The dread Dec. 23

Tough road trip continues

Ward is good against Habs

A slide to eighth? – François Gagnon

Datsyuk breaks wrist in Wings’ win

• Michael Farber’s Top 10 of 2010

ESPN Trophy tracker


  1. mjames says:

    I had the good fortune of watching our Dallas effort the other night. Over the past day I have had the opportunity to read some of the posts and  columns regarding our performance . I will say that I was relieved to read that Jacques saw some real positive things in the Dallas game. I feel so much better knowing that goals are secondary to sound play “without” the puck. 

    Below are some of my observations on the game, the team and the analysis put forth by the experts.

    (1) It appeared to me that Dallas was toying with the Habs during most of the game. In this game shots on goal was a totally misleading and irrelevant statistic. One is kidding oneself if one takes comfort in the fact that the Habs limited Dallas scoring chances. It appeared to me from watching the game that Dallas could have done anything it wanted to do. We were that outclassed. Either Martin is just plain lying or he is a bigger incompetent than I thought if he took some positives from this game.

    (2) The benching of AK46 confirmed one thing in my opinion. AK’s passing creates the chances for the Pleks line. I have nothing against the effort put forth by Cammy, Eller and Pleks but the guy who makes that line go is AK and his passing.  I am not talking about his effort without the puck i am talking when he has the puck. I would say more than 90% of his passes are tape to tape.  Someone should ask Cammy and Pleks what AK’s contribution to this line is.

    (3) Gomez must have one heck of contract. I think the contract must absolve him from back-checking responsibility. Unlike Eller, Pleks and others, Gomez is never down low in our end trying to check. The only time I see him in our end is when circles to pick up the puck and begin one of his patented rushes to “nowhere”. Sure he got an assist but so did AK in his last game. It is obvious that Gomez is an untouchable on the team.

    (4) Who was that #26 on our team. He looked like one of the Dmen from our Tier 3 men’s hockey league. That was the worst display of hockey that I have ever seen on a professional level. It was pointed out in the various posts and columns that Gorges was playing hurt and it was implied that we should discount his performance due to this injury. That is pure hogwash. If the guy is that hurt then Martin should have sat him out and played Weber. If Gorges insisted on playing in that state then he was selfish and not thinking of the team. Martin was irresponsible for letting him play. If it turns out that Gorges was not hurt then he deserves to be benched for that performance.

    (5) In AK’s absence I see where Boone trotted out his second favorite whipping boy and partially pinned the blame for this loss on Pouliot’s inability to convert Laps pass into a goal. I agree that Pouliot should have buried that pass but in no way is he even remotely responsible for this loss. Boone is clearly distracted by the presence of Pouliot and AK on this team. If he was an impartial reporter/columist/observer he would have pointed out that Moen, Gorges and numerous others were just as, if not more responsible for this loss. Moen committed at least three turnovers one of which resulted in Dallas’ third goal. How come only Pouliot and AK get signaled out by Boone for their play.

    (6) What is up with Boone? Here we have a guy in AK who is benched and not even playing yet Boone sees fit to call him out at least five times in his blog, QH and ALN. 

    (7) Turning to AK, I will not disagree that he is weak along the boards at times. his back-checking is inconsistent and he occasionally appears to lack interest. We are forever lamenting the fact the we drafted this guy. To rescue AK from this malaise our coach either assigns him to the 4th line duty or benches him. I see where some have used the definition of insanity to explain the effectiveness of Martin’s actions. Well Martin’s motivational strategies with respect to AK is another example of that famous insanity definition. Maybe just maybe this is how AK plays. We have seen example after example of Russian players being accused of floating. Kovy , Kovey2 , Semin, Zerdev, and Frolov are examples of Russian players who have been accused of floating. As i said maybe just maybe this is how they play. We seem to want to change the way these guy play to that of Saskatchewan farm boys. If the Habs want Saskatchewan farm boys them draft them and stay away from the Russians. We could use more Moens I guess. 


  2. SmartDog says:

    …and a Happy New Winger!


  3. SmartDog says:

    You know, if you don’t stop, you’re going to get kicked off for being reasonable. 

    People want baseless “feel good” inuendo not facts and reasoned speculation.


  4. The Cat says:

    I dont think he sucks either, but for sure he doesnt make those around him better. I dont want to say hes problematic or a cancer but he seems to fit the bill.

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

  5. shiram says:

    He is 31 actually, my holiday haddled brain, can barely function.

  6. habaholic68NJ says:

    Devils Fans?  You mean all 12 of them?

  7. HabFanSince72 says:

    Thing is – I don’t think Kovalchuk is a floater.

    He wasn’t for the Devils last year, and he’s been pretty consistent in his career.



  8. G-Man says:

    The Devils owner is getting precisely what he deserves for forcing Lamorillo to sign a guy who has done nothing and will continue to do nothing. The Thrashers are happy that Mr. Float is gone. How long before what’s left of Devils Fans revolt?

  9. Malreg says:

    My guess is Pyatt and Picard.

    As long as your boy shows a little emotion tonight…

  10. Bugs says:

    Is my boy Poolio gettin scratched tonight?

    Unquestionably unquestionable, I think I’m

    L. Bugs Potter, esq., Herzog of ze Abominable Habsuchtig Brigade, Markgraf of ze Fearsome Flanell Flausen Flank, und devoted minion of ze Habsbros Order:

  11. J_P says:

    Excellent points.  Also, the cap space and salary not committed to kovalchuk allowed atlanta to gets guys like ladd and big buff.

  12. SeriousFan09 says:

    Brad Marchand in Boston still feeling the impact of the Subban hit folks, injured and couldn’t take a full skate today.


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

  13. HabFanSince72 says:

    The problem with the whiners  is that the rest of us can’t bitch and moan. We all know the team is slumping and it might feel good to come here and complain a bit, but you just can’t. You can’t ’cause you’d only be empowering those idiots.


  14. HabFanSince72 says:

    Off topic but I watched a bit of the Wings – Nucks game last night. On the Wings’ late tying goal Tomas Holmstrom got creamed against the boards real hard and fell down. He picked himself up, went straight to the front of the net, and created the screen that led to the goal. I thought to myself, wow not bad for a 33 year old.

    Except I just checked and he’s 37!

    That’s a hockey player.


  15. G-Man says:

    After the first 20 games, Martin is a genius. Now, after 34 games, he can do no right.

    I have to laugh at all the coach wannabes here who bitch and moan.

  16. joeybarrie says:

    Although I don’t mean to say Atlanta aren’t good. I do not believe they are as good as they have been playing. I think Buf and Ladd (both from Chi) were great additions and are playing great. The question is will it last? Are these guys playing to their potential or simply HOT. Oduya is a solid D with good experience and so is Sopel. And Bergfors is not doing too badly.

    One of the things about having a superstar on your team is how often do you rely on him to do everything? How many plays are based on getting him the puck? So once he is gone, you can see what the others were capable of if giving the puck more often.

    The other thing is the young guys they have acquired are starting to come into their prime. Getting 4 players from the Stanley Cup Champions and having 2 of them lead your team in scoring is a good adjustment.

    I just don’t know if they have a season long team to be in the top five. They are the scoring leader in the East, and their goalie is playing great since his big faint. But their Defence is weak, and if their forwards and BUFFY cool off, they might not make the playoffs.

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

  17. longtimehabsfan says:

    McLean out and Lemaire back in as coach of the Devils.

  18. JohnBellyful says:

    I can give you a place to stay temporarily. Does it have to be in the Western provinces?

  19. Chris79 says:

    Mike Cammalleri can’t really perform with feelin a sense of security in our team…a sense of toughness..not be a big team like the Brunettes or the Flyers  but atleast have a guy that is dedicated to the Organization…that will stand up for anybody but mostly for the team..A Local guy maybe..?

    i don’t know just puttin it outthere….


  20. BJ says:

    I don’t know about Belarus but a french variant could be Martini est fini…..

  21. 123456 says:

    i need game tickets, air fare as well as a place to stay.

  22. gohabsgo25 says:

    does anyone here need tickets to the heritage classic.

    e mail me for more details

  23. Say Ash says:

    Merry Pacioretty, Scott.

  24. shiram says:

    Let’s wish a happy birthday to our much maligned center, who seems to have picked up his play recently, Scott Gomez. He is 32 today.


  25. Mark C says:

    Don’t forget Montreal management should have had the foresight to tell Halak was a future #1 after one season in the Q. Halak had 47 games of N.A. experiance when Montreal drafted Price.

  26. The Cat says:

    Its interesting that without kovalchuk (and some other adjustments), Atlanta went from bad to good, and NJ with Kovalchuk went from good to bad.


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

  27. Mark C says:

    Not like he has any Norris or Selke winners playing on that team.

  28. ths says:

    He’ll have him retired by Christmas. Just like he did with Flower

  29. shiram says:

    For all the talk of rose colored glasses, there sure alot of people with “crap” colored glasses…

  30. ths says:

    Hes there for one reason only – To teach Kovy the Trap

  31. Jordio-oh says:

    Interesting point. But I’m not entirely convinced of something that can’t be quantified. Howard and Price face the similar amount of shots per game. However, its difficult to assess the quality of said shots. I’m too lazy too add up the blocked shots of each player on each team, and if I did it wouldn’t tell the whole story.

    I’m not trying to make it a Price vs Howard thing, but I’m also not ready to say that we have a certain system down to a tee that allows Price to play better and that such a system isn’t in place for Detroit. Its impossible to tell. We all watch montreal alot so we see how the system they play and it makes it easy for us to generalize. I’m assuming we all don’t watch the red wings enough to know that they just don’t protect Howard at all.

  32. Chuck says:

    You’d think that someone who played with the greatest player of the 70’s would know a thing or two about getting his top forward to do some scoring.

    The 2010 Montreal Canadians Christmas Card

  33. Chuck says:

    Yeah, poor Jimmy Howard. He only gets to play behind the strongest team in the NHL over the past 10 years. Poor guy. No wonder his numbers suck.

    The 2010 Montreal Canadians Christmas Card

  34. SeriousFan09 says:

    It’s a good thing they brought in Jacques Lemaire to be the interim head coach of the NJD, I mean if there’s one guy who understands how to let dynamic and gifted scoring forwards play their game, it’s him…


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

  35. lenny says:

    How does one say in Belarusian it’s time to fire the coach?

  36. WestHab says:

    Sorry no and I could only get singles. did you try one at a time?

    – Who will be at the Heritage Classic?

  37. GrimJim says:

    Have you got an extra ticket?

  38. SmartDog says:

    I heard he was convening a meeting of Count Chocula and The Count from Sesame Street.  One!  One player benched ah-ahh-ahhh!!!


  39. WestHab says:

    Just in case I don’t find time to post before “Little baby Jesus’ birthday” I wanna whish all Hioers and Hab fans all over the universe a Merry Xmas and a Stanley cup in 2011.

    – Who will be at the Heritage Classic?

  40. The Cat says:

    The thing is with the system the habs now have down to a tee (collapsing on the goalie and blocking shots), is most goalies will look good. Look at Brodeur in NJ and how hes doing lately. Howard doesnt really have such benefits.


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

  41. HabFanSince72 says:

    That seems to be the interpretation.

    Anything good is luck, anything bad is incompetence.

  42. Jordio-oh says:

    Normally people are so distracted by the first round of 2003, and rightfully so, that they sometimes might forget we took Corey Urquhart (who never played a single nhl game) in the second round 9 picks before Shea Weber. And to a lesser extent, five picks before Patrice Bergeron.

    I don’t tend to get too caught up in the ‘we could have have player A instead of player B’ hype because its pointless and aggrevating. But my friends and I like to take runs at each other every now and then about the poor drafting history of our favorite teams. One is a Sens fan and the other is a Leafs fan so i normally have alot of material to work with :)

  43. JohnBellyful says:

    Montreal forward Andrei Kostitsyn has become a maligned figure of late for his indifferent play. Coach Jacques Martin has tried to catch his attention by first demoting him to the fourth line, and then sitting him out the last game.

    Unlike his teammates, Kostitsyn has been unable to explain himself to reporters as his grasp of the English language is limited. However, in a recent interview with a newspaper from his native Belarus, Kostitsyn spelled out what his season has been like thus far:

    Belarus Gazettesky: Tell me, Andrei, what has this season been like for you thus far?

    Kostitsyn: I feel like I’m channelling Dante and have entered the five face-off circles of Hell. I’m trying hard not to abandon hope, but the team’s recent skid and my being chosen the convenient scapegoat – as if I’m solely to blame for the slide – has left me thoroughly demoralized. I now know how my brother Sergei must have felt at the end of his career with the Canadiens.

    Belarus Gazettesky: Fans are saying, and the coaching staff apparently agrees with them, that you don’t give a full effort every game, that you’re maddeningly inconsistent. You are immensely talented, so why don’t you put up better numbers?

    Kostitstyn: Consistency requires consistency on many levels, not just on a personal plane. Having the same linemates for an extended period certainly helps, through thick and thin. And while I haven’t collected huge numbers of goals over the course of a season I have contributed in many other ways, such as delivering big hits and making nifty little passes. It’s also doing the little things, like knowing where to sit on the bench and when to pass the water bottle – what the organization likes to call the intangibles. I’m as good as anyone on the team when it comes to those kinds of infinitesimal contributions, which, I’ve been led to believe, apparently produce championships.

    Belarus Gazettesky: How did you receive being told you were going to sit out a game?

    Kostitsyn: My anger knew no bounds. I was livid. In our country, we have a saying: You don’t scratch an elbow when it’s your knee that’s itchy. I resented being scratched, elbowed out, whatever. I am neither the cause nor a symptom of the team’s current dysfunctional state, and while I vehemently disagreed with the team’s prescribed remedy, I took my medicine like a man, and I am fully prepared to redouble my efforts to be a scorer the Canadiens can count upon as we compete for a playoff spot down the stretch drive.

    Belarus Gazettesky: So, Andrei, just to make clear what you’re saying, when you return to the lineup it will be as a re-energized player determined to succeed?

    Kostitsyn: Indubitably.

    — “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” —

  44. coachdoug says:

    Just got tickets to the game…Habs need to come out of the slump tonight…

    “Six more years…God Bless You Turtleneck Man!”

  45. Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

    See, I tend to tune out any argument you have when you can’t even be bothered to check if what you’re stating as fact is indeed that. Getzlaf was drafted two years before Price.

    It’s hard to take any of your posts seriously when you don’t bother building your argument on facts.

  46. avatar_58 says:

    See thing is it’s easy to complain about drafts, but if we drafted differently – the UFAs would be targetted differently. We might not have had Cammy or Gorges. Priorities would be different, cap space would be different as well.

    So it’s not as black and white as – add Getzlaf, Parise, etc to our current roster. The team would be VERY different

  47. SeriousFan09 says:

    Except that Ryan Getzlaf was drafted in 2003…

    You want to start draft griping, you need to mention Carter, Parise, Kesler and the like compared to AK46 in the 2003 convseration that involves Getzlaf.


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

  48. LA Loyalist says:

    Why? No one’s ego is on the line for having burned a #5 overall draft pick – our highest pick since the 14th Century — for a goalie instead of Ryan Getzlaf or Kopitar.

    We could have been sitting here with Halak and Getzlaf.

    That said, Price may lead us to the promised land, he’s come along very well, but he was rushed and put us through hell last year, and for all the credit BG deserves for getting him he also has to accept responsibility for developing him so incompetently.

    The above is for entertainment value only. Save the death threats for posts about Gomez.

    As for Auld, your sample size is too small to be statistically valid.

    I feel sorry for Auld, I don’t care who you are, if you only face live ammo 3 times a season you could be Jacques Plante and not play well. And Price may be mentally exhausted by the Spring and then we’ll really be toast…

    Sorry, I wanted to write something funny, but when your millionaires are messing the bed for existentially mysterious reasons it’s hard to laugh.


    too small, too soft, too intangible.



  49. Jordio-oh says:

    1) Getzlaf was drafted in 2003. Carey Price was drafted in 2005.

    2) I didn’t realize having a 2.77 and a .912 was putting fans ‘through hell’. Jimmy Howard must be killing his fans since he has similar numbers right now (only with a way better goal support than Carey had last year)

    3) He even mentioned his thing about Auld starting over Carey was a joke, yet you still told him his sample size was too small, as if you were taking him seriously.

    4) statistics and facts are surprisingly useful when debating and discussing on and online form. give it a shot sometime.

  50. shiram says:

    So management sucks for getting Carey, but then we’d be fine with Halak, who we drafted and trained and managed??

  51. LA Loyalist says:

    thank you. my own post below depressed me, and now you crack me up. Thanks!


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

  52. LA Loyalist says:

    Sorry, posto dooblo.

    too small, too soft, too intangible.



  53. avatar_58 says:

    Healthy scratches: Carey Price, Alex Auld

  54. Storm Man says:

    I hear that Lord Martin is going to pick two names from a hat…

  55. StevieRay says:

    Any word on who’s sitting tonite ?

  56. 123456 says:

    Please note this post is for entertainment value only:

    Why are the Habs not starting the better goalie more often? Auld has a better GAA (2.01 Vs 2.23) and better Save% (.941 Vs .925). Is Martin really that blind or stubborn?

    Aulds GAA is 10% better !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  57. SmartDog says:

    Martin says consider the opposition – Detroit, Dallas…. yeah, what about Toronto?

    And thsi drives me nuts:

    Martin shrugged off a suggestion that Price might be tired, noting that the Canadiens have time off between games.
    Did he also shrug off that the same thing happened LAST YEAR with fewer games.  Price needs to go from being 23 to being 30.  Nuts.


  58. avatar_58 says:

    What is this tired BS? I love my canadiens but for the money these guys make they need to suck it up. They work very little each game with days off in between. Oh woe is them, they are tired!

    I bet there are plenty of AHL’ers who would KILL to go 82 games and then some.

  59. Julie H says:

    It’s a confidence thing. When Martin didn’t have confidence in Price last season, he played Halak and look how that turned out. He can’t admit that Price is tired or losing his edge or any of that because that would go against the gameplan.

    ♪Your cares and troubles are gone. There’ll be no more from now on. From now on happy days are here again, the skies above are so clear again. So let’s sing a song of cheer again. Happy times, happy nights, happy days are here again♪

  60. Bash says:

    Haven’t been posting much lately…but I read it all (or most of it) every day! Thanks everyone for the insight, the passion and of course the bullshit :)

    Our current roster needs a boost as most of you agree but that key D man will be hard to find without some creatvity in our front office. C’mon Santa!

    Have a great holiday season!

    Go Habs Go!


    “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

  61. 24 Cups says:

    This game isn’t quite as pivotal as the Bruin contest from last week, but it does have some serious strategic implications as we head into the Christmas weekend. A loss means that the divisional advantage flips to Boston while Carolina would creep up to being 4 points behind. Both teams would have two games in hand. A Hab win means that Carolina, Buffalo and Ottawa are eight points back in the playoff hunt.

    Carolina has a terrible home record (26th) but we are no great shakes on the road as we rank 25th. One distinct advantage is with special teams where Carolina is 23rd on the PP and 27th on the PK. Montreal stands 12th and 2nd. Which begs a question. Why is Pleks out on the PK so much? Isn’t he the main man in terms of running the #1 offensive line? Wouldn’t Gomez/Gionta and Halpern/Moen be better suited for this role? I realize that Pleks does a great job killing penalties but you can’t have it both ways. Especially for a team that is offensively challenged. Just sayin’.

    Pat Hickey has already mentioned this but Cam Ward is playing well right now. He’s won 4 or his last 5 and his only loss was a 2-1 SO affair against Dallas. Three of his last five games have gone to a shoot-out. Carolina has difficulty scoring goals and struggles to come from behind. It will really pay to get an early jump on them. Sound familiar?

    The Skinner/Stall/Cole line is Carolina’s #1 unit. Jeff Skinner has to be the player to watch as he has once again found his offensive touch by netting four points in four games. Same goes for PP quarterback, Joni Pitkanen.

    It would be difficult to not talk about Carolina without discussing Sergei Samsonov, the Grinch that stole Christmas from Hab fans a few years ago. Samsonov has 3 points in his last 4 games and now stands at 6/8/14. In a perfect world, he will be held scoreless while Max Pacioretty scores the winner.

    All teams go through slumps. Hab fans relished Pittsburgh’s poor start to the year as well as Washington’s latest slide. A win tonight and a split next week will go a long way to keeping us afloat in the playoff race.

    Carolina stat page for tonight’s game.

    Hurricane official website page.

    Canes Country blog page.

  62. ed lopaz says:

    Its not a slump – its more like the team falling back to the position it should hold.

    Without Markov this is not a team that will pace for 95 points or higher.

    When Markov was injured, Martin announced on RDS that the Spacek HAmrlik pairing will be matched against the opponents

    number 1 line.

    A few weeks later, its clear that this is not a strategy that can work.

    PK played 23-25 minutes before he was benched. The team was battling for 1st place overall.

    Now PK is playing like he needs more time in Hamilton – its laughable really – he has been that bad at times.

    Gorges is clearly injured – he is slow and making terrible decisions

    Gill is excellent on the Penalty KIll, but cant skate the whole ice – and hes getting caught too high in the zone.

    Picard is not even worth mentioning any longer. His play has dropped so badly he would clear waivers at this point.

    When Markov was injured we traded Markov for Picard – OOPS! – thats got to hurt any team.

    The result.

    We spend too much time in our own zone – like last year – leading to mistakes and goals against.

    By the time we clear the zone, the forwards have very little left in their shifts- and other than a few – their energy levels have dropped off the charts.

    Paccioretty and Eller look amazing to me – they are worth the price of admission and this organisation is lucky to have them.

  63. 123456 says:

    wards streak is a streak made to be broken!

    Re: Pleks – when down a man you have to put your best PK guys out there. If he makes the difference from PK success of 85% Vs 80%, then take that 5% over the season and it’s a handful of goals… more than resting him so he is fresher for his first shift after the PK.

  64. habsfan_61 says:

    im sure by now the troll patrol has been out since the bad streak started with their i told you so rant,bench this guy, trade him or fire this guy. well you folks should just pick your fingers off the panic button. you must realize this is a long season. it will have its ups and downs. right now we are on the down cycle and i would rather have it now than later. lets get just this thing over with now, make the proper adjustments and start to win again.this is a decent team other words as a favorite troll target once said. “just chill out”.

  65. CanadienBoy says:

    Funny at this time last year everyone’s was complaining that we were missing a captain.Time for Gionta and Gill to bring the leadership that is needed on the road

  66. Chris says:

    Considering that the average NHL player loses 1-2% of their body mass in fluid each game and 6-10 pounds of body fat and lean muscle over the course of a season, there is indeed some basis for the notion that over-playing a guy can get them into trouble.

    When you get into a tough part of the schedule (the Habs are in the midst of a 9 games in 17 days stretch plus the associated practices), it can wear a player down.  Goalies are usually more susceptible due to their increased activity level in practice.

    I always find the “I bet there are plenty of AHL’ers who would KILL to go 82 games and then some” somewhat inane.  Of course there are…but that was not the point of the original post.  If you want to watch an AHL player as the starting goalie for the Habs get played into the ground, that’s your prerogative.  But the “Suck it up” mentality is pretty silly.  A tired player whose body might (and I emphasize might) start wearing down in the doldrums of the season when the games are seemingly every other night but there is no stretch drive/playoff adrenaline to help motivate you could result in a drop in performance.  And the Habs have already chewed up their margin of error with this recent 5 losses in 6 games run.

  67. SmartDog says:

    Chris to the rescue!  Thanks.

    Add to your comment: Goalies are usually more susceptible due to their increased activity level in practice.

    that goalies play SIXTY plus minutes while everyone else plays 10-20.  And that they have the most stressful job on any team….  what is it that people can’t understand about having limits.  Boxers fight one match every several months; tennis players duck tournaments to prepare for other tournaments.  Goalies aren’t robots and hockey isn’t ping-pong.


  68. avatar_58 says:

    Yeah yeah yeah. Lookit – I love Price but I’m tired of hearing about his fatigue. He looks fine, the losses are not on him. If he’s our #1 he plays like #1. None of this tandem stuff.

  69. SmartDog says:

    Whether Auld plays one game out of 10  or one game out of 6, it makes no difference confidence-wise. Martin is showing FULL confidence in Price by making him the unrivaled starter of the vast majority of games. 

    Other players play 12-15 minutes a night.  Price plays 60+ in the most stressful job on the ice.  A goalie – especially a young goalie – needs a game off now and then to just WATCH and think the game without having to be his best every second.  This is why goalies almost never play 70 games. 

    To play Auld every 6-7 games takes nothing away from Price except an overload of stress and brain fatigue.


  70. avatar_58 says:

    No but it does forfeit those 2 points every 6-7 games. I mean if Price has to “be his best” for the team to win then what chance does slowmo Auld have?

  71. shiram says:

    I’m not sold on Auld being that bad, we have not seen him much, but he has not been terrible, and with such a light schedule for him, you have to admit he must be rusty about any time he plays.

  72. avatar_58 says:


    I think Martin needs to air his grievances in the locker room, then they can do the feats of strength

  73. Duke_Rauol says:

    Festivus isnt over till Cammy pins Gill!

  74. Habstilidie says:

    Ahhhhh…  There’s so much room to stretch out on this wagon!  Get over it people!  We are currently slumping, as 29 other teams manage to do each and every year.  It’s better to battle our way out of it now, with lots of time left in the season to work out the kinks.  This is the most solid team we’ve had in about 15 years, and I for one am refreshed at the “no quit” attitude we currently show on the ice.  We have great leaders who talk to eachother on the ice.  I’m not saying that I don’t drink the occasional pessimist cocktail every now and then, but I wake up the same every morning.  Ready for another win.  Tonight’s tilt should provide a great pace between 2 hungry teams hunting for position.  In this NHL, every team has a chance to win every night, nobody can be taken lightly.  So let’s hope for a great game tonight and our boys showing us their true CHaracter. 

    Happy Holidays to everyone here and Go Habs Go!!!

  75. SmartDog says:

    Hear! Hear!

    Someone posted the other day that Gionta was one of the least skilled captains in Habs history.  Ouch!  That might be going a bit far… there are others that were more leaders by attitude, professionalsm and tempermant than on-ice performance, but I will say that I was surprised that everyone seemed to think Gionta was the hands-down choice.  He’s Mr. consistancy in terms of effort but not results, and I don’t see him as either a master motivator or as a game-changer.  You’d think he’d need to be one of those two.  Not trying to pile on here, but I do wish we saw more leadership from Gionta though (as per the above) I’m not sure what form that could take.  Argh.


  76. avatar_58 says:

    You know what? If you need someone to yell at you or provide motivation at this level maybe you need to re-examine your career path.

    Other teams stick the ‘c’ on anyone and move on. I do not, for the life of me, understand why Montreal is so obsessed with it. Gionta is a fine captain. One player can’t light a fire under the whole team. Simply motivating won’t make passes better or get defenseman to stop turning over the puck

  77. 24 Cups says:

    SD – There’s no question that Gionta’s one of our least skilled captains.  In fairness, I don’t think you can compare him to the captains of the glory years.  Very few players could ever live up to that standard.

    In terms of the past twenty years, I think you would have to say that Mike Keane is our least skilled captain followed by Carbonneau.  Gionta rates in with that class in terms of pure skill although I would put him ahead of Keane.

    I wondered about Cammalleri as captain as I thought it might help boost his performance and influence here during the next five years.  He obviously would have liked the honour and it might have helped balance out his hot and cold spells.  Robert L. made the case for Tomas Pelkanec and I certainly could have lived with that choice.

    Gionta brings leadership and lots of intangibles but he is strictly a 2nd line player.  His captaincy is a reflection of what our team is all about these days.  Truth be told, the same thing could also be said about Koivu.  The Habs of the past 17 years are a team without stars that runs with the middle of the pack. 

  78. 123456 says:

    the sabres “slapped” the C on a former hab and bench him most nights – hmmmmm

    gionta is a good choice, he is one of the few that looks like he is working hard not only everynight but every shift!!

  79. SmartDog says:

    I like your main point.  The Captain isn’t the team.

    But I totally disagree with this: “If you need someone to… provide motivation at this level

    Motivation wins championships.  Period.  Creating motivation is difficult.  Why does Lats go from being useless here to being a top scorer on another team?  How (besides skill and strategy) did the Habs down the over-confident Ovechkin and co AND the Pens?  Skill, a LOT of effort and deep motivation. 


  80. SmartDog says:

    I was for Pleks or Cami or Markov.  Gionta was my #4.  It’s just an opinion but I think Pleks PLAYS like a Captain and is they kind of hard working versatilie in-your-face player a Captain should be AND has a seriousness that suits the role.   Cami I think TALKS like a Captain and when he elevates his game IS a game-changer.  Markov – is Markov. Injured now but we couldn’t know that… he leads and was the team anchor and for along time essential to its success.

    Gionta to me is good in almost all those areas but not a game-changer, and for me, if Pleks or Markov told me something MAN I’d listen to it.  If Cami told me something I know he’d ride me until I got it right.  Gionta… leads by example?  Dunno honestly.


  81. avatar_58 says:

    Latts is a tool – always was and always will be. So who really cares what he needed. Same goes for Sergei.

  82. Omit says:


    Here is a question for you for a change.

    How can you possibly question Gionta’s captaincy when you are not with the team to see how he interacts with his teammates?


  83. HabFanSince72 says:

    That was me.

    Hockey skill isn’t necessarily important for a captain I guess, but Gionta, great guy that he is (i’m sure), doesn’t have the ability to pull the team behind him.

    Our last two captains Koivu and Kovy (I know what everyone’s thinking so don’t bother) frequently led the charge for 3rd period comebacks.


  84. SmartDog says:

    How can I cricitize a movie when I’ve never made a movie?

    How can I question Subban’s benching when I don’t really know the reason or what he’s like in the locker room.

    It’s all speculation based on limited observation, reflection and results.  I don’t say I’m right, I just say what I think and try to explain why I think that.  And I do listen to others and sometimes change my mind. 

    I guess that’s how.


  85. SmartDog says:

    Latts is a jerk, no quesiton.

    But to say we’re happy not to have a big fat-assed, grinder in front of the net who can score goals is denial.


  86. SmartDog says:

    I agree with you. Maybe Gionta needs to blossom but the fact that the media loves him doesn’t mean much to me.

    Pleks, Cami, Markov… all COULD I think bring that spark to a 3rd period push. Gionta flying down the wing taking slappers at the net from top of the circle just doesn’t have the same effect as Pleks making plays, Cami buzzing around the net or Markov with a brialliant break-out pass or point blast.

    How often is Gionta one of the 3 stars?  Do you think he’s got the gravity when he speaks that a Captain needs? 

    To be clear: I may be wrong, Gionta MAY Captain this team to multiple championships for all I know.  But in my opinion, he wasn’t the right guy – and I’m not just saying it now, from the beginning I said Pleks/Cami/Marky.


  87. Omit says:


    It’s how can you criticize a movie when you have never seen the movie?

  88. The Teacher says:

    In other words, you’re moving from Gomez to Gionta now?

  89. SmartDog says:

    Nope. Happy to have Gionta on the team.

    You’ve obviously painted me with the wrong brush.  Sorry to dissappoint.

    (And I think Gionta’s probably an okay Captain, just not a great one, and in my view great was available in the form of Pleks or Cami or Marky. Gomez to me doesn’t even approach okay, let alone okay as an acquisition/value/teammate.) 


  90. SmartDog says:


    A better metaphor might be ‘how can I criticize a director when I’ve never met him?’.  Because I’ve seen his movies.

    We see pieces and we extrapolate. No-one knows the full inside view, so we should what?  Wave flags and praise our team for being perfect no matter what? Yeah, that would be fun!  Woulda been REALLY great in the late 90’s!  I don’t profess to be right about everything, I give my opinion and I try to support it with IDEAS.  It’s called communication. Try that.


  91. Omit says:

    I know dogs have a poor attention span, but you’re bringing it to the nth degree. Let’s start from the beginning, ok?

    Start from my original question. Then work back to our responses.  Now do you see that you are not privy to the interaction of Gionta and his teammates and, therefore, you are not in a position to criticize his captaincy?

    Now, look at something you posted earlier about Gionta being liked by the media. They see his relationship with his teammates and they know he’s doing a good job.  Extrapolate that!

    Your last paragraph pretty well says it all.  If you can’t make a distinction between a criticism by me of a baseless opinion and flag waving and praising our team for being perfect no matter what, then you need to delete the word “Smart”.

  92. Hobie Hansen says:

    I keep waking up and finding out that the Habs haven’t signed a guy who can fight yet? So sad…

  93. SPATS says:

    I got 1/2 way thru the first story and then read the following JM quote:

    “There were some good signs last night,” he said. “We were better in limiting the number of chances. Now we have to diminish the number of mistakes we’re making. I thought the Gomez line was very good. They created several scoring chances. We have to find a way to get the Plekanec line going again and we need support from the forwards.”

    Hey JM, how about the one big simple mistake you keep repeating (insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result) by taking AK away from Pleks… 
    Martin is taking the fun away from their playing, we know this. But now he’s taking the fun away from our watching, he needs to know that. After studying the HBO 24/7 Capitals Penguins the last 2 nights, we get to be fly on the wall… The head coach only makes brief appearances and leaves the players to sort it out amongst themselves. They don’t listen to critics, they only listen to themselves (what a shocker) However, I’m thinking they’re beginning to have doubts about the stubborn old coach, and the grumbling and mumbling is what is causing the fumbling.
    Now back to the rest of the story…
  94. joeybarrie says:

    Actually it was Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over. Not the English language….

    Merry Christmas.

    OH yeah, and so its known, I am expecting the Montreal Canadiens Toaster for X-mas from my wife. So after I open it and I say ‘I KNEW IT’ I can prove it… MMMMM  waking up every morning to an espresso and CH toast… Thats the life I have been waiting for.

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

  95. LA Loyalist says:

    That’s a pretty revealing post. “eliminating mistakes”? You can’t eleminate all mistakes in hockey, the game can’t be controlled to that degree, the freaking puck is frozen and you’re playing on ice, duh.

    The game is about creating opportunities out of mistakes, theirs and ours.

    In my kid’s game a player got hit in the helmet and the puck just dropped in front of him and he got a break-away. That’s hockey. Yeah you play a system and you don’t pass blind and you don’t throw it up the middle blah, blah, blah but to put all your energy into eliminating mistakes and in the process killing everyone’s creativity and spirit, what’s the point.

    I think that’s the most damning stuff about Count Chocula I’ve heard.

  96. SPATS says:

    Fair enuff, I just did a quick google and you’re correct sir. However, you don’t disagree with my main point either… It’s pretty obvious to most of the posters here. We have 4 solid lines (my picks below) now that should be left alone

    AK Pleks Cammy

    Gio Gomer Patches

    Darche Eller Pouliot

    Moen Halpern Lappy


  97. joeybarrie says:

    I didn’t say i disagreed with your insanity point either… Einstein was a smart guy, smarter than Webster???? Probably.

    I do think we should try to keep lines together. But to be honest I don’t get paid to coach an NHL team. I think we should see what MaxPac can do on that line for a while.

    But I heard a VERY good line from 24-7 yesterday. Critics, Pundits, and fans think they know something about professional hockey. Let’s face it, if they knew anything they would be in professional hockey…

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

  98. GrimJim says:

    I going to throw a curve ball into this debate. Yes those are solid lines but saying that keeping them together for extended periods and assuming they will always be successful also assumes that opposing coaches will never figure out a way to counter/defend against those combinations. The other teams aren’t static. Those coaches are (or should be) actively developing ways to stop our players from doing what they want to do and when one team figures out a way, most of the teams will copy it. Evolutionj exists as much on a hockey rink as any where else. MAybe the lines are being juggled because after a year and a half together, the good teams and coaches are figuring out how to defend against AK-TP-MC line? After all, wasn’t the knock against Boudreau in last year’s playoff series the fact that the Habs developed a strategy to defend Ov-Backstrom-Semin and Boudreau couldn’t counter it? Maybe JM see (or thinks he sees) it happening here.

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