Game on! Tentative deal reached to end lockout

The NHL lockout finally came to an end in the early morning hours Sunday in a New York City hotel ballroom following a marathon 16-hour negotiating session.

After six long months of negotiations, a tentative deal was reached at 5 a.m. to end the 113-day lockout. Training camps are slated to open this week and there will be either a 50 or 48-game season that will begin as early as Jan. 15 and as late as Jan. 19.

Before the new CBA officially comes into effect, it must be ratified by a majority of both the league’s 30 owners and the union’s membership.

“We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told a news conference. “We’ve got to dot a lot of i’s and cross a lot of t’s. There’s still a lot of work to be done but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon.”

Said Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players’ Association: “Hopefully within a very few days the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, not the two of us.”

Neither side announced any details of the deal, but The Canadian Press reported that according to a source it’s a 10-year agreement with an opt-out option after eight years. It also includes defined benefit pensions for the players as well as a $64.3-million salary cap in 2013-14.

The pro-rated salary cap for this season will be $70.2 million and the Canadiens have 23 players under contract for a total cap hit of $63.9 million.

Reported Bruce Arthur of Postmedia News: “The particulars look like this: It’s a 10-year deal with an opt-out for either side after eight, so it guarantees labour peace until at least 2020. The two sides will split revenue 50-50, with US$300-million in make-whole money to cover contracts already signed. The players have strengthened their pensions, which are defined benefit plans with the majority of responsibility placed on the NHL. Pensions became the signature issue of the talks, and were agreed to in the early hours of the morning. Players said the settlement issue truly gave the talks some real momentum, and at that point they realized there might be a deal that night.”

Arthur also reported that the NHL “will see term limits on player contracts for the first time, with players limited to seven-year deal if they sign with another team, and eight years with their own team. There will be two compliance buyouts per team, which will spur some serious player movement.”

Arthur added: “Teams can spend up to US$70.2-million this year, and the cap in 2013-14 will be US$64.3-million, which is closer to what the players wanted to begin the day than what the owners wanted. The floor, both years, will be US$44-million. The cap is also guaranteed not to fall below US$64.3-million in subsequent years. Contract variance from year-to-year will be limited to 35%, and can never drop below 50% of the highest year of any deal, which puts contracts in a box.”

Arthur added there are a number of issues which still need to be agreed to, including the Olympics, though NHL participation seems likely.

Read more by clicking here.

Read Arthur’s column by clicking here.

Now the nearly 200 NHLers who had been playing in Europe during the lockout will be heading back home and will have a big advantage after playing games for the last three months. Read more by clicking here.

Here is some of the reaction from Canadiens players on Twitter:

Colby Armstrong (@armdog): “Thanks to fans for hanging in there. Exciting time for all you fans. The best game in the world is back. Go Habs Go!!! Hell ya!! Love it.”

Brandon Prust (@BrandonPrust8): “Is anybody ready for some hockey? Man this is gonna be good”

Josh Gorges (@jgorges26): “Today is a good day!!! I just want to say thanks to all the fans who have supported us thru this and been waiting patiently… You guys are the best!!”

Max Pacioretty (@MaxPacioretty67): “Great day and great start to the new year. Hoping for a great season now for our team”

Owner Geoff Molson (@GMolsonCHC): “On joue au hockey! Let’s play hockey!”

 From former Hab Hal Gill (@Skillsy75): “48-50 game season? That means the fans who do come back are in for a treat!”

From former Hab Sheldon Souray (@SSouray): “Ahhhh, the sun FINALLY came out for real this morning!!”

From CBC’s Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerCBC): “For all you people that are going to watch NHL hockey this year, make no mistake about it, you’re watching it because of Gary Bettman… Bettman was the guy that had to pull the trigger whether this was done or not. He saved the season.”

From player agent Allan Walsh (@walsha): “On behalf of my clients and all NHL players, THANK YOU DON FEHR. You did an fantastic job and the players appreciate all your efforts.”

From country-music superstar Carrie Underwood (@CarrieUnderwood), who is married to the Predators’ Mike Fisher: “Well, folks, hockey is back! Very bittersweet…I just lost my purse holder but gained cheering on my hot husband as he kicks butt!”

And from former Canadien Chris Nilan (@KnucklesNilan 30): First game in every NHL city should be a freebie for the fans

You can follow Twitter updates from The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs by clicking here.

The Canadiens posted a Game On! video on their website. Check it out by clicking here.

TSN will air a Game On Special tonight at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET.

(Photo by Phil Carpenter/The Gazette)


  1. HabsSwag says:

    thank god hockey is back!!!

    go Habs go

  2. Don Carnage says:

    2 buyouts my bets are on Gomez < ok we all had that one and Bourque if he continues on the same path he is on since he got here.

  3. HabFanSince72 says:

    Does anyone know the exact terms of the draft lottery (because let’s face it that is where we are headed)?

    What I do know is that top spot will be open to all teams that missed the playoffs, based on a weighted system.

    However, will the remaining spots go in reverse order? If so it means you can move up but can only move down one spot.

    In the NBA the top three spots are determined by lottery.

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • commandant says:

      From what I understand everything is exactly the same as before only there is no limit on how many spots the lottery winner can move up.

      So you can only fall one spot, but any of the 14 teams could win first overall.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  4. Ncognito says:

    Not sure if this has been discussed before…
    Are there any rules in place preventing teams from signing players to consecutive contracts at one time to get around the 35% max from one year to the next and 50% from 1st year to last year, or to get around the 8 yr max contract
    For instance – can a team sign a player next week to 4 consecutive 3 year contracts?

  5. Montreal1993 says:

    The draft lottery selection process will change with all 14 teams fully eligible for the first overall pick. The weighting system for each team may remain, but four-spot move restriction will be eliminated. I guess tanking has a zero guarantee for a first overall pick

  6. BJ says:

    I don’t want to start this off on a negative note but (but always negates the first part of the phrase) what do the majority prefer here. Finish near the bottom as we did last year and try and draft a blue chip junior, or make the playoffs and in all likely hood not go past 1-2 rounds. My choice as this is sort of a really watered down season is to finish at the bottom. Build up assets and give it a chance a few years down the line.

    • doug19 says:

      I cannot see the team doing well this season unless “no injuries and everyone gets hot at the same time including Gomez. A “miracle” is required!

  7. commandant says:

    The article I promised yesterday… Is it panic time for Hockey Canada?

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  8. Say Ash says:

    I will miss reading the articles about Gomez’s game-winning goals, and such. Sigh. Maybe next lockout…

  9. Timo says:

    So, provided Bergevin actually does something useful for a change and signs Subban, what is the rest of our stellar D corps will look like?

    We’ll be treated to the greatness of Kaberle, Boullion, Diaz, Weber, Markov and his knee, Gorges… that D is stocked, I tell ya. Stocked!

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      They key is the condition of Markov and Kaberle. If Markov is 75% of what he used to be I’ll be happy. If he’s back to his old self I’d be ecstatic.

      And Kaberle, if he’s in shape, focused and ready to play the defense could be in decent shape.

      Subban and Gorges are money. Hopefully Emelin is able to improve on his defensive zone play from last season, I think he will.

      I guess we’ll see a rotating door between Diaz, Bouillon and maybe Weber. There is an outside chance of Tinordi getting a shot. He was weak at the start of the AHL season but he’s looked completely different the past six weeks and is rock solid now.

    • BJ says:

      Its a positive Timo, we can get a top three pick again.

    • Fake says:

      I’m most excited to see Bergevin use the 2nd buyout clause on either Kabs, Bourque or even Markov.

  10. Hobie Hansen says:

    The only bummer about the deal is the fact that the buyout doesn’t take place until after the season. I guess there isn’t an entire crop of UFAs waiting to be signed at the moment if we dumped Gomez and someone else?

    I think we should still be able to bring in a quality UFA next summer after signing Subban this week and buying out $10 or so million dollars worth of waste at the conclusion of the season? Even with the cap dropping to $64 mill.

  11. joeybarrie says:

    So let the buy-out speculation begin….
    So if we can only buy out his contract after this season, why would we bother to buy Gomez out then?
    Im sure there is some team that could use the salary to get to the cap floor, and get a veteran player for 4.5 million.
    Same with Kaberle.
    I guess it depends on what the rules of this buy-out are.

  12. HabinBurlington says:

    Is there a hidden agenda behind Don Cherry’s Tweet where he says Bettman saved the season. Is he trying to polish the relationship between CBC and Bettman in order to help in winning the next National Telecast Rights? Just seems kind of bizarre to see Cherry going out of his way to Praise Bettman.

  13. EastCoastHab says:

    Just got back from the jungles of Bora Bora for the last 4 months. Did I miss anything?
    Gomez in the lead for scoring? Thought so….

  14. HabinBurlington says:

    Okay when is the Summit? Perhaps a late spring trip to Montreal is in our future!

  15. frontenac1 says:

    VE Day! (Very Excited Day) . Just off to meet the lads for our weekly Sunday service at the Saloon.(Church of the NFL).With Hockey coming back it should be a corker today amigos! Full report to follow.Go Habs Go! Los Habs Para Siempre!

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Okay it must be back, when i tried opening HI/O just now I received Forbidden! Almost felt like a normal hockey day when I got that! 🙂

  17. durocher says:

    According to TSN: “Each team will be allowed two amnesty buyouts that can be used to terminate contracts after this season and next season. The buyouts will count against the players’ overall share in revenues, but not the team’s salary cap.”

    Bye bye Gomez and Kaberle!

  18. likehoy says:

    random musings:

    1) when Lecavalier gets bought out, would you sign him to a reasonable 2-3 year deal at 5-10 million total?
    upside.. he’s a veteran leader and has won a stanley cup and the french love him.. downside.. we might expect too much.

    2) Danny Kristo, is he going to sign or what?! he’s in his last year of College Hockey and if he doesn’t sign, he’s a UFA like Schultz was, but not nearly as hyped.

    3) why do the bulldogs suck? is it the players or Lefebvre?

    • HabFab says:

      Not in order but;
      – Kristo can’t sign until after he graduates.
      – The Bulldogs will be better once the 50-60 NHLers leave the AHL.
      – As mentioned we will be in tight against the Cap next season, so don’t see Vinny in our future.

      • likehoy says:

        is that a weird rule for college hockey players in their last year of eligibility that they can’t sign till graduation?

        cause other college players can sign at any point…

        • HabFab says:

          Sorry but will clarify. He can sign anytime but has to drop out or is kicked out of school immediately. He has already committed to his school team to play out this season (his last).

          • likehoy says:

            oh ya, exactly.. but if he doesn’t sign after he graduates, he just has to wait till July 1st and can sign for anyone.

            hate to lose a prospect like that…

          • HabFab says:

            His date would be August 16th but yeah.

    • commandant says:

      Young AHL teams don’t typically win.

      Compare the Marlies (11 contributing core players 25 years old or older) with the Bulldogs (2 contributing core players 25 years old or older) and you see exactly why one team is in first and one team is in last.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • 24 Cups says:

      It would take a lot of courage on Tampa’s part to buy out Vinny. He is overpaid and may even be over the hill but he is well respected and loved in Tampa. I think the team has to find a way to live with two superstar salaries for the next half dozen years. Vinny can still be a top notch 2nd line centre as long as he stays healthy.

  19. Bozo McBozo says:

    God, please spare us Scott Gomez! Bergevin, send him to the E where he belongs!

  20. chanchilla says:

    one can only pray this means the end of the fantasy game threads.

    • durocher says:

      Hear, hear! The fantasy games were futile and pointless

      • HabinBurlington says:

        There should be at least one final thread where we find out who won the Fantasy Cup and if indeed Gomez won the Conn Smythe!

        • HabFab says:

          According to a tweet from Stubbs earlier, Hickey has told him how it finishes and we will all be surprised when we are told. Isn’t that exciting and can hardly wait to be informed that our 25th Cup doesn’t count in the real world 😉

          • Chuck says:

            Nah… it’s the Laffs first cup win since 1967. And of course, it doesn’t count. 🙂
            Being a Hab fan is like buying real estate: only over the long-haul will you appreciate the true value of your investment.

          • HabFab says:

            Now that makes me all warm and fuzzy!

  21. HabFab says:

    TSNBobMcKenzie – No question target is 50-game, not 48-game, season. Speculation is it would be 5 games vs 4 division rivals and 3 games vs 10 Conf rivals.

    • Timo says:

      So everybody is back on the wagon?
      I am for one not too thrilled the lockout is over. It’s a shame these bums (players) will continue to collect paychecks. Ah well… Can’t wait to see Markov and his knee.

  22. Chuck says:

    It would be cool if a team was able to trade a buyout. 🙂

    Being a Hab fan is like buying real estate: only over the long-haul will you appreciate the true value of your investment.

  23. HabFab says:

    A bonus for HIO is that Boone will soon be back doing Game Blogs and About Last Night….

  24. aj says:

    So, how many games does a team need to win to get into post-season after 48?

  25. HabInToronto says:

    Hockey’s Back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yeeeeeeah booooooooooiiiii

  26. Fake says:

    Man oh man people are so dramatic on this site. “I won’t be excited till…” – No one cares about you. And as for Subban being signed – He will be, not even worth a comment tbh. As for certain players here’s my unimportant take on them

    – Collberg heading back to Frolunda in SEL instead of Alleskvan;
    I hope he’d either get ice time in the SEL (which he won’t) or go to the CHL instead. The most likely route is that he’ll finish his last year in Frolunda then head over to Hamilton next year.

    – Galchenyuk heading back to Sarnia in the OHL, he will get 9 games with the Habs to prove himself worthy of a spot on the roster. If he does good, fine if not , also fine as it would be good for him to finish the year in Sarnia. Btw, if he continues at 2ppg pace he will finish the season with 61GP(/68 possible but missing approx 7 due to WJC) 117pts.

    Oh yeah and you guys can put your money on Eller having around 40 points this year.

    • Chris says:

      It is too early to say if Collberg is going to get ice time. Frolunda are being very patient with him, and I’m perfectly on-board with that strategy.

      Collberg has great speed and skill, but his strength is going to be a major concern. He needs to be eased into professional hockey and work on his physical strength and stamina if he’s going to avoid injuries. He’s a guy who will actually go into high-traffic areas with the puck, but he could get creamed doing it.

      It is interesting to see that the Frolunda site have him listed at 5’11” and 182 pounds. At the NHL draft, he was listed at 5’11” and 176 pounds, so it is good to see that he’s already adding a little bit of weight. If he can stabilize at 185-190 pounds, he should have enough strength to be effective at the NHL level.

      • Fake says:

        I wouldn’t really call it patient, I think they are completely misusing him, now given me and other fans don’t know whether the coaching staff have tried giving him more TOI or not. From what me and others can see, he isn’t even getting a chance, sitting out as the 13th forward some nights.

        • Chris says:

          In European hockey, they put a lot more emphasis on practice than North American hockey, where we put the emphasis on games and scrimmages. By having him with the big team, he practices with the big team and gets the same resources to work with as the professionals, unlike most of his similarly aged peers.

          Despite this, Collberg has still played as much or more hockey than just about any other top prospect in the world when you factor in all his national team duties. I’m not worried about his development at all.

  27. accp says:

    wrong people running the NHL – this will keep occurring til the right people come on-board …..

  28. NLhabsfan says:

    Just happy they are back.Mostly happy with the length of the deal.Maybe hold off any more work stoppages in 8 years

  29. youngwun says:

    So the main question now that hockey is back is will Alex Galchenyuk be with the Habs come opening night!

    • twilighthours says:

      I say yes. Have you seen this roster? It’s not so hot.

    • aj says:

      Its too early for Galy to play for the Habs. He might get some games. But he will have to hone his game in Hamilton. However, If all goes well this shortened season, he might end up in the 3rd line along with Armstrong and Leblanc. Eller will probably be moved to the 2nd line, depending if Pleky will produce.

      He might go to the 4th line as a starter or a 13th forward. As a top-sixer? Unlikely.

  30. JohnBellyful says:

    So the league is giving the players $300 million “in make-whole money to cover contracts already signed.”
    What about make-nice money for the fans whose allegiance to the sport outstrips any deal every signed by a player? I’d take it, even if it is insincere.

  31. twilighthours says:

    Now that people are posting line combos and first call-ups, it seems inevitable that this team will once again really suck. I’ll have to check with HH to see when the official Tank date is.

  32. Sportfan says:

    Well I am glad hockey is back and I am excited to see our habs play BUT it’ll take time to fully accept the NHL again, with half a season gone I had the NFL to keep me company and the Jays making great moves to keep baseball exciting the NHL will have to blow us away for it to be the same down the road lets wait and see i suppose.

    • Sportfan says:

      Also I am not sure if I am whiling to spend money on the Habs this year or tickets, I will be spending 15 dollars to see the Bulldogs and wear my old habs gear but right now I’m getting a new passport seeing my friend in Michigan and going to Wrigley thats where my money is going and a few Jays games

  33. Bripro says:

    I got up this morning with the Same gloomy perspective with no hockey in sight, when my son, the Bs fan, stormed out of his room with iPad in hand announcing the deal. For a fleeting moment, I set my convictions aside and got all excited at the prospect of watching hockey again.
    So what happened to my resolution to blow off hockey this year?
    One thing is for certain, I won’t be spending one dime on anything NHL for the foreseeable future.
    But I’m still excited.

  34. PrimeTime says:

    Back in October i posted that i was at a golf tournament playing with a lady who was the sister in law of an executive with the Senators. She said that Melnik had told the exec that the league would resume Jan 15. Take it for what it’s worth but there is much more that goes on behind the scenes than we learn from the media.

  35. jabber39 says:

    Good for them they got a deal done…I just can’t see myself caring about the league…maybe after ii see highlights and stuff who knows…I better not read or hear anything about “Thank you fans” or “Best fans in the world” the best thing the league or owners can do is not even mention us…Geoff Molson wrote a letter thanking us for our patience and understanding and it pissed me right off…like a slap in the face…people need to stay away from the arenas and boycott…make them suffer the greedy bastards…

    Knowing is Half the Battle…

  36. commandant says:

    Given the year 2 cap is at 64.3 million, and Habs are gonna be at about 53 million with about 7 guys to sign (assuming Gomez is bought out). I’m not 100% convinced we use our 2nd buyout.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Chris says:

      I think they will use it on Rene Bourque if he doesn’t pick up his game this season just because the negative influence he can have on the team and the fan base.

      I wouldn’t want to be a player with a reputation of floating and not caring coming out of this lockout, as the fans are going to have a VERY short temper for the next couple of years. With Kostitsyn gone, Bourque and Gomez are going to have huge targets on them for the boo-birds this season if they don’t show passion due to the size of their salaries.

    • HabFab says:

      Have to see what PK costs us to determine that.

    • K-hab25 says:

      I hope we use it on Bourque, the length left on his contract is scary. He’s 32 or 33 and definitely on the downside of his career. I’d hate for his contract to get in the way 2 years from now, when I hope we’re legit contenders. That 3.3 mill could get us a big defensive d or a second line winger that actually tries.

    • Bripro says:

      Question, Ben.
      Do you agree that the Habs will save some money by not having signed PK prior to these negotiations? With a limited salary variance, I think Don Meehan would have been wise to agree to the Habs last offer.
      Or does it not apply to the current RFAs and UFAs?

      • Chris says:

        I don’t think Subban was asking for or offered a long enough term deal for the variance issue to rear its ugly head.

        If anything, Subban’s deal would have seen his salary escalate from year to year, but I think they were looking for a 4-5 year deal that would take him through to UFA status when he could cash in big.

  37. HabFab says:

    Heads up to the dreamers, you must remember the Canadiens already have 22 guys signed to one way NHL contracts including Nokie on IR.
    And then there is PK to sign.

    Dave_Stubbs – Only Petteri Nokelainen remains in official care of #Habs medical staff

    • 24 Cups says:

      If that’s true and he can’t start the season then the Habs might just have to sign a low end, 4th line checking UFA centre. I wonder who’s left?

      • HabFab says:

        They still have 12 F and Weber, plus allows the kids a look see.

      • Chris says:

        The Habs have a lot of guys who can play centre: Desharnais, Plekaenec, Eller, Gomez, White, Leblanc.

        I’m a little surprised he was re-signed if his upper-body injury is as serious as this. He’s now been rehabbing his “upper body injury: since April 2012….that is nine months. I can’t remember his injury, but I’m guessing it was some sort of shoulder injury, as that is the only thing I can think of (other than a concussion) that would see him still being treated so long after the fact.

        • HabFab says:

          Once I heard, about a month or so back, of his condition begin to wonder if he was signed to minimum NHL salary in lieu of Insurance pay outs. Realize most believe that Insurance covers all, but the deductible for something like that must be a million at least.

        • 24 Cups says:

          True, but I figure Eller is destined for the wing if Gomez returns. As for White and Leblanc they can play centre but not at a NHL level. If those guys are your 4th line centres then you’re not making the playoffs.

          • Chris says:

            What, you think we’re making the playoffs with Desharnais and Plekanec as our top two centres? 🙂

            The 4th line centre is a heck of a lot less important than the top two. And our top two are mediocre.

            The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup using 27 year old Colin Fraser as their fourth line centre, playing for his third team in three seasons. The New Jersey Devils lost to those Kings using essentially three centres, after using a platoon of 29 year old Ryan Carter (on his 4th team in two seasons) and 21 year old Jacob Josefson to get them into the playoffs.

            The teams that lost in the semifinals were the New York Rangers (who ran with 27 year old John Mitchell at the end of the season and in the playoffs) and the Phoenix Coyotes (who ran with 36 year old Daymond Langkow).

            The best fourth line centre of that list belonged to Phoenix…the other guys are all journeymen who really aren’t that much different than a guy like White or Leblanc. I think it is a waste of Leblanc’s potential to put him there, but he can do it for a short time if necessary. White is a better choice, in my opinion…he had a strong reputation coming out of the WHL for defensive prowess and faceoffs, having routinely been ranked one of the best faceoff and defensive centers in the WHL throughout his career there in polls of coaches, GMs and fellow players. I would be curious to see what he could do at his natural position in a role that befits his talents: White is a decent skater, a hard worker and responsible defensively. He likes to play physically, and he’s got decent size (6’0″ and 200 pounds). That is essentially the prototype of a fourth-line centre.

  38. RetroMikey says:

    Seems there are many fans on this site who only care about the graving sucking NHL league than hockey, as a whole whether it be the AHL, ECHL, the junior leagues, etc.
    I, for one will not support the NHL, too many greedy corporate bigwigs running the show, too many greedy players worried about themselves than the fans, too many fans who think even if they came back in March after a tentative deal, they would still support hockey.
    I’ll be content in reading many comments on these fans here who think the league is back to respectability and that our once mighty Monreal Canadiens are back in business to win a 25th Cup again, NOT!!!! Tsk, tsk!
    There’s a sucker born every minute and it’s those suckers who are elated that NHL hockey is back!
    Enjoy the season to those Red Bull Generation fans who are happy with big smiles on their faces the lockout has ended, hockey will never be the same again to me and others who had a passion for the game and to the team in the good old pre-1994 retro days.
    I’ll be enjoying this site observing everyone’s comments whine and complain on this site when our team does nothing for seasons to come but fill up the Bell Centre with mighty dollars in Eric Molson’s pocket and to the players fat wallets as well.
    So Go Habs Go for their quest in a 25th Cup, in 2020 when the next CBA expires.
    Don;t say I warned you all! lol!
    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  39. boing007 says:

    Any pension money going to players of season’s past?

    Richard R
    Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  40. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    what a waste of time this lockout was, the game is/was never about the players, they come and go, even the greatest ones..

    the game to me has always been about the team, the sweater..that said they could have rounded up good ‘off the street’ players and i would have enjoyed watching the game.

    anyway, we are beyond that now…and Therrien I believe will be true to the NAG effect.. because if we don’t adhere to the 80-20 ratio i penned then we are looking at the basement, again.

    from the recent moves, i think management understands the NAG effect.


    The N.A.G. effect remains the only path to success…

    • Chris says:


      A bunch of my buddies and I could throw on Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins jerseys and rent the ice at the Molson Centre. I guantee you that nobody, not even our own friends, family and loved ones, would pay a dime to see that spectacle for the jerseys.

      You can go out and watch pick-up hockey on any local rink. You could go and watch hockey at any level from Mini-Mite up to Midget AAA or Junior A. You could even call those teams the Canadiens, Bruins, Canucks and Maple Leafs. And the fans will, by and large, not show up in appreciable numbers, and the rinks would be nearly empty if people were asked to pay.

      I’ve always thought this “we watch the jersey, not the player” line of reasoning is garbage because there is a mountain of proof that demonstrates otherwise.

      • K-hab25 says:

        If you and your buddies actually played for the “real” Habs and Bruins, yes I would watch. Why is it so hard to understand that some of us watch because of our love of the team, not the players. I watched every game last year and our players sucked. Watching great players play is nice, but if they’re not wearing the right jersey I don’t have any feelings involved. Isn’t that what we watch sports for, the emotional swings you go through following the teams you love. Of course you prefer to watch the best players, but they’re meaningless with out the sweater.

        • ed lopaz says:

          totally agree with K-habs 25.

          meaningless without the sweater, without the tradition, without the entire “show” that brings them to the arena or into my living room.

        • Chris says:

          I don’t question your loyalty to the Montreal Canadiens. I question your loyalty to NHL hockey if the calibre of the hockey was AHL or even junior hockey calibre.

          The sweater is meaningless without the players inside of it. Be honest…how many of the people that make these claims about being fans of the TEAM only own Montreal Canadiens jerseys personalized with their favourite players of today (Price, Subban, Plekanec, Gorges, Markov, etc.) or of yesteryear (Roy, Richard, Beliveau, Morenz, etc.).

          We don’t spend our time talking about the various incarnations of the Montreal Canadiens jersey. We spend our time talking about the tradition of the great players that wore that jersey and gave it such a powerful symbolism.

          Montreal had a number of hockey teams at the start of the NHL. The Canadiens won out not because of the power of their jersey, but because of the power of their players. Were it not for Newsy Lalonde, Joe Malone, Georges Hainesworth, Georges Vezina and most of all Howie Morenz and Aurele Joliat, the Montreal Maroons could easily have been the team that was kept instead of the Montreal Canadiens.

          And why did the Maroons suffer in relation to the Canadiens? Because the PLAYERS on the Canadiens were generally chosen to represent the francophone population of the city and the province.

          The Montreal Canadiens were actually in danger of folding themselves just before World War II, but Conn Smythe was instrumental in saving the franchise. And the revival of the franchise was centered around one thing: yet another player, this time Maurice Richard, who captivated the French population who had largely turned their back on the team during the 1930’s.

          Then you have the subsequent history where the team’s fanatical fan base was built up on the backs of illustrious Hall of Fame players.

          Most of us outside of Montreal would not be Montreal Canadiens fans were it not for the tremendous pool of players that they featured. So while I concede that I remain a Montreal Canadiens fan through thick and thin because they won a Stanley Cup right when I was forming my attachment to hockey (1986), the new kids cheering for the team come because of an attachment to players.

          How many new fans became Montreal Canadiens fans because of Carey Price after his World Junior heroics?

          How many kids in Quebec now cheer for Pittsburgh because of Sidney Crosby? Or Washington, because of Alexander Ovechkin? Or Tampa Bay, because of Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos. The answer is lots of them.

          I came to hockey honestly…my father was not a hockey fan, so I formed my own allegiances without brainwashing by my parents (something I actually find a little disdainful). My oldest brother was an Oilers fan because of Mark Messier, I chose the Montreal Canadiens because of Mats Naslund and my other brother never really got into hockey until Mike Peca captivated his attention (and I will never understand that).

          For many of us, especially the kids of immigrants, it is the PLAYERS that bring us to a team and then we form an allegiance.

      • wjc says:

        Chris: You are partially right.

        You/fans cheer for the team. You personally cheer for the Montreal Canadiens. Of course the players have to have talent to play in the NHL.

        So when a favorite player is traded from Montreal Canadiens you/fans may follow that player, but still cheer for the Montreal Canadiens.

        The hockey team is the product you cheer for. The individual players who wear that sweater are also part of the product. When a player is lost to another team, free agency, trade etc. you do not usually change teams. You/fans remain loyal to the sweater, to the Montreal Canadiens.

        When a team, lets say Bruins come to the Bell center you cheer for the Canadiens. If a valuable player is missing to injury, you still come if you are able to and cheer for the Montreal Canadiens. Some would wear the sweater of the team they cheer for with different names on the back, but the Canadiens logo on the front.

        So as time moves on and players move on, fans stick with the same team. Some fans have been cheering the same team for over 60 years. Once you have chosen a team, you usually stick with that team through losing and winning.

        A bunch of nobodies could not put the sweater on and play because it would be terrible to watch. So it is up to management to put the best players available to them into the sweater that people identify with.


        • HabsSwag says:

          this is a stupid question. but what if someone changes lots of times teams like me? and then that person finally decides to stay with a team after a wile is he consider as a real fan then?
          and please dont kill me lol. just asking a question.

          go Habs go

    • punkster says:

      HP…dude…welcome back!!!

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  41. cheezboie says:

    Starting the year without Gauthier, Martin, AK46. Ability to buyout Gomez & Kaberle/Bourque at the end of the year. What’s not to like?

    Pacioretty – Desharnais – Cole
    Bourque – Plekanec – Gionta
    Moen – Eller – Armstrong
    Prust – White – Blunden

    Markov Emelin
    Gorges Subban
    Bouillon Diaz
    Kaberle Weber


  42. commandant says:

    With the lockout over, Collberg has been recalled to Frolunda in the Elite league instead of Allvenskan with Orebro.

    Hopefully they can get him the proper ice time.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Chris says:

      The only forwards affected by the end of the lockout on Frolunda’s roster were Matt Duchene (C) and Viktor Stalberg (LW), and Stalberg hasn’t played for them for quite a while.

      I think this is more a case of the team hoping that Collberg gained more confidence after his demotion and his duties with the Swedish national team.

  43. Ian Cobb says:

    One thing is for sure! by the time of the next agreement, there will be no sight of Bettman and Fehr in the picture!!

    • stevieray says:

      How true my friend . …it’s been so long that I almost forgot my password. Along with myu best friend ( Leaf fan ) we attended a dandy Jr game last nite .TruroBearcats and the Woodstock Slammers. End to end action …solid hits ..great goaltending… also between periods a team of wee Timbits entertained ,,,Great evening and helped put things in perpective …
      Glad to see things settled ….I think ??…certainly the fans were the ones to suffer again

  44. HabFanSince72 says:

    I like the new draft lottery rules. They will hopefully prevent the shameful spectacle of the Edmonton Oilers these past couple of years, losing on purpose to rebuild their team.

    I would have added that you can’t have a top three pick two year running.

    I don’t like the greater amount of revenue sharing, which will only hurt the Habs.

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • wjc says:

      Habfansince72, just curious, how does revenue sharing hurt the habs?

      You can have all the top draft picks you want, but with the cap, you will not be able to afford them eventually.

  45. JayK-47 says:

    How long do we have? My liver is in NO shape for hockey right now.

  46. Chris says:

    Well, with an agreement in place, here’s my two cents on the next couple of weeks:

    Scott Gomez

    He will NOT be bought out until the summer. They are going to go with a very condensed training camp and try to hit the ground running. Gomez is here until the end of the year, and the team is going to PRAY that he can do something under a different coach as he might actually carry value for teams that now have to hit the cap floor without bonus money. Scott Gomez will not be in Montreal for 2013-14, but they’ll see if they can get even a late round draft pick for him before they use the buyout option.

    Young players at training camp

    Let’s be honest…don’t expect to see many. With such an abbreviated training camp, the emphasis will be on getting the established players re-familiarized with one another. This will not be a year for tryouts.

    The Canadiens are relatively “deep” at forward, with few spots available. Pacioretty, Desharnais, Cole, Bourque, Plekanec, Gionta, Eller, Moen, Prust, and Gomez are all pretty much locks. That leaves two forward positions for the likes of Nokelainen, Armstrong, White and Leblanc. I really don’t see them bringing anybody except for Galchenyuk and Leblanc to camp this week.

    The logjam on defence is even deeper: Markov, Subban, Emelin, Kaberle, Gorges, Diaz, Bouillon and Weber give them 8 guys for 7 jobs, and 6 of those 8 guys are veterans or (Subban) guys who the team is counting on.

    The team simply doesn’t need any competitions this year, and the emphasis needs to be on getting everybody on the same page playing Michel Therrien’s style of hockey.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Noke, Armstrong and White are pretty well locks. The Habs can go with 14 forwards and add Leblanc or just add the loser of the battle for the 7th spot on D (Diaz/Weber) and go with a swingman. Those are the only roster decisions that need to be made in the next two weeks.

      I think it’s safe to say that some guys are going to get imjued in the early going. That will eat up one spot and then the team is into Hamilton call-ups which won’t be pretty. I wonder if Darche will eventually accept a two-way deal with a high end Hamilton pay cheque of around 100 grand. His career options are pretty desperate right now (outside of a spot in Europe to replace a scab player who is returning to NA))

      • Chris says:

        I think that Armstrong is a lock as well, although I’m not as confident with Ryan White. This will be a make or break year for a player who wasn’t himself last season coming back from injury. He’s got to show something or he will be out of the team’s long-term plans.

        Nokelainen is pure insurance. He will be a 13th or 14th forward that can play spot duty when needed. He knows his role, doesn’t mind sitting in the press-box and is a veteran that doesn’t need to have his development nurtured.

        Leblanc is probably the big loser…I think he stays with Hamilton for the year, which sucks for him because there is so little talent in Hamilton for him to learn with.

        • habstrinifan says:

          I agree re White. Make or break year. I think his injuries have affected his career/ability big time.

        • 24 Cups says:

          If it’s not White then the job will probably go to Blunden. I mean who else does the team have for that type of role? Lots of people are penciling in White as the 4th centre but I’m not so sure that’s going to happen. There’s also the Therrien factor in all of this conjecture.

          Leblanc? High ankle sprains take a long time to truly heal. I feel sorry for the guy. The team has open spots yet he can’t even vie for a position.

    • HabFab says:

      Right on as per usual (discarding the CBA stuff) 🙂
      Early reports have no buy outs until season is over as the players bought out would have limited opportunity to find employment elsewhere in the NHL (*for the haters)

      • Chris says:

        That was my understanding going into the process…the added havoc of buyouts now would be chaos.

        But even if there were, I just couldn’t see Bergevin cutting loose a veteran like Gomez now. New coach, new GM, new style of play…so many new things, I think they have to see what they’ve got before they start turfing people. And if those players that have very little value (Bourque and Gomez, for starters) can actually play well, suddenly the Habs have a bit more leverage.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Chris, your posts allow me to not think for myself.. but may make a little too much sense for HIO…

      Give me a little DD is too small, Price has a weak glove, Markov’s knees are jello.. something…

    • Harditya says:

      You’re right, we probably won’t see any young players with the big club until next year. Good to see all the posters talking about the team again instead of the lockout. A very good day.

  47. Price07 says:

    Thank god, we don’t have to read anymore posts about fantasy habs games which include Darche (who isn’t even on the team)

  48. Carta-Hab says:

    As infuriating as this whole mess has been, I have excited to be able to watch our Team play again. Impossible to truly destroy the hockey fan in me, and the NHL is the pinnacle of organized hockey. Can’t wait for the puck to drop and see what this season has in store.

    On a side note, what I am very thankful for in a season being played, is that the Habs won’t be subjected to a possible draft lottery. So, if they make the playoffs, awesome! If not, at least they will be in the running for a high pick, and with the new rules, a possible 1st overall pick!

    Mike Milbury, Don Cherry, and PJ Stock….The three stooges of HNIC.

    • Chris says:

      I think you could make an argument that the new rules will hurt the Habs, who have all the potential to be down in the dumps again this season hoping for another high first round pick. 🙂

      Unless they get a resurrection out of players like Gomez, Bourque and Kaberle AND see Markov return to form AND see Pacioretty, Cole and Desharnais build on what was a career year for all three players, the team could be as bad or worse this season. And that is a lot of question marks to enter a season with.

      • Carta-Hab says:

        Possible for sure. That being said, I do not expect the Habs to be as bad as their were last year. Overall, I love the new rules. Potentially creates a further disincentive for teams to gun for the 1st overall pick. I also think that over a shortened season, Carey Price could (a big could, mind you), get this team into the playoffs by his play alone. One way or another, they either make the playoffs, or not. If they don’t, regardless of where they finish, they get a relatively high draft (15 – 5, etc) pick and a chance at the 1st overall. I like it.

        Mike Milbury, Don Cherry, and PJ Stock….The three stooges of HNIC.

  49. jeffhabfan says:

    WOW great news. Finally going to buyout GOMER. Habs will not be able to bring in a impact forward not enough cap space. I wonder if GALLY will make it.You can put him on the top LINE. Then Line 2 D.D. Line 3 Pleks Line 4 Eller. Four solid centers 2 big and 2 small.

  50. habstrinifan says:

    Things to do before first exhibition game:

    Get out dirty pizza stained hockey sweats.
    Throw out all the bright xmas stuff from my den.
    Finish all the eggnog… Eggnog is not a hockey season beverage.
    Draw up lists of excuses for foregoing the ‘planned’ Museum visits.
    Push over clutter on couch to find remote.
    Push over clutter on couch little bit more to find blanket.
    Push cluuter completely off couch and ‘assume the position’.

    Let the Games begin!

  51. JayK-47 says:

    I hope this doesn’t mean the end of the fantasy league.

  52. dhenry1234 says:

    Goals for this Half assed, greed filled schedule:

    -Do not watch a game unless it’s from an illegal live stream via atdhe or another streaming website.

    – Do not spend any money on hockey related merchandise

    I really hope that I’m not the only one thinking like this. I really want to stick it to this league.

  53. ed lopaz says:

    Hey that cute child in the photo looks suspiciously like Donald Fehr’s nephew.

    Could he be the next generation of Fehr’s to head up the NHLPA?

    We should know by 2053.

  54. PrimeTime says:

    Gotta love the 1st thread of the day had nothing to do with the hockey news of the day!! And ‘no’ it was not posted when i had learned of the agreement from LOL. Way to go HIO.

  55. aj says:

    Finally! I can’t wait for Hockey. Now, who here thinks this new deal will still give everyone enough confidence about Gary Bettman as commissioner?

  56. secretdragonfly says:

    Time to say hello to hockey and goodbye to Bettman, Fehr and The Gazette’s fantasy hockey (and none too soon).

  57. habstrinifan says:

    Anyone else anxious to hear/see a HAB management person (maybe all three… President;GM;Coach… on TV ASAP. I wanna start thinking HABS HABS HABS!

  58. commandant says:

    2 priorities for me.

    1) Sign Subban

    2) Give Galchenyuk his 9 game NHL tryout. No guarantees he stays the season lets just see him perform.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • habstrinifan says:

      Give couple guys (gallagher Blunden) their tryouts too. I would feel good if I see players like them rather than Palushaj etc brought to short camp.

      I would use Blunden before I use Petteri Nokelainen.

    • kempie says:

      There is zero downside to giving Gally his 9 games (unless you’re Scott Gomez or Rene Borque). The kid has been owning the OHL and just won gold. Couldn’t ask for better timing.

      And yes, sign PK before Sportsnet makes him a better offer. $4M ish is what I’d offer.

  59. munch17 says:

    Now we can start having fun!!

    Pacs – Pleks – Gionta
    Bourque – Gomez – Cole
    Leblanc ( or DD ) – Eller – Armstrong
    Prust – White – Moen

    Maybe room for Gallagher or Gally

    Markov – Yemelin
    Subban – Gorges
    Bouillon – Diaz

    OK. I’m not a big DD fan.
    But it’s time to do what we love to do and play GM-coach!!

  60. PrimeTime says:

    But Boone is still locked out, right?

  61. Bob_Sacamano says:

    As long as Subban isn´t signed and Therrien tells us that his first line won´t have DD between Pacioretty and Cole I won´t get excited.

  62. New says:

    I am glad their lockout is over. Now I will be able to get back to pretending they matter to me.

  63. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …fair or unfair, I personally can not see fans forgiving Bettman

    …anytime his face will show up at a rink or NHL function he will make Clarence Campbell and the Richard Riot look like a night at the opera

    …I don’t believe Fehr intends to stick around very long as head of the NHLPA, so likely most fans will give him a pass

    …but, I have a feeling the disdain from fans will ultimately make Bettman remaining the commissioner of the NHL untenable

  64. kempie says:

    Still not excited enough to change my avatar yet.

  65. HankHardball says:

    This time last year, Habs were already toast.

    Maybe the late start will help them forget some bad habits.

  66. habstrinifan says:

    Breakin news! Subban not signed!

  67. HabinBurlington says:

    Given the type of player contract signing and buyouts that will be discussed, here is a link to the Habs current contracts, just as an FYI.

    • Captain aHab says:

      Gomez is 100% gone. What is the likelihood that they might try to trade Pleks if Galchenyuk looks ready? I’d rather they not rush him but with the lower cap space, they might be very tempted.

      Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

    • HabFab says:

      So no Gomez, leaving $11.5 ml to sign PK and 7 others.
      Of course there is still the “escrow roll back” countered partially with the “transitional make whole” to factor in.

  68. Captain aHab says:

    At the press announcement, I kept waiting for Fehr to slap Bettman behind the head.

    Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  69. Psycho29 says:


    Sorry…’s training camp for the fans also!


  70. ed lopaz says:

    if we put 2 fans in a room 6 months ago, they would have arrived at the same compromise in about 1 week of consistent, uninterrupted discussions.

    Bettman and Fehr need to be relieved of their duties, and not replaced by their brothers, their uncles, or any other family members.

    People who run 3 billion dollar businesses do not close down their businesses for months to negotiate Collective Bargaining agreements, and then walk away with their jobs as though they had just completed the task successfully.

    Whether you blame the NHL the NHLPA or both, the league, and especially the fans, will be far better off once Bettman and Fehr receive their walking papers.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Agree, this deal should have been achieved much sooner. The owners really didn’t change things except 50/50 and compliance buyouts. To me the variance in contract amounts, the length of terms allowed, mean we will continue to see crazy contracts. So why put fans through this?

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

    • Captain aHab says:

      Sorry but that’s silly talk…anyone negotiating an issue they have no involvement in will close much quicker because they’ll be willing to make immediate concessions they wouldn’t make if they were involved.

      How would these fans like for NHLers to negotiate their next contracts/salaries for them? I’m guessing not much….

      Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  71. PrimeTime says:

    “Buyout” will be the most common term used by fans this year. Let the insanity resume.

  72. Habs_Norway says:

    And this, on my birthday!
    Go Habs go!

    Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  73. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …there’s something about the adjective ‘tentative’ that makes me tentative

    …I was going to crow that I was right, and Ian Cobb was wrong …but then Cowan has to qualify the end of the lockout using the word ‘tentative’


    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      Just signatures.. imagine if Fehr stopped everything when he was halfway through his final signature hahah

      Price for 2013 Vezina.. you friggin wait!

  74. HabinBurlington says:

    Woohoo! Lets get the games going!

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      2 Buyouts allowed after the 2013 season. Let the Gomez buyout talk begin.. and the arguing over who the “second buyout” should be!!!

      • 24 Cups says:

        Gomez is a given next summer. If the team still needs room then they have the option of Kaberle (keeping in mind the team will need some of the buyout money to pay salary to the two new replacement players on the roster).

        However, let’s say that Bourque is a complete dog again this year. With no competition for a spot on LW he still plays like he doesn’t care. Do you then buy him out and try and move Kaberle at the 2014 trade deadline? It’s not like the team has a lot of quality on the back end. If Bourque was bought out, then the team would have dropped three toxic contracts in one year and be off a truly fresh start.

        (Personally, I hope Bourque can bounce back a bit and be a solid 3rd liner who nets 15 goals a season while bringing a physical force to the team)

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