The remarkable rebirth of Alex Kovalev

Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev has been brilliant this season, the anchor on the team’s first line with centreman Tomas Plekanec and fellow winger Andrei Kostitsyn.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

A few short months ago, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to think that Alex Kovalev had played his final game in a Canadiens uniform.

The 34-year-old Russian was coming off a tumultuous, sub-par season, one of just 18 goals and 47 points which saw him heckled by fans, shrouded by controversy, shredded by the media, demoted to the fourth line before being benched by coach Guy Carbonneau and, in his opinion, hung out to dry by the Montreal organization.

Now, 55 games into this season, Kovalev is the powerful locomotive pulling the Canadiens Express, the creative right-wing on one of the league’s premier lines with centreman Tomas Plekanec and left-wing Andrei Kostitsyn.

It’s been a long time since the 16-year NHL veteran has had this much fun, showcasing his prodigious, highlight-reel talent with a mature completeness of game that sees Carbonneau use him in every situation. And he’s on pace to enjoy a career season in a few statistical categories.

On Wednesday, Kovalev sat for nearly an hour with Habs Inside/Out and Montreal Gazette writer Dave Stubbs to talk about this season, last season, and the huge gulf between the two. Typically, he was engaging, bright and very candid about his perceptions of himself, his linemates, the Canadiens and his problems of last year.

Click above to listen to roughly 38 minutes of Stubbs’s Kovalev interview. Or, click on this link to download the file. Here is the Gazette feature that the interview produced, as well as a sidebar with Kovalev discussing his linemates and his long-ago developed puck-control prowess, and a roundup of a few quick-hit quotes from the Russian star.

And at montrealgazette.com, you’ll find two audio excerpts of the interview along with a slideshow featuring Kovalev on and off the ice. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

126 Comments

  1. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Dave thanks for this thread (except the content posted below)

    Can’t wait to read and hear about the magician!!

    Kovy has breathed life into this organization…and the montreal fans appreciate it!

    ———
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your’re not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  2. Y says:

    What I meant is he plays small and it’s been documented that he is a playoff disappearing act

  3. Mike says:

    i know, every 3 minutes i keep switching from rds to habsinsideout to tsn to hockeybuzz. f*ck! lol

  4. habsgod says:

    HEY GUYS WHAT IS ALL THE TALK ON HERE ABOUT HIGGINS BEING TRADED?IS IT TRUE OR IS IT RUMOR?DAM I HOPE NOT!EVEN IF IT IS FOR HOSSA!!

  5. fuhgawz says:

    good point ebk !!!!

  6. ebk says:

    Hossa is 6’1″ and 210, in what league is that small

  7. fuhgawz says:

    i know where you coming from but we need some pure goal scoring on this team Higgins and Ryder have not been doing it …. sometimes you have to spend money to make money or so the saying goes ….. i think Hossa can give us another powerful line with Saku and S.Kostit. — At least we know when Saku sets this guy up the puck is going in ….. we have hard workers all over the place on this team … we dont need more

  8. fuhgawz says:

    cant wait to hear this post on Kovy —– most talented player when on the puck in the NHL by far – He has been my fav. player since entering the NHL Happy for you Kovey KEEP IT ROCK’N BABY !!!! even TSN is getting on this band wagon this year .. i love it ….. can you imagine everyone if he played for the laffs they would be placing him in broze around the studio …..

    TO KOVEY !!!!!!

  9. Y says:

    I really hope not, sure Hossa is a great player but do we really need another smallish forward who won’t battle for the puck and muck it up? I for one would’ve sent Higgins + 1st rounder + some defensive prospect for Jokinen.

  10. fuhgawz says:

    So ……. is this Hossa for Higgins and a first rounder for real?????? …. costly ……. but … Hossa is an elite player in the NHL …. I think Higgins is a great player but i am wodering if he will ever develope “finish” … hard worker yes . talent yes ….. but can not match Hossa for talent ….. i say good trade if it is true. To bad they wouldnt have taken Ryder ….

  11. ZepFan2 says:

    StH is WAY overplayed.

  12. Y says:

    Nice job putting it in perspective.

  13. showey47 says:

    yup, usually i would be playing hockey tonight but i pulled a muscle in my back and i’ve been off work for a couple of weeks. But when ever i can i do listen to the dogs’, makes me wish i had never moved from hamilton. But since i was only 5 at the time, i really didn’t have any say in the matter

  14. T-roy West says:

    My wife thinks I’m nuts but she leaves me be,lol.

  15. Sulemaan says:

    Anyone here thinking about going to see the Bulldogs/Marlies game tomorrow in Toronto?

  16. T-roy West says:

    My opinion is that Carbo will find the right combination for the Koivu line. Ryder might have scored thirty goals but he wasn’t doing much outside that. This year they asked him to be more defensively responsible and they have given Higgins, Koivu and Ryder lots of time this year and hat’s off to Carbonneau for being patient. At some point the coach needs to see results. Carbo, Jarvis, Muller and Gainey are not stupid. They see work ethic and who wants to go the extra mile to be better and I think they don’t see that in Ryder. They asked Kovalev to do the same and he is doing great and is on the plus side. To answer your questions I would say that Carbo will be happy with his lines when they start producing and are not a defensive liability. Everyone wants to be a part of a winning team. We need two scoring lines and the person that we get has to be a good fit for us. We need someone that can win battles along the boards and put a lot of pressure on the other teams defence physically and produce offensively. Will we get that person – who knows, but that is what we need. This team is improving in stages. Improving on one aspect of their game then moving on to the next. That is Carbo and Gainey’s style – being a complete player. I don’t think other teams players would think that Carbo is having trouble with line combinations so that would make them not want to come play here. I want a player that comes here to bent for the team and not the team bent for him.

  17. T-roy West says:

    Brock Trotter will be joining the bulldogs soon. Things will be getting interesting there soon!

  18. ZepFan2 says:

    Lmao

    “Glad they made the movie for those of us who were at that concert in body only.”

    I hear ya’!

    Now let’s see them roll into Montreal real soon.

    Go Habs Go!!

  19. CHsam says:

    i know eh lol!!!

  20. Yeats says:

    Yep, his drum solo was the equivalent of using just one Zamboni to do the ice between periods. The rumour was that Page, Plant and Jones caught a movie and came back afterwards. Glad they made the movie for those of us who were at that concert in body only.

  21. T-roy West says:

    Were diehard showey! Friday night and were listening to the bulldogs on the computer. Love it!

  22. Yeats says:

    That visit from Max Von Sydow in the off-season did the trick. “The power of Howie Morenz compels you, the power of The Rocket compels you, the power Beliveau compels you.” “Leave this player Satan!”

  23. ZepFan2 says:

    “The only thing I remember from that evening is that we all took a men’s room break during Moby Dick”

    Lol

    I bet when you got back from the can, Bonzo was still banging away.

    Go Habs Go!!!

  24. T-roy West says:

    Now it’s 5-2 bulldogs!

  25. Shiloh says:

    Good example – and trust me, I would love for Latendresse to become a much better player. I think you’re right about the need for a year in the AHL – he could get lots of ice time and really work on bringing his game to the next level.

  26. showey47 says:

    make that 5-2, locke is on fire again with 2 goals and a helper. He is playing wing instead of center, why not give him a shot on the koivu line as a winger since he seems to thrive there just like he did in last years calder cup playoffs

  27. T-roy West says:

    The bulldogs lead 4-2!

  28. ZepFan2 says:

    Really too many to choose from.
    If pushed, I’d say it’s between When the Levee Breaks and The Lemon Song.

    You?

    *Go Habs Go!!

    *mandatory for a non-Hab post.:)

  29. Yeats says:

    Was at Madison Square Garden the night they shot the movie “The Song Remains the Same.” The only thing I remember from that evening is that we all took a men’s room break during Moby Dick.

  30. showey47 says:

    I can give you a pretty good example. When glen murray played junior hockey for the sudbury wolves, he was a terrible skater he looked like he was skating on his ankles. But he was big, strong and could score goals. I think the difference being glen went to the ahl for one season to develop his game, like gui should. But nonetheles, glen had a very good career and a powerforward and goal scorer. But at the same time gui leads this team in even strength goals so its hard to justify sending him to the minors.

  31. sag says:

    I know one is supposed to mind their own business…but Zeppelin is too great to ignore! The habs of rock and roll if you will. IMHO…
    Going to California, Immigrant Song, Good Times Bad Times, When The Levee Breaks, Kashmir, are all among the best. Boogie With Stu has to be my all time favourite though!

    Tonight the habs better bring their best because the Sens will be happy to be playing together again. Go habs go!

  32. N.B.habs fan says:

    T-roy….I have been reading yours and Con 12. comments on getting the great foward and I to would like to have that happen,but do you think mabe if we did get someone and had a problem like we have with the Koivu line and he dosent score every time he is on the ice he may be added to this line changing problem we have that they dont see that and dont want no part of in . When do you think Carbo will be happy with his lines .I think most of the NHL player see that and dont want no part of it .What is your take on this.

  33. Shiloh says:

    Lats is not up and coming, but he is young. Can you give me any examples of athletes who got faster as they aged? If he does a year or so in the minors and develops a nasty streak then he might at some point be a third-line winger – and that’s his upside.

  34. T-roy West says:

    Good points. My point was hindsight is 20/20. I don’t blame anyone for feeling the way they did about Kovalev last year.

  35. N.B.habs fan says:

    mjames ..I like your attitude and we know that Bob knows that we have a contender team for the cup in 2 years.I will be happy that we make it through the first round in the playoff ,better than last year and If we do go futher in the playoffs it will be better for the next year ,the young guys will have some playoff experience.
    It would be nice to have what most want on here ,but it isnt going to happen ,not this year so go with the team we have and have fun playing instead of having problems in the dressing room like TO and OTT.
    Our future is from within the club.

  36. Yeats says:

    One of the hallmarks of a perfectly competitive market is ease of entry. There was just no way you could hold on to a monopoly when it comes to horseS#!T on HIO. You’d have to buy out too many posters to keep that lofty status. I do applaud any efforts to try though.

  37. habsguy says:

    thanks showey…

  38. mjames says:

    I am also a “build through the draft” proponent. These rentals never work. Ask Nashville and Atlanta. We learned our lesson with Hainsey and Riberio. Lets work with what we have . A lot of fans on this sight, including myself sometimes, suffer from ADD.

    I just hope Gainey does not pull a rental trade where we give up the future. (ie. Houssa – Higgins, O’Bryne, Prospect plus a first rounder – that is just plain dumb).

    mjames

  39. showey47 says:

    both smolinski and breezer contracts expire this year, looking forward to having chipper centering our 3rd or 4th line and obyrne, and maybe valentenko patrolling the defence.

  40. habsguy says:

    Zep fan , whats your favorite Zep song ???

  41. habsguy says:

    N.B…I agree that he should leave them together and hope they start to click again, and to further your point about the young guns on the team..Just think about next year or the year after with the addition by subtraction. I don’t pretend to know the length of these guys contracts, but say Brisbois is done this year, O’Byrne is ready to step in, same with Chipchurra. I see nothing but an awesome future for us as long as they don’t trade the future for now !!!

  42. Velavok says:

    Thanks for the feature. Kovalev is such a pure talent and a joy to watch. He is always creating. Go kovy

  43. Hot_Pie says:

    Kovalev is awesome. Regardless of his perceived performances in the past, I hardly think anyone can refute the fact that he has emerged as a true leader of this team this season.

  44. ZepFan2 says:

    “Isn’t Kovalev the same guy who most of you wanted to dump lastyear…”

    No, that was Alex’s evil twin brother last year (the one with lesser skills). This is the real Kovalev! :)

  45. ZepFan2 says:

    Timo,

    I’d add another name to your list, Alexander Ovechkin.

  46. ZepFan2 says:

    “Timmons and Gainey need to start looking for the next Claude Lemieux type player”

    As long as it’s just for the playoffs.
    Lemieux has always been laid back during the season, but come playoff time…look out!

  47. N.B.habs fan says:

    Habsguy.great post Iam very happy with this years team and just imagine when the young guys are clicking.Our biggest problem is this line changing,if we lose a game Cargo changes the line,he needs to leave Ryder,Higgens and Koivu together and leave them there no matter if they score or not.They will start scoring again when they know they wont get sent to the 4th line if the dont score in every game.If everyone that was supose to score every time they were on the ice then we would have game like football scores.

  48. habsguy says:

    T-roy…I thought I did make a point !!!!!…And trust me when I say, I don’t come on here with the intent of disagreeing with most of what is said…Ok here goes…
    If we would have gotten rid of Kovalev like most of us (inluding me) wanted to, he would be plying his trade elswhere, same as Ribero or Hainsey, I could Claude Lemieux but there wouldn’t be a point to it.
    Anyway hab fans are sooo fickel, I HATE the “what have you done lately attitude”..It’s SOOOOOO Leafs.
    If say Koivu were traded somewhere and found his groove with new linemates, I could just hear everyone calling for Gaineys head. Lats is an up and coming young guy, 20 yearsold, samething, if he were shipped somewhere else and learned the game and what it would take for him to be a solid allround player, ” and trust me, he’s going to be a force in the league” the posters here would go nuts.
    Yes I would love to have the big tough goal scoring center, but we don’t, and other GM’s just aren’t going to ” give them to us for nothing “..I don’t want to give away what looks to be a future winner with the win now leaf attitude…And if Carbo is SOOOO bad, and the team team sucks sooooo bad that 1/2 of them should be traded away or sent down plus we only have one scoring line, why are fighting for first place, something doesn’t make sense..I guess thats my point !!!!

  49. 24 Cups says:

    Y – I’m dead set against trading for Hossa as a rental but if he’s available as a potential signed player for say five years then I think we have to seriously consider him and the price that we will have to pay. He has been an elite player for years now and certainly has to be a better UFA than Briere, Gomez, or Drury.

    He has been very consistent point wise and is in the top five producers over the past four years. He also has been a plus player every year. He’s very strong on the puck and is very well suited to the new NHL style of play. He would make our lethal PP even better. I don’t think he plays that small as he rarely gets knocked off his feet. You know, it’s funny, we refer to Andrei K and Higgins as ‘power forwards’ yet they both are around 6′ and 205 lbs. That’s no larger than Hossa and truth be known neither one of strikes me as a power forward at this point in time. Not in the true sense of the word.

    Playoffs? That’s a tough call. You can say he did nothing in Ottawa but that was true for the whole team. No one was more guilty of that tag than Alfredsson and they made him captain and gave him a long term contract. There’s no doubt that Atlanta laid down and died in the playoffs last year against the Rangers. But so did Tkachuk, Zhitnik, and Kovalchuk. It may be a concern but sometimes players change their ways in a new environment. I remember when Kovalev first came to Montreal. He did nothing when he first came here. And then in the playoffs he really turned it on and played with a lot of heart and determination.

    We are going to be short a right winger next year with Ryder gone and we don’t really have any high end prospects at that position in the system. Kovalev will soon be in his mid 30′s. Hossa would be a great fit for us but he will cost at least $8 mil a year. I guess another question would be is how would the other guys on the team feel about him walking in and taking that kind of money. The other option to Hossa would be to go out and get two players that both make around $4 mil each. They would be solid players and fill the holes up front that we need to address.

    The Original 24 Cups

  50. Moey says:

    Agreed, I was thinking exactly the same thing.

    Unfortunately, power out muscles finesse. Just look at the Sens last year in the finals. They play very pretty hockey, but when they’re knocked off their game, forget it. I see the Habs going down the same road. The Rangers game last week was a good example.

    Off topic, but I was reading the exchanges between yourself and KJdavid last night about all the horse poo that gets posted, I’m gutted, I thought I was the only purveyor of fine horsesh*t here.

  51. Yeats says:

    I’m in that camp as well. You need some players that other teams just hate to play against to be successful in the playoffs. We could use a little more sand paper and a little less finesse on this team.

  52. habsguy says:

    cournoyer12 …I FINALLY agree with something you posted, we DO need a Claude Lemieux type player. Think back to all the great teams we’ve had over the years and those teams had someone like Claude Lemieux, Mario Trembley, Chris Nilan, Mike McPhee, Brian Skrudland…It’s too bad Steve Begin couldn’t score more, he would fit the bill.

  53. T-roy West says:

    No, Kovalev isn’t the same guy as last year. You have a point to make?

  54. ColoradoHab says:

    Great post!!

  55. habsguy says:

    90% of you guys have short memories. Isn’t Kovalev the same guy who most of you wanted to dump lastyear…

  56. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    GREAT INTERVIEW WITH OUR STAR, “the complete player!”…thanks Dave.

    listen to the start of the interview – Kovalev comments about playing with the same players over and over how it allows the linemates to develope a system and chemistry. He goes on to say that by shuffling the lines constantly it is very difficult to get things going

    He basically spells out OUR PROBLEM with finding another scoring line!!!!!!..

    I HOPE CARB LISTENED TO THIS….SET THE LINE AND LET THEM ROLL…DO NOT CHANGE DURING A GAME… ALL THE TIME!

    changing lineup during the game should be a rarity…not COMMON practice.

    He continues and repeats that when the opposition goes up against a line that been playing together (ie;alfr/heat/spez) the line has an advantage because the opponent knows they are going up against a SYSTEM…they know where each other is ALL THE TIME….sound familiar (ieKovyline).

    ———
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your’re not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  57. Will Longlade says:

    So true. No heart and no grit.

  58. Will Longlade says:

    Refer to the following Bob McKenzie column on the TSN site, “No Truth to Canadiens Thrashers Rumours”:

    http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/mckenzie/?id=228991

    The Hockey Buzz (Eklund) site simply isn’t credible. The more traffic he generates to his site, the more money he makes. A slight conflict of interest for someone in the rumour business.

    I agree with you 100%. I wouldn’t even trade Higgins even up for Hossa. It’s a terrible deal for the Habs for any number of reasons.

  59. anotherhab says:

    Enjoyed the article/interview Stubbs, and also couldn’t help but think that Ryder and Koivu could use a stroll on the waterfront with BG!!!.
    With all the Hossa trade noise circulating I hope Higgins remains a hab, a favorite of mine, needs and deserves to have good linemates. I would put him back with Ryder and Koivu and keep them together for several games.
    Can’t wait for todays tilt with the SENS sounds like Alfie will be back. We should win because our goaltending will make the difference. Also hope Hammer is back!
    GO HABS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. G-Man says:

    To Mr. Stubbs,

    Wonderful in-depth interview with the best player the Habs have right now. Last year, AK27 drove me crazy: all that talent, so little effort. This season, he’s made me eat crow from the start. Too bad more players can’t take a long walk with Gainey and get their attitude and fierce pride straightened out. What a team we’d have then!

    Gilbert

  61. G-Man says:

    From one who has been eating a lot of crow this season, you are 100% right. Kovalev this season has reminded Habs fans what it was like to have talent. Not since The Flower have we seen it up close.

    Gilbert

  62. P St. Pierre says:

    I’m looking forward to the Gazette feature as well as listening to the interview with Kovalev. He’s been such an exciting player this season for the Canadiens.

    It’s nice for younger fans like myself who never got to witness Guy Lafleur, to see Alex Kovalev trying crazy things and making insane passes with the puck. My dad hasn’t been excited about the Habs in a long time, he says he’s been waiting for them to finally get a player who brings him out of his seat. I’ve been standing up alot this season, I’d like it to continue, merci beaucoup.

  63. T-roy West says:

    I meant actually playing. He probably won’t be playing for a few games.

  64. Sulemaan says:

    Maybe I’ll see you there Twillingator.

  65. KerryPrice says:

    Leave Hossa in Atl. If were gonna get anyone get someone who at least can take a hit, make a hit. I never was a fan of Hossa or his little bro. I don`t like the sounds of any of these so called mumbo jumbo RDS Morrisette roid rage man is blabbering outta his pie hole. Don`t make a trade just to make a frickin trade. Bob not none of this Ribiero for Ninima crap again. Habs will win Saturday night. Umm 4-2. Dress Ryder for god sakes.He can`t score from le presse boxe.

  66. nightmare_49 says:

    He’s there already and was interviewed after the 1st period and sent his regards. Brett Engelhardt was interviewed after the 2nd period.

  67. fuhgawz says:

    It is his own it is called AK27 but this stick is being replaced next year by warrior … i use this stick it is amazing ..

  68. Shiloh says:

    Thanks for the link. What a great article! Kovalev really connected with the people in that small town – he’s got the common touch.

  69. CHsam says:

    Hi guys,

    I just dug this up randomly on google. Enjoy:

    http://www.rushockey.com/index.php?l=eng&t=2&s=1&st=38

    (Kovalev visits fan)

  70. originalsix says:

    Awesome article! Thanks.

    Anyone know what model stick Kovy uses? I know it’s a warrior, but…which one?

  71. N.B.habs fan says:

    Anyone know what the line up is tonight?

  72. habsguy says:

    I could be opening myself up for something here…My favorite was “dazed and confused”…..

  73. Yeats says:

    It’s just so hard to pick. I love Custard Pie and Good Times Bad Times. I was a huge Who fan growing up, but I appreciate Zep more as I’ve aged. I guess I’m just not that angry anymore.

  74. mrstewart61 says:

    You cannot be taken seriously. You complain that people criticize your ‘facts’, but then you come up with a sarcastic post like that.

  75. The Teacher says:

    I think Dave looks at the overall scheme of things and not one shift, one game, or one night.

    You seem to have a lot of facts, why don’t you try writing for the Gazette. Jack Todd left, didn’t he?

    Thanks.

  76. Dave Stubbs says:

    Appreciate the fact you bought The Gazette. But you’re forgetting the feature I wrote on Carey Price which was published the day he was sent back to Hamilton.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette

     

  77. showey47 says:

    you mean like your laffs, all canadian players and one swedish meatball 2 points out of last place, fact.

    laffs won 2 straight games while being outshot and outplayed, goalie stops the puck for 2 games in a row, the laffs are not playing better fact

    laffs beat the sens in toronto powerplays were 8-0 for laffs, has this ever happened before, no, fact

    both refs were from toronto area, fact

    paul maurice guaranteed a playoff spot and stanley cup contender, fact

  78. habs12345 says:

    guy lafleur had a plus 74 rating one season so that is a bad example

  79. Yeats says:

    Ryder would have been a huge plus playing for those teams. Heck, you or I would have been at least plus 20 as well.

  80. Yeats says:

    Even the checking line on those teams was dangerous. How about this combo Scotty used against the Red Army on New Year’s Eve: Gainey, Lemaire and Lafleur? You could have just picked the lines on those teams out of a hat and it would have been all good.

  81. ZepFan2 says:

    “Could you see someone telling Lafleur that they were concerned with his plus/minus?”

    cough Lemaire cough

  82. ZepFan2 says:

    To think, they once were linemates.

  83. Yeats says:

    I think Lemaire must have been jealous.

  84. ZepFan2 says:

    Could be. Either way, it was a mistake.

    Play Ryder, I say. Leave them be (Saks-Higgy-Ryder). Whatever happens, happens. If that line starts getting it’s act together…oh boy.
    Maybe they should hold a meeting between the 3 players and talk things out?! It can’t hurt.

    I also hope Carbo puts back the kid line.
    Let them feed off of each other and hopefully gel into another line that’s a threat.

  85. Yeats says:

    All three are struggling right now. Carbo might as well let them find their way out together as a unit. It can’t be any worse than what has been going on recently.

  86. ZepFan2 says:

    Exactly. Only they can work it out.

    I’m hoping they’re sufficently po’ed at themselves and breakout of that nasty slump they’re in!

    Would be nice if they were the line that won the game for us tonight.

  87. N.B.habs fan says:

    cour 12..I love reading your comments,you are such a true habs fan and want the team to do good,I hope we get someone to help us to go futher in the play offs,and If we dont I still am very proud of how they have done this far ,keep the faith buddy..WE WILL WIN TONIGHT..

  88. Shobud says:

    If they begin to go, watch out.. Two lines that can score plus the other two linrs making it tough on the other team,. I would start thinking about the cup..My hopes would go way up

  89. Will Longlade says:

    I can’t say that I’ve crunched all the numbers, but making a trade for a big money player based on the criteria that you can fit the player under your cap space this year doesn’t sound like the way a decision such as this would be made. Ok, the team can “afford” the player this year. What about next year and the year after that? Will signing the player affect the team’s ability to retain the services of other key players? Affordability in the era of the cap is something that has to be measured over the term of a contract. The simplistic notion of affordability that you present will lead you to the wrong conclusions.

  90. ebk says:

    Mr. Stubbs, I might be slow on the uptake but you are kidding right?

  91. projectpete19 says:

    the exact same rumour on hockeybuzz, i know eklund isnt reliable but if everyone is saying the same rumour and it is going to be announced tomorrow there has to be something to it.

    hockeybuzz says higgins and a 1st rounder

    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=13183

  92. mbplekfan says:

    The numbers dont work out. Hossa makes too much…

  93. Sulemaan says:

    I think he’s being sarcastic. At least I hope so. I would not trade a first rounder and Higgins for Hossa.

  94. ebk says:

    If I had a signed contract with Hossa, I’d consider it a lot harder.

  95. Cable Guy says:

    How don’t the numbers work out? We have 4 million in available cap space, the cap is going up another 3 million next year. Yes we can afford it.

  96. The Teacher says:

    No contract, no WAY!

  97. The Teacher says:

    Any chance of getting a transcript Dave?

  98. Cable Guy says:

    Trade between Montreal and Atlanta tomorrow. Hossa for Higgins and a first rounder. Should be announced before the game tomorrow night. So Ryder should be in for Higgins then.

  99. The Teacher says:

    And where did you hear this, good sir?

  100. Dave Stubbs says:

    Rumoured on RDS tonight. No less an expert than Dave Morrissette said, “Pourquoi pas?”, so it’s got to be a done deal.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette

     

  101. the_vipah says:

    Please no.

    We have enough of these types of players (soft skill guys). If we had Jokkinen to center him then maybe…As it is, Hossa is not going to dig the puck out of the corners himself and no one else on this team at the center position can do it for him either.

    Bad idea.

  102. arcosenate says:

    is this serious? jeeze, it will be hard to see higgins playing somewhere else…

    anyway, here’s another signing:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=229219&hubname=nhl

  103. kenny_galloway says:

    alexei kovalev will go down as the 2nd greatest montreal canadian in history behind only jose theodore who won the heart and vezina in 03-04

  104. Ian G Cobb says:

    Are you still in pee wee.? You sure have not seen much hockey yet. Is that your mother standing there son.

  105. Sulemaan says:

    Don’t really agree but we’re all entitled to our own opinions.

    It’s unfortunate you never got to see greats such as Guy Lafleur, Jacques Lemaire, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Doug Harvey, Larry Robinson, Yvon Cournoyer, Dickie Moore, Bernard Geoffrion, Henri Richard, Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy play in their prime. If we really go back, you can add Howie Morenz to that list amongst many others. That is why many others take exception to your comment.

    Kovalev is indeed a talented player as was Theodore back in ’03-’04. So if your definition of ‘greatness’ excludes anyone who has NOT won the stanley cup for Montreal then Kovalev and Theodore are indeed at the top of the list.

  106. CHsam says:

    Thanks for the Kovalev feature!

  107. likehoy says:

    nice read…was on the official website and saw kovy donates 500$ per goal he scores…maybe he needed a new plane last year? limit his scoring? jk

  108. 46_14_27 says:

    If we can’t trade for a big powerful centre, I don’t see the point in making a trade. That said, if we could unload Ryder, Smolinksi, Dandenault, or Brisbois for a producing winger………….maybe.

    Come quick Marleau or Forsberg (Sundin if we have to)

    Go Habs Go

  109. CHsam says:

    Listening to the Bulldogs game as well. O’Byrne just delivered a massive hit. Can’t wait for him to come back up

  110. showey47 says:

    Same here, i can’t wait for the rhino to come back up. Locke and corso sound like they have great chemistry

  111. habsguy says:

    does anyone know if we lost Alexei Emelin, I loved what was written about his future !!!

  112. mrstewart61 says:

    he’s still habs property

  113. RH says:

    LMAO!!

    Mister Cobb, how could you insult that person’s mother like that? Don’t you know that mothers are off limits when it comes to insults? ;)

  114. filincal says:

    I think the main problem with Ryder this year has to do with him changing his style of play.
    Last years awful 5on5 and worse +/- forced to many players to adjust. At the beginning of the year Ryder entered the zone stick handling like Kovy, but with obvious less success. He’s now thinking a split second too much when last year he would shoot with no wind-up, thus catching goalies off guard.
    The better defensive play this year from everyone on the team has affected some lines scoring (none need to be mentioned). Yet we´re doing better overall. Should we complain that some players are taking longer to adjust?
    That’s just my opinion. GO HABS!
    I BLEED BLEU BLANC ET ROUGE!

  115. N.B.habs fan says:

    I dont know if there is someting wrong with me or it is just my 50years a habs fan.Something tells me that if we loose Ryder it is going to come back to haunt us.I know he has it in him to and wants to play in Montreal,but there has to be a something they can do to get him going ,with all the coaching we have can they not fix this before it is to late.I dont want to see him traded for nothing .HE NEEDS TO PLAY.

  116. Yeats says:

    I am with you on this one. They trade him and it will probably come back to bite us in the behind. It’s not like Koivu or Higgins are setting the score sheets ablaze with their play lately. Unless the whole squad tanks, they should just leave that line together and let them figure out how to get the majic they had last year back. I do think that trying to make Ryder more responsible defensively was in hindsight a huge mistake. Could you see someone telling Lafleur that they were concerned with his plus/minus? He probably would have said, I’m glad someone is!

  117. T-roy West says:

    See my reply to you down below.:)

  118. T-roy West says:

    Ryder is back in the line up tonight!!!

  119. N.B.habs fan says:

    Great to here …he will do fine tonight I feel it in my old weary bones lol…

  120. N.B.habs fan says:

    THANKS BUDDY,Now I do understand it a little better,I have a hard time to not see why Ryder in not playing and Brezzer in in the line up making all the mistakes to cause us games .

  121. Shobud says:

    I have a feeling that when Kovi had his talk with B.G. that he told him he wanted to play with the same two guys all the time ang get used to them.. I think if carbo would put the line back together of Hig. koivu and ryder and leave them alone for a few weeks they would find their old touch.. All three of them.. I think we are the only team that does not have set lines

  122. mrstewart61 says:

    Agreed, the line changing obviously isn’t working. They definitely have shown chemistry in the past.

  123. 1010 says:

    Everybody’s got a theory… including the idea of what’s old {Koivu, Higgins, Ryder} is new again. One thing is certain- if at least two of these three guys don’t start putting some points up on the board on a consistant basis- or B.G. pulls a major trade{ highly unlikely}- this team will start to lose ground.

    GO HABS.

  124. Shiloh says:

    So I’m assuming the Hossa rumor has faded away into obscurity. Anything on that today?


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