someone. They both live for the attack, whether there’s a deserving target or not, and the nicest thing I can say about them is that, to their credit, it seems they can’t stand each other.

      Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

    • twilighthours says:

      HE still does that hero / zero crap? What a buffoon.


  34. SmartDog says:


    The shipping of players currently under long term contract WILL happen. If not now, then this summer. When Price, Subban and Gorges are re-signed, they’ll more than eat up what space we have. If Markov ever comes back we’ll have too many D, we have too many big salary, under-performing (and perhaps under-sized) forwards while the less expensive kids (and our two power forwards) are coming on strong, and with the signings that need to be done we’re going to blow the roof off the cap unless SOMEONE is shipped.

    1. Is there anyone making $3 million + who you consider VERY trade-able that you would trade?
    2. Is there possibly a taker out there for Gomez? Remember that financially he could put 2.5 million in some owners pocket because his cap hit is bigger than his actual pay next year.
    3. How much will Price, Subban, and Gorges sign for?
    4. Would you be comfortable with DD, Eller, and Pleks as our top 3 centers?
    5. Where is our greatest weakness – top 6? depth forwards? D?

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • shiram says:

      1. Gionta, even though he is overpaid, I could see him moved.
      2. Hamilton this season, maybe in the offseason he could be moved, his performance in between now and then will tell.
      3. Really can’t say, but I think it should be kinda like this Price > Gorges > Subban.
      4. I already am, they are not top notch, but they are what we got, might as well let the kids learn some. Pleks is steady.
      5. Lack of consistent effort, or you know, play for a whole 60 minutes.

    • G-Man says:

      1. Not $3 mil, but- trade Moen, Campoli, Diaz and Gorges for picks.
      2. There are no takers for Gomez, so 5 games to produce when back from injury or Hamilton for the duration of the contract.
      3.Trade Gorges- will want $4 to 4.5 mil- worth 2 to 2.5. The more Price plays this season, the lower he will cost, like $3.5mil for 2 seasons. Subban will get near to 2.5 for 2.
      4. Imagine Kopitar instead of Price back in 2005. But, Habs are stuck with those 3.
      5. Greatest weakness is twofold: scoring and physicality.

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      1. IMO Cammy is the most tradeable because of his playoff creds and his overall track record. He should also have more mileage remaining on his clock than Gionta.

      2. I like the way that you put this. It gives me faint hope for next year, not this. Very faint, but thanks for trying.

      3. No flippin idea.

      4. I am already comfortable enough with DD, Eller and Pleks. Although not there yet, I suspect that Eller will become #1 at some point or #1a as the case might be.

      5. We are somewhat weak at both F and D although AM should hopefully make a difference at some point. We need one or two more physical guys back there, but some help is on the horizon — distant horizon unfortunately. As for Forward, it seems that it must be addressed thru trades and signings: another Cole type in the top 9 and a little more true grit in general. I am comfortable with Gallager and DD as our only little guys in the future.

    • TomNickle says:

      1. Cammalleri – there will be a market for him.
      2. Yes. Plenty with his salary changing drastically next season.
      3. Price – $6 million annually. Subban and Gorges- $4 million annually.
      4. Yes
      5. Defense is our weakness right now. Too many opposing goals coming as a result of traffic in front of our net. We’re getting outmuscled in our own end.

    • Ghosts of the Forum says:

      1) At the deadline? Cammy. His playoff credentials and the fact that it would be easy to believe that his performance this year has more to do with the system he’s playing in. Cammy can’t carry a team, but on a team where there are superstars in place (a la Iginla) he becomes one. And lots of teams realize this. The Kings would be interested in taking him back I’m sure.

      2) The Hamilton Bulldogs.

      3)Price — 6 mill for as long as he wants. Subby – 3 mill. Gorges – 3.5

      4) I’d rather Crosby, Malkin, Staal, but realistically, yes. That’s what we’ve got.

      5) My favourite thing about the team the last two years, despite all the other stuff, has been the committment and the never-say-die attitude. We were giant killers and that was admirable. But they don’t know how to put teams away. They don’t know how to be winners instead of underdogs. I have no idea what the cause is, as an avid fan and (I like to believe) one who has an understanding of the game, all I can see are effects, not causes. But that’s the effect I see right now. It’s not a coincidence that every playoff series we’ve won recently has required seven games.

  35. I have long since stopped reading Jack Todd and care little about what he has to say. I was surprised the Quebec nationalists took almost 24 hours to turn this into a political issue and boy, does this season look like it’s going to last forever, and not in a good way. Everything on the surface appears to indicate the Habs have given up and will play out the string, come what may. I am so sick and tired of the French issue rearing its ugly head, yet again. What do you want people? A winner? Or a politically correct loser? It’s hard enough coaching in this city, and the last time I checked Scotty Bowman’s french wasn’t so hot, and look what he did for us. Being an interim coach means he’s a lame duck. And being backed by a desperate despot as a GM who will not cover his back could make for a long, dark and cold winter for Cunnyworth. The least the fans can do is give him a chance.

  36. Rudy says:

    Is there any way of knowing what the NTC are for the big guys: Gioanta, Cammi, Gomez, Kaberle? They may be harder to get rid of than people expect.

    • Go to You’ll see what, if any, NTC’s or Limited movement clauses exist for each player, but I agree, with the exception of Cammi, and possibly Gionta, the other 2 are not very tradeable. If Molson has the gonads he’ll eat some salary and bury Gomez in the minors, but no point doing that this season. The Habs are a very average team and are more than one or 2 moves away from changing that.

  37. LafleurFan says:

    Some random comments:
    Welcome to Bobcat Bob and you have to be much, much more long-winded to apologize for being too verbose.
    Was Hector Toe Blake bilingual? (Forget what the “Toe” comes from).
    I have read Jack Todd for 25 years and respect his work. I disagree with him sometimes. What a sad state of societal tolerance when one has to be wary of opposing opinion holders attacking you for genuine opinion.
    How to counter the comparison of Todd to Cherry? Cherry tried to sustain a syndicated newspaper column in the past, and the story I recall best was how he got his revenge on an AHL opponent and demolished him in a fight. His other material was less inspiring. Mr. Todd’s body of work needs no defending, and I’m sure there are some journalistic awards if one were to research this fact.
    Finally, a comment on how harsh the milieu is for Mtl.’s GM, and head coach positions. Bob Gainey is a saint as far as his achievements as a player and team captain. Sad to see that these achievements do not shield him from harsh criticism presently. Had his daughter not perished tragically, perhaps he would still be at the helm.
    .”May you live in interesting times.”

  38. Habitall says:

    I like Red’s idea of getting Serge Savard back in the GM’s chair, though my only question would be whether someone can be away as long as he has (15+ yrs) and still have the rapport he once had with other GM’s around the league, and also whether he is still a student of the game — which has changed in the interim years. Also, Savard was a decent trader, but not a great drafter. I actually like the drafting we’ve seen the last few years, and would be willing to cut Gauthier some slack.

    I look at the coach and GM’s job as two very different things. The GM by definition should not be reactive. He shouldn’t trade away picks for band-aids who are becoming UFAs, and while Gauthier has done that in the past, he seems to have cooled it. On ther other hand, the coach HAS to be reactive — i.e., he needs to react when something he’s doing aint working. Apart from tinkering endlessly with lines, it seems to be the consensus that JM had a real aversion to change and creativity.

    So, I think it was the right move.

    • TomNickle says:

      In a perfect scenario an organization has enough depth to lessen the blow felt from numerous significant injuries, but that’s unbelievably rare and is the ideal situation. And because of that, a General Manager must have both a long term and short term vision. And because of this, must be reactive and very methodically in a number of situations.

      Paul Holmgren may find this out the hard way in a real hurry. I understand they were enjoying a nice winning streak until Saturday, but with the youth and inexperience they’re going to have in their lineup for the forseeable future, winning streaks like that won’t be happening for them again this season without some reactionary moves.

    • LafleurFan says:

      Loved Serge! But this is a different era that requires, among other changes, capology expertise. Serge was paid well as a player, but missed out on the era of mega-contracts. His financial success derives from his talents outside of hockey. Loved him in his two years with the Jets.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

  39. TomNickle says:

    Let’s face it. Randy Cunneyworth will not be this team’s head coach beyond this season. If you want to know what’s going on right now, look at the evidence.

    Perry Pearn was fired to fix what was ailing the Powerplay and defensive matchups in hockey games. Tomas Kaberle was acquired, Jacques Martin was fired.

    Randy Cunneyworth was appointed to be head coach in the interim and Larry Carriere will be working as an assistant coach for the remainder of the season.

    1. Cunneyworth was appointed to find out if the message was stale or the style of hockey was wrong.

    2. Larry Carriere was appointed as an assistant coach to do a personnel evaluation from within the walls of the dressing room and on the Brossard practice ice.

    3. No coach was put into place because Geoff Molson isn’t giving Pierre Gauthier that authority mid-season in what could easily become a house cleaning year.

    This is indicative of several things. Namely that there could be another roster makeover in the near future where kids could take over this team. Eller, Desharnais, Pacioretty, Kostitsyn, Leblanc, Subban, Emelin, Price. Also, the team is surely lining up candidates to take the job full-time in the off-season. The list could be long, short, simple or complex, but I have a feeling that Patrick Roy, Gerrard Gallant, Marc Crawford and Martin Raymond are on it.

    Randy Cunneyworth, bless his soul, is currently auditioning for another gig with a rival NHL club. And the veteran contingent on this roster isn’t far away from being purged.

    • SmartDog says:

      Good post Tom. I agree with it pretty much.

      Of course the one way Cunneyworth may stand a chance of keeping his job is if the season turns around under him. At this point, it will take a horseshoe’s luck just to make the playoffs, but if we did make it or even won a round, Cunneyworth could stay. No-one’s going to muck with success – if Cunney worth can produce dramatic evidence down the stretch or in the playoffs that he’s got this team playing winning hockey, he could easily stay. It’s almost as easy to fire him next December if things aren’t working out as it would be to let him go this May.

      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

      • TomNickle says:

        You could be right. But I think it would take another conference finals appearance for that to happen. And there’s a possibility that it still wouldn’t be enough. Jacques Martin is less than two years removed from the same level of success.

        I would even go so far as to say that it’s Stanley Cup appearance or a new coach next season.

      • Feraco says:

        We will need some luck but I dont think it will require a Xmas miracle to improve…They have a solid core, deeper down the middle than ever before, and wingers who should be producing big numbers. Everyone has pretty much underacheived and being in 6th place from 12th is a couple of shootout wins (which they were winning in the past years)

        So the issue is what do we do going forward? Keep the faith in Cammi, Gionta and Kostitsyn? Or Look to trade those 3 as I believe they would get a nice return for them. Or let Cammi ride it out and see if he bounces back next year? Alot of options really, but losing Cammi and Gionta is going to throw a ton of pressure on Pacs, Eller, DD and Subban…dont think they are ready to lead just yet.

        Again, were only out by 2 points and we have been brutal so far.

        Trade deadline will be the make or break!

        Molson Ex mon ami

      • montreal ace says:

        Great post you covered all the bases Tom

    • habs03 says:

      Agree, but please no Marc Crawford, and NOOOOOO to Bob Hartley, incase anyone brings him up.

  40. Feraco says:

    Jack Todd. I tend to read his articles because they are so all over the place and rash and rarely take too much from them but I don’t actually mind this one. He brings up some interesting points regarding how Gauthier has handled the media, the Markov injury situation, and the general communication with the fans…having players release 0 information about the team. EX Spachek says, I’m not allowed to talk…perhaps that had something to do with him being moved. Things like that Jack is bang on.

    Martin’s results speak for themselves – Conference Finals and playoffs last year…but this year wielded huge expectations (and rightly so this team should progress to a top 5 team) but the same excuses of injuries and the team being small. Unfortunately injuries do play a role, as well as losing heart and soul players – ex D Moore and Halpern.

    Ah well what can you do. We have a new coach, same players who we all generally like so now its up to them. Gionta has to lead, Cammalleri has to score, and Pk and Price if they can continue to do what they are doing we will be ok. D is very young and Kaberle has helped, but they are still lacking Markov and until you have a TOP F (Cammelleri) and TOP D (Markov) leading the team, it will always be an uphill battle.

    Molson Ex mon ami

  41. montreal ace says:

    I dont think its a big deal to have an english coach, especially when the great Guy, could not get out of town fast enough with his speedos. I have always found this big love for Guy bizarre, the man jumped ship the first chance he got. I watched Cunney on saturday, stand behind his players, take a couple of deep breaths, and take that walk to the bench to do his job. I support any man who wants to work period, and I feel people who have a voice in the community should also. I hope when Cunney comes back to town, he reads a prepared speech in french, and charms the fans. I hope the team plays well tonight, its their play that will dictate the fate of the coach.

    • TomNickle says:

      As a matter of fact he didn’t jump ship the first chance he got(Boucher). He turned the Columbus Blue Jackets down.

    • 24 Cups says:

      How did Boucher jump ship? Martin was just entering the 2nd year of a 4 year deal so there was no hope of Boucher getting the job.

      Going to Tampa was a promotion – plain and simple. Tthat’s why guys apprentice in the AHL. Did Muller jump ship? Yzerman?

      I think for the most part it’s simply a question of timing, whether it be good or bad.

      Timing may also be an issue for the team this summer. That’s why we keep hearing about all the worn out cliches – Savard, Roy, Crawford etc.

      • TomNickle says:

        Denis Savard is a worn out cliche?

      • montreal ace says:

        I just think people should show more loyalty to an organization then just one year. I would think that future opportunities with the Habs were discussed when he signed his contract, with the job of head coach in Montreal being the long term goal. The 4 year contract to JM was another bonehead move, talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.

        • 24 Cups says:

          Martin received a four year deal for a few reasons: (1) he was GM of another team so he’s not leaving without a safety net (2) the team needed an experienced coach, no more rookies (3) he spoke French (4) he was tight with Gainey and Mr. Gauthier (5) Martin knew it was basically a short list of one, hence more bargaining power.

          Guess what? We’re still in the same boat!

  42. piter says:

    I think the only reason RC is taking over as head coach is simple. Dollars and cents. As I have read, JM gets quite a severance package if he was to get terminated. RC is already under contract, although I’m sure he got a raise for becoming the head coach. I’m sure it worked out cheaper for PG to shuffle everyone to bring in a new asst., than a new head coach.

  43. habs03 says:

    Its going to be interesting to see what Molson does with PG this summer. To be honest it could go either way, Molson can just change things up complete in getting a new GM and have him hire his own coach.

    But to be fair, since taking over the GM job with the Habs, PG has done a decent job. Technically he never got the chance to hire his own coach until now, and he never had a reason to fire JM until now, who was hired by Gainey.

    In regards to PG moves, he did some good stuff, even though people don’t like him, and let their judgement of his moves effect that.

    He improved the scouting department, when he fired most of them and got new scouts. Drafting guys with size and skill.

    His trades have been decent to average, but no big mistakes, most of the guys he has acquired have had some size, perviously we always small from line 1 to line 4, but he has put some size in the bottom 6.

    I can see Molson go either way, but the key question is why would be a better replacement for GM..

  44. Bobcat Bob says:

    Bobcat Bob
    I am a bit surprised that Cole did not get a few games for that hit. Lucic should get a few games, simply because it is a perfect chance for Shany to make up for all the garbage he has gotten away with over several seasons — then he enters the ” repeat offender”role and it becomes a matter of time before he gets multiple, incremental suspensions — Why — because it is the only way the goon can play.
    A contrary opionion to most posters: Gomez would be a good 4th line centre ( remember he is still one of the best skaters I have ever seen play) — He should kill penalties as well – giving Plexs
    a well needed rest.

    • arcosenate says:

      We have enough 4th line centres I think, when Gomez comes back he’s going to get many more minutes than a fourth liner and I suppose that will determine his future with the club. There’s no way he’s going to hang around at that price tag playing fourth line minutes.

      LA looks desperate, maybe we could swing Simon Gagne from them, now he could take some pressure off Pleks on the PK, what’s he make now anyway?

    • SmartDog says:

      Welcome! Great name!

      I disagree that Gomer has any place on this team (this will surprise no-one). Because a) he doesn’t play a north-south game and the team is playing that way now and b) with all the new signings to come our cap space is going to be horrible next year unless some room is made. There is no better option than to dump him on someone if at all possible or bury him.

      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  45. krob1000 says:

    I heard an interesting tidbit on a local morning show (this guy always has interesting inside stuff that I don’t hear elsewhere…maybe you guys do in Motnreal).
    He said that JM used to make 10 game plams…and stick to them regardless of what was going on. He said it was his unwillingness to deviate that was his downfall. He says that it was already determined well in advance that Cammi’s line was going to see the bulk of the icetime in the game last week. So when The Two and a half men line came out firing and we ogt that 5 on 3 there was no deviating from the plan…..
    He also noted the LEblanc incident which may very well have beent he last straw….to bench the kid after that (especially considering LEblanc appeared to do his best JM imitation and would not crack a smile after scoring) was insane and another example of JM. These events were a microcosm of JM and when you look back it really does make a lot of sense. We were watching guys heat up or play good games then get sat, we were watching guys play awful but continue to see ice, we watched game after game go by without adjustment and I think I tend to believe the report.

    The interesting thing is I like most of what JM was preaching but it was his inconsistency with vets.young players and his stubborness that drove me mad. However, his defense first mentality should still be employed and hopefully the positive influence in taht aspect he brought will remain with a little more leeway and willingness to adapt and coach based on ing ame performance will help. JM’s ideals are best left in place…he was a good Macro Coach but not really able to handle the in game and Micro coaching if you will and this is probably why Kirk was so missed. Kirk’s attention to detail in aspects not directly related to JM’s obsessive system were key if there is any truth to this and we have all suspected it.

    I think JM actually had worn out his welcome last year nerar the end of the season myself and think this mvoe comes to late…but at the same time as much as he frustrated me I do see the value of his primary message…he just does not have the ability or perhaps willingeness to coach on the fly. His system gave us a chance to compete with better teams….but it also made us vulnerable agaisnt teams where we were the more skilled team. All in all I still respect what JM did …just wish he had been let go sooner.

  46. RGM says:

    “he was determined to hold on to the core that Bob Gainey assembled when he blew this team before the 2009-10 season.”

    GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is our year!

  47. habs03 says:

    Sadly I got to ask, anyone have a good guess on what % of Habs fan are mainly French speaking.

    • SBAH says:

      There are plenty of Hab fans world wide, I’m guessing 20% French, 80% other.

      • habs03 says:

        I’m talking about regular followers, its hard to believe it would be only 20% with all the craziness in not having a French speaking coach.

        • SBAH says:

          the craziness comes from the Media, they blow things out of proportion and make it seems as though things are worse than what they really are.

          Remember the massive stink they created with the Kostitsyn bros and their alleged ties to the mob????? I was reading some posts on RDS after this happened and a majority of french fans felt the Media was full of caca.

          • kakey says:

            Haha I remember some “journalists” staking out the Habs’ charter plane landing in St-Hubert and “columnists” all giddy on TV saying that “something” will happen after the landing, implying some arrests would be made. They did not admit it after, but were all disappointed nothing happened.

      • G-Man says:

        The way the Habs marketing department caters to French speakers, it has to be at least 70-30.

        • SBAH says:

          Within the boarders of Quebec I would agree, within the boarders of Canada I would disagree.

          • habs03 says:

            Seeing how the Habs would care about the boarders of Quebec a lot more, that’s a huge number.

          • Rudy says:

            Well considering Quebec is 95% French speaking, wouldn’t it be 95-5 within boarders of Quebec? I wish there was some way to do a survey of “real” fans (meaning watches at least half the games, knows the players by their number, that sort of thing) that asked a tree survey – Are you from Quebec -Y/N if Y then is your mother tongue english or french-E/F then ask both groups Does the coach have to speak french. For those not from Quebec, would skip right to Does the coach…..

          • Clay says:

            @ Rudy – a slight exaggeration there, no?
            “There were greater than 5.8 million people speaking French among the 7.5 million citizens of the province. Approximately 79% of Quebec people chose to identify themselves as having the capacity to speak fluently in French.” (source:

            Still a very high number, but significantly lower than your claim. And Montreal itself stands at just over 60% French…clearly enough to justify an English speaking coach – but only if he is the best coach available. And with Alain Vigneault and Claude Julien not available, I would suggest that the best available candidate for the job will be an English speaker.

            “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work. Yvan was proof of that.” – Jean Beliveau.

    • Habfan4lfe says:

      It’s about Politics my friend. Politics doesn’t have to make sense, it just gets shoved down your throat.

  48. BoomBoom says:

    Jack Todd is a has been…he is past his due date by about 10 years ever since the Expos left town. He knows very little about hockey an for the last 2-3 years he has stopped being entertaining and just down right mean-spirited and twisting facts to suit his articles…following the path of Rejean Tremblay and Bert Raymond. Even his heros and zeros…Tim Tebow is a zero because he prays and is a devout Christian!!! I am not religious myself but there is probably a lot more zeros (steroids and guns) than Tim Tebow in the NFL. Todd is a failed novelist and it must burn him up. Todd, a once entertaining columnist but now mean spirited SOB is in my zero list for 2011.

    RC is an impossible position…a writer at La Presse writes about the Habs broken contract with francophones and Quebec…really? RC is an interim coach. I am married to a francophone and I agree that the coach should be able to speak french. (An anglo who learns and speaks french is fine by me). But to make a stink for an interim coach halfway through the season is pathetic. Nationalism is a cheap way to sell papers and draw attention to yourself. RC is the logical choice and is in my opinion the best person to turn the Habs around.

    C’est le but!

    • Psycho29 says:

      Excellent post!
      Jack Fraud is the biggest uninformed hack around. He should be writing for the National Enquirer.
      He wrote on Saturday ‘When Pierre Gauthier shaves his sideburns above his ears’……What does that have to do with anything?????

  49. Bobcat Bob says:

    Bobcat Bob
    Hello, I am a long time reader and first time poster. I apoligize in advance for the lenth of this post. Firstly, as to the firing of JM — longtime overdue, not because he is a bad coach, just because his style of play did not fit the Canadiens personnel. Hopefully Randy will get a two man forecheck going. Whenever the Habs have utilized their speed to do this — they have been quite

    Secondly — way too much gloom and doom on here!!! There are
    many games left to play. I watch every Canadien game and they
    are NOT playing bad hockey — just very unlucky hockey. I predict
    a 6th place finish. Remember guys they are just 2 points out of
    the playoffs now.

    Do not trade anyone — this is a good team!!!! They will get out
    of their scoring slump ( and with Carey playing just average for him) the points will mount up.

    More from me later. Go Habs Go—beat the cementheads tonight.

    Bobcat Bob

  50. The Cat says:

    RDS has been disappointing lately. First they forgot that Bob Berry could speak french and theyre also putting words in Roy’s mouth. Roy said the organization is no doubt concerned that RC is unilingual but RDS said Roy is concerned that RC doesnt speak french.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  51. Hali_Hab says:

    In all fairness to Todd’s article, He is right when he speaks of PG’s inability to do his job. It is his job to give his coach the best tools to do the job! He hasn’t done that. Mind you some of those players/contracts were handed to him by Gainey. That being said it is in the other aspects of his position that he has failed. Such has hiring RC to coach a sinking ship… As much as I hate to say this his Anglo status runs the risk of becoming a bigger distraction if they don’t string some wins together. And let’s face it, does this team look like a team at all? It is unfair to put RC in this position just as it was unfair to fire PP and just like its unfair to gag order your coach when he talks I injuries. So much so that you become a laughing stock. It is also unfair to fire your coach when he has you with in one game of a play off spot and has won 2 of the last 3. And fire him simply because he doesn’t have the tools to do the job which it is Your job to provide him with. It all just reeks of piss poor decision making.. And his last 3 moves scream of panic. It’s really sad to watch the pillars of this once great franchise being tossed around like pawns in board room just to save some ones ass.

    Further more I find it hard to be sympathetic when the media rips PG. I find it hard because it’s been a log time coming and the bridge has been burned and then blown up! This once again falls under the spectrum of poor decision making that is The PG era. If anyone in their right mind thinks its a good idea to stone wall the press in one of the biggest if not the biggest hockey hungry market in the world, I need to have some of what you are smoking! PG has continued to treat the press with absolutely no respect from day one. He has looked down on them from his lofty perch one to many times. This strategy of locking out the media while at the same time coming off like an arrogant s#*t head has finally come back to bite him in the ass and it is comical to watch. I would Imagine Montreal is a cold place when you have no friends. Some one should have told him that it would be a good idea to develop a positive rapport with the men and women holding the pens. There is a way to use the media to your advantage and you start by building bridges not destroying them. This idiot has
    shown the savvy of Leon phelps! This reader has zero sympathy.

    • RGM says:

      Some questions as it relates to personnel on the team.
      1. Going into this season, did you believe that Gomez, Gionta, and Cammalleri would have improved seasons over last year?
      1a. Going into this season, did you believe that Pacioretty, Price, and Subban would continue on the upward trajectory they all demonstrated from last year?
      2. Which players in the recent off-season would you have pursued, how much would you be willing to pay, and what would you be willing to give up in terms of the Habs’ future?

      GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is our year!

  52. Hali_Hab says:

    I agree with red’s vote for Savard as GM. Why not go with a proven winner. Someone who knows the city and the culture. Some one who would draft francophone players. This would help relieve the pressure on the club down the road. Also ridding our selfs of this mess current andnot so past management has made of that situation and the team in general!

    • Ton says:

      too old, and rich. where’s the drive come from when your these two things!

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      I am not intending to comment on the quality of Francophone players, but really? You want to get Savard so that he will draft more Francophone players….

      I am confused. How would drafting more french players help the team? Is there a stockpile of awesome french players I don’t know about (who have not been drafted yet)?

      Personally, I want someone who is willing to draft the best possible player for the draft # they have and what the needs of the team are at the time (or in the future, i guess). I could care less if that player speaks yiddish, french, english, gibberish…

  53. moester says:

    Wow that Todd article is a mess! Talk about skewing facts to make them suit his needs! He needs to reel himself in. I know he wants to sell papers but there are much better ways than to go out there with so much vitriol. With guys like Todd Gauthier can never do anything right. If he makes a good trade it’s not good enough if hangs onto a player he’s wasting potential and if he signs one and anything goes wrong he is to blame. Nobody can succeed under these measures.

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