The bible is available

McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook, our fave, is on newstands; and everyone is urged to plunk down their $7.99 for a copy … even though Mike Cammalleri isn’t on the cover.

What distinguishes McKeen’s are player evaluations from real scouts. Candid insight makes for great reading.

McKeen’s picks the Canadiens to finish seventh in the East with 93 points – one more than the Rangers, two up on Tampa Bay.

Taylor Hall tops their list of Calder Trophy candidates, but guess who’s runner-up? (Hint: His name begins with two initials.) And they like Lars Eller’s potential.

While we’e playing, let’s test your knowledge of the Canadiens. Here are some quotes from McKeen’s scouting assessments. Let’s see if you can figure out the players they’re describing. (For answers, click below):

a) “Elegant stickhandler and strong shooter, sporting a heavy shot and quick release … Prone to lapses in urgency and judgment … learning to activate his feet away from the puck and not wait for linemates to do the dirty work”

b) “Offensive-oriented playmaker with excellent vision … swift and nimble … accelerates rapidly and generates tremendous top speed … Over-extends himself, holding the puck too long or turning it over in risky areas of the ice”

c) “Competes effectively in his own end, aided by strong positioning and stickwork … Not overly big and tends to get banged up over the long haul”

d) “Talented skater, fast and fluid in all directions … Can be underwhelming along the boards and in the defensive zone due to his lack of size”

e) Moves fluently with the puck and shows good elusiveness and creativity … Defensive postures and positioning still require refinement, even if he is a conscientious backchecker”

• Another assessment of the Canadiens’ talent, from Premium Scouting

• Brilliant piece by Yves Boisvert on the French fact and the Canadiens

• The end is near for Uncle George in Liverpool

a) Benoit Pouliot

b) Scott Gomez

c) Jaroslav Spacek

d) Tomas Plekanec

e) Lars Eller


  1. Da Hema says:

    I am not an expert on the organisation of professional sports teams, but neither of your claims seem plausible to me. Timmins’ imprint is all over this organisation. He is not some minor manager in the Canadiens’ organisation. Indeed, Timmins had been announcing the draft selections at the amateur drafts, a role almost uniformly performed by general managers. His official title is Director of Player Recruitment and Development. Unless the Canadiens as an organisation have absolutely no administrative nor managerial accountability, he would certainly be responsible for more than merely selecting players at the draft. Timmins would oversee the young players from the scouting stage to their final ascent to the NHL, which would include the team’s farm system.

    Sorry, but your statements appear to me utterly implausible.


    “There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge….”

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  2. LA Loyalist says:

    G*d let’s hope you are right a) on skill and b) on character, maturity and willingness to pay the price. 

    We’ve needed a big center with some cojones for many years and I have harshly criticized the Halak deal in these pages.

    But let’s hope you are right.


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

  3. LA Loyalist says:

    I’m just throwing this out for you guys to discuss. A lot of the difficulties we’ve had seem to come from a lack of, maybe character is too broad a term, but a lack of fire or passion or courage — something that might just be maturity.

    My question is how can we hold Timmins responsible for the speed at which someone matures? Isn’t that the manager and coaches? Timmins job is to identify and track skill, how much does he have to look for character and maturity?

    I’m not defending or slamming him, I don’t know – can you guys provide some insight? It does seem weird that all the troops are fired and the head is still there. 

    Latendresse and Price are two prime examples of VERY badly handled young men with unquestionable ability. They were both rushed and both couldn’t handle it. And until our management ACKNOWLEDGE – even just to themselves – that they blew it with Latendresse and Price (if Price redeems himself it will be no thanks to Habs management) we won’t do better with future kids and we won’t win another cup that I can guarantee you.

    The train wreck that was Price and Latendresse was 100% Gainey and Carbonneau (and I loved them both as players and I opened champagne when they became our leaders so this is damn painful to acknowledge for me).

    I’m sure it was beyond frustrating for Carbo and Gainey to deal with these young millionaires who somehow are not prepared to bleed (literally, in some cases) bleu, blanc, rouge as they were. Not many guys left more on the ice than Carbo and Gainey.

    Martin was a great strategist in the playoffs last year, all credit due.

    But in the big picture, my concern is that we let that young coach Boucher go. Maybe the game has changed so much that management has to change more than it has.

    I’m not (unlike most of my posts) trying to pick a brawl. I really would appreciate your thoughts. If the talent pipeline is messed up how can we surprised at what comes out of it when it’s bad?

  4. nightmare_49 says:

       Many posters can learn something from this article by Justin Bourne.

       Bourne Blog: The hockey locker-room clique scouting report

  5. Uwey says:

    Why is it we blame Timmins??? Yet youngsters like S. Kostitsyn, Pacorietty & O’Bryne had great success, as short as it may have been in some cases, under the coaching of Donnie Lever & Guy Boucher, using these players to make the Bulldogs very successful over the past numbers years. But when they get to the NHL level, they are confussed by the coaching & the system. Latendresse could be yet another solid young player the Habs let go because of poor instruction at the NHL level, he would have benefitted IMO from some AHL time as would Price with at least one more season at that level, though it may not have made a difference if you consider the others progress once they played in Montreal.


    Let’s hope this trend does not continue & we see PK Subban’s slip under the Habs coaching staff in Montreal or Lars Eller for that matter.

  6. nightmare_49 says:

       Lots of NHL Tidbits from Fluto Shinzawa –


  7. HabFanSince72 says:

    1. He is not in charge of developing the players after they’re picked. He has nothing to do with players being rushed to the NHL, if that was the case (I’m not sure it was).

    2. He actually emphasized defence with his picks. Man of his d prospects were traded (nothing to do with him) or decided to stay in Russia.

  8. nightmare_49 says:

       Here is what Steve Simmons had to say this Sunday:

       –   The Atlanta Thrashers say that Dustin Byfuglien will play defence for them this season. Good luck to them. I’ll give it 10 games before Byfuglien is spending more time in front of the opposition’s net rather than in front of his own.

       –  A Sunday question: If Tomas Kaberle is the power-play specialist he is purported to be, how come the Maple Leafs have been 30th, 16th, 15th and 16th with the man advantage the past four seasons? And did you know the last time the Leafs had a high-end power play, Bryan McCabe played the part of shooter and Jason Allison handled the puck down low.

       –   The Devils aren’t the only NHL team that has some salary cap paring to do in the next month. The Vancouver Canucks need to move $3.6 million US in salary and the Boston Bruins are just behind them at $3 million. How comfortable willl training camp be with veterans worrying about who’s getting moved or shipped to the minors?

       –  Not hockey but the Department of no surprise: The ex-wrestler, Jim (The Anvil) Neidhart, was arrested this week in nowhere Florida for possession of Oxycontin and methadone. Bet you didn’t know The Anvil tried out for the Calgary Stampeders prior to turning to wrestling.

       Read more of Steve Simmons sports article:

  9. The Cat says:

    Good point.


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

  10. Da Hema says:

    I guess so. I recall three to four years ago how many people were praising Timmins on the basis of the potential of the team’s youth. Yet how many of these same players are either gone (e.g., Komisarek) or soon to be out the door (e.g., Andrei Kostitsyn)? Ironically, the best development project for Timmins was Jaroslav Halak, and now he too is elsewhere. My criticisms of Timmins are not focused on his draft picks (which to be fair is an extremely inexact science) but rather his priorities (e.g., after six years the team still does not have sufficient numbers of defence prospects) and his development of players such as Price, the Kostitsyns, Latendresse, and Pacioretty–all of whom were “rushed to the ice” before they were geniunely ready to play NHL-level hockey. Let’s just say that if Tampa Bay comes and “steals” Timmins away, I will not consider it such a great loss.


    “There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge….”

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  11. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’m guessing the early success is enough for the management to consider them valuable results, provided these prospects continue to improve and look good.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  12. mbplekfan says:

    The junior/amatuer draft is the biggest scam going.

    Its a lottery, under-age players picked based on someones guess as to how they will turn out.

    But for some reason the free-agents like Brock Trotter mostly turn into duds.


  13. Da Hema says:

    That may explain the rationale behind the team’s decision not to hold Timmins accountable for player development, and instead place that accountability on a few full- and part-time scouts, but I find parts of your reasoning somewhat odd. You appear to be falling into the same peculiar reasoning as others about Timmins. Since Kristo, Leblanc, Dumont, and Avtsin have yet to play even one single NHL regular season game, surely you must admit it is too early to say these choices were a “success.” Timmins’ work should be assessed on basis of how his selections during his tenure have fared in the NHL. By that standard, he is certainly no guru. The Habs would have fared better in the first round of the last five drafts merely by selecting the Central Scouting Bureau choices than the ones Timmins made.


    “There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge….”

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  14. SeriousFan09 says:

    If Subban wasn’t such a successful pick, Timmins might be out the door, but coupled with the exceptional NCAA seasons of Kristo, Leblanc, Dumont’s dominance in the Q and Avtsin crossing the pond, Timmins record from 2007 onwards has bought him enough room to keep on along with recent success by prospects.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  15. mbplekfan says:

    Goaltender value is extemely low right now.

    PG managed to pick up a top end prospect in a position we are short at as well as add a physical presence to our farm system with the other player. In addition with the money we saved he signed our #1-2 center.

    Three players, one impact, one top flight prospect, and one physical-leadership project for a surplus goalie. This will turn into a steal by mid next year.

  16. Da Hema says:

    Interesting reviews. The one thing that took me by surprise earlier this year was when the team essentially razed its scouting department, and yet somehow Trevor Timmins, the person in charge, managed to keep his job. The Canadiens’ scouting, drafting, and player development–which again is Timmins’ entire domain–over the last six years has at best been middling. I will concede the team has more organisational quantity than it did prior to Gainey and Timmins–which we should not discount given those brutal years between 1997 and 2004–but I must say the current batch of prospects do not appear to me to be much more than serviceable bodies in the years ahead. Unfortunately, too many commentators early on were calling Timmins a “guru,” but, like the players he has drafted and developed, his performance in my opinion has been less than satisfactory.


    “There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge….”

    –Hunter S. Thompson

  17. HabFanSince72 says:

    The Lars Eller review from premium scouting sure makes me think we got the better of the Blues.

    After all, they could have had Niemi for free, and at half the salary of Halak. So getting anything out of them is good. Getting a potential 1st line centre? Great deal.


  18. HardHabits says:

    No kidding.

  19. megagoten says:

    i went thursday and it wasn’t available >_< now i fear going again because if it’s still not available, i’ll pass off as a super nerdy guy

  20. ooder says:

    imo it’s pretty stupid to switch a 37 year old to his non natural side.

    spacek has always played on the left and then he was swtiched right.

    the guy is a pure team player and didn’t complain but it was obviosu he wasn’t comfortable.

    usually at that age during the season vets like spacek just go through the motions and rely on reflexes, but Spacek struggled and you can tell that he even had trouble working the puck because it was a different side for him.


    88 is the new 23

  21. Harditya_CareyPrice says:

    You can get it at Chapters and Indigo!

    That’s where I got mine (last year).

  22. punkster says:

    What, you ran out of Celine videos to watch?


  23. CanadienBoy says:

    Spacek was bad last year but made it  up by the way  he handle Ovie in the playoff as far as he go , can only go up which is good for the Hab !!

  24. JIMVINNY says:

    Me too, but I really wanted to see Rafa get the career grand slam against Federer.  He’s beaten Federer in every other slam final except for the US Open, and I really think that beating Roger here would have cemented his legacy.


  25. Yeats says:

    Thanks! I was just screwing around on Youtube between Queen videos when I found those.

  26. daveho29 says:

    Anyone know if I can get this Magazine out west. Never seen it but sounds like it might be usefull for the hockey pools i am in.

  27. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Good stuff Robert,  great reading for any Habs fan.

  28. Yeats says:

    You may not like the final score, but the quality of this footage is worth the watch.

    Is that the Gumper in the net for the Rags?

  29. HardHabits says:

    I’d love to see Rafa get the Grand Slam!!!

  30. Harani says:

    Off topic but anyone watch The Djoker-Fed semifinal at the US Open? What a match! And makes you really respect the sport because they are out their on their own. All is set for a Novak-Rafa final tomorrow. If you have a chance, don’t miss it! VAMOS!

    “It must be love!”

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