The playoff hero returns

Jaroslav Halak makes his first start at the Bell Centre since the miracle postseason run in 2010.
Your Montreal Canadiens, who need a miraculous second half to make the playoffs, will be looking to spoil the homecoming party.

Dave Stubbs on Halak

Must-win game for Canadiens

Pat Hickey’s midseason grades

The guy they got from St. Louis

Five games for Marchand

The surging Senators

Penguins dropping like flies

Stu Hackel on the realignment debacle


  1. HABZZZ says:

    I was worried at the start because I wanted Jaro to get the support he deserved from our fans. He was an important part of that run that we had. As a Montreal Canadians fan we take pride in all the players past and present that have worn the Red White and Blue. And we Salute you Jaroslav Halak because you deserve it. And my thought and prayers go out to the family of Ron Caron as he to will be remembered as a great one and thanks for all the memories

  2. price365 says:

    It’s not about who has the best Goalie – it’s about what kind of team you have that’s why tonight is gonna be interesting – we have a decent team – they have a decent team – we have a good coach they have a good coach – so let it be played out on the ice – which ever team plays the best will win.
    if it was about goal tending – Halak would have won the cup for us – the Habs beat out pittsburgh and washington and they had the top players – after that came size scoring and toughness – we had the skill and speed – the size scoring and toughness did us in and it’s still continuing.

    • Bill says:

      What did the Habs in against the Flyers was Halak coming back to Earth in a big way. That’s it. If he’d played the same way he had against Pittsburgh and Washington the Habs would have gotten past them too.

      The Pens and Caps had size and scoring too. Halak beat them, with help from Gill and Cammalleri, who also were above and beyond in those playoffs.

      When Halak cooled off, The System revealed its usual inefficacy and the result was to be expected.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • --Habs-- says:

        Agree 100%! Halak was one of the main reason why the Habs made it through 2 series although he did have some fairly bad games against both the Caps and Pens! He was also one of the main reasons why we couldn’t get by the Flyers. Lets be truthful here. Against the Flyers he was awful. Habs had a fairly good series against the Flyers and actually out shot the Flyers in most games. Halak could’t stop a beach ball.

        • Bill says:

          I would say he was other-worldly against Pittsburgh and Washington, but got out-played against Philly. I’m not sure I’d say he was bad, but he wasn’t good. Ok, he was bad.

          Full Breezer 4 Life

      • Duracell3 says:

        “What did the Habs in against the Flyers was Halak coming back to Earth in a big way. That’s it”

        Not even a valid opinion, it’s just flat out wrong.

        Montreal got SHUTOUT by a backup AHL goaltender in 3 out of 5 games against Philadelphia. That had nothing to do with Halak “Coming back to Earth”, and everything to do with the problem that continues to plague us, and it isn’t goaltending; this team is full of crappy forwards who can not score goals, especially against more physical defenses.

  3. Mike D says:

    Tough predicament for us Hab fans this season.

    On the one hand we want our team to win and make the playoffs . If we do, RC has a better chance of staying on as head coach and I think we all appreciate the style of game he is getting the boys to play, and a lot of us here support him as head coach beyond this season.

    On the other hand, winning enough to make the playoffs is nearly impossible at this point due to a piss poor first half. What’s the point in finishing 9th with no chance of even competing for the Stanley Cup considering that also lands us picking mid-round instead of at the top of the round where the best players are? Not exactly best for our future, and if your not going to win this year, the best thing you can do is get the best talent possible to help you win in the future.

    Tough predicament indeed.

    I could never cheer for the Habs to lose, and while I realize the Habs can still make the playoffs, it’s such a long shot that I don’t think it will happen. I’ll be all too happy to eat crow on that one though….preferably on Ste-Catherine watching the Stanley Cup parade go by.

    – Honestly yours

  4. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Halak was a hero that playoff run, and Game 6 vs Caps was one of the best performances of his career, IMHO.

    Thanks Jaro for the great memories, I hope the Bell faithful give you props when your name is announced tonight, but after that, it’s game on.

  5. gohabsgo25 says:

    Question for all of you

    i have this friend who hates erik cole for some reason,
    He has told me blah blah he sucks cant play with staal but look at him now.

    The question is
    Do you think Erik cole has been stealing goals and not showing teamwork skills by doing that or making sure the puck just goes in or padding his stats to show the hockey world he doesnt need staal?
    I think hes just making sure the puck goes in.
    As my buddy said “cole stole 6 goals this season”

    whats your take hab fans

    • TomNickle says:

      Just watch Erik Cole’s hustle for about five seconds and you have your answer to that question.

      He’s on pace for a career season without Staal, that argument went out the window a long time ago. As for stealing goals, I don’t think he needs to apologize to anyone for making sure the puck goes in the net.

    • mb says:

      I think he’s making sure the puck goes in. Of course we don’t know how he is in the locker room, but he looks like a team first player. Plus the goals he “stole” were slow pucks getting to the net. I think he rather make sure it goes in than letting the goalie put his hand on it before it crosses the goal line.

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      You are taught to slam the puck in the net if you can… always…

      why wouldn’t you?

      your buddy sounds like an idiot when it comes to hockey.

    • Bobcat Bob says:

      Bobcat Bob
      My take is your friend is an idiot who knows nothing about hockey

  6. HFX-HabFan says:

    Ron Caron passed away. Somewhat ironic that the two teams he was associated with are playing tonight.

  7. RGM says:

    Polite applause galore for Halak in the pre-game, but once it’s game on I hope that people remember that their team is desperately fighting for a playoff spot.

    GO HABS GO! 2011-12 is probably not our year!
    Chat with me on Twitter @TheRealRGM81

  8. habsnyc says:

    Halak did something special for Montreal. He took them to the semi finals for the first time since 1993. The fans have great memories of it. But he was not the goalie of the future for this team. He needed to cash in on that performance and he got his money from St. Louis. That is all good. Could Montreal have done better in trading him? That is hard to know, but they traded a starting roster player for player two years away from contributing. I cannot say that it was a stellar deal. I cannot say it was a horrible deal. Still, it had to be done and it was the right thing to trade Halak.

    Marchand is an idiot. He has a Cup and 2 WJC gold medals. He can score 30 goals and play two way hockey. If he was more disciplined he could be a dark horse candidate to replace Marleau, Heatley or Morrow on the 2014 Olympic team. Lucic and Hall are the obvious choices. But Marchand could work into the mix if he could play on the edge, but not over the edge.

    Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

    • Habtastic says:

      I was a stELLER deal, trust me.


      Marchand on the national team, puke. Bergeron was fine. Surely we have enough non-shutdown fwds not to need him. I think Eberle should be at the lop of that list and I don’t see Lucic as fitting into the fabric of team Canada. Horton and Bergeron are better choices IMO if we want to feel sick.

      The Drive for 25

  9. TomNickle says:

    I’m sorry to break this to the media and fans who have doomed this season. And let me first say before I make my point that I don’t want the hockey operations department of this team mortgaging any part of the future for a run at the playoffs this season.

    With New Jersey, Ottawa and Toronto currently in playoff positions, the playoffs aren’t by any means out of reach. And it wouldn’t be miraculous if this team made it. They are two games under .500 and being 10 games over .500 this season looks like a pretty good measuring stick for the playoff bubble. 12 games over .500 in the next 41? Not miraculous.

    I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but this team has a better goal differential than New Jersey, Ottawa, Florida and Winnipeg.

    • shiram says:

      Habs are a bottom team right now, they need to play like the best teams in the league right now, basically getting 26-27 wins out of the remaining 41.
      It’s not impossible but it is highly unlikely.
      I agree on the goal differential thing, that’s the one stats that gives me hope that they can improve.
      That and Markov’s return.

    • habs03 says:

      I’m not sure if they will make it, and I don’t want to make excuses, but this is a good team having a bad season. We would be just fine, if it wasn’t for two bad stretches, the first 8 games of the season, and the first 5-6 games after JM got fired.

    • habs001 says:

      In the second half the habs need a top 10 pp to have any chance at playoffs plus we have to hope that the teams we are trying to catch dont have better second halfs as even 3-4 more points would mean we may have to win 28-30 games…the top teams have to keep winning at the same pace and regularly beat the teams we are trying to catch…

    • Phil C says:

      It’s definitely doable, especially given how they have been playing in the last 5 games. There will be some easier games in the second half because teams are beat up (like Pittsburgh) and there will be sellers at the deadline who will weaken their line-up for draft picks. Also, teams that are way ahead in the standings often slump down the stretch, getting healthy for the playoffs. If the Bruins can play almost 900% for the last 27 games, the Habs can can play 600% for the rest of it. If they do make the playoffs, they will be a better team than their seeding will suggest, so they could do some damage.

  10. HabFanSince72 says:

    A MP has gotten into trouble for calling a 15-year old a jackass on twitter.

    But this isn’t the surprising thing. The whole thing started when the MP posted that “Coach’s Corner gave me lots to think about tonite”.

    The teen replied that he should learn to spell ‘tonight’ correctly. Which led to the jackass retort.

    But surely the least objectionable part of “”Coach’s Corner gave me lots to think about tonite” is ‘tonite’.

  11. habs001 says:

    The blues have 53 points vs the habs 39…they have scored fewer goals than the habs but have given up 25 fewer goals and have a great home record…this seems to be the formula the habs had the last 2 years…

  12. BLACK ICE says:

    Halak – A playoff Hero?

    Did the Habs win the Cup back then?

  13. krob1000 says:

    Cammi’s coming back tonight? we could use the return of a playoff hero since every game is a playoff game from now until April…

    • punkster says:

      Interesting, maybe. Does the writer really believe that the players fully understand and accept the notion that concussions are OK? Because that’s what he suggests in regards to “The small elite who’ve received that Mephistophelean proposal”.

      I call BS on this writer. His statements are as narrow minded as Burke and Bettman’s execs and the elected representatives of the NHLPA.

      Put another way, would you or anyone reading this be willing to potentially sign their lives away for 1 million or 10 million dollars?

      Put that to a vote. Better yet phrase it clearly and get Mr. Boone to make it an HI/O poll question of the week.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Agree Punkster, Cathal Kelly has yet to earn my respect as a real sports journalist. It is a very reactionary current piece.

      • twilighthours says:

        If it’s Cathal Kelly, then everything he writes is self-important tripe.

        But if you asked the players a more accurate question: “would you like the thrill of playing in the best league in the world and making between 1-50 million dollars, with the small but not insignificant chance that you will have your long-term lifestyle affected by concussions?” Everyone would still say yes. I would too.


        • punkster says:

          The question would, as I say, have to be clearly stated. I can’t imagine many saying yes if you worded it this way: “Would you accept an annual payment of $2.5M for 5 years against the X% possibility of being repeatedly concussed and losing the ability to live a long and active life and deriving your family of a husband/father/sibling/offspring by becoming incapacitated or dieing at a young age?

          My question is as extreme as yours but states average wages, average length of career and would indicate the known % probability of debilitating injury.

          Neither approach is correct but something the article’s author does ring true. The league turns a blind eye to the issue by focusing on penalties without attacking concussions directly.

          ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • G-Man says:

      “Silent” majorities tend to be tiny minorities. Frankly, when players fight I tend to change the channel. Unless it’s comedy, like Marchand vs Subban.
      The refs should just do their bleeping jobs and call infractions. That’s why they were instituted, anyway.
      It would help if the NHL got rid of the goons in its own head office.

      • punkster says:

        That would be one way, but clearly not the only way, to attack the problem. Equipment, training and education, increased research, increased respect for fellow players, elimination of staged fights, etc…so many opportunities to change without affecting basic elements of the game.

        ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  14. shiram says:

    It feels like some Habs fan have an unhealthy fascination with the Bruins.

  15. Propwash says:

    As great as Halak was in the deep playoff run, Jacques Martin’s defensive system gets almost zero accolades. Keeping shots on the perimeter, and insane shot blocking was a huge part of making it to the conference finals. It wasn’t all Jaroslav.

    • Although you gotta wonder a bit about a defensive system that requires a goalie to make 53 saves in a Game 6…

      • avatar_58 says:

        Tends to happen when you had 2 teams with superstars galore all playing at elite levels. It just so happens that the D and the goalie stoned them, keeping their shots to the outside and breaking up the pretty plays.

        *Technically* they played pretty good defensively, the save count doesn’t indicate it. Halak is best at low shots and that’s where they kept them, no one was given time or space to make pretty top shelf shots.

        • Well, all I remember is being pretty damn impressed with Halak watching that game.

          • avatar_58 says:

            Me too, but if you take Gill and Gorges out of that game I bet he would look less impressive.

        • Habtastic says:

          Tell me about it. We were playing pitt and washingston! As I remember, the defence and support from the forwards was stellar. Rebound popped out, swept right out of the crease. Gomez had a great playoffs too in various facet. Moore was terrific. Pleks was an awesome shutdown guy, limiting great scoring chances. Gill and Gorges? Remember them? Unbelievable. Lappy, what a great playoff for him too. Halak was terrific too, but we cannot ignore how the difference between now and then is that we executed perfectly in every zone. We knew our weaknesses and we exploited theirs better. Not to mention some timely goal scoring by the squid. Also Markov for a round and change.

          The Drive for 25

  16. RetroMikey says:

    As for that letter grade, it’s reserved for the overall performance and it has to be an F according to Pack Hickey for our team.
    If I were to grade the team, it would have to be a big Z.
    As a Habs fan for so many years, I am disappointed in our club and don’t like what I see where we are heading if we keep signing overrated million dollar players in Gionta, Cammallerri, and Plekanec for example.
    Gorges for Captain!!!!!

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • Habsssssssswin says:

      I couldn’t agree more. When the league took out the center red line,and penalized the clutching,and grabbing,and obstruction that went on in the neutral zone, management figured speed and finesse is now in style. Wrong ! Size and strength is still the winning formula in conjunction with finesse.

    • G-Man says:

      You’re not supposed to show up before a loss. Anticipating one, perhaps?

  17. avatar_58 says:

    Lot’s of folks here bashing Halak, rather than thanking him and giving him the props he deserves. No, it wasn’t “all him” in the playoff run but he did play a huge part in it.

    Why can’t you guys get over the trade / Price vs Halak business already? I hope no one boos him, it’s not like he chose to be traded.

    I hope we beat his ass badly, but only because he’s on the other end of the ice. Not because he’s Halak. He can do well on another night.

    • Mike D says:

      This accurate, reasonable, and level-headed post has no business on HI/O. C’mon 58, you know better 😛

      – Honestly yours

    • BLACK ICE says:

      He wanted to be traded!

    • RetroMikey says:

      Wrong, a good goaltender takes you very far in the playoffs.
      Halak was amazing several years ago and does deserve the credit that he gave us a long playoff run, not the players IMO.
      Did you not see the amazing saves he made to keep us in all of those games against Washington and Pittsburgh? Stellar goaltending at its best!
      I will give him a standing O if I were at the game.
      He deserves it and you won’t see our team going far this year or seasons to come the way we are heading.
      IMO, Price is a good goalie but can’t see him performing under pressure or in the clutch this season.
      Thank you Jaro for the great memories in Montreal!

      “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  18. PrimeTime says:

    How would sentiment change if Subban was a Bruin and Marchand a Hab. The comments here on the Marchant suspension would take a 180. The B fans jumped out of their seats after the low hit and Hab fans would have done the same and then complained about a suspension. I think the hit was illegal and Marchand at the very least got what he deserved but just saying, if it was Subban, he would get similar support from his fans.

    • arcosenate says:

      Subban isn’t a dirty little jackass like Marchand, your theory doesn’t work because of it.

    • avatar_58 says:

      Oh BS, we all agreed Pacioretty’s hit was a bad one. Just because the B’s fans can’t see beyond their own bias doesn’t mean habs fans here are the same

      • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

        My only issue with the Marchand suspension is that when they are cracking down on head shots, but can’t suspend/discipline them in any organized/logical way, how can they give a guy 5 games for a trip?

        I agree it was a dirty play, probably suspension worthy, but I think Marchand is the fall guy for all the crap that has gone uncalled/disciplined in this, the “season of the crack down”.

        They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

        • shiram says:

          It’s not a trip, but clipping.

        • avatar_58 says:

          I don’t pretend to know or care about how Shanahan is doing things. He’s just rolling the dice at this point. I don’t understand why people debate suspensions when there is zero rhyme or reason for the end result.

          Those idiotic explanation videos don’t help either, since you can match them up to other non suspensions perfectly. I guess only certain players are allowed to be suspended? Is what Marchand did worse than what Lucic did to Miller? No?

          • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

            Exactly, the players are totally lost at this point. Either suck it up and suspend every play that is borderline high, or let the players sort it out on their own.
            They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

      • DrunkenKeith says:

        Exactly. When Pacioretty threw that hit, my immediate thought was that he deserved a suspension. Marchand’s hit was dirty but combined with his behaviour leading up the hit (sour grapes over a good solid hit made by Salo) made it all that more vindictive.

        I realize that we are all obviously biased, but I think we can recognize a blatant example of a poor hit when we see one.

        And with all that said, I’d like to conclude by saying that I really #$%#$ing hate the Bruins, and Marchand is a big reason why. And Lucic. And Ference. And Chara. And the rest, although I think Thomas is ok….

    • shiram says:

      I dislike some of things PK does, mainly when he looks to the refs for a call on a play and things like that, but he is not in the same category as Marchand.
      Marchand is a little thug, and he plays recklessly and I would not support him on the Habs.

    • twilighthours says:

      The Habs haven’t had a player that dirty and dangerous since Dave Manson. I hated Manson. I hate Marchand. I would not support him on the team – but he could be a heck of a player.


    • RetroMikey says:

      Excellent post Primetime!
      A very fair opinion to shut all our baby Habs fans out there.
      When will we ever stop whining about those Bruins on this site and just focus our weaknesses and do something to improve our club instead of our club being so weak this season and seasons to come?

      “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  19. HabsfanoftheHabs says:

    Most of us recognize that Boston is a top organization in this league, a well built team who could win back-to-back cups (pls no!). I was surprised to see the Bs brass complaining as much as they did about the Marchand suspension.

    A professional organization would have come out with something like:
    “We’re disappointed in the NHL’s decision and although we do not agree with it, we accept it and will move forward.”

    The whining we’ve seen over the last 2 days was pathetic and something I didnt expect from this Organization. I guess it was always in them, but they rarely received suspensions. I hope this is one of those turning points in the season for a team that messes with chemistry and gets them off track from what has been a very impressive season thus far.

    • G-Man says:

      Ever notice how bullies whine when they are finally facing repercussions for their actions?

    • shiram says:

      They are used to getting their way, so the change of pace upsets them.
      I’m not surprised at their whining though.

      • HabsfanoftheHabs says:

        What we ‘need’ now is a major injury to one of their top guys on a ‘Hockey Play’… and lets see how they respond.

        For the record, I hate to see guys injured, but wouldnt mind if it’s say… Chara?

        • shiram says:

          I’d rather they lose with a full roster so they have no excuses, but all of that is in the realm of fantasy.

          • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

            They’re a Boston sports team. They and their fans would find excuses anyway.

            They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

  20. Habsssssssswin says:

    Any goalie can get hot at the right time. Jaro did. Steve Penney,too. Pricey is better , far better, than any goalie in the league on a continuous basis. I believe it. Goaltending is not our problem. Lack of toughness, not size, is. This will be our downfall. The Bruins are a great example, albeit I despise them,yet admire their pack mentality style.They intimidate and defend each other. So what if that obnoxious little puke Marchand hides behind Chara. He at least knows Chara will protect him. Who besides Mara will do this for us ? Hal Gill ? I don’t think so……. Shanahan might be the Principal, but sooner or later you gotta settle it in the schoolyard ……


    • ABHabsfan says:

      Uhhh, Mara doesn’t play for the Habs anymore

    • shiram says:

      MTL is out-hitting Boston but Boston are tops in major penalties, and game misconduct.
      I’d rather a physical game than the comedy of fighting on skates, but it does seem to be working for the Bruins, it’s just not a style of hockey I like to watch.
      Oh and the Habs don’t have Mara anymore, AFAIk he is unemployed.

    • G-Man says:

      I wish your sentiment about Price was true. I can’t admire the Gooins because I hated the Flyers of the 70s, too. They were goons with 3 or 4 great players on the the team like Bernie Parent, Rick Macleish, and Bill Barber. Notice I didn’t include head goon “Don’t call me Bobby” Clark.

    • vegas says:

      the Bruins are a tough team because of 3 guys. Chara who spens 30 minutes a game on the ice, Lucic and Thornton.
      Notice how whenever there is some tough stuff going on Chara seems to be in the mix within seconds? Any team with guys like that to back them up will always feel a couple of inches taller. To their advantage their scary guys can also play, they aren’t just goons. Chara and Lucic to me are amongst the Elite in the league. Gill couldn’t scare a mouse and Moen is alone in his camp

  21. HabinBurlington says:

    I must have typed in the wrong website address today, feel like I am at BluesInsideOut. Where is all the love for Matt D’agostini?

  22. HabsfanoftheHabs says:

    STL is a crazy 17-3 at home and 7-9 on the road. Lets hope that trend continues tonight. Big week for the boys!

    • “21. Couple of notes about Cunneyworth: Apparently, he rarely yells at players. “What he’ll do is wait for you to come back to the bench and say, ‘Why did you do that?’ If you keep doing it, you won’t play.” ”

      That’s sounds reasonable. Kinda makes him sound like Paulie in Goodfellas.

      • Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:


        You only get one chance to yell at somebody and have it work, in my opinion, better make it worth it. I save my yelling/anger with my employees or kids for the one point that really matters. When I was a kid and got yelled at I usually tuned it out by about the first syllable in the first word, I’m not that abnormal am I?

        They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

  23. habs03 says:

    So where do we thank PG for trading the right goalie, when I bet most GM would have traded Price, just because of the fan pressure. Image PG was fired that summer, and a new GM was hired and his first move was to trade Halak lol.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Hey, Dufus03 – enough of the revisionism. It’s NOT that Halak was traded.

      It’s WHEN he was traded, and WHO we got for him (a player who was TWO YEARS away from being useful (yeah, just now Eller is starting to look good) and who we nearly ruined by not letting him develop in Hamilton – Just like we damn near ruined Price.

      Those of you who think the Forum ghosts are gone – I think not, because it looks like both those guys have worked out – but no thanks to our genius management team and Dead Man Walking Jack Martin.

      • TomNickle says:

        Instead of praising Eller and Price for their development. Or even mentioning Martin, Muller, Pearn or Groulx, let’s just chalk it up to Forum Ghosts.

        Garbage Brad. You’re like a child here sometimes. You let your personal hatred for a select few skew your judgment. When a player busts, it’s Martin and Gainey’s fault, when they succeed, it’s due to Forum Ghosts.

        I wanted Martin fired, but he played a role in the development of young players on this roster, whether you like it or not.

        • bleedhabs81 says:

          Well stated Tom.

          You never know what your going to get from LA. Sometimes good insight, sometimes garbage.

          When I first started reading his posts I assumed he was twelve (based on the random mood swings and personal attacks)… then he posts he has a kid… so there goes that theory.

      • habs03 says:

        Who are you calling Dufus, you just mad, that you have nothing else to say expect blame the bad on management and the good on luck like TomNickle mentioned. Your a clown, if your going to bring up stuff like “when” Halak got traded, atleast give reasons, why it would have been better to wait. Because it wouldn’t have been. Had MTL waited, possible to July 1st, if a team choose to sign Halak to an offer sheet, ex Blues at 3.75M per year, MTL would have been forced to either match and not be able to trade Halak and be forced to trade Price, only simply take St Louis 1st round pick and 3rd round pick in the next draft. PG smartly choose to take guys that were former first round picks in Eller and a former 3rd round pick in Schultz, because they were closer to the NHL then those picks would have been!

      • Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

        What’s with the name-calling? Why can’t you just put forth your argument without resorting to petty insults? For someone who hopes the fans at the game tonight show themselves to be classy, you don’t show too much class on this board when people have a different viewpoint than yours.

        As for the trade, it might be possible that the Habs could have picked up a more established player for Halak. The truth is, we’ll never know. However, I think that Gauthier was looking for a player like Eller, who was just on the cusp of being a regular contributor and was still cheap. We need to remember that at the time, we didn’t have a whole lot of cap space, so bringing in a player making more money might have made things difficult. I’m not saying this is necessarily what Gauthier was thinking, but it is a possibility.

      • Arrow77 says:

        You just can’t win with some people. It’s not enough that Price and Eller turned out good, now the way they’ve been developped wasn’t good enough. And two years away… really? That’s too long for you to wait for a player to develop?

        There’s a pattern here. Both players developped at a completely normal pace but there was an impatience with so many people that it made it look like there weren’t developping properly. If somebody almost ruined Price and/or Eller, it was them, not the management.

        • Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

          You’re right about fans’ expectations in this city. It seems that a good portion of fans expect our young players to be stars by the end of their first or second seasons with the Habs. If they aren’t, then they get tagged as either a bust, a headcase, overrated, or some other derogatory term.

          Players are human beings. Each one is different and each one will mature at a different pace. The players who are superstars at age 22 are truly special and were likely picked in the top 5 of the draft.

          Also, a lot of it depends on the situation the player finds himself in. In general, fans of the Habs tend to be impatient when it comes to player development, and that’s one of the reasons it is so hard for guys to play here.

  24. shiram says:

    Not to take anything away from Halak and what he did 2 years ago, but alot of players played really well in front of him as well, to get the team in the third round.
    Cammy stands out with his 13 goals, 6 assists for 19 points in 19 playoffs game, and alot would want to trade him now.
    He is slumping right now for sure, but just about all the team is.

    • HabsfanoftheHabs says:

      STL has won 3 straight and they sit nicely in the West.

      I always thought Halak’s numbers were ‘over-credited’ to him. The team played great in front of him and so many of the shots, especially against WAS, were from the boards. He played great, but wasn’t the sole reason they won those games like people give him credit for.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Halak isn’t.

      “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

  25. Bash says:

    5 games for Marchand…

    Could easily have been more and well deserved but no matter how you slice it the next one has to be huge. At the very least his record will enter into future decisions.

    Still… for a blatant attempt to injure (and we are talking knees here!) he should have paid on the spot. He looked kinda cute hiding behind Chara in the aftermath. I wonder if all the Bruins were impressed?

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

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Conceptually you are correct next one should be huge, but then that would have meant Carcillo most recently would have gotten a 20 game suspension given how many times he has had to sit in the corner.

      I hope the”next time” is much more, but again see no evidence to support this.

    • Phil C says:

      With Chara playing 30 minutes a game, half the time the Bruins can get away with almost anything because there is no one in the league who can fight Chara. It makes the rest of their players seem tougher than they really are. Can’t wait to see the Habs run circles around Chara this week, they often make him look bad.

      At least Marchand now has the “predatory” player label according to the league, which means he was trying to hurt the other player. That label should stick with him for his career and he should no longer get the benefit of the doubt from the refs or the league.

    • francbiss says:

      I got a feeling Marchand would play that kind of game if he wasn’t backed up by a bunch of goon like Chara, Thorton, Lucic, etc…

  26. PrimeTime says:

    I have to agree with Ed that every team has godd young prospects no different than the Habs. Ours are not the cream of the crop draft picks but certainly have potential to be future stars but development of their skills is key…..some make it, others don’t. Hab fans over value their players and when they don’t become the next Beliveau, Lafleur, Robinson, Roy they put him down. There is so much more to a team than a collection of stars and the right mix and a little luck is the key to any chemistry experiment but there is no exact formula.

  27. habs03 says:

    I read that JM will be doing some scouting for the Habs, might not be the best coach in motivating players when team is struggling, but he seems like a really smart hockey mind. Never could have too much info on players

    • aj says:

      Maybe JM can scout for players that can replace our dwindling veteran core to help their chances to get to the postseason or move forward within the next 2-3 years.

      • habs03 says:

        I’m guessing your speak of Cammy and Gionta? Gomez has not future with this team so I wont count him but, in including playoff games.


        Season 1: 37 goals in 80 games
        season 2: 32 goals in 89 games

        Season 1: 39 goals in 84 games
        season 2 22 goals in 72 games

        Are we going to through this guys under the bus after 1 bad season?

        • Cardiac says:

          We did with Ryder:

          Season 1: 81GP 30G 25A 55PTS
          Season 2: 82GP 30G 28A 58PTS
          Season 3: 70GP 14G 17A 41PTS

          “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
          – Jerry Maguire

          • habs03 says:

            Well I could understand if Gionta and Cammy were upcoming UFA and ppl didn’t want to resign them like in the case with Ryder, but ppl want to trade these guys for nothing.

          • G-Man says:

            I think the paper airplanes being tossed by him during a playoff game sealed his fate. That, and compared to all the Habs forwards he is slow.

          • mb says:

            G-Man: Forgive my lack of knowledge, but what’s the story about Ryder and the paper planes? I’ve read about this a few times and I have no clue what it is about…

          • habs03 says:

            @mb During the 08 playoffs, Carbo put Ryder in the pressbox, one game he was on his phone all game, and during a game vs Philly he was making paper air-planes and throwing them into the crowd from the press box.

          • mb says:

            Thank you habs03…
            Wow, can you say idiot!

          • bleedhabs81 says:

            Not the best career move, but it sounds like fun (tossing paper airplanes).

    • nunacanadien says:

      Please we had enough yogurt eating pacifists in Montreal, last thing we need is the JM type player who is around 6 feet tall 200 pounds and doesn’t like to fight, only wants to protect a 2 goal lead and who sits back in the 3rd period. No thank you. Having Jacques Martin as a scout even would bring us nothing but a bunch of pansy wimpy players who believe in the hockey movie Disney Ducks and the flying V formation. No thank you. We need more Emelins, more Coles, and if possible more Gallaghers.

  28. PrimeTime says:

    Excellent report card by Hickey. I give it an ‘A’.

    • nunacanadien says:

      It seems to state Cunneyworth is an aggressive minded coach. So far I’ve yet to see a total aggressive committment, no Cunneyworth has added to the problem of this past season as an assistant coach. I don’t question his talents. If this was Cunneyworth’s contribution, it is a little bit to late, too late in the season Cunneyworth. It may even cost us the season. But then, Molson I am sure will fire some assistant coach yet again and blame that person and not make any signficant changes yet again, and we’ll be stuck with a mediocre offense yet again. We still lack a scoring forward, we may have many in the lineup who are potentials, but really the Cunneyworth five on five still shows up. Gauthier and Molson fired the wrong guy, and if it hadn’t been for the scoring output, I bet very few saw the horrible five on five offense that cost us the season. How many saw the dismal first period that Red Fisher saw? How many saw the lack of offense still? Because the habs have been using the same playbook that has cost us the season, Cunneyworth’s playbook.

  29. the gonk says:

    I’m amazed Marchand got a suspension. It was just a “hockey play” gone wrong. He’s a little guy defending himself! That’s what they do! What a weasel (I mean bruin). Yuck.

  30. Marc10 says:

    I too hope Jaro gets a great ovation… He deserves it.

    … and then I hope Lars scores 5! 🙂

    • WindsorHab-10 says:

      I hope they boo him out of the Bell Centre. He’s the enemy.

    • nunacanadien says:

      We could use Halak now, that is for sure. Halak saved us before. Who are you to look down on his hard work and contribution. The man may not have won any more than Carey Price, but Halak knew when to win and when it counted. Sure Molson and Gauthier pissed away the first half of the season betting on Price and that the overpaid forwards would earn their keep. They haven’t so far. Price has not let out more than what we need to win. Halak did that. So you ask me, would I prefer Halak now? Yes of course if it gets us the cup. Has Price got us a cup so far? No. All Price got us was a very expensive rebuilld so far that has cost us dearly. It is has been exciting run for sure but no cup. Halak could have got us a cup. He had it in him. He may not show it in St. Louis, but in Montreal Halak had all that he needed to win a cup.

  31. habs03 says:

    Wasn’t a fan of Halak, but I hope he gets a nice cheer when they name the starting line up for the Blues.

    • aj says:

      For the fans of JK, they would want to cheer him just to annoy people like you and me. I believe many here has knows the principle that once you leave the Habs, all your achievements as a player will only stay within the team. Once you leave, you’re an outsider.

      #41 did gave us an amazing playoff run back in 2010. However, that’s all he wrote in Habs history. Those ‘Halakites’ detest the fact that he was traded for Eller, but look at his performance now: he’s sharing 50/50 games with Brian Elliott. Still though, he deserve the appreciation of his former fans.

  32. Hobie Hansen says:

    Looking back, damn that was a fun run of hockey with Jaro Halak in nets a couple springs ago. Gill, Gorges, Spacek and Subban were playing perfect Jacques Martin defense in front of him. Cammalleri was scoring some humungous clutch goals as well.

    The 3rd round was pretty exciting for a lot of people for the first time since 1993.

    Maybe we can get there again with the core we have now but i have a feeling we will get there and beyond with the next wave of Habs after the boys Gainey signed that one summer have all moved on.

    We’ve got some good players playing in Junior right now!

    • ed lopaz says:

      I don’t want to be negative, Hobie, but EVERY TEAM has at least 4 or 5 excellent prospects playing in junior or the ncaa.

      EVERY TEAM that keeps its 1st and 2nd round picks should add AT LEAST 2 excellent prospects every year.

      what happens from junior and the ncaa is really the difference between a good crop of prospects and not.

      so you want to get excited about tinordi and beaulieu, for example??

      go ahead – its justified – they are legitimate prospects.

      but there are already guys their age in the NHL.

      and there are guys their age in the AHL.

      and there are guys in junior and ncaa that are better than both of them – not 1 or 2 guys – several.

      everything depends on the development of the player from 18-23 years old.

      even once a player makes the NHL, like Subban and Max, there can be setbacks.

      who is training them and guiding them (mentors) once they make the NHL??

      who are the pro coaches?

      is the coach and strategy of the team there to build their confidence and build for the future – while trying to win in the present?

      frankly, at the pro development level, the Habs have NOT been that strong, and that is one of the reasons, not the only one, why we are a middle of the pack team.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        I believe with the young players you mentioned and all those huge contracts coming off the books in a couple years that we can make the right free agent splash next time around.

        When Gainey signed Gomez, Cammmalleri and Gionta I thought he did a good job, at the time, of wrapping up our offensive weapons.

        I was waiting, and I still am, for the right foot soldiers to come in and back them up. The Brian Skrudlands, Mike Keanes and Guy Carbonneaus of the world. And maybe a John Kordic and Lyle Odelein player to give us that extra swagger.

        So hopefully in 2 years, Tinordi is one real mean SOB, the GM signs a mix of players and not another wave of Smurfs.

        With Price in net, and a mix of power forwards, skilled forwards, defensive forwards, offensive defensemen, stay-at-home defenseman and a couple heavyweights, this team will one day win!

        Right now the mix is not correct.

        • slychard says:

          Tinordi was out with a banged up face from a fight this season…

          Kiss my hAbSS!!!

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            That’s a good sign. Even Bob Probert took his licks. The point is at least showing up. Which the Habs don’t do often enough.

        • nunacanadien says:

          What has changed is the rules of hockey have changed. Before you could protect a Gomez with a bigger player and Gomez could have shone. Trouble is now we have crash the net hockey which demands a more offensive minded coach than what we have now in Cunneyworth. Truth is Cunneyworth is still defensiveminded. The problem Martin had, trying to win a game by not allowing goals does not work unless you have an ironclad defense and a goalie who isn’t having a nervous breakdown in his own head half the time. Price still shows his lack of confidence every now and then. If Price could only clamp down. But then how could you as a goalie do that when you are watching half your team perpetually splattered on the boards cause Montreal is not tough enough?

  33. HabFanSince72 says:

    In justifying the suspension Shanahan said the hit was predatory.

    In other words a deliberate (successful) attempt to injure, from a repeat offender.

    5 games is shamefully inadequate.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      HabFanSince72…I think you are appalled by every tidbit of news and every fan posting on this site? 😉

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Dale Hunter got 21 games for cheap-shotting Pierre Turgeon, in an era where we knew nothing about the danger of concussions, and when dirty play was almost an accepted part of the game.

        Yes, I’m outraged that hockey has turned violent and stupid in the last few years.

        • Hobie Hansen says:

          I think the speed, size and strength has picked up for sure and causes more injuries.
          Another part of the reason we’re getting violence galore is the evolution of NHL coverage.

          Going back a few years, there could be a game between Buffalo and St. Louis with a ton of fights and injuries that we could only find out about in a boxscore in the back of the Gazette.

          Now, the second something controversial happens it is plastered on the internet and 10 different sports stations within five minutes.

          The injuries may have increased a tad but the reporting on them has increased tenfold.

          • G-Man says:

            All the media has exposed the NHL for the cheap, unthinking bush league it is when it comes to officiating and lack of discipline. I love the game of hockey when it’s played with passion, physicality and good sportsmanship. All the stick-swinging we are witnessing is a result of extremely poor officiating.
            Slashing, in particular, irks me to no end. When a player makes contact with another player it is a blatant attempt to injure that player, a long suspension should be handed out. Breaking one of those crap composite sticks, especially along the shaft, should not be more than a minor penalty. If I had my way, no teams would be using those composites. Over-hyped and useless.

          • nunacanadien says:

            Don’t forget a hockey management which finds it hard to work extra harder, given that who wants to come to Montreal with its taxes? How can we attract scoring bruising forwards (some born in Quebec) on top of having a lazy GM who only signs used washed up veterans like Campoli who hurts himself just skating? That is the unfortunate reality of Montreal. That is the truth. Sure we as fans try and cheer for our team. But its hard when the GM only signs players no one wants. What do you expect when a Gomez type player gets hurt cause he is so small and no one wants him?

        • avatar_58 says:

          Me too friend. Every damn gameday there’s another injury. Ridiculous

    • Rugger says:

      Time to test Shanny. Have the freshly returning Gomez do the exact same thing to Chara. No previous history, my guess would be 8-10 for Gomer.

      • mb says:

        To be fair, considering both players’ heights, Gomez would not even have to bend in order to make Chara trip with a similar “hit”. Can’t call a suspension for that, right? 😉

    • aj says:

      Do agree with you there HabFanSince72. Marchand should’ve gotten a 7 or 8 game suspension on the tripping hit to Salo.

  34. Marc10 says:

    Marchand got 5. Too bad he’ll miss the next get together. I was hoping PK or Yemmy would lay him out. Oh well… Raincheck!

  35. harrow15 says:

    I like cunnyworths coaching instincts. Including diaz and emelin in the top 4 defense is well deserved, and you know what, i hope he puts gomez as 4the line centre… he will be the best 4the liner in years!

    • 24 Cups says:

      H15 – As you mentioned, I think it’s become pretty obvious that our top four is now Gorges/Subban/Diaz/Emelin. Dressing 7 Dmen and using the bottom three on a limited basis allows the team to get the best out of Gill/Kaberle/Campoli while utilizing their individual strengths (PK/PP/PM). Those three players will become two if Markov ever returns. Possibly just one if Cunneyworth goes back to 12 forwards.

      I think the same thing could happen to the 4th line once Gomez returns. Right wing is covered with the likes of Blunden, White and Darche. Nokelainen can also play the right side. Left wing could be manned by either Darche or Gomez. We have three people who can play centre. Lots of players who can take faceoffs, kill penalties and play limited minutes without making too many mental errors. This is where Gomez should start once he comes back. He only goes back to centre a top line if one of the other guys happens to get hurt.

      One thing is becoming abundantly clear to me as we move forward to next season. We have a wealth of RWs but are quite limited on the left side. That will only get worse if AK46 and Moen leave for free agency. Their ability to play both sides is just as important as their size and physical play. The only guy that I can see moving over to left wing next year is Erik Cole. Which would create a log jam with Cammy and MaxPac.

  36. Lawrencetown Liquor Pigs says:

    What if both goalies stand on their heads, Lards Eller is out with the flu and nothing is resolved? Then what?

    They lost me 2 quarts of rum, better make it up next year with a cup!

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