Taking stock of fancy-skating P.J.

Recognize the guy behind the mask?

The NHL thinks Ron Francis was a better number 10 than Guy Lafleur (thanks, NightRyder).

• Pat Hickey talks to P.J. Stock about the Battle of the Blades: “You
get $25,000 for the charity of your choice just for participating and
$100,000 if you win,” Stock explained. “I talked it over with my wife
and we agreed it was a way to give something back. We’ve been fortunate
that our kids are healthy.”

Arpon Basu says the acquisition of Jeff Halpern may mean a lighter load for Tomas Plekanec. Arpon also suggests the likely forward lines this season.

And Mark C posts some interesting Jeff Halpern stats:

– Halpern had 47 blocked shots last season, which would have ranked him
3rd among Montreal forwards, behind only Pleks’ 63 and Moen’s 51 and 11
more blocked shots than Lapierre.

– Halpern averaged 2:24 of PK
time per game in Tampa last season, which would have ranked 2nd behind
only Pleks’ 2:44 among Montreal forwards.

– Halpern’s FO% of 51.6% would have lead Montreal.    

Shout-out to Watsatheo for this very loud Jeff Halpern compilation

b0eAZ1gGo-Q

TSN’s Fantasy projections. Highest Canadien is Scott Gomez at number 40.

Jean Charest promises Quebec will pay 45 per cent of the cost of a new Colisée. Yvon Pedneault approves.

Redesigned Capgeek. Canadiens have $778,273 to spend.

• James Mirtle Tweets: “I guess because I’m from B.C. originally I don’t quite understand the intense hatred for all things Leafs.” Maybe it’s because they invite thugs to training camp.

• SB Nation’s mock NHL expansion draft
Scott Gomez is picked third … by the Nordiques!  

 Stan Bowman gets a promotion.

479 Comments

  1. mike g says:

    Ron Francis…

    I remember him scoring many goals and being a very, very good player. But my biggest memory of him will always be this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRpLhv_odCs&feature=related

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

     

     

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  2. smiler2729 says:

    Swwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeet!

    I’ve always thought Jeff Halpern rocked and wished Montreal coulda got him, thanks Gauths!

  3. WarHero says:

    Since when does not having a defensemen under 6 feet mean you need size on defense?

    http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/roster.htm 

    ————————————————————————

    Never judge another man’s decision poor until you actually have proof of it failing!

  4. SmartDog says:

    Halpern’s goal scoring seems very opportunistic which I like.  That’s how our team plays, lots of small passes and movement. He seems to be good at picking up the puck and firing it quickly rather than carrying it and that’s what Gio does so well, what Gomez, Gio, Pleks etc. set up.

    I have to ask…I’ve never seen Simple Jack.  Can you explain that quote?  Is it a key/funny line in the movie?

     

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  5. Jordio-oh says:

    Halpern also average more hits per game last year than Gomez, Pleckanec and Metro.

    Now, that’s not saying a whole lot, but it fits well enough into what you’ve already provided.

  6. mike g says:

    He played for the Leafs, so his stats should always have an asterisk next to them.

     

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  7. Chuck says:

    In regards to the NHL “by the numbers” list, how do you keep any credibility by mentioning Felix Potvin as being “in the mix” when discussing the greatest player to have worn #29?

  8. habrez says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Jeff Halpern is the only current Hab who has ever been a captain in the NHL, with his hometown Capitals. So I like this signing.

    We are also turning into the Leafs with all these Americans (Max Pac, Gomez, Gionta, Gill, Halpern, plus all of our prospects). The only difference is we seem to get the more talented ones.

     

  9. SeriousFan09 says:

    No doubt Francis was a very good, consistent player over his career, but Lafleur set the record for quickest player to hit 1000 points (before Gretzky) and his career was only cut short by a knee injury and Jacques Lemaire starting the campaign to prevent hockey from being interesting.

    Lafleur could fill the back of the net with fluid ability and he made Steve Shutt a HOF player, Francis was good but Lafleur still has more career goals despite playing over 600 fewer games and just ruled the game when he played.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  10. andrewberkshire says:

    Only 3 players in NHL history have more points than Francis. He also had more longevity.

  11. Mark C says:

    Who would have been a better fit? I remember Johnson as a nice 3rd liner that helped Montreal during his one year here. I don’t like the +/- stat, but he was one of the few plus players on the 2006-07 Habs. He was also 5th in hits and 3rd in blocked shots among forwards and that’s counting Dandenault who I think played some D that season.

  12. volcano62 says:

    LOL I love it :)

    Go Habs Go!

  13. JD_ says:

    Ok, but what about the player when a goalie is challenged by the player’s faceoff and the winger isn’t covering the point when the D pinches after the goalie’s play? Seems to me there’s no possibility for the size factor to change that when the slot is covered by both players who come out of the faceoff and the puck isn’t back to the point. I think what should happen is that the wingers from both sides know that the faceoff isn’t going to be the goalie’s responsibilty so that a guy like Tardif isn’t backing up.

  14. mike g says:

    OK SmartDog, I’m gonna have fun with #5….

    Team name possibilities:

    - Les Quebecois de Quebec (because they’ll be composed of 23 French-Canadian players, due to the media’s obsession for this)

    - Le Pays de Quebec (their logo can be the outline of the Province, or as their name and thaughts point out, their new Country)

    - Les Faches du Quebec (cuz for some reason Quebequers are always aggressive and always complain about everything)

     

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

     I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  15. longtimehabsfan says:

    If longevity were the only criteria then I would agree with you.  Compare baseball history to this situation.  Why is it that Sandy Koufax is regarded as the best lefty of all time rather than Steve Carlton or Randy Johnson, both who lasted much longer than Koufax?  Because for a period of five to six years no pitcher dominated like Koufax.  The same can be said for Lafleur.  From 1974-75 to 1979-80 he was the best player in the game.  Ron Francis was never the best player in the game at any point in his career and certainly never came close to having 6 years like the ones Lafleur had.

  16. HabFanSince72 says:

    Underrated?

    Someone ranked him above the Flower.

     

  17. habfan53 says:

    Speaking of Leafs:

     

    I met a buddy today who was talking to a fairy. The fairy granted him a wish. . “I want to live forever,” He said.
    “Sorry,” said the fairy, “I’m not allowed to grant wishes like that.”
    “Fine,” He said,
    “I want to die when Toronto wins the Stanley cup.”
    “You crafty bastard!” said the fairy.

  18. nunacanadien says:

    Its his inability to fight or push back which is an issue.  Sure Halpern can on occasion give a dirty hit in the corners, but overall, he is a typical peace-loving hard working falling down vet in the Johnson model.  Remember Johnson?  Wasn’t he also around Halpern’s height, great two way player, but spent most of the game flat on his back, cause he just was not big enough or fat enough but just big enough to push down.

  19. nunacanadien says:

    I read on TSN where one poster in their comments site asks, why sign Halpern if we don’t have any Bulldogs to call up who could take over the RH centre position.  This is a good question.  When we really need size on defense, and most of all size up front, why sign an average-below-average passive player like Halpern?  Sure people harp about his two way play, but if your not a hitter then you’re a skater.  Great another peace loving tofu player joins the Tofu eating peace loving Habs.  Welcome to the United Nations Peace Program.

  20. Rugger says:

    I’d also take Maurice over Howe.

  21. Mark C says:

    I have no idea about what you’re trying to say, but Halpern year-in-year-out has always had great face-off numbers, so unless he starts to shrink, his size shouldn’t be an issue.

  22. longtimehabsfan says:

    Henri Richard was better than all of them.

  23. andrewberkshire says:

    Put Francis on the 70′s Canadiens and you’d probably have the same amount of cups. Easily the most underrated player of all time.

  24. mike g says:

    1- Too early to rate the move, but if it works out as planned he gets an A++. For 600k, Halpern can be a steal if he scores 15 goals, plays sound defensive hockey, and takes away some PK minutes from Pleks. Me likes the deal….

    2- I’m sure the team evaluated their prospects and came to the conclusion that maybe only 1 of them was ready to make the leap to the NHL. No need to rush a bunch of them and ruin careers. I have no problem signing vets to basically plug a hole for a year until the young ones are ready. Some people have no clue how fragile and important a good development is, and how it can ruin very good players if not done properly. I’m sure this was a calculated move.

    3- Um….wtv. Sounds like a cool guy sometimes, sounds like a weirdo other times.

    4- G-love…..hahaha.

    5- Les Poutines

     

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  25. nunacanadien says:

    If only he can keep up his FO%.  Size usually has a factor to play in the overall number of Faceoffs won.  In otherwords, if the other big team is pushing you around, chances are your Centre Hice fellow will not have great Faceoff stats.  We only need to look at one of our most excellent Faceoff fellows, Koivu as a gleaning example of how a player could not buzz around D-men just cause he is small.  No team unless you are a very skilled player can take advantage of small size vs big D-men.  In a way Halpern then if he wins, helps to remove one obstacle, that is the rush towards the Habs net and a sure floater going in on Price.

  26. punkster says:

    #16 Brett Hull over Bobby Clarke? Don’t get me wrong, I hated Clarke with a passion, and who didn’t, but he was the epitome of 70s hockey. I suppose this list depends on scoring stats so in that regard…

    Now #4, I gotta ask…where’s the love for Mike Pelyk? Nobody and I mean NOBODY could ice the puck with such assurance and authority as Mike Pelyk.

    FREE TIMO!

  27. SeriousFan09 says:

    And that’s a double.

  28. SeriousFan09 says:

    1. Silver, it does kind of cut off chances for advancement by the prospects unless injuries kick in and we’re all tired of hearing aobut those.

    2. They still have a chance to outplay Darche and knock him off the roster and it wouldn’t hurt Pacioretty to spend the year in the A after his up-and-down ride in the last couple years.

    3. About his getting sacked from CBC in the near future? Hoping for that.

    4. Gomez is getting underestimated by TSN and so is Pleks, only Pleks is getting grossly underestimated. With Gionta for the season and an active Pouliot or Eller, that can line can generate quite a bit.

    5. Quebec Xenophobe’s delight.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  29. Mark C says:

    Since it is another slow news day, how about a few more thoughts on Jeff Halpern:

    A lot of talk about how Halpern is replacing Metro or Moore, however I think Halpern replaces some of the best attributes of both players. Halpern replaces Metro’s RH shot and ability to score on the PP. Also, Halpern replaces Moore’s face-off %, defensive awareness, and ability to play on the PK. In essence Halpern is a Metro/Moore hybrid.  Now, Halpern isn’t a world beater, and at best he represents only a marginal upgrade over one of the Moore/Metro combo of last season. Halpern’s value to the team is found in his ability to fill so many roles due to how well rounded his game is. Add in his leadership, was captain of team USA in the 2008 World Championships, where he injured his knee.

    A lack of adding toughness and the loss of a roster spot for a young player are legit claims. However, looking at the projected bottom six, there is a lot of girt, and these lines will be hard to play against. As far as the rookies go, that situation will play itself out. There will be injuries, only 4 Montreal forwards played in 75 games or more. Also, players like White and Max-Pac won’t be hurt by additional time spend in the A.         

    A few fun facts:

    Halpren had 47 blocked shots last season, which would have ranked him 3rd among Montreal forwards, behind only Pleks’ 63 and Moen’s 51 and 11 more blocked shots than Lapierre.

    Halpern averaged 2:24 of PK time per game in Tampa last season, which would have ranked 2nd behind only Pleks’ 2:44 among Montreal forwards.

    Halpern’s FO% of 51.6% would have lead Montreal.     

  30. mike g says:

    Very excited….

    About the addition of Halpern. I’ve followed him a little throughout his career. I used to watch alot of Caps games back when Jagr went there, because as you all know Jaromir was the man for me.

    Anyways, very smart player overall. He may have lost a little speed, but a smart player will always adjust his game properly. One thing I always liked about him, and you can see this very well in the video, is that he has a thing for scoring late-game goals. Check it out in the video, and you’ll see how many of his goals come in the 3rd period. I’m not saying he’s clutch, but alot of his goals come from the dirty area infront of the net or in the goalers crease, often the result of a broken play or a rebound.

    Metro was good for us last year, but late in the season it looked like he got hit by a truck. I really think Jeff will replace him, and also take away some PK time from Pleks as some suggested.

    So for 600k…..shoot inside.

     

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  31. Puck Bard says:

    1. Tell you after the first 10 games

    2. Not a problem. Someone always gets injured.

    3. Not me.

    4. He’s not my pick. I’d take about 4-5 others first.

    5. Patriotes

  32. Sakus Evil Twin says:

    Re: Halpern: Probably mentioned below… but I would have preferred Guerin at $1M.

    Ran into PJ Stock at Fairview on Sunday… he’s a good guy who took some time to talk about his kids.

    No answers, just opinions. Bite me. Och.

  33. habfan53 says:

    How can you take the guy seriously when he thinks Denis Savard invented the spin-a rama.??

    As for the Francis / Lafleur number , would you rather fill the seats or win championships OHHH thats Lafleur on both counts.

  34. Rugger says:

    1. Silver maybe, good signing but not Gold.

    2. not at all, 1 player does not keep a handful down on the farm.  If they are ready, they will push their way on.

    3. who?

    4. neither, he’s not great, he’s very good.  I expect better this year because I expect fewer top 6 injuries.

    5. Pacifiers

  35. longtimehabsfan says:

    I would look at it as follows:  Guy Lafleur was clearly the best player on Cup teams that featured at least 10 Hall of Famers.  You cannot say the same about Ron Francis and the teams he played for.

  36. LA Loyalist says:

    It’s an apples and oranges comparison and thus ridiculous and not worthy of discussion.

    While Francis is a highly admirable player and anyone would want him, Lafleur was unique and should be honored as such.

    Here’s a bad analogy – what’s a better car? A Porsche 911 or a 7 Series BMW? They are two totally different things and no one would compare them that way.

     

    “To failing hands we’ve passed the torch.”

  37. SmartDog says:

    FIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT TODAYS POST:

    1. Arpon’s article makes a good case that the Halpern signing is a shrewd one in a couple of ways.  What do you think? Does PG get a gold star for this one?

    2. Doh!… but the Halpern signing has a down side. It also makes it very unlikely that a handful of hopeful prospects will make it out of Hamilton this year.  How big a problem is this?

    3. Does anyone really give a rat’s ass about PJ Stock?

    4. Scott Gomez our top fantasy pick?  Pulleeaaassseee. In MY fantasy, Scott Gomez still plays for the Rangers. But I digress….  But for those of you who believe in him more than I do (I think that’s most of you) is Gomez a case for “the numbers lie” (because his numbers don’t even approach greatness), or “the best is yet to come”?

    5. If Quebec has a hockey team and it’s NOT called the Nordiques, what would you call it?

    SD

     

    ———
    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  38. LA Loyalist says:

    Gomez at #40? That proves it’s a fantasy league.

     

    “To failing hands we’ve passed the torch.”

  39. since1988 says:

    have you seen Armstrong’s stats compared to Boyd’s? it’s real easy to put him down

  40. avatar_58 says:

    I withhold judgement of Halpern until I see the man play a few dozen games. I yelled at him for trading for Moore, boy was I wrong. Who knows right?

  41. derfab says:

    Francis was an excellent two-way centre who used his smarts to hang on for 4 or 5 years past his due date.

    Lafleur is one of the greatest wingers in nhl history who wouldn’t compromise and was forced out 4 or 5 years early.

    No real comparison.

  42. longtimehabsfan says:

    Ron Francis better than The Flower?  Only if you watched both of them play with your eyes closed.  Realistically, that list could have been dominated by Habs players. 

  43. derfab says:

    A discount upgrade from Metro who can win face-offs. Bad knees (?). Signing D’Arche looks even weirder now. Since the bottom six is busier with solid old vets, the young guys will be looking up past them.

  44. Storm Man says:

    Cough Cough….. Alberta has nothing if oil drops OMG your kidding. You need to do some reading about Calgary and how many head offices of companys are in this city. As for high tech please don’t be silly.

     

     

    The main ingredient in stardom is the rest of the team.

  45. HabFanSince72 says:

    All you’ve got is oil. If the price of crude drops back to $50/gallon you have nothing.

    No culture. No high tech. Nothing.

  46. B says:

    Have you compared the production of Armstrong/McArthur and A.Kostitsyn/Pouliot last season? No question that I like the Habs over the Leafs, but it seems a curious gloat to put down 2 of their potential top 6 forwards like that when one could raise the same point about the Habs.

  47. Chorske says:

    OMG. OMG. OMG. A team in Quebec.

    As soon as I found out, I got cable, so I can watch RDS, so I can watch those dudes lose their shizzzzzit every time the Nouveau Nordiques draft a non-francophone. Or speak english during practice. Or hire a non-francophone assistant water boy. Mostly, I can’t wait for them to stop focusing on Montréal, Monzisse de Ville de Blokes, and turn their jaundiced eyes on the Nords. Or Le National. Or whatever.

    I hear Yvan Ponton is being considered for the head coaching job.

  48. crabvader says:

    Got no problem with them.

    Let’s just say we’re better off with them than Toronto is with their two first line centers… Bozak and Grabovski lolllll.


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