The year begins with a W

Cole Jets
An inspired effort by Lars Eller kick-started 2012 for your Montreal Canadiens.
They’re in 13th place, facing a long uphill climb in the Eastern Conference standings.
But for the first time in a long time, the Bell Centre was a very happy place Wednesday night.

Pat Hickey’s game story

Quotes from the room

Dave Stubbs on winning streak against Winnipeg

Red Fisher’s column

Dave Sidaway photo gallery

A unique way to celebrate

LL to Hamilton

Jarred Tinordi video

And a poem from G-Man:

There is a Hab named Eller
Who is such a hard workin’ feller
With more nights like these
When he scores with ease
Maybe the Habs won’t be seller(s)

68 Comments

  1. Danny88 says:

    with 17 million dollars left at the end of the year will it be enough to sign kostisyn, eller, price, subban, moen ect??

    by the looks of it, it seems price will get a long term contract with a cap of around 7m ( i think we can all agree)
    subban at least 4m long term
    eller about 3.5m long term
    and the rest i guess will be needed to fill the void on d and 4th liners ect… i think we should see what we can get for kostisyn at the trade dealine …

    Danny

  2. jhab93 says:

    AK just having a good game cuz SK had a 4 point night the other day lol

    Thats the way the cookie crumbles

  3. Mike11 says:

    Great game by Lars

    AK – fantastic skating, hitting and grinding.

    Cole – again has a good game – gets “involved”.

    Moehn – need more players like him

    Emelin – great fearless hitter

    Cammaleri – gotta get going soon; need your goals.

    Overall, I find the Habs are playing “tougher” under RC who was not a wimp when he played. The team was too “soft” under Martin.

    Mikee

  4. habsfanforever7631 says:

    Loved the game yestorday!Yaaaaaaaa!
    Was waitin for this game for a long time!
    Here are some of my thoughts, most of them have all ready been talked about, but whatever!

    We should sign AK at the end of the year.
    Yeah he’s hot and cold, but we still get over 20 goals out of him every year, isn’t that enough? and when he is hot, he is a beast!
    We should also sign Moen, leadership, toughness, I think he’s like only 29, and the best hands on the team! lol.
    Like always Coles a beast..
    RC, I liked how he used the lines, He was not afraid to use Eller.
    He also used cole wel all the time with DD and Pac, but also with Plec and Cammy.
    Plec is not playin 22 mins a game, I think he played like 16.
    That’s good, maybe he’ll playlike a man in the playoffs!
    The 7 d thing is cool because if someone needs a brake, or is not playing well, they could sit. Also helps Gil, his ice time is down, just only on the pk and sometimes on 5 on 5.
    Most of all, we didn’t sit back in the third piriod!

    Go Habs Go! I Still Believe!

  5. The Jackal says:

    Good to see the boys get a good win. I hope we keep AK and Moen, and let’s not give up on Squid just yet ;)

  6. JF says:

    The Habs are in the process of becoming a different team, both in terms of how they play and in terms of the lines. It’s not happening as fast as we might wish, but it is happening. Last night just might have afforded us a glimpse of the future.

    Since the blowup of the summer of 2009, our top offensive lines have been composed mainly of smallish players who have relied on skill and speed. Last night, our top offensive line was Eller, Kostitsyn, and Moen – three big, tough players who are positionally sound, good at digging pucks off the boards, and imposing in front of the net. Not snipers who rely on speed and on finding an opening, but guys who create space and thereby chances for themselves and their linemates. This line should stay together (as was obvious even at times last year), and in my opinion both Kostitsyn and Moen, who will be free agents in July, should be re-signed. I know we’re rebuilding, but these kinds of players are not easy to replace, neither is expensive, and they seem to have good chemistry.

    If this is the direction the Hasbs are taking – bigger, tougher, more dangerous in front of the net – some of our smaller, skilled players will either be traded (Gionta and Cammalleri perhaps) or play a somewhat diminished role. This is already happening for Plekanecs, who in a year or two might be our third line centre. I’m not sure how well this change sits with Plekanec; he doesn’t complain, but his body language and voice suggest frustration. On the other hand, with less ice time, he might not run out of gas in the last couple of months of the season, as is usually the case.

    Pierre Gauthier is getting a lot of criticism these days, and the Markov contract and the inopportune firing of Jacques Martin will almost certainly cost him his job. But I think he’s made more good moves than bad ones, and he is doing a lot to make the team bigger and tougher. Erik Cole was a huge signing, and persuading Emelin to come over was also huge. Getting bigger and tougher takes time, and we’re not there yet; but I think the days are numbered when other teams can push our players around at will.

    As well as getting bigger and tougher, we’re beginning to play a more offensive style, as was apparent in last night’s third period – the diametric opposite of most third periods this season when we’re protecting a lead. This is a welcome change, even though it’s bound to lead to occasions when we get burned on the rush, at least while the players are learning to make the adjustment. The results are not there yet, but I like some of what Randy Cunneyworth has been doing. The guys on L’Antichambre spoke approvingly of his interaction with the players at practice and on the bench; perhaps the French media will back off a bit and give him a chance to do his job.

    • Arrow77 says:

      Cammalleri played the best hockey of his career with Iginla on his line. Find a big guy that clicks with him and he’ll become more important, not less.

  7. slim wallet says:

    Good analysis by krob1000 regarding Eller’s game. I always liked the kid but as krob pointed out, he had a tendency to cough up the puck high in the offrensive zone. And then guaranteed, he’d ride the pine for the third period.

    As we saw last night, AK can be an absolute beast. His offensive zone domination on Eller’s third goal is the kind of play he makes that has had all Habs fans wondering why he can’t do that game in and game out. But then, he wouldn’t be our AK if he did.

    • neumann103 says:

      AK46 looked like Kovy Jr. with that puck possession in the offensive end.

      Unfortunately he can also look like Kovy Jr. in not showing up for 40% of games.

      Still, I like him on the team and always have. I have been saying that PG should be talking to his agent with a simple brief: “Does AK46 want to stay?” If yes, get a deal done. If not, you really have to move him by the trade deadline and try and get prospects or picks from a team looking for secondary scoring, hitting and puck possession on a Cup run.

      “Et le but!”

  8. idle says:

    First game I’ve missed in a while and it seems like it was a fun one.

  9. J_P says:

    3-2 going into the third and the boys played to win. Ive been waiting to see that all season.

    Great game, HUGE win, lets hope they can keep it up!

    As much as Larry was the story last night, and what a great game for him, AK46 deserves some praise also. He was an absolute beast last night.

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      Not diminish Ellers 4 goal night (and the penalty shot was a beauty), he was the recipient of some fantastic passes. That whole line deserves the credit. They all worked hard and they all went to the net.

  10. CF says:

    Great game by Eller, no doubt the kid has some size and lots of skill.

    I personally feel Blunden has had a great effect on this team. He hits everything he can catch up to, and its keeping the opposition D honest. For the first time this year, they feel rushed when his line is on the ice and it’s causing turnovers.
    Blunden can actually go in the corners, and win puck battles, coming out of the corner with the puck, and making some plays. It’s amazing to see after the last three months of so many soft plays in both ends, simply relying on poke checking with the stick, which is pee-wee hockey at best.
    I feel Moen, Blunden, White would be an amazing fourth line. Will we ever see it? Maybe, Cunneyworth has shown he realises the importance of this team being physical, and using it’s speed. Last night it was a different team. Martin would have had Blunden sitting on the bench, Cunney is playing that line, and it’s helping.
    Imagine that, a coach who understands that being physical can pay dividends, and actually created space and turnovers, thus allowing our team to really use our speed and skill.
    AK, AK, Ak…..he’s taken alot of flack over the years, I really hope we can hold onto this guy. Unlike his brother, he can use his size and speed and strength, something we need more and more. I also love Moen, these two with Eller offer an actual NHL sized line, and along with some grit on the fourth, our team can be well balanced.
    The pieces are there, already on the team, if PG wants to begin to make up for his blunders, he can begin by signing AK and Moen, and for good measure, give Blunden a nice extension, a couple of years on a two way. He’d probably jump at it.
    Nobody saves money by signing after July 1st, do it now.

  11. joeybarrie says:

    while not all moves can be incredible for one team, we can hopefully see the good ones and be happy.
    Eller, Kaberle, Cole, and Price.

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

  12. HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

    I wonder how the french media would feel if we let Randy Cunninworth go, and he went on to win a cup with a rival like toronto.

  13. krob1000 says:

    My take on Eller….he is improving game by game. As a Center you ahve to realize that your defensive and skating responsibilities are far greater than those of the wingers. Eller is also used to playing slower hockey and a European game his whole life until the last 3 years. He has a very high hockey IQ which has always been evident and he is detail oriented by nature and has great vision and sense for the game. He has a big body and reach and actually has very good puck skills and can skate like the wind.

    His first responsibility is learning how to play defensively in the NHL because a weak center defensively is almost as bad as having a weak goalie. Last year he got caught wandering at times and was not yet adjusted to the pace of the game defensively …the great majority of his focus was devoted to trying to imrpove his defensive and positioning game along with simultaneously adjusting to the speed, size and skill of the NHL. He also has historically been given non scoring wingers.

    Last year and at times very early this year you could see he had the poise to hang onto the puck but he hadn’t yet figured out how to utilize his frame to prtoect the puck as is the norm with bigger bodies who are used to being the bigger body….now everyone is that big. He turned the puck over just inside the offensive blueline a lot last year and any coach worth his salt gets extremely upset at turnovers within 6 feet of either blueline…get it out or get it deep…if you choose to make a play in either area it had better work or you are the goat.

    This year his puck protection is improving game by game…as is his defensive awareness and understanding of the game surrounding him. As that aspect has and will always come first for a center he is beginning to free up more time and find his opportunities to help out offensively as well now. He may not have scored much this year but he has been getting more and more chances and I really think he will beneift from the 2 man forecheck philosophy as well as he is not necessarily always expected to be the high guy as was the case before.
    He is learning to make more time and space for himself and teammates and is also learning to play away from the puck offensively now a bit as well….he is going to dead areas and to the net because he has a better understanding of what he can and can’t recover from defensively. If he had played North American Junior hockey I would say he would be a year or two ahead of where he is right now but you can see the prgoression happening every game and it is awesome to watch.

    I still maintain he can become something of a Jordan Stall/Olli Jokinen hybrid with some Pleks/Koivu heart/work ethic built in. He will continue to imrpove for the next couple of years and the offense will one day just come but not until the defensive game, the speed and pace, the puck possession/decision making, the play away from the puck (both sides) all come natural….as they are starting to …we are not there yet but this game was a glimpse into the not so distant future IMO of what Eller can bring. You could see it from when he first started with us but everything was a fraction of a second off…..he is closer to being there now …he has the smarts and skill though to be a fraction ahead of the game…that is the exciting part and what I expect of him down the road.

    • JF says:

      Great post. I’ve been excited about Eller right from the beginning; he is tough, has good hands, and I could see, even with all the defensive and positional mistakes he made, that he had great hockey sense. You describe very well the progress we’re seeing in front of our eyes.

      BTW, did you have more time than usual to write this post? It’s much easier to read than most of your posts – better paragraph structure, fewer typographical errors, fewer ellipses.

    • neumann103 says:

      As you know, I have been big on Eller since he was acquired. I probably have a higher opinion of both his defensive play and his potential offensive upside.

      From the beginning I have been impressed with his situational awareness and responsibility. You usually have to drill defense into young forwards but he seemed to just get it. His promotion to 2nd unit PK duty is proof. He did (does?) still have these lapses where he makes the should-know-better play resulting in a turnover at the blueline, but I see this as an uncharacteristic if troubling exception to the overall defensively responsible trend.

      “Et le but!”

  14. Ton says:

    whether we are selling or not Moen should stay, big, strong, still relatively young, developing his skills, can fight, and cheap.

  15. BTVHabsFan says:

    Forget what else happens, last night was a great night that the Habs, the Bell Centre and the fans needed. From the return of the goal song to Emelin throwing his bad ass body around, to Eller’s 4 goals and 1st star celebration…..last night was a great break from the tough season so far.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      was a fun game to watch. Lots of positive’s. I thought Emelin looked a little raw defensively again last night. Was looking around on the first goal and almost cause 2 more. He has a lot more developing to do yet. I think he will be a decent defensemen but he has some work to do

      • Strummer says:

        First goal was on Diaz I believe, when he fell.

        ______________________________________________________
        “You have to be this tall to ride on this ride”
        -as posted in amusement parks across North America

        • bleedhabs81 says:

          Indeed it was. I thought he was hooked (watching HD feed on 480i TV while jogging in the basement… not so good) by the way he went down. Nope… just blew a tire and the result was a goal.

  16. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Maybe it’s also time to admit that Gauthier absolutely robbed Rutherford in the Kaberle deal – 8 pts in 11 games? That averages out to a 60 pt season…for a player that the entire league had assumed was finished?

    What a fantastic deal!

    • BTVHabsFan says:

      Let’s hope Mr. Kaberle can keep these numbers up the next two seasons at $4.25 per year….that being said it’s better than seeing Spacek get his body broken on every check.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      I’ve been saying it was a good deal since day one.

      Also, let’s be clear: Rutherford is tanking the season. No other reason to trade Kaberle for Spacek.

      • shiram says:

        Kaberle is a good dman, he is not great on the D-side, but his offence makes up for it.
        The issue is mostly centered around his cap hit, but with the Gorges deal I get the feeling some of the teams current cap hit will be moved in between now and next season.
        So yea Kabs is fine.

      • bleedhabs81 says:

        and I have been saying it was a great deal if we only look at the implications this year.

        and I am hoping it continues to be a good deal for the remainder of his contract (fingers crossed).

    • likehoy says:

      I wouldn’t think he’d keep up this pace, but it’d be nice if he ends the season between 30-40 points.. I don’t think that’s out of the question.

      – If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

    • Strummer says:

      I agree. It’s time to stop whining about the Kaberle contract.

      ______________________________________________________
      “You have to be this tall to ride on this ride”
      -as posted in amusement parks across North America

    • Arrow77 says:

      It was always silly to consider him finished at his age: he’s 33 years old! That’s the age where most defensemen are peaking. That and he was considered a prize acquisition less than a year ago.

      Expect between 40 and 50 assist every year and maybe reach 60 points one time or two, especially if Markov ever comes back.

  17. G-Man says:

    Ah, Boone. Now I’m blushing. ;)

  18. shiram says:

    Red Fisher, still sour grapes, can’t appreciate a nice win… I should have known better before clicking that link.

    That being said, last night was great, all the Habs having happy smiles and Eller’s night, well what else is there to say?

    Let’s not forget the other heroes, AK46 and Moen had great nights and help setup Eller.

    Gill tangling with Thorburn, just to make sure he could not go after another player, great team move by Gill. He made sure none of that stupid end of a lost game goonery could happen.

    The boys needed this win, and the wins needed this win as well.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      This is a really bizarre sentence by Fisher:

      “Teams settling into a new city don’t win three in a row as the Jets did against Colorado (4-1), Los Angeles (1-0 in overtime) and the Maple Leafs (3-2) before this loss to the Canadiens.”

      The Jets aren’t really a new team and even if they were – I’m willing to bet a lot of new franchises have won three in a row.

      I know it’s hard coming up with 700 words every day when all your readers have already seen the game, but come on!

      • shiram says:

        All efforts not to make positive comment on what was most likely the best Habs game of the season.
        Fisher examplifies the concept of the grumpy old man.

      • savethepuck says:

        I thuink Red is thinking of them as the California Golden Seals/

        “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
        Carey Price

  19. HabFanSince72 says:

    So we have two lines we know work well;

    Moen – Eller – AK46

    and

    Max – DD- Cole.

    Should the Gionta – Plex – Cammy experiment be tried again?

    • krob1000 says:

      I think one of the problems with both Gio and Cammi is they both always want to be the shooter..I understand their logic sometimes but it must be frustrating for guys playing with them as they often shoot on 2 on 1’s or in situations where a pass is the more obvious play….I get frustrated watching it. When they are scoring you don’t care but when the team is struggling it gets hard to watch…. if they could each commit to just play off of each other and keep Pleks involved it can work very well…..if they continue to shoot with no regard for other teammates in those situations then it will fail again as both will be frustrated and Pleks will by default as well.
      I can’t think of any other Hab aside from those two who would shoot in a passing situation….that has to be addressed ..but then again how do you say something to those guys? one is the captain and one despite his struggles is still the best sniper on the team….but if everyone (most importantly the goalie) knows he can come out and challenge you every time you get the puck with no fear of a pass it ain’t easy to score in the NHL anymore.

    • habsnyc says:

      I think one game is a little premature to say that Moen Eller AK46 works well. Though the line makes sense to me and definately should stay intact. AK46 created a lot and he is hot and cold. Moen does not really belong on a scoring line. Eller has one fantastic game in 100. I am keeping my expectations low.

      My question to you is JM said Eller is not a scorer. Eller had a great game. Is he really now a scorer? Does this game change the way the organization looks at him? I mean he is the only first round pick forward that never gets to try the shootout. That says a lot about how they view him. Personally I am all for giving Eller every chance to prove himself as a scorer. I feel the same way about Pax and LL and felt the same way about every young player on the roster. You have to give them the chance to succeed.

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

      • TommyB says:

        JM said Eller is not a scorer…..well, I’m trying to picture the post game press conference had JM still been behind the bench last night. I think it would go something like this: “Eller?…well, he’s still very young and he will make some mistakes…..”. That was JM’s view of Eller. He would not have even acknowledged Eller’s big night. And most likely Eller would not have had the chance to score multiple goals under JM, as he would have been relegated to 10 mins of ice time, and bench warming duty. Let’s not put too much faith in what JM’s view of these young players was.

        • montrealtilldeath says:

          JM would have had Eller sitting in the 3rd period to protect the lead which they would have probably lost. We have needed to be offensively minded in the 3rd to win. Our Dmen are not big like Boston so we almost always lose the 3rd period when we try to play in our own end and get out muscled behind the net. I again go back to last year’s playoff when JM sat Eller in the 3rd period of game four. Boston could not handle the Eller line. JM. Mr. Careful sat Eller in the 3rd. He said hie was concerned with faceoffs. The play which had been in the Boston end for most of the game especially when Eller’s line was on became a game in our end and we blew a 3-1 lead. That was the turn around game. Also JM liked to play veterans in the 3rd and in a long season with back to back games older guys like Gill do not have the energy in the 3rd and they make mistakes. Play the youngsters. They have the juice and they will learn. They are our future. And please do not sit Emelin behind Diaz again. He is the rookie leader in hits with 108 in 29 games. The number 2 guy has 102 hits in 40 games. This is a no brainer.

          • bleedhabs81 says:

            +1

            I don’t hate JM (like many others) but that was a frustrating system at times (playing only Defence in the 3rd when you are only up 1 goal).

    • neumann103 says:

      For most of this season I have repeated the mantra that the two forward combinations that looked really good were

      Desharnais and MaxPac
      Eller and AK46

      I disagree with habsnyc’s assessment that this is about 1 game. Eller and A46 have looked as though they were simpatico the whole season.

      It would take a lot for me to want to break up those pairings. I think you have some latitude with who is the other winger on those lines.

      A couple of other factors

      Cole looks good with anyone.

      Historically anyone looks good with Plekanec and his career has been weighted down a bit with being the catalyst for other player’s rehabilitation. Obviously this year not so much. Cammy and Cole should be ideal players to put on Plekanec’s wing: one to clear space and one to snipe. I would like to give that some time to gel.

      Cammy Plekanec Cole
      MaxPac Desharnais Gionta
      Moen Eller AK46
      Darche Nokalainen Blunden

      “Et le but!”

  20. habsnyc says:

    Wow, what a stunning game by Eller. I thought AK’s setups were incredible. This is the best I have seen a line play since Plecks Kovalev and AK were united. Just great to see a young player on this team and his linemates step up and take control of a game.
    The penalty shot goal was a joy to see. Good for him! I was always a fan of trading away Halak. Now I am a fan of trading for Eller.

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

  21. Habsssssssswin says:

    Andre Kostitsyn reminds me so much of Stephane Richer. On any
    given night he can be the best player in the league. On others he
    just mails it in. Last night he was outstanding. Moen, too. Great game boys.

    • avatar_58 says:

      It bothers me that AK46 could be so much more if he’d stick to his aggressive power forward style of play. This guy *could* be a top scorer, but instead we just get to see flashes of it

      • likehoy says:

        I think AK has been pretty consistent this year.. bumped around a bunch of lines again but he’s still scoring enough to get 25g 50pts in a full season

        – If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

  22. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Great game by everyone on the team, it was a complete effort.

    Lars…wow!
    Andrei…wow!
    Cole…wow!

    You could go on and on.

    Congrats to coach Cunneyworth for his first of many home wins. Oh, and Randy does speak french. I thought that was classy of him to start his post game briefing by saying he was very happy for Lars…in FRENCH!

    Come on Randy, at least one Hab fan is behind you 100%!

  23. larrymills says:

    Whats the status/injury report on Ryan White

  24. 24 Cups says:

    Want to clean up the game? Then don’t give out seven game suspensions to repeat offenders for blatant hits like this. Carcillo should get 20 games with the warning that next time it will be 40.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ242IrIokM

    • Marc10 says:

      He’d have gotten off with a lot less if the owner paying his checks was Jacobs or Snyder…

      If that’s Chara on Eller, it’s zero games…

    • habsguy says:

      you want to clean up the game?….tell repeat offenders like Carcillo they no longer play in the greatest hockey league in the world!!

      • savethepuck says:

        That’s what I think. Why let these idiots have the opportunity to end the careers of the Crosbys, OVs, Stamkos’ etc… because those are the guys I like to watch play our game, not the idiots trying to take their heads off.

        “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
        Carey Price

  25. JUST ME says:

    An all around good game from everybody.
    Felt good to listen to post game shows without the suicidal feeling…

    Now let`s enjoy the day and hope for a repeat on saturday. Must play as if it`s our last chance cause it is…

    Things can turn around in a flash and already did for the Habs since J.M. was fired. I am optimistic in a sense cause it could not get much worst and depressing.

    Three cheers for Lars !

  26. Sprague and Odie says:

    The first “Larry” we’ve had since the big bird. Well done Larry!

    Go Habs Go!!!

    I was told that there was an award ceremony in Boston to honour Don Cherry – I thought about that for a brief moment and I replied: “For what? Too many men on the ice?”

  27. Happy Days

    Go Habs Go

    LARS LARS LARS

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
    Custom Sports Figures
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

  28. The Jackal says:

    Habs need some NAG?!


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