Thank you, surging Sabres

Buffalo did the Canadiens a favour by beating Carolina.

But Boston and the Rangers won.

Canadiens enjoy a day off

Auld has Rangers’ number

The deep sleep of AK46

• Yvon Pedneault on the tight playoff race

They like SK74 in Nashville

Hockey News assesses Northeast Division, sees Canadiens “life and death” to make playoffs

NHL’s top defensive forwards (Czech who’s number three)

• Michael Farber’s midseason awards

And this little ditty:

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151 Comments

  1. Wayne says:

    On the topic of NHL’s top rated Def-Forward. Plecky should be at the top of this list but he’s sort of cruising in neutral on all fronts these days it seems. Bad enough that the +/- stat stretches the bounds of usefullness when it comes to evaluating a player’s overall performance, but this QCMP thing, gimme a break.

     

    And… the video, musically, is a continuing personal reminder why I’ve stopped listening to the radio. Today’s pop music style is even more stagnant and unoriginal than ever before. Just AWFUL!

  2. PeterD says:

    Another AK thought…I know, I know…too much AK bashing…but seriously…

    I wonder how he would respond if he was told there are scouts in the stands every game now to look at him for a move to another team in a top 6 role…devious, but maybe he might get up for a game or two and pput out for the scouts so he can get traded.  Right now it looks like he’s playing and saying a bg “F**K you” to Habs management.

  3. PeterD says:

    AK46 currently makes $3.25M per and as a RFA a tthe end of this season…Our options are very few and all are risky.

    If we keep him and continue to hope and pray to the hockey Gods that he will somehow blossom into the goal scoring power fowrad that everyone thought he could become then we will continue until the end of hhe season with a hole skaing on his side of the ice where he is supposed to be.

    If we trade him for a bag of pucks, cause let’s be realistic, he is not performing in a way that will attrack significant attention and a positve return of another good winger…he will likely blossom in another team like his brother is currently doing in Nashville.

    If we wait until the July 1st free agent period he could walk away to the KHL and we get nothing for him at all.  Based on his inconsistent performance I would think it unlikely that a team in free agency would offer him a large enough contract to return to us  1st and 2nd round compensation picks

    I am not about whining about who we could have/should havepicked in his draft year or even who got away after we picked him…water under the bridge.  We need to do something right now to get something in return for him.

    I if we could get a good high draft pick or young upcoming prospect from another teams current roster for him now?  My hope is we can put together a package with AK and prospects or older players that we could land a quality big scoring winger that could help us now and for a few more years.  Maybe Nashville is happy enough with SK that they might want to take a flyier on his older brother…if AK turns out to blossom with another team he better be outside of our conference at least.

    But seriously folks I think we have waited long enough for AK to turn into a high quality scoring top 6 forward…right now in Montreal he simply does not have the motivation (even in his contract year) to perform to his obvious skill potential.

  4. punkster says:

    Yep, the never ending story.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  5. 24 Cups says:

    Dave – It would be nice for a Steve Shutt to jump out of the woodwork.  Alas, it ain’t going to happen.

    We also will not be able to get any real scoring output from our centres.  Therefore, we need a couple of 30 goal wingers as well as three 20 goal wingers. 

    Cammy and AK46 should be able to fit the first bill.  Gionta, Pouliot and MaxPac have the potential to be consistent 20 goal scorers.

    If Andrei can’t break through, then we will have to find some way of grabbing another established player.  The only problem is that I have a gut feeling we might have to totally rebuild the defense during the next two eyars.  That capital expenditure will conflict with spending another 2M to upgrade AK.

    To be continued.

  6. Dennis says:

    I’d say the Habs scouts and management definitely missed the mark regarding Kostitsyn. Carter, Parise, Getzlaf, Richards, Bergeron, and Shea Weber all came after Kostitsyn in the 2003 draft. Or maybe he felt like playing back then. http://dennis-kane.com/the-ones-that-got-away/

  7. Displaced says:

    I don’t think Gomez is an issue at all.  He’s playing well right now.  I think Plecs and Gomez are both better as #2s than #1.  Both score OK and both understand the defensive part of the game.  I’d like to see a pure offensive player as a #1 centre AND I’d like to see JM build an all offense line and let them play aggressively. 

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  8. Displaced says:

    Balance is key.  Not every player is the same and not all the lines are the same.  It would be nice if we let 1 or 2 lines play an aggressive game, play one line against the other team’s top line(s) and one line for energy.  Bowman made that work 35 years ago. 

    Since Plecs is strong defensively, we could let G-G-Patches play to score.  The Plecs line could play with mild-aggression (personally, I’d like to see Cammi and one of Pouliot/AK on that line).  That means other teams use their D line again G-G-Pathces and the Plecs line should have an easier time of it. That leaves Halpern/Pyatt/someone to play against top lines/PK and whatever combination of leftovers play energy minutes. 

    Two things jump out as I types those lines. 

    1. Laps would have been useful on the third or fourth line in one of those roles (too bad we traded him).

    2. If Pouliot develops, he makes AK expendable.  I don’t think AK-types (read scorers) belong on the third of fourth line.

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  9. Mark C says:

    A lot of people hate to hear it but Gomez is at least a good #2 center in the NHL. Last year is points ranked 27th among centers. Half the players you list never play center anymore (Burrows) or rarely do (Zetterberg, Marleau). There are a lot more pressing issues preventing Montreal from being a contender than Gomez being the #2 center.  

    Think about it this way, if Gomez is a weak #2 center, what’s that make Pleks as a #1?

     

  10. TripleX says:

    On HIO objectivitiy often equals troll and or hater.

    I totally agree by the way, except for the high priced veteran C.  The only way to get a stud C in the cap era where top talent is locked up for years, is the draft.  When a veteran C is available there usually is a very good reason for it.  Example Gomez!

     

     

    “I don’t like to keep kids like that out of the lineup. They need to play; that’s how they’re going to get better.” Jacques Martin

  11. Mark C says:

    Pouliot finally got his big break last game when JM put him on a line with Montreal’s best center. Benny’s response was to take three penalties. Let’s hope JM gives Benny another game or two with Pleks, because their games should mesh well.

  12. Displaced says:

    I have an epiphany every decade or so. 

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  13. Displaced says:

    I’m going to get killed for saying this and be labeled a troll/hater/Gomez-basher, but… Gomez isn’t the #2 centre on an elite team.  Not with 12 goals and 59 points.  Look at Philly – Briere, Carter, Richards.  Detroit has Zetterberg and Datsuk.  Vancouver has Sedin, Kessler and Burrows.  If we want to be one of the big boys, then Gomer has to be our third centre and we need to find another top flight C.  If SJ starts moving players and we could a Marleau or Thornton.  Then we would have a very strong 1,2,3 down the middle.  Scoring, two way skills, veteran with Cups, etc… Just MHO

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  14. Displaced says:

    I’d like to know what Pouliot can do this season before he enters his last RFA year.  If he’s a top 6 guy (I think he can be), then sign to him a 3-4 year deal at $2.5 per year.  If he breaks out next year, he’s a UFA and might cost us a lot more.

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  15. TripleX says:

     “Sergei could finish as their number two scorer with 20-ish goals and 45-55 points. 

    We have those players in abundance.  He wouldn’t be a top 6 player here.  Those are not the numbers of a second scorer for an elite team.  “

     

    Scott Gomez with a cap hit of 7.35 MILLION last season had 12 goals and 47 assists for 59 points.  So is he not a top 6 player or are we not an elite team?

     

     

    “I don’t like to keep kids like that out of the lineup. They need to play; that’s how they’re going to get better.” Jacques Martin

  16. LA Loyalist says:

    Pouliot absolutely has the talent to score 30 goals. I’ve watched him very carefully.

    The nut of the issue: is the coach putting Poo and other young guys in situations where they can succeed — if yes, then the responsibility is on the player, but if not, and it’s replicated over multiple players, we have  a problem with the coaching or the system.

    I of course have my own opinion and it isn’t pretty, but I’m trying to take a fresh look.

    Watch the next few games carefully with that in mind…

     

    “To failing hands we’ve passed the torch.

  17. Mats Naslund says:

    The Flyers are good THIS YEAR. Last year they made the playoffs on the last day – just like us and had a good run. Lets also not forget that the Flyers in 06/07 had 56 POINTS! They’ve had their fare share of stink too. They’re also one playoff round of bad goalie play away from a first round exit – not to mention where they would have been last year (swept) if not for a monumental Bruins collapse.

     

    The Habs aren’t on easy street – but its nowhere near as bad as some people are making it seem. Some big moves in FA next year could change things around here dramatically due to so many FAs on D. While its unlikely that Gauthier hits any grand slams – he’s been proven to make shrewd decisions to get value in trades, waiver pickups etc.

  18. punkster says:

    Good one D-Dog. It’s a view I hadn’t considered before but makes sense. Thanks for the brain rattling.

    (Can’t help but hear Brian’s voice every time I read your comments. Outstanding.)

    ***Subbang!!!***

  19. punkster says:

    Shout out to 24 Cups:

    Steve…you list 3 alternatives to getting this team to score more plus an alternative:

    1.  Draft and develop a young player. 2.  Trade for an established scorer. 3.  Sign an UFA.

    Alternative is to hopefully develop a more balanced
    attack that will produce your ‘extra goal a game’ by utilizing a
    variety of players.

    First, I think your alternative (development of a balanced attack) is the most realistic for today’s team plus (and this is important) the continuing search by PG for an established scorer.

    Balanced Attack:

    This assumes that our first two lines will actually play well at the same time in all or most games. So far they have not in that one line or a key component of that line tends to take a night off, dog it, commit brain-dead penalties or simply become snake-bit. If the top 2 lines (whoever they may be at any given time) work to their levels of competency the team will see that additional goal a game required. It also assumes that the 3rd and 4th lines step and continue to play at least as well as they have so far by providing energy, tight checking and muscle (oh, Mr. Moen, where art thou?).

    Trade for an Established Scorer:

    Like you, I cannot see giving up too many of the strong assets we have for a rental or high-priced prima donna/questionable talent/money grubber who may or may not deliver as promised. The mid-season addition of a supposed superstar may actually have a detrimental effect on whatever cohesion or balance in the room and on the ice this team has attained. I wouldn’t be opposed to it, mind you, but it’s a rather short-sighted method of improving the team unless PG cuts an awesome deal somehow. (and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did!)

    Reduce Penalties

    I’ve added this one as I think it’s pretty obvious this team gets itself into so much trouble by taking too many dumb penalties. Yes, we have a great PK. That’ll serve us well in the playoffs as we have lots of experience. It does not serve us well in the silly season when every short-handed situation means you’ve lost your flow, juggled your lines to put out your best PK guys (who just happen to be a few of our top players) thereby tiring them and affecting their regular line play. It’s madness that a team with so many experienced players continues to take so many dumb penalties.

     

    There…long-winded but clear I hope.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  20. joeybarrie says:

    1. Storm Man

    2. JoeyBarrie

    3. Mike Boone

    4. Kevin Mio

    5. Pat Hickey

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  21. Displaced says:

    A quick point of clarification. 

    2010/07/01: Tampa Bay Lightning traded Andrej Meszaros to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2nd round selection in 2012.

    2010/07/19: Philadelphia Flyers traded Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Matt Walker and a 4th round selection in 2011.

    leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  22. joeybarrie says:

    This is a very good post. The only thing I can say is that sometimes it takes time with players, and Montreal does expect immediate results.

    I think we are moving UP. If that stops then i agree, we move on with a different coach. I think JM get a bad rap with the development.

    If you look at Pouliot he has done very well here compared to Minni. If you look at Eller you have to realize he has 40 games experience. Thats NOTHING. When Eller starts playing the hockey that warrants top line minutes, we will see how he does. Pouliot has added new levels to his game here, and is slowly doing better and better. This season he is doing it with 3rd line minutes.

    My bet is Pouliot will be on a top line by the end of the season.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  23. G-Man says:

    I am not “dumping” on Price as he had no control over which team drafted him.

  24. Displaced says:

    SK is “producing” 11 goals, 23 points (most of that recently) in Nashville — no surprise.  He scored in junior and has talent.   That he didn’t or wouldn’t have produced here is not a surprise. 

    Read Poile’s comments “Predator’s deal… lower risk… lower salary… patience from coaching staff”.  Sergei could finish as their number two scorer with 20-ish goals and 45-55 points. 

    We have those players in abundance.  He wouldn’t be a top 6 player here.  Those are not the numbers of a second scorer for an elite team.  The coaching staff of an elite team wouldn’t spend the time and expend their “patience” SK to get him to this point.  The coaching staff on a team with modest expectations and little money to spend HAS TO.

    That doesn’t give PG a free pass for trading assets that other teams can develop.  Nor should it give our coaching staff a free pass for player development.  We should (actually, must) develop the players with talent here to their maximum potential.

    SK was a seventh rounder – talent with an attitude/issues.  Perhaps (big perhaps) not worth the trouble.  Pouliot, Patches, PK, Price (hey, that’s a lot of potential with Ps) have the pedigree for excellence.  JM, Cunneyworth and the rest of our coaches need to get Pouliot and Patches to the 30 goals/65 point level; need to make PK and Price all stars.  If they do that, then we don’t need to read about Sergei’s modest exploits in Nashville or How Laps turns into a third line dynamo in Anaheim, OB turns into Rick Green in the mountains, etc. 

    The trouble is, at this point, JM isn’t making Eller the second coming of SK and Benny isn’t the threat he should be. 

    If we don’t become a 100 point team NEXT year, if we don’t have long playoff this or next season, then PG has to bring in coach that can develop talent and take us to the next level. 

    Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  25. light_n_tasty says:

    Nice to see Pleks on that list of top defensive forwards.  And Halpern is at number 10.  But where’s the 8-million-dollar man?  You know, the won who isn’t paid to produce offesively, but instead is paid for his Gainey-like defensive play.

  26. HabsFanInTampa says:

    You’re wrong again! I never said I wanted the team to lose on purpose or tank. Jack Daniels HYPOTHETICALLY mentioned would it have been better to tank for a few years and then get top draft picks and win a cup or two. IN MY OPINION, looking back at the last 18 years WITHOUT a Cup, MAYBE that would have been better. That’s it, Mattyleg.

  27. Mr.Hazard says:

    Regurgitating something alluded to below: If SK74 is doing “that” well in NSH (as many points as his brother), imagine how well AK46 will perform once he’s shipped out…. Especially if it’s a team like NSH.

  28. SeriousFan09 says:

    Habs dealt their 1st-round (27th overall) and 2nd-round (57th overall) for the 22nd overall pick and the 113th (4th-round) pick in the last draft for Tinordi, which became Tinordi and Mark MacMillan. Habs only had 1 2nd-round selection going into the 2010 draft, they’ve not had 2 2nd-round picks since the 2003 Entry Draft.

    And the draft is now at 7 rounds a year so barring trades (which have cut off draft picks in the past), a basic year for a team gets them 7 picks. Habs have no 2nd-rounder for the 2011 Entry Draft due to dealing the initial one for Dominic Moore and the Compensatory pick from David Fischer not signing for Wiz. They do have two 4th-round picks though and the team tends to do well in the later years of the draft.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  29. 24 Cups says:

    We traded him in 2008!  That’s still rationalization in my eyes.

  30. joeybarrie says:

    I thought it was the 57 pick or somthing they gave to Pheo, and isnt the way it works in the draft is we got the 27th and then the 34th or something???? Thats what i thought. I prefer to think of it as we had 2 second rounders and we used one for Tinordi…. Ill stop thinking after that if I am wrong… Which I prob am, since I have no idea how it works for the most part.

    But to be honest, in the end we get X amount of picks, and we acquire them and trade them for whom ever we draft and whom ever we currently have on our squad.

    So we get 60 million in salary and 9 picks or so every year. SOMEONE moves cause of a pick and Someone moves by the salary…. IDK

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  31. SeriousFan09 says:

    Nash may not have played a lot at Cornell, but he seems to have made the most of his experience and plays a very intelligent game from his positioning, which I found impressive for a player out of NCAA hockey, and a weak NCAA division at that. Grabovski was dealt for a pick that was later turned into Robert Lang to my memory and prospect Greg Pateryn, Habs dealt their 2nd round-pick from the 2010 draft to move up to 22nd overall and take Jarred Tinordi.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  32. Storm Man says:

    Just goes to show you have a one-track mind, and traffic on it is very light today. :)

    “I have never failed at anything in my life so far… TripleX 12/23/2010 16:34pm”

  33. joeybarrie says:

    While I do not think its quite as simple as this, I agree.

    By the way, Crosby bought a house close to Mario’s last May. This is his 2nd home after buying on in Halifax.

    But staying with Mario during the season is smart…

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  34. SeriousFan09 says:

    So you’re dumping on Price for being a top goaltender, rather than other players who are pretty much busts compared to what their fellow draft-class alumni have accomplished? Find the proper things to complain about sir, the draft choices that actually turned into nothing.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  35. Mark C says:

    Re: Bournival.

    Don’t remember where I read/heard it, but apparently team Canada’s head scout for the WJC love’s Bournival’s game. I have high hopes for him in the mold of say, Brad Marchard, maybe without the same level of offensive talent.

     

  36. J_P says:

    I agree.  Hockey is supposed to be entertaining, and the habs are flat out boring to watch, win or lose.  I would almost rather watch them lost every game 5-4, than win games the way they are currently winning.  Carey Price had a right to make that pose after the pittsburgh game, because if he isn’t on top of his game, the habs cant win, its that simple.  They’ve yet to bail him out from a bad game this season, and luckily, he hasn’t had many. 

  37. G-Man says:

    AK hasn’t improved his offense because, let’s face it, he’s not creative with the puck at all and still has to look down at it when he has it. We should be grateful that he scores at all and hasn’t been concussed out of the league with that bad habit.

  38. joeybarrie says:

    What the heck do you know about our prospects…..?

    I really though Bournival was a D. WOW, im lost there.

    I forgot about Nash, when they go to the Ivy league, they really dont get alot of show do they? I still think Festerling can be a decent D, but it doesnt hurt to have the prospects hedging our bet.

    As for Tinordi, didnt we trade a 2nd rounder for Grabs, and then trade a 1st and that 2nd with Pheo to get Tinordi?

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…


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