Subban back in the spotlight again; Halpern claimed off waivers

P.K. Subban was once again under the media microscope on Friday, following Thursday’s eventful 5-2 win over the New York Islanders, during which he was benched during the second period, then scored two goals.

In his post-game interview Thursday, Subban was uncharacteristically moody and he faced the microphones again after practice Friday in Brossard as the Canadiens prepared to face the Buffalo Sabres Saturday at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

“He’s a player that responded well to the message we sent him,” coach Michel Therrien said. “He played an excellent third period.”

Subban told reporters Friday that Therrien has been great for him as a player.

“I’ve enjoyed playing for him,” the defenceman said. “He brings out the best in his players.”

Ryan White will miss Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury and the Canadiens called up Michael Blunden from the Hamilton Bulldogs to take his spot. The Canadiens also claimed Jeff Halpern off NHL waivers from the New York Rangers on Saturday. Halpern played with the Canadiens during the 2010-11 season, posting 11-15-26 totals in 72 games. In 30 games with the Rangers this season he had one assist and was minus-5.

The lines at Saturday’s morning skate were: Ryder-Plekanec-Gionta; Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher; Galchenyuk-Eller-Armstrong; Moen-Dumont-Blunden. Defence pairings were: Markov-Emelin; Gorges-Subban; Bouillon-Tinordi. Carey Price will start in goal.

Brandon Prust (shoulder) and Rene Bourque (concussion) did not skate Saturday morning, but Yannick Weber (knee) did.

Saturday’s game will be Travis Moen’s 600th in the NHL.

The latest episode of the 24CH reality-TV show with a behind-the-scenes look at the Habs airs at 6 p.m. Saturday on RDS and will be repeated at 10:30 p.m.

Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Sabres

Game Notes

Subban under media microscope, by Brenda Branswell

Habs’ road warrior tag to be put to the test, by Pat Hickey

Lindros, Kovalev return to Bell Centre, by Brenda Branswell

HIO fan shines a scary spotlight on concussions, by Stu Cowan

Demers discusses 1993 and more on next HIO show, by Stu Cowan

Was Komisarek treated fairly by Leafs? by Pat Hickey

NHL news and notes, by Pat Hickey

(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)

587 Comments

  1. Halpern? WTF?! Come on, that’s really a waste of a bench spot. 36 and soft with all the goodies we have coming up? Geez!

    Promote the Youth, Support From The Veterans and Remember the Heritage!

  2. AH says:

    Happy to see they picked up Halpern, I liked him when he was here, good on face offs, hard worker, and appeared to be a good character team guy who spoke well of his team mates. Character is a trait that appears to be high MB list, which is a good thing.

  3. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …re Halpern …I guess My misgivings about picking-up Halpern is based on My preference We should go as far as Our 2-way Youth will take Us

    …but, some make good arguments Halpern may have a few kilometers left in His fuel-pack

    …agree, Our PK is presently an Achilles heal, and prefer Pleks not be worn down for the post-season by being over-played on the PK

  4. Habitant in Surrey says:

    Rangers fan:
    ‘Moshe is king of arguing the inarguable with the intractable.
    -Caerid11
    LET’S GO RANGERS. ‘

    …I believe in reference to the Rangers fan on their fan-site arguing the McDonaugh/Patches’ hit with Berkshire :)

  5. mike3131 says:

    My all-smurf (under 5’10) team just for fun:

    Cammalleri – Briere – Marty St. Louis
    Ray Whitney – Saku Koivu – Gionta
    Tyler Ennis – Derek Roy – Gallagher
    Gerbe – Desharnais – Tootoo

    Timonen – Brian Campbell
    Enstrom – Ryan Ellis
    Visnovsky – Bouillon

    Bernier
    Enroth

    Am I missing anyone?

    https://twitter.com/mikelangerr

  6. HabFanSince72 says:

    Speaking of saviours, remember how disappointed we all were that Stevie Y wasn’t given the Habs’ GM job?

  7. habs_54321 says:

    so we can cross off veteran fourth line centerman who can win faceoffs off our tradedeadline wish list, and it cost nothing to aquire him.

    we could probably use a veteran 6/7th dman names like gill,sarich,obrien,obyrne will probably come up

  8. Psycho29 says:

    So does Boucher get fired between periods?

  9. Hobie Hansen says:

    Mitch Melnick ‏@HunterZThompson 1h

    Maybe it’s stop gap move while White injured & Nokelainen gets into shape. #Habs

    • christophor says:

      Nice appeal to authority, and a bad one at that.

    • Ron says:

      Have they actually said what Whites lower body injury is or how long he is to be out ? Maybe he has irritated his groin again where he had the hernia operated on last year. This maybe why Halpern brought in to handle the PK and faceoff duty Ryan took care of. Won’t beable to handle the rough stuff but good on the PK.

      • aroma says:

        I was wondering the same; maybe his injury is somewhat serious. At the same time, one gets the feeling that MT is not a huge fan of White. If he sneezes in the wrong direction he sits out the next two games. Maybe he’d rather have Halperin out there instead. But it seems little by little the team is losing toughness and size: Prust and Bourque out of the lineup, Cole replaced by Ryder… I’m not comfortable with the diminishing size and grit…

  10. otisfxu says:

    Geez guys, what would this site be like if Habs do make a trade or pick up a quality player for the playoffs???

    Some guys will spin themselves right to China analysing the move,
    Halpern off waivers – just a body to have around in case of injuries now or down the road in the playoffs.
    Let it go.

  11. Hobie Hansen says:

    Mitch Melnick ‏@HunterZThompson 1h

    #Habs need help on PK unit. Halpern can do that but team just got much slower.

  12. This TB game is hilarious, man they need help in a bad way and Ol Guy isn’t looking so good even though it’s not his fault. Besides Stamkos, Lindback and Hedman he’s got nothing.

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Custom Sports Figures

  13. aj says:

    So, if Halpern will centre on the 4th, that means Nokelainen will be traded. And I think he’s cleared off on waivers too. White won’t be centering in the long run this season…

    • jols101 says:

      Nokelainen traded? Ha, you couldn’t give that guy away let alone get something in return. He passed through waivers, a team could have had him for free.

  14. The Cat says:

    Its funny how winning fixes everything, everything MB does a good move but if the habs were losing, itd be a chorus of as if Halpern(or anyone else) is the answer to anything.

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

  15. Mark C says:

    Tampa’s D zone coverage is an embarrassment. Do they even have a coach?

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Konopka > Halpern? Or Halpern > Konopka?

  17. frontenac1 says:

    @Shane.Thank -you so much for your sacrifice and telling us your story. Your Kids and those you coach are very lucky to have you there for them. You are making a big difference in their lives. All the best Amigo!

  18. Hobie Hansen says:

    Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta
    Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher
    Galchenyuk-Eller-Ryder
    Moen-Prust-Armstrong

    Scratches: White, Halpern

    Thanks for playing a few regular season games for us Halpern. Glad you can retire a Hab.

    Are we going to take Moen, Prust or Armstrong out of the lineup for Halpern? Only way he gets in is if there are still injuries at playoff time.

    • christophor says:

      or you can engage with the argument below instead of referring to how good he was five years ago (I used THIS year’s results).

      engaging means more than just saying he won’t be played when everyone’s healthy. you need to say why.

      also, i doubt there are many games when everyone will be healthy so it’s hardly important.

  19. JP23 says:

    I like the Halpern addition for depth (right handed, faceoffs, PK), but what do you all think the lines will be when everyone is healthy? Purely speculation on my part, but here’s what I think:

    Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta/Ryder
    Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher
    Galchenyuk-Eller-Gionta/Ryder
    Prust-Halpern/White-Moen/Armstrong

    We are already quite packed, making it difficult to go get another big depth player like many want. I also think that Moen will play better in the playoffs, he’s known for being a playoff guy, so I don’t want to go anywhere just yet.

  20. HardHabits says:

    It appears that rumours of Inginla and Jagr coming to Montreal were unfounded. I think I am going to have to return my copy of HIO13. It’s kind of buggy.

  21. Ton says:

    Love to have this guy even if it meant we don’t resign Ryder….. >watch him scrap……..complete player……ignore boston play play guy…..Edwards >what a tool!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sAV5kHO4r8

  22. RJ says:

    Halpern? He sucked before we didn’t resign him.

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  23. aj says:

    Wow!! Bergevin is really making this team compete and get the best on what’s available off the market. Good decision getting Halpern back from the NYR.

  24. NightRyder says:

    You can tell progress is being made because we’re adding puds like Halpern for depth purposes only. Once we actually stop adding puds like Halpern, we’ll know we’re where we want to be.

    • JP23 says:

      Halpern is a right handed faceoff specialist and a good penalty killer. He played here not too long ago and knows most of the guys in the room. He is a good depth player to have, especially when the Habs have some key injuries up front. Yes when the team is healthy, we might be a bit crowded, but better to have more than less I would think. We didn’t have to give up anything to get him, which is another plus.

  25. adamkennelly says:

    no reason for Halpern..I don’t get it…there is no one that should come out of this line-up to make room for him..in fact – even Blunden – as useless as I think he is – should be ahead of Halpern for NHL ice time…don’t get it.

    • christophor says:

      blunden: i honestly dont get how an average ahl-er gets more attention here than some legit NHL-ers. i’d trade blunden for a 2020 7th round pick.

      halpern allowed the fewest 5v5 goals per 60 minutes on the rangers. plus he’s good at faceoffs, on the pk, and he effectively moves the play to the ozone for the scoring lines even though he generally starts his shifts in the dzone. better than white. he’s a lock for 4th line center.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        Doubt it. He was brought in for literally nothing. Bourque and Prust could be out a few more games and Halpen was brought in for insurance.

        Halpern doesn’t play when this team is 100% healthy.

        • ebk says:

          probably true but the team isn’t 100% healthy and he’ll probably play until it is. And he might just carve out a role as a PK and defensive zone face-off specialist going forward. Both have always been his strengths

          And if he isn’t an upgrade, he’ll be gone quick. They have nothing to lose picking him up.

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            I’d put Eller and Plekanec out at center way ahead of Halpern on the PK. Maybe Halpen 5 years ago when he was just slow and not horrible slow as he is now.

          • ebk says:

            Eller isn’t doing the job on the PK,agree about Plekanec though

            and again, if he isn’t an upgrade of Eller on the PK, His second stint in Montreal will be short.

          • christophor says:

            or you could have 2 good pk forwards who are also centers on at the same time. plek and halpern, eller and prust. halpern takes faceoffs instead of plek because he’s better at them.

            don’t see your reasoning here.

        • christophor says:

          so because he didn’t cost anything he’s not higher on the depth chart than someone who did cost something?

          here’s another interpretation: the rangers were dumb to let him go; that he cost nothing is a bonus. the two things he does really well 5v5 are exactly the things MT has employed the 4th line to do: (1) start almost exclusively in the dzone and try to move the puck up ice for the top 3 lines; (2) be good defensively.

          Re: (1) – Halpern was very very good at this for the rangers; he started in the ozone only 25% of the time but ended there 40% of the time.

          Re: (2) – Halpern let in fewer 5v5 goals per 60min than any other ranger.

          add in two big perks – faceoffs and pk expertise – and he’s a great pickup.

          of course, we’re talking 4th line so it’s not line it’s a huge difference, but ppl here like to analyze the 4th line and he’s definitely the best 4th line (edit: center) option on this team. edit: he and prust should be locks with competition for the last spot.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Excellent analysis, I admit when first announced, I figured he was out of gas, but the stats show otherwise. Good Post Christophor.

      • adamkennelly says:

        he is not better than White – if he was – then you would see White go on waivers and not get claimed by the 27 teams ahead of the Habs in line to pick him up…and no chance that would happen, in conclusion – he is not better than White..he is not even better than Dumont….also we still have Prust and Bourque to make room for….

      • ebk says:

        long endless list of average at best AHL players who are touted as more than they are on HIO. Wasn’t the first, won’t be the last

      • frontenac1 says:

        Oh ye of little faith! Sweet Hands Blunden will be a dominant force tonight. He will make believers of you.

    • habs_54321 says:

      halpern > nokeleinen

  26. piter says:

    I remember Halpern getting a really bad elbow to his head in the playoffs that year..and there was NO penalty, never mind a suspension. I was fuming when that happened.

  27. Bun E. Laroque says:

    Just reading the Komisarek article. Crazy how far down he has fallen.
    He appeared to be a decent player when he was a Hab. Clearly a terrible fighter though. Amazing how one fight can change the course of a career.

  28. Psycho29 says:

    So I wonder how much of tonight’s Coaches Collar will be about how Lupul was suspended but Nash was not?
    Probably 7 out of his 8 minutes!

  29. Stevie.Ray says:

    I made a list of possible free agents Montreal might be interested in this summer.

    Semin RW 6’2 209 SNP
    Iginla RW 6’1” 210 PWF/VET
    Horton RW 6’2” 229 PWF
    Ryder RW 6’0” 198 SCR/SNP
    Clarkson RW 6’1” 200 SCR/AGI
    Crombeen RW 6’2” 209 AGI/DFF/GDR
    A. Stewart RW 6’3” 230 PWF/B6
    Fehr RW 6’4” 212 B6/SCR
    Morrow LW 6’0” 205 VET/DFF/GDR
    Clowe LW 6’2” 225 PWF/AGI/T6
    Cleary LW 6’0” 208 VET/DFF/B6
    Cooke LW 5’11” 205 AGI/DFF
    Stalberg LW 6’3” 209 SPD/2WF/2SCR
    Miller LW 6’2” 178 DFF/B6
    Hendricks LW 6’0” 211 GDR/B6
    Mashinter LW 6’4” 230 BIG
    Bickell LW 6’4” 233 DFF/B6/PWF
    Hainsey D 6’3” 210 2WD
    Regehr D 6’3” 225 VET/SDD/PHY
    Scuderi D 6’1” 219 VET/DFD
    Smid D 6’3” 210 SDD/AGI/DFD
    Fistric D 6’2” 233 DFD/PHY
    Woywitka D 6’3” 227 VET/DFD
    Lovejoy D 6’2” 215 DFD
    Pelech D 6’4” 235 SDD/PHY

    Are you interested in any of them?

    • harpman says:

      Clarkson, Stewart and Regehr.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Clarkson for sure. Would not mind keeping Ryder if he is cheap and short term…power play specialist. Don’t think MB will do much with the 64 million cap.

      “You’re always, always, always looking to make your team better. Always.”- Marc Bergevin

    • naweed235 says:

      Alright, I’ll bite:

      Semin RW 6’2 209 SNP – F#!$ NO
      Iginla RW 6’1” 210 PWF/VET – Not gonna happen in Mtl
      Horton RW 6’2” 229 PWF – Don’t want anything that has touched the bruin’s organisation near my team

      Ryder RW 6’0” 198 SCR/SNP – Meh…
      Clarkson RW 6’1” 200 SCR/AGI – Absolutely yes
      Crombeen RW 6’2” 209 AGI/DFF/GDR – Yes
      A. Stewart RW 6’3” 230 PWF/B6 – No
      Fehr RW 6’4” 212 B6/SCR – No
      Morrow LW 6’0” 205 VET/DFF/GDR – Expiry date coming soon
      Clowe LW 6’2” 225 PWF/AGI/T6 – Hell yes
      Cleary LW 6’0” 208 VET/DFF/B6 – Maybe
      Cooke LW 5’11” 205 AGI/DFF – Really???
      Stalberg LW 6’3” 209 SPD/2WF/2SCR – Yes
      Miller LW 6’2” 178 DFF/B6 – No
      Hendricks LW 6’0” 211 GDR/B6 – Perhaps
      Mashinter LW 6’4” 230 BIG – Don’t know him
      Bickell LW 6’4” 233 DFF/B6/PWF – Meh
      Hainsey D 6’3” 210 2WD – Yes
      Regehr D 6’3” 225 VET/SDD/PHY – Too old
      Scuderi D 6’1” 219 VET/DFD – No
      Smid D 6’3” 210 SDD/AGI/DFD – no
      Fistric D 6’2” 233 DFD/PHY – Yes
      Woywitka D 6’3” 227 VET/DFD – no
      Lovejoy D 6’2” 215 DFD – Just for his name yes
      Pelech D 6’4” 235 SDD/PHY – Maybe

  30. jols101 says:

    Weird move.

    Not for face off ability like everyone suggests. Halpren 56%, White 55%, and Dumont 65%.

    White and Dumont are both young and much better hockey players then the 37 year old Halpren.

    Truly a head scratcher.

    • christophor says:

      a good faceoff forward for the PK. NYR’s best. it’ll be nice to have plek, eller, halpern, and prust for your two pk units. add in subban and gorges and the only reason that the pk wouldn’t be near the top of the league would be coaching.

      also, halpern starts his shifts almost exclusively in the Dzone and effectively finishes often in the Ozone, moving the play up ice for the top 3 lines.

      very underrated in new york and a stupid move by them.

    • habs001 says:

      Maybe White out longer?….vs good pp the Habs lack mobile pk…concerned that Halpern,Armstrong,moen cannot do the job in the playoffs …Plecks okay and maybe Eller( but he has not looked that good on the pk)….Hate to outplay a team in a series but get beaten because of the pk…

    • deuce6 says:

      White takes dumb penalties..Halpern, does not..

      ——————
      Brandon Prust doesn’t have hair on his testicles, because hair does not grow on steel….

  31. punkster says:

    A nice chuckle for those interested in picking up Bickel:
    http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2013/3/10/4083210/a-short-list-of-things-more-useful-than-stu-bickel

    ***SUBBANGIN’ NOW BABY!!!***

  32. jedimyrmidon says:

    I think the Jeff Halpern acquisition is a great move by MB.

    – It addresses a team need: face-off/defensive/PK specialist
    – It comes at virtually no cost: nothing traded, 700k cap hit, 1 contract towards the limit
    – It provides the team with some quality depth
    – Experience is valuable in the playoffs and on a 4th minute-eating line, trying to push the play from the D zone to the O zone, it could make the difference

    I don’t think there’s any problem with Dumont going back down. He’s been playing fine, and the Habs have someone they can call up should injuries occur (let’s hope not) – he’s still developing as a player and there’s nothing wrong with him developing some more (unlike what the AC might think).

    With Prust, Diaz and Bourque hopefully returning soon, the Habs have options throughout the whole lineup.

    Another thing: the Rangers fans on BlueShirtBanter seem to view him as a casualty of the 50 contract limit and recognize that, although he didn’t score, he was a very useful player for them in his role. Stu Bickel on the other hand…. they’re glad that he’s on waivers.

  33. Stevie.Ray says:

    So do we expect Dumont or Blunden to be sent down tomorrow?

    • geo_habsgo says:

      Both. If it has to be one, it will be Blunden. Dumont seems to have earned some respect up in the big leagues whereas Blunden can’t seem to get a real chance to crack the lineup.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      “Elevator” Blunden will probably be the first…

      “You’re always, always, always looking to make your team better. Always.”- Marc Bergevin

  34. habs001 says:

    Faceoffs and pk big factors in the playoffs…I still dont understand why Plecks faceoff win % is okay but he is not reliable when the faceoffs have importance

  35. Bripro says:

    @sholi.
    Shayne, hats off to you my friend for sharing your story of courage with the world. I read it to my wife this morning. When you spoke of your son saving your life, she’d wept openly.
    One day we’ll sit and share stories. You’ve put another human face to a signature. All the best ton you, my friend.

    • Thanks Brian, very weird life, and it was so hard to tell the story the first time. CBC was here last month, two and half hours of mental torture as I told my story.

      Stu wrote a very good piece, and it was helpful for me. I can’t thank these writers enough for letting me tell it all. It’s way better therapy than one on one sessions with counselors. Everyone is different when it come sot help. I choose not to do the medication and that’s not for everyone, but I found that I wouldn’t exercise while on it, thus gaining weight, and adding more pain.

      I may be over weight, but I’m the fastest shortest fat kid in Brandon, MB :lol:

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      http://www.Sholi2000.com
      Custom Sports Figures

  36. Mike D says:

    Not sure why some are against the Halpern pickup? Where’s the downside?

    – Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

  37. geo_habsgo says:

    Good signing but this team is starting to get very crowded. Our bottom 6 has a plethora of varying degrees of talent to choose from at the moment. This is making me think that Bergevin has a trade brewing in the near future. Depth is great but I think he will be getting rid of a couple of these players in the next week or two. Maybe I’m just crazy.


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