THN predicts Habs will finish in 13th place


The Hockey News’s annual Yearbook is on newstands now and the magazine is predicting that the Canadiens will finish in 13th place in the Eastern Conference and miss the playoffs again.

THN predicts that Pittsburgh will finish first in the Eastern Conference, followed by Boston, Washington, the New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Ottawa as the eight playoff teams.

In the Western Conference it’s St. Louis, followed by Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minnesota, San Jose, Detroit and Nashville.

In the Stanley Cup final, THN predicts Vancouver will beat Pittsburgh

THN also has its annual list of the Top 50 Players in the NHL in its Yearbook, and Max Pacioretty was the only Canadien to make it, coming in at No. 44.

Pacioretty is coming off a season in which he led the Canadiens in scoring with 33-32-65 totals and won the Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“He responded to a devastating injury by being more robust and scoring 33 goals,” THN writes.

Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin was No. 1 on the THN list. Others making the top 10, in order, were: Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux, Los Angeles’s Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty, Minnesota’s Zach Parise, L.A.’s Anze Kopitar, Boston’s Zdeno Chara and the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist.


  1. Andy and the habs says:

    24 cups, I was ready NHL prediction on the habs and I was into their points on why Montreal will struggle until. Only problem is that they include Campoli in the roster. Makes you question how much they know about Montreal. Also they forget to mention Thrower in this years drafts. That to me was one of their best picks this.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Your’re right about Campoli, the author should have listed Weber. It’s the first thing that caught my attention after reading the article.

      Not mentioning Thrower is no big deal. He was just listing some picks from the draft and decided to go with Hudon instead.

      Hab fans are all excited about the good prospects they picked that fell below their projected draft position. The only question is why did 29 teams keep passing on those six players? Makes me feel a bit uneasy.

      Regardless, I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s too bad Montreal didn’t have a 7th round pick so they could take a flyer on Nick Ebert. That’s about the only regret I have.

      • HabFab says:

        The guy writes for Leaf Nation 🙂
        As for a 7th pick, I would have used it on that Russian kid Slepyshev. He looked good in the U20.

        • 24 Cups says:

          Or Nikita Gusev who went to Tampa in the 7th round. They may never come to the NHL but it’s the 7th round so what the hell.

          LA won the Cup and picked last. In doing so they they still got Pearson and Ebert at both ends of the draft. Both have issues but it’s still a good roll of the dice.

          I hope this Nystrom kid is worth it for Montreal.

  2. Andy and the habs says:

    Nice find punkster. That is nice music although I don’t listen to that kind. But as I grow older, my appreciation change in music and that my friend is good music.

  3. punkster says:

    OK, with all the doom and gloom swirling around hockey we need a pick-me-up. The first 7 minutes of this Wynton Marsalis concert should do the trick (and the remaining 40 minutes ain’t to shabby neither). Take an old yet venerable style, add some modern talent and experience (kind of like our Habs) and it sounds like this…and toe tapping is definitely allowed:

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  4. habsfan0 says:

    I would like to see Boone do a live blog on the Quebec leaders debate tonight.

  5. HabinBurlington says:

    Pretty bizarre story regarding Heatley and his now former agent.

    Filing an $11 million dollar lawsuit agains the agent.

    Another report on the same story.

  6. 24 Cups says:

    Nathan MacKinnon gets ready to replace Rick Nash in Columbus.

  7. English is not a Crime says:

    Pittsburgh’s got Crosby at day to day on his best days, they lost Staal and have not even halfway decent goaltending, unless one considers Fleury’s display this spring in which his GAA and Save %age were both in the 700 range for most of the playoffs to be a world beater in net. So obviously, they’re a lock and are going to the cup finals with a Vancouver team that’s trying to run their starter out of town and also got bounced in round 1.
    This is why THN doesn’t get taken very seriously most times.

  8. savethepuck says:

    I am wondering if Fehr called Bettman today like it was reported he was supposed to. I am probably wondering more if he called him an condescending a–hole like he should

  9. aj says:

    I’m starting to believe that the longer this contract talks with Subban are, the more likely he’ll sign somewhere else.

    It seems that from the obvious, Bergevin maybe contemplating to sign him for a 4-6 yr. deal worth $4 million (or less). However, from the looks of it, MB doesn’t seem to like this guy and were still waiting for what’s going to happen for the next for weeks. Maybe its the french media again taking control on the Habs by reporting what’s going on with the Subban deal. If there is a deal going on and is going to be in place, they better do it now.

    If I’m Holmgren, I’ll give Subban a contract offer. Since they lost to the Shea Weber contract offer with the Preds. The only reason why Subban is hanging on was due to his loyalty to the club. The question now is, “Does the Habs ‘really’ wand Pernell Karl Subban?”

    • Ian Cobb says:

      AJ — Subban will sign with us at the end of this up coming year as a Unrestricted Free Agent. He sure has something to play for now. Watch for him to have a star studded year.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      ? MB doesn’t sem to like this guy? I wish I had read this report, but I must have missed it.

    • Malreg says:

      I guess Jamie Benn, Michael Del Zotto, Evander Kane, Dmitry Kulikov, Tyler Ennis, John Carlson, and Ryan O’Reilly are all not liked by their team’s either, and are all about to sign elsewhere.

      And oh ya, Price was so upset at not being signed until the eve of training camp that he was going to bolt town at the first chance he got.

      • Cable Guy says:

        Huh? Price was signed at the beginning of July. How does that equal to signing on the eve of training camp? You don’t make sense.

        • Steven says:

          He means Price’s last contract, when he was still an RFA. He signed in late August, and people were freaking out then, too. Then again, they weren’t saying how another team would ink him, but how we don’t have a tender now that Halak was gone and even if we signed Price he wouldn’t be good enough.

          …Good times.

          • commandant says:

            Don’t forget Drew Doughty who held out last year and didn’t sign with LA til training camp was nearly over in October.

            Based on that, do you guys think the Kings are just dying to trade him? 😉

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  10. Ian Cobb says:

    I love it! It is so much sweeter when we kick butt.
    Toronto media scratches their heads, because they know not how winning hockey is to be played.
    I say we finish 7th in our conference!

    Summit game tickets, News, Pictures and comments

  11. SmartDog says:

    As if we needed evidence of how poorly TSN follows the Habs, in the article on the Timmins contract they say this about him:

    >Under Timmins’s watch, the Canadiens drafted many notable >players such as Chris Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn, Carey Price, Max >Pacioretty and P.K. Subban.

    Higgins and Kostitsyn are more notable than Plekanec, McDonagh, Halak, Streit, or even Grabovski?

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  12. JayK-47 says:

    Markov/Weber or Kaberle/Diaz for Sean Couturier.

    DD becomes the 2nd line LW with Eller and Bourque.

    Couturier centers Moen and Gionta.


    • naweed235 says:

      you are joking right??? If philly didn’t want to give Couturier up for Nash, why the hell would they wanna trade him for Kraperle and Diaz?

    • Phil C says:

      I think you are right that Philly will have to trade some of their depth at centre to help the defense. Buffalo are desparate for a centre and they are fairly deep on defense, so that seems more likely than Montreal for a trading partner.

      I can’t see them parting with Couturier though, Briere would be more likely.

    • Landof10000lakesHab says:

      It would take PK to move Couturier – not going to happen on either side. Sean Couturier looks to be a big part of the Flyers future – not going anywhere. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is easily one of the best in the NHL and will attempt to resolve the D shortage without losing a Schenn or SC. Perhaps Matt Read or Voracek gets moved..

      I doubt Montrel moves Diaz as he had a great 1st year.

      Markov is still our best Dman, even at 80%, and Kaberle may yet turn out to be a decent investment, albeit with limited d zone minutes.

      If your still gung-ho to uproot a family member, Weber is the likely candidate to be moved before the start of / if season, although the return would unfortunately be limited.

      BTW – the Habs would not include two Dmen in any deal at this point unless one was from the Bulldogs (Nash / St Denis) and even this is a stretch due to the need for experienced Dmen in Hamilton to mentor the incoming class (Beaulieu, Tinordi, Ellis, Pateryn).

    • Newf_Habster says:

      You are as bad as @Hockeyyinsderr!

  13. Chorske says:

    I don’t get why this is surprising anyone. A) THN has consistently not predicted anything right since, well, ever. B) That said, unless the Habs sign a winger to balance the loss of Cammalleri and provide a decent complement for Pleks, we remain an one line team, and such teams rarely fare well. If the Habs don’t sign someone decent (Bourque sucks a pigs arse) than I don’t have much more hope than THN. C) That said, this is the parity league, so the difference between a 13th place finish and an 8th place finish is almost nothing, a timely set of ties and wins can make all the difference… and once a team makes the playoffs anything can happen. D) with the caveat that one line teams never make it deep in the playoffs, which brings me back to B and how much Bourque needs to be demoted or bought out or hit by lightning or a bus or something because of how little he brings to the equation.

    • HardHabits says:

      I wouldn’t count Bourque out just yet. I would put Pacioretty with Pelkanec and Gionta and Bourque with Desharnais and Cole to try and get two lines happening. I agree though that the Habs need secondary scoring. They’ve needed it since 1993. Don’t get me started about tertiary scoring.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        If we’re going to split up the top line, I’d prefer to keep Max and David together, they’ve had a chance to work on their moves and chemistry in Hamilton. Erik Cole could be moved since he would click with any centre I think. Interested to hear why you’d do the reverse.

        • naweed235 says:

          agree with you there

        • Rozz says:

          I agree with UCE on keeping Max and Davey together as its clear they have chemistry together and I don’t want to lose that.. as where I believe that Cole will be able to find chemistry with Plecks … that being said I believe Bourque’s natural side is the Right wing and he didn’t fair to well at the LW last year when he came here so I can see HH point in putting Patches with Bourque to give him a chance to play the RW

          “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

          Mark Twain.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            That’s a good point that I think we’re all trying to ignore. If René Bourque plays right wing, we have Brian Gionta, Erik Cole and him clogging up that side, and on the left we have Max and whole lot of nothing.

          • Rozz says:

            lol Ya.. we definitely are lacking on the LW… but I think its clear that Bourque is not the answer for our LW problems. That being said I dont want to see Max and Davey split up .. have we tried or even entertained the idea of Cole on the left? or is he no good on the left as well? maybe Gio on the left?

            “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

            Mark Twain.

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            Erik Cole’s aborted season in Edmonton was abysmal, a lot of people think, because they played him on left wing.

            So much of his game is predicated on rushing the net on the wing, you see him come in on the right, he uses his left arm to shield the puck against the defenceman, and slides his right hand down his stick to corral the puck on his backhand. That move doesn’t work for him coming in on the left wing.

            We can suspect that an established veteran like Brian Gionta, who happens to be our captain, also might balk and not be as productive if shifted to the left wing.

            It’s a pickle all right…

          • Rozz says:

            Ahh.. Ya I figured there would be a legitimate reason as to why Cole couldn’t do the left side or else people would have been suggesting it already.. oh well there goes that idea lol. Well we really are left with quite the conundrum here, cause I have a feeling that trading Bourque away so quickly is the wrong move.. I’m glad I don’t have to make the decisions like that and I get to just sit back and bitch about the end results .. make my life sooo much easier lol

            “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

            Mark Twain.

        • Sean Bonjovi says:

          I think DD and Cole is the combo, so I’d play Max Pac with Pleks and Gio, and the 2nd line would be DD and Cole on the wings with Gomez at centre. My third line’s Eller, Bourque and Moen, but Therrien will make play Eller, Bourque with Prust (until the 2nd minute of every period when Prust takes a fighting major).

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Again, we need to give René Bourque a chance. To throw away a 6’2″, 220 lbs winger who can skate and score 25 goals on the basis of a half season’s work is short-sighted at best. If he lands with another team and clicks we’ll bemoan his departure like the unloved Sergei Kostistyn or Matt D’Agostini.

      • Boomer says:

        I agree UCE give the man a chance to redeem himself. It must be hard to up and move to a new city, new team, new culture even. But i read he’s ready and working hard to bounce back and have a great year.

        Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
        Hobo with a laptop

  14. Rozz says:

    ummmm ok, a couple things to keep in mind..

    1. as a Montreal fan I definitely have drowned my sorrow with alcohol once or twice to easy the pain of missing play off’s this year… so I can imagine that you (clearly) being a leaf fan have gotten used to being that wasted this early everyday after not seeing your team in a single play off game for how many years now? but please keep your drunken hatred down a bit there bud..

    2. I realize that being witty and clever isn’t for everyone.. and that’s ok.. but you should definitely leave the attempting of witty comments to those who can.. you’re no good at it and you’re just embarrassing yourself.

    now that being said I invite you to sober up, lose the hate, and come on back to try again ;D

    “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

    Mark Twain.

    • HardHabits says:

      Who are you talking to… or about? And it’s lose.

    • Rozz says:

      ok this comment ^^ was in response to a couple of comments made by “Doomsday” something ish aka Gary Smith.. but now it popped up here and i cant see his comment any more so im assuming its been removed.. so sorry if it doesn’t make sense now lol

      “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

      Mark Twain.

      • HardHabits says:

        I thought so after reading some stuff below. He should have picked TroublemakerTrollberg as his HIO handle.

        • Rozz says:

          lol Agreed! I’d suggest LeafLovingTroll .. but I have already reserved that nickname for a certain someone named Wilfred lol

          “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

          Mark Twain.

  15. Several players including Cammalleri, Gionta, Prust comment on the possibility of a lockout.

  16. 24 Cups says:

    “Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens – the undersized winger will make Montreal out of camp. His work ethic is unmatched and he has a ton of skill as well. Learning from Brian Gionta will be great, as well. Gallagher is sound defensively and could step in to an energy role before he is counted on to produce consistently. I could see him becoming a 20-25 goal scorer in a few years.”

    (Jeff Angus, sleeper picks for 2012-13)

    • Rozz says:

      that would be awesome to see.. I think Gallagher will be something special.. I really like the kids attitude and drive

      “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

      Mark Twain.

    • Boomer says:

      Yeah I think Gally Is Gionta 2.0.

      Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
      Hobo with a laptop

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I’m fine with a rookie earning a spot on the team this season, as long as the kid wins it outright, and is truly ready. Also, I want him to get significant minutes, and not be benched if he screws up. If he tires or doesn’t put in the effort, then the pressbox it is, but if not, I want the kid playing, not sitting on the bench or a healthy scratch like Alexei Emelin a good portion of last year while Jaro Spacek was getting icetime and getting destroyed.

  17. HardHabits says:

    Playoff locks: Philly, Pittsburgh, Rangers, Boston, SE Division leader.

    That leaves 3 spots for 10 teams. The only teams worse than the Habs are the Islanders and Maple Leafs.

    13th sounds about right.

    The good news is, if they do worse it’s another high pick to go with a plethora of other ones and if they do better they will have exceeded expectations.

    Win-win. Even if not really winning.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I want to believe that the Flyers can crash and burn this year. No Jaromir Jagr, loss of quality defencemen, no goaltending, I wish I could spell schadenfreude.

    • naweed235 says:

      I’d say the locks are Philly, Rangers and Pitsburgh… Boston not so much. Also I think Carolina is gonna make some noise this year.

  18. solomio says:

    I figure there will not be a hockey season this year and I say screw both sides. Hockey is about the fans. Period. The fans pay the players and the owners. Over 2 billion in profits last year to the league. Multi year 100 million dollar contracts.Give me a break. Go on UIC you bunch of greedy bastids. Lose a year of your stinking profits and salaries and see how you feel. The fans can kick this mainline habit on which you’ve got ’em hooked.We’ll won’t.

    “I figure Bergevin has 3 or 4 moves left to bring the Habs that extra step closer to perhaps being the best in the league.” – Einstein

  19. otter649 says:

    Watching/listening to the Red Sox & Yankees baseball game and somehow Tim McCarver starts telling a story how he met Phil Esposito in Montreal when he was an Expo & Espo was getting ready to take part in The Summit Series of 1972 with game one in Montreal which was a best 5 out of 9 series…….lol

  20. Ferg says:

    Such a wonderful country yours is…. but so many dicks like you.
    Please cheer for the Bruins.
    It makes it easier for me to stereotype.

  21. --Habs-- says:

    Not sure how they guessed but the good thing is you could move up 13 and back only 2…..

    Go HABS Go

  22. Rad says:

    Why is this Doomsday Darrin allowed to post profanities and childish gibberish? Where is the HIO Webmaster?

  23. ddupuis says:

    Let’s face it…places 4th thru 14th are up for grabs depending on the health of the players…there is a ton of parity in the leauge and predictions as simply a guess. Everyone one of us on this board could be jsut as accurate with our predictions as THN – look at the 2007-2008 season – think THN had us anywhere near the top? THN has us finishing in 13th. Teams who have chemistry, coaching, heart and health win – teams who don’t – lose…

    • commandant says:

      The fact is that the teams as they stand today are not even the teams that will enter the season.

      There are still trades to be made, free agents to be signed, prospects to make the jump to the show, and injuries will happen.

      August 18th is just too soon and there is too much that can change.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  24. alfieturcotte says:

    Unfortunately, I agree with this prediction. Bergevin did nothing to improve the Habs via free agency. Our offense is worse and consists of 1 good line and a plethora of 4th liners.

    • Boomer says:

      with Gionta back and if Pleks and Bourque play to their abilities I don’t think it’s as bad as some think. I’m more concerned about our Dmen

      Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
      Hobo with a laptop

    • Habitoba says:

      My question to you is have you ever had a crappy boss that got replaced by a good one, or maybe just simply a better one? I know I have and I found my output matched my attitude, whether I was with the crappy boss (lousy attitude, poor work production) or with the better boss (obviously, the opposite happened where I found myself working harder and enjoying myself a little more).

      I Know Bergevin didn’t add much to the team in the form of new players but the team did seem to change the atmosphere of the organization. Maybe the players (yes, even Gomez) will thrive under a team that wants to communicate with its players.

      Only time will tell.

      • solomio says:

        Jeez don’t tell me Gomez is still around. Where’s that mofo lurking?

        “I figure Bergevin has 3 or 4 moves left to bring the Habs that extra step closer to perhaps being the best in the league.” – Einstein

    • joeybarrie says:

      How is our offense worse?
      MB improved what we lacked, and that was better bottom 6 players. More size and more grit.
      We get Gionta back.
      We get Markov back.
      13th???? no way

    • solomio says:

      I agree with you Alfie about Bergevin but the 4th liners comment is too harsh a statement.

      “I figure Bergevin has 3 or 4 moves left to bring the Habs that extra step closer to perhaps being the best in the league.” – Einstein

    • boing007 says:

      I don’t consider Pleks, Eller, Gionta and Bourque to be fourth liners.

      Richard R
      Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  25. Boomer says:

    I’ve just been summoned for jury selection. God help the accused if their fate is in my hands. I should not be on a jury. I can barely take care of myself. How do I get out of this? I’m thinking of showing up at court and randomly shouting at pigeons and the judge. Please help with suggestions.

    Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
    Hobo with a laptop

  26. kempie says:

    History has shown that when this team is projected to have a good year they usually suck. The inverse is usually true as well. Whenever the team goes into a season being already written off, they usually have a good run. This also applies to individual games. The Habs are a team that can often handle the strong teams quite well but can’t beat the NYI, CBL, EDM teams to save their lives.

  27. Boomer says:

    Can someone explain to me what “Fromnt” means? is it some strange word the mentally handicapped mumble to signal their special bus to come pick them up? Or perhaps the ramblings of a worthless Laffs fan?… Methinks it is a bit of both but do please explain…
    Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
    Hobo with a laptop

  28. dhenry1234 says:

    “Hey Gary What are you up to today?”

    “Ah not much man just think I might go sign up to a website and troll hab fans YOLOMAWFUCKA”


  29. kempie says:

    Really dude?

  30. holypricehabsman says:

    Such biased bullish!t always coming out of the hockey news! One of the only hockey based news sources I avoid regularly

  31. malbert94 says:

    Do Habs pick 3rd again if no season is played this year?

    • joeybarrie says:

      There will probably be another draft lottery similar to the one in 1995 where Pittsburgh won Crosby.
      “Teams were assigned 1 to 3 balls based on their playoff appearances and first overall draft picks from the past three years. According to the draft order, the selection worked its way up to 30 as usual; then instead of repeating the order as in past years, the draft “snaked” back down to the team with the first pick.”

  32. boing007 says:

    …and, last, but not least: FREE PUSSY RIOT !!!

    I second that emotion Habitant in Surrey. Or third it. Fourth it.

    Richard R
    Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  33. commandant says:

    Canada wins its fifth straight gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka. 4-0 in the final over Finland. Nathan MacKinnon solidifies his first overall draft ranking with a hat trick in the Gold medal game.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • boing007 says:

      Or CBA’s.

      Richard R
      Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • Boomer says:

      Hi Comm,
      I missed everything lol, was Barkov there for Finland? I know they didn’t score but how’d he play?

      Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
      Hobo with a laptop

      • Ron says:

        I don’t think he seen anymore than you did. Most likely the game summary.

        • Boomer says:

          I know he catches a lot of the international tourneys, Ivan is one of the big one’s for prospects. I hope he or someone did

          Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
          Hobo with a laptop

          • commandant says:

            I’ll be watching it through the On-Demand section at Fasthockey but I haven’t watched it yet. I’ll let you know when I do.

            Its a busy weekend so I need to find two hours straight where i can sit and watch uninterrupted and that probably won’t happen til next week. I’ve got a few games to catch up on, but August is a good time to fall behind because I’ll get time to catch up.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  34. Brinkley says:

    Just my opinion.

    I’m OK with the Habs drafting top 10 in the 2013 draft – apparently a banner draft.

    For the Habs to build a true Cup contender they will have to draft as well as (if not better than) the best teams in the league.

    I am not aware of any Cup Champs that have built the core of their team through Free Agency.

    Building a Championship team requires time and patience.

    • malbert94 says:

      What happens if the season is wiped out? Where do the Habs draft. Third again? I wouldn’t neccessarily mind that lol…. But I do want to see hockey played this year.

  35. Hobie Hansen says:

    I never read into magazines’ or even TV stations like TSN’s predictions as to where the Habs will finish. There have been several predictions that the Habs will finish out of the playoffs and they’ve ended up 1st in the Eastern Conference or won a couple playoff rounds.

    Montreal has some holes but they’ve got good players in most key positions. The biggest hole is a shutdown defenseman with size. The other possible hole is a big and talented center. Both are in the system but still a couple years away.

    The defense could pull it together if maybe Emelin can learn to play a real nasty shutdown roll. The PP is going to be great though with Subban and Markov.

    The forwards aren’t bad either. I really like the Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole line and you’ve still got guys like Plekanec, Gionta and hopefully Bourque and Eller who will put points up on the board.

    Than there’s Moen, Prust, White, Armstrong that can add some aggressiveness and solid forechecking to keep the puck down at the other end of the ice.

    In goal we have Carey Price. The pressure is on this year. The defense is a bit thin in front of him but the fans are expecting a big year. I think he’s the type of goalie who can play extremely well in a structured defensive system. But if it turns into a shooting gallery we could see a season like last year’s.

    If the teams gels, gets off to a hot start, I think they have a roster good enough to make some noise.

    Oh, if there’s no lockout….

  36. habs-fan-84 says:

    Bourque > Cammy

    Yes, we do have a replacement for Cammy. He generally scores more goals and is bigger and tougher.

  37. HabinBurlington says:

    Have a good day everyone, an absolutely picture perfect day here in Southern Ontario. Blue sky, high of 24 no humidity, oh to be golfing today…… CHeers!

  38. ThatOldChestnut says:

    Uh, isn’t it a bit early to be making predictions? It’s August 18th!

  39. commandant says:

    THN 2011-12 Prediction…. Ottawa Senators 15th in eastern conference.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  40. The Chicoutimi Cucumber says:

    It’s impossible to predict *exactly* where a team will finish. What is not impossible is to say that Team Z is a contender, Team Y is playoff-worthy, and Team X is likely to finish outside the playoffs. If we look at the Habs, we see a team that

    1. Has improved its depth on the bottom-6 up front;

    2. Has a good #1 line but still has two fewer top-6 forwards than it had at the start of last season (no replacements for Cammy or Kostitsyn) – a season in which secondary scoring was terrible;


    3. Is heavily dependent on Andrei Markov staying healthy, something that has not happened for three seasons running.

    So: a highly questionable top-6 and a defence that MUST have Markov stay healthy if it is to be effective.

    Now, it’s possible that the improved toughness and depth, coupled with the kind of renewed enthusiasm and commitment that we can expect to see from players seeking a ‘fresh start’ after a disastrous season – as well as the energy that often accompanies a true coaching change – will all combine to make this team greater than the sum of its parts. We could catch lightning in a bottle and finish solidly in the playoffs.

    But predictions can’t be based on such hopeful scenarios. If you look at this team objectively, it just has too many question marks to pencil into the top-8 in the Conference.

    THN has made a reasonable assessment.

  41. HNS says:

    I predict that they r wrong.

  42. SmartDog says:


    1. If you had to pick a side in this dispute, which side is it? Why?
    2. Is Bettman just a mouthpiece for the owners or is he a true a-hole in his own right?
    3. If the Habs have few injuries this year, could they possibly surprise by finishing on top of the east?
    4. If the league proposed a 50-50 revenue split, and the players refused, leading to a lock-out, who would you be more mad at?
    5. If a train leaving New York with only Bettman on it, collides with a train leaving Chicago with only Fehr on, what happens then? And where’s the party?

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • HabFab says:

      1. Neither. Two wrongs never equal a right.
      2. Both
      3. No
      4. Mad?
      5. Things always could get worse.

      • SmartDog says:

        You make a lot of sense. Sad but true.

        I only put in the question about the Habs winning the east to see if anyone would say yes. My guess is if Ian replies he would. It’s a loyalty barometer… or blind faith barometer.

        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      1. Owners, because end of day they are the power brokers who will decide if we have hockey this season, and I want hockey.
      2. He is that rare combination of both, but I believe this year we get to see that he really only represents the big boy owners and if he doesn’t this will be his demise. (At least I am hoping for that)
      3. I don’t see how they finish on top, but I think playoffs is a real possibilty with fewer injuries. (Same can be said for many teams, but we don’t care about the others)
      4. I guess due to my answer of #1 I will have to say the players.
      5. Is Steven Segal on either train?

    • Habziefan09 says:

      1. Well as most would say both.. Remember that this CBA which ends on Sept 15th is what was agreed upon that was supposed to “save” the league and if memory will serve everyone of us correctly, the majority of the players were “duped” into accepting the deal… Remember the Goodnow (and the other guy) fiasco? I don’t think the owners would be satisfied unless each player was paid 20 bucks a game to be honest.

      2. Bettman was a bad choice as commissioner for the league from the get go. He may now know what hockey is but 20 years ago he didn’t know a puck from hockey tape.. and his legacy shows it by putting teams in places that wouldn’t see snow even in an ice age. If he was really a mouth piece for the league, do you really think those are Molson’s words he is reading? I think not. if anything I believe it’s a case of “Dear owners, I know what is best for you.. let me do my thieving magic.. signed Gary “I need a stool to see over Gionta” Bettman.

      3. Anything is possible… Then again the Leafs could make the playoffs and win the cup (Shut up leaf fans)

      4. The revenue split is not the only issue.. their stance on contracts and elimination of arbitration is borderline illegal I believe.. I am no lawyer but legislating a bargaining tool is ruthless.

      5. Just in the nick of time, MacGiver appears and rescues Fehr by making a parachute out of gum, a popsicle stick & a paper clip, landing gently in a field only to look back and watch Bettman on the train before the moment of impact holding a sign that says “HELP!” a la Wile E Coyote.
      Twitter: Habziefan09

      Confucius says: “Baseball has it all wrong, Man with 4 balls cannot walk!”

    • kairos66 says:

      1. I’d have the choose the players because I have never paid any money to watch an owner play hockey (however, I did pay to watch Mario Lemieux play in Laval once. Does that count)?

      2. I recently read an article in the Globe written by Ken Dryden regarding Bettman’s ability to get the owners to move in the same direction. A feat only accomplished by an a-ho and dirty SOB who is extremely confident of his abilities.

      3. The Habs position in the standings will hinge on the coach’s ability to change his coaching style and keep the room. Let’s hope he has a Hitchcock awakening.

      4. That will depend on solving the other issues. If the league proposes a 50-50 revenue split, and continues to insist on their other proposals (e.g., free agency after 10 years, maximum 5 year contracts, etc.) I would be hard press to blame the players for refusing. Remember that the owners proposals are to to protect themselves from themselves. Back in 2004 the owners wanted to level the playing field through the pocket of the players. Then the owners went out and created an uneven playing field by sign Pronger and Kovelchuk type contracts. Unless there is a revenue sharing agreement from the owners, the league will be in the same situation in 5 to 6 years with the owners asking for more money from the players.

      5. Why an SAT question. What directions are both trains going and at what velocity?


  43. HabFab says:

    An audio of an interview Abe had with Trevor after his contract extension. Trevor is in Czech at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament where Canada remains undefeated;

  44. commandant says:

    Today’s Top Shelf Prospects features the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have absolutely loaded up on defencemen

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  45. JohnBellyful says:

    NEW YORK – NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr are stepping up negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.
    “We’ve agreed to exchange email addresses and cellphone numbers as well as some of our favourite haunts,” Bettman told reporters today.
    He said the two men have been communicating regularly through intermediaries and expect to meet over tea and scones next Thursday.
    If things go well, the two men will “friend each other on Facebook,” he said.
    Fehr and Bettman have been criticized for their leisurely approach to coming up with a new CBA but the two men say their detractors are offside.
    “There’s a danger that negotiations can become fractious if forced to adhere to a tight timetable,” Fehr said. “Civility and a decorous pace are paramount if we are to reach agreement that’s satisfactory to both sides and doesn’t cause bruised feelings in the process.”
    Bettman said the Sept. 15 expiration date for the current agreement is not seen so much as a deadline to reach a deal as it is “a launching point to begin talking in earnest the setting of parameters for future discussions.”
    “To tell you the truth, I think the players will enjoy a little bit more time off,” Fehr said, “and from reading the various blogs and sports websites, the fans seem to be keeping themselves entertained, so I really don’t see the need to get things done in a hurry only to regret later what was done in haste.”
    Both men, however, have warned that they will not be lulled into a false sense of camaraderie that jeopardizes the interests of the sides they represent.
    “One cross word from Gary and things could get prickly,” Fehr said.
    “If he even looks at me funny, I’ll get snippy,” Bettman vowed.
    After their meeting on Aug. 23, the two men plan to get together Thanksgiving to speed up talks.
    “The Canadian Thanksgiving,” Fehr stressed, to convey the sense of urgency they’ve attached to the talks over dinner. “To wait until the American Thanksgiving would be unpardonable.”
    “Well, we could always ask for a presidential pardon,” Bettman quipped, when told Fehr’s remark.

  46. L Elle says:

    Whatever THN predicts, I predict the opposite will happen. 😉

  47. HabinBurlington says:

    Holy Cow, stay away from the computer for a day and threads start multiplying like Guppies around here. Think I just spent 2 hours reading posts to stay on top of things. I even read all UCe’s dissertations, tired now. 🙂

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Actually, this was the abstract. The dissertation itself is available now for Kindle and IPad.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        PLease send me the link! Hey Normand I think I am a row ahead of you and look towards the left and you should see me at the Summit. Look forward to meeting you my friend, there is going to be a great time had by all at this years Summit, I am working on bringing the perfect raffle gift which will have your name all over it. I just have to figure out a way to package up this giant printer which can print out all your dissertations in colour as they are deserving of.

  48. habs-fan-84 says:

    I laugh at this lame prediction. One anomaly of a season where everything that could go wrong did and everyone writes the team off.

    I’m not going to get into all the positives again but I see playoffs ahead. Laugh all you want at my wide eyed optimism but this team is A LOT better than most give it credit for.

    Funny how essentially this same team a year ago was predicted by nearly everyone to make the playoffs. Fast forward a year after an anomalous season and now we’re apparently doomed until Galchenyuk, Tinordi and Beaulieu come up. Frankly a year later and we’re bigger, tougher more mature and for the first time in a LONG time we have TWO 30 goal scorers on the team (yes I know most are willing to bet Cole will be unable to repeat).

    If there is a season this year I remain steadfastly optimistic.


    • HabinBurlington says:

      Something that can be easily overlooked is how the mess up top had a trickle down into the locker room. Players in that room had to see how PG and company were handling things and must have wondered when the circus was finally going to end.

      I don’t know if I believe we are ready to sew up a playoff spot, but I certainly feel that once the season is begun our players will have a much better attitude as a result of the “Cleansing” which occurred in the hallways of the Bell Center this past off season.

      While we haven’t made big acquisitions, we have made specific changes which target areas that some of our leading players have discussed in the past as being a weak point. Add to that we have players who joined this circus last season who now will have the opportunity to show what they can do in a positive environment.

      I am with you HF84, lets see what our boys can do this year.

      • HabFab says:

        Both Gill and Spacek mentioned that the vets were all excited when JM was let go expecting a change in direction…instead more of the same old! RC was truly a lame duck coach kept on a short leash by the “ghost”.

      • boing007 says:

        Ethical cleansing, as opposed to ethnic cleansing.

        Richard R
        Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • kairos66 says:

      Is Eklund the managing editor of THN? Or perhaps hockeyyinsiderr is a staff writer?

      My fearless prediction is the the Habs are going to win their division and make the finals. But I’m just a fan and feel like fan.

      “When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate.”

      Nassim Nicholas Taleb


  49. sreuel says:

    How many goals a game did the Habs score last year and years before. I think 2 so you can’t win games this way. How many did our over paid super star Gomez score

  50. Habfan17 says:

    Donald Fehr makes a great point, it is not aprtanership between the players and the owners in this article by Terry Koshan. Where he is wrong is that in any good company, salaries are set at a percentage of revenue. He is correct hen he states that there are no caps on what an owner pays management and operational staff.

    While he is correct that there is no cap as to what an owner can sell his team for, it is set by the current economic market and the success of a team, there is also no floor and if players are allowed to leave when in their prime and go where they want, the value of the team and his investement take a big hit!


  51. accp says:

    If they go with the team we have right now. The Habs will have a hard time making the playoffs and we’re not even counting injuries.
    I think scoring will be their downfall. the “D” and goaltending not too bad.

  52. Mavid says:

    THN is not a very good magazine..I had a subscription for a couple of years and cancelled it…they are rarely right…and I found they were always somewhat anti Canadiens…and jumped on the bandwagon only when it was obvious the team was playing well..honestly I don’t read their predictions anymore, who cares what they think..really??

  53. JohnBellyful says:

    I usually pack a lunch before embarking on one of UCE’s treatises but the trip is always worthwhile. It can be painful, though, because it can force a reader to think along the way. His latest extended commentary (see below) got me to thinking along these lines:

    What if the players agreed to only 50 per cent of the revenues of money-losing franchises? They would have to open up their books to earn special designation as Financially Troubled Teams and, in the process, show the world just how great a league it truly is.

    What if the concept of an attic was added to the teams’ current salary structure of floor and ceiling? This is where bloated salaries paid to superfluous players would be put into temporary storage until the ‘wife’ – the league – insists you clear out all the useless stuff and haul it out to the curb, to be collected by the ‘trash collectors’ – the Leafs, Islanders, etc or TV networks.
    In practice, this would work as follows: Team Alpha declares Player Zula’s contract a stuffed albatross and announces it will stow the odious bird out of sight in the attic. No longer is the ungodly sum paid an under-achieving player factored in salary cap computations. It’s as if the player has disappeared off the ice as well as on.
    Of course, there must come a time when the team must pay the price – again – for having made an unwise purchase of a now-devalued asset. You can’t keep putting stuff in the attic or else the accumulated mass will eventually crash through the ceiling AND the floor.
    And when the time comes to ditch the stuffed albatross, the unhappy owner will have to pay a capital loss tax, or if you prefer, a tax for the luxury of having kept Zulu’s salary off the books for five years maximum.
    Of course, the tax will have to be sufficiently onerous to make ‘husbands’ – GMs – think twice about paying inflated prices for treasures that ultimately turn into trinkets.

    What if the mechanism for securing a collective bargaining agreement was radically altered to facilitate a quicker resolution of differences between the two sides?
    Suppose impartial third parties were brought in to rejeuvenate contract talks once it became clear they had stalled. Third parties could include academics, retired contract lawyers, knowledgeable fans or Liberals (notice the list grows smaller).
    The process would follow the same path that other sectors of the economy do when striving to sign a new contract: negotiation, mediation, and, finally, binding arbitration (and I say the tighter the binds the better).
    And if that doesn’t work, I would add a fourth step: starvation. If both sides are so determined to win, force the negotiators to go on a hunger strike, and see which side yields first.

    Lastly, what if there were unbridled free agency and no draft? Every summer teams gather to choose their teams by drawing the names of players inscribed on miniature hockey sticks, along with the salaries they’re asking. The sticks are stacked in the middle of the arena floor, in separate piles for forwards, defencemen and goaltenders.
    Their names and salaries would be masked with hockey tape, and the team’s representative would hold the stick up to the camera while peeling off the tape.
    What then would follow is a week of of frenzied swapping of players as teams sort out their rosters based on their financial wherewithal and the salary cap that would remain in effect.
    It would be a broadcasting bonanza for ESPN and must-see TV for hockey junkies. The randomness of the selection would give every franchise hope of putting together a competitive squad, as well as offer a built-in excuse for teams who subsequently do poorly in the standings.
    But it would also allow the more astute GMs to shine as they wheel and deal to put together a winning combination.
    Teams would be allowed to reject their selection immediately if they consider the salary demand is too much, and they would then have to wait their turn before making another selection. Players tossed back into the pile five times would have to submit a new salary figure.

    Well, I think that’s enough cogitating for one day. Next time I’ll try it when I’m sober.

  54. Psycho29 says:

    For what it’s worth this was what THN predicted for 2011-2012

    In the East they predicted Ottawa (8) would be 15th, Cup finalist New Jersey (6) would be 11th, and the Rangers (1) would be 7th

    • JUST ME says:

      Thank you ! Very à propos ! It is important to have those predictions to add to our way of seeing their predictions. That is a fun game to play and puts things into it`s proper angle. Cause let`s admit it we are fans whatever happens and tend to be blind when it comes to predicting where the team will be. Not easy figure out between where they are and where we would like them to be…
      But this game of predictions is also influenced by so called experts that are as inaccurate as we are….

  55. HabFab says:

    On and the pictures of Prust trying on his new uniform. One shows him and Lars talking in the dressing room, Lars looks bigger, maybe even 210.

  56. EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

    There is no way the Flyers are making the playoffs next year, Their D-Corps is in shambles and won’t be fixed anytime soon.

    Vancouver lacks the spine to make it far in the playoffs (2011 was an anomaly)

    Boston will finish in the 6th-8th range due to goal-tending and an aging Chara

    Ottawa will take a few steps back, I’m from there and that is the general consensus over here.

    Montreal will finish in the 10th – 7th range, anything is possible, what did THN predict last years Sens to finish!

    and anyone who thinks that Nashville is going anywhere but to the draft lottery next season is on crack

  57. JUST ME says:

    They may be right, but they may be dead wrong as they were i suppose last year predicting the Habs final standing (as we all were).The only thing i am sure of is that the Habs cannot get any lower than they are right now and that they are on the way up. How much higher depends on injuries and underachievement from many many players.

    The thing is that the Habs final position also depends on the other team`s . I predict that a few teams will have a more difficult year next season.

    As much as we love to hate him, a guy like Tim Thomas is a big plus for any team and although Rask is solid, next season will be now or never in a way for him to keep his team at the same level.

    I think that the Flyers will have a very difficult season. There are many question marks on this team and if the defense is always the sore point in Philly , they are one injury away in offense from being in trouble. Of course i am not crazy either and know that they are a dangerous team but the way they emptied the gas tank against the Pens showed their limitations.

    Something tells me that the Sens will have their part of challenges nest season mainly playing up to par and trying to do as well as the previous season.

    So right then and there i see three opportunities for the Habs to do better than what the so called experts predict. But it`s fair game, let`s not get blinded by fanaticism and be realistic about where we are instead of what we should be cause this remains to be proven.

  58. Cal says:

    Using THN as the base for misinformed speculation, my formula is THN x .5 +.5. That leaves the Habs in 6th this season.
    I am giving THN the doubt. In other words, they may be half right, so the multiplier must be .5. I may be half right, as well, so therefore I must add .5 to my prognostication (see bullsh!t in the Oxford dictionary, vernacular use.).
    There, it’s all explained and now you know. Habs in 6th.

  59. The Cat says:

    On another note, how stupid is THN for going with the most plausible outcome which they know (I hope) never happens? Any non hockey fan looking at last year’s standings could have written that waste of space.

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

  60. The Cat says:

    I think Montreal, Carolina, Edmonton and Calgary will make the playoffs. Washington, Tampa, Nashville and San Jose, are on the way out and won’t make it.

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

  61. Rozz says:

    I know its not a popular view but honestly if its looking like a 13th place finish I say just make a push for 15th (and hopefully 30th place over all) and get 1st or 2nd overall. I would never suggest tanking the entire season on purpose but if by mid way we’re in the basement lets just go for the gusto and complete the drafting part of the rebuild..

    now that being said I’m still hoping for a cup.. as I do every year … you know that old die hard habit of expecting the worst but still hoping (longing / praying) for the the best.. GO HABS GO!

    “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

    Mark Twain.

  62. Un Canadien errant says:

    SAMEDI 27 OCTOBRE 2012 À 19H00


    1) So, is this as good a vantage point as John Bellyfull’s rooftop perch?

    2) Which ones of you knuckleheads will I be seated with? So far I only know that Chrisadiens and Habs10912 are right in front of me.

    3) My ticket says ‘No Backpacks’, but what about Gore-Tex? Because that’s probably a good choice of outerwear for the people sitting in front of me, I tend to be demonstrative and use my hands a lot when I scream, even when I’m holding a cup.

    4) Is anyone else bringing a vuvuzela?

    This isn’t “Billionaires vs. Millionaires.” Only a willfully uninformed fool would apply that sloppy shorthand designation to this disgraceful power grab crafted by some of the wealthiest individuals and corporate entities in North America aimed against professional athletes.–Larry Brooks of the New York Post

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …I’m much like You as a Fan Normand
      …I remember attending a Canucks Habs’ game with Mary, My late Wife, before We were married, …I think it was in the old PNE Pacific Coliseum, late-70s-early 80s
      …Mary was still in Her late teens, first year at UBC, and I about 30 or 31 and struggling in architecture and still getting settled in Vancouver
      …Mary was the youngest extraordinarily beautiful daughter of a strict, conservative, though warm Chinese family
      …part of what Mary had to accept about Me was I was an iredeemable Montreal Canadiens Fan, She of course a Canucks fan
      …as a rule it was very difficult to convince Her father to keep Her out past 9 or 10 PM, and I had to feign every conceivable indication I had nothing but the most honorable intentions for His treasured daughter
      …which was difficult, because I was admittedly quite a rogue until I met Her 🙂
      …anyways, I wanted to see Guy Lafleur play again before He retired, as He was in the downside of His career, and I also wanted She to see the Team that was so important to Me
      …I remember cutting My almost shoulder-length hair solely to meet in person with Her Dad to sell Him I will carefully take care and respect His Daughter
      …I had not watched My Habs play in person for several years because of working overseas and back n forth between Vancouver and Montreal …My addiction fed only by the great 4:30 PM game time on Vancouver TV, which at the time broadcast almost every Hab game (and more wonderfully almost no Weedz games)
      …so, We are in the Coliseum, and a Hab scores a goal or there is a scrum, I rise from My seat and cheer
      …after a few times, I feel a sharp thump on My back …behind Me was a father & son Canuck fan duo with very unfriendly looks on their mugs …the dad with the size and demeanor of Orland Kurtenbach, and his son not much smaller
      …My instinct was to leap over the seats, but I look at Mary looking very concerned I might do something foolish …I bite My tongue and My fists …return to the game, rose to cheer at the next Canadiens goal …and was ‘thumped’ on My back again …this time much harder than the first
      …My temples throbbing like a volcano wanting to burst, yet remembering Mary a delicate classic beauty that must not be dragged into a violent scene, and My promise to Her Dad
      …I decide to take Mary to the concessions mid-period to cool-off …We returned in a few minutes, I holding Our hot dog and a large cup of soft-drink
      …wouldn’t You know, Lafleur Himself scores …I stand and My arms flail and a half-litre of cola flies straight into Orland’s face and expensive camel-hair jacket
      …I remember apologizing profusely 🙂 …he yapping while indignantly walking up the stairs to the exit with his son, escorted by security
      …based on My experience, GoreTex seems like a useful suggestion if sitting around Fans like You and I Normand 🙂

      Post Script: I brought Mary home late, …but without a scratch
      …earning Me a free-pass to future romantic liasons 🙂

      HIO’s BC Odd Couple: UCe, the supercilious stickler; and HIS, the stubbornly relentless ‘schismatist’ 🙂
      Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

      Campaign to Retire Toe Blake’s Number 6 !!!

  63. Un Canadien errant says:

    Not much of a stretch by THN, it’s not so much a prediction as a rehash of last year’s standings with a little fiddling here and there. I guess that’s to be expected in a way, all they have to go on is last year’s performances.

  64. Rad says:

    Fore sure it’s going to be very difficult for this team to make the Playoffs next April. I don’t see the Habs replacing any of the 8 teams that made the playoffs last year (Rangers, Bruins, Panthers, Pens, Flyers, Devils, Capitals, and Senators.) Moreover, 3 of the teams that did not make the playoffs last year are significantly improved: Sabres, Bolts, and Hurricanes. That leaves us at the bottom, fighting it out with the Jets, Leafs, and Islanders for the 12th – 15th spots in the East.

    One is always hopeful, but reality must be acknowledged. Just because a new season will soon be upon us doesn’t mean that the Habs have miraculously become contenders. We’re headed in the right direction under Marc Bergevin, but it’s going to take a lot more work, planning, shrewd trades, and outright luck to right the good ship Canadien.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      If someone gave me good odds, I’d bet on a Flyer meltdown, with their issues in net now magnified by their depleted defensive corps.

      • The Cat says:

        True, but that GM over there is very gutsy and is good at patching holes. Dont bet against him.

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

    • ProHabs says:

      Fighting it out for the 12-15 spot with the likes of the Leafs, Islanders and Jets. That is some good company that the Habs are keeping with. Anytime the Habs are associated with the Leafs and Islanders, it can only mean good days are ahead.

  65. Marc10 says:

    Assuming there’s a full season… that sounds about right.

    But the last time I had them 13th, they finished first in the Conference. Let’s see what happens.

    Incidentally, has AK signed anywhere yet?

  66. Un Canadien errant says:

    ***Repost from previous thread***

    Okay, let me see if this would work.

    Let’s take for granted that the NHL needs a salary cap to ensure some competitive balance and a level playing field, to avoid the situation such as exists in Major League Baseball where you have the Yankees and the Red Sox, maybe the Angels, and then everyone else. Let’s also assume that the players can live with a salary cap, as they indicated in their eminently reasonable proposal to the NHL owners this week, one that Gary Bettman predictably rejected with no real consideration.

    Let’s accept that the League is healthier if it has a broader footprint and teams in a lot of different markets, to a reasonable extent, so that it makes sense to support a Carolina or Florida team within reason.

    Let’s also accept that the NHL doesn’t have a player cost problem, since these costs are fixed at 57%, and this is guaranteed through the salary cap and escrow system. That’s what the owners kept trumpeting during the last lockout, that they needed ‘cost certainty’, that was their buzz-word, their double-speak for the uglier ‘salary cap’ term, and what they got a lot of fans on board with, cost certainty made sense to a head of a household who’s trying to manage a budget. They got their blessed cost certainty, so that’s not an issue right?

    Instead, the league has a low-revenue franchise problem. These are the franchises that are suffering and weighing on Gary Bettman’s mind, so much so that he wants to hammer down the players’ share of the revenue they generate to an absurd 43%, again it must be stated with little financial evidence that this is necessary.

    So how about we do this (and I say ‘we’, because I pay for these revenues, the money doesn’t just materialize out of thin air, so I have a stake in this):

    We leave the players’ share of HRR at 57% as agreed the last time the owners deprived us of NHL hockey for an entire season. We leave the salary cap at $70M. The big change is that we eliminate the salary floor, to no longer require the weak sisters from spending money they don’t have. Instead of forcing them to pay $50M they swear they don’t have, let’s allow them to sink down to $45M, $40M, heck even $30M if need be.

    Wait, there’s more. Don’t just sight that this has been bandied about before and it won’t work, because then we can’t guarantee the players’ share of revenue. We’ll get to that.

    In the system with no cap floor, we’ll have twenty or so teams that all have a roughly equal shot at contending for the Cup budget-wise. They’ll all be packed together near the ceiling. There will be eight or ten teams out of the running from the get-go, but that will be out of the team’s and market’s choosing. They won’t be forced to buy a couple of high-priced washed up veterans to reach an arbitrarily floor if they want to spend a couple of seasons developing their youngsters (I’m looking at you, Islanders).

    For those teams bumping up against the cap, we can use the NHLPA’s proposal of allowing them to purchase ‘cap credits’ from the weaker teams if they want, and for this they’d have to compensate them with a lower-round draft pick, and the league with a luxury tax that goes into an escrow fund. So in the Players’ proposal example, the Rangers flip a fifth-round pick to the Islanders for their $4M cap credit, and then pay out $4M to the escrow fund. In effect, the repugnant James Dolan will now pay two dollars for every dollar he goes over the cap.

    So in this system, most teams are in the running, three or four are beating their brains out by going over the cap, and there is a group of teams that uses the fiscal timeout to build a team through the draft and their fan base, until slowly they emerge as a power like Nashville did last season, hopefully with an energized fan base.

    At the end of the season, the players’ share of revenue is calculated. I would think that invariably this would work out to under 57% of HRR, at which point all teams top up player salaries a corresponding percentage from the escrow fund. For illustration only, let’s say that the players salaries amounted to 55% of league revenues, which means that their paycheques were roughly 3% too low. Now every player gets a cheque from the escrow fund bumping up their pay by three percent for the year.

    This can be a form of equalization. Let’s say that teams below the now completely theoretical floor contribute to the fund at a rate of a dollar for every two dollars that teams at the cap pay in, on a sliding scale so that a team at the midpoint would chip in a buck and a half. Maybe luxury tax teams chip in $2.5 for every buck by a salary floor team, something like that.

    On another matter up for consideration, let’s say entry-level contracts stay at the same two or three years duration. That system works. When a Steve Stamkos or Drew Doughty is a star player and major award candidate in their second or third year, it isn’t fair to ask them to be locked in for five years. They’ve paid their dues and deserve to be paid a higher wage after three. In the case of a player like Blake Geoffrion, for example, this player comes off his entry contract and makes roughly the same amount of money and tries to earn a higher amount in a subsequent contract by the dint of his play. Guys like Alexei Emelin and Raphaël Diaz earn a decent raise based on their decent play. Again, this works.

    Arbitration stays, if the players’ rights are owned by teams, they must have some power to negotiate, although maybe there’s a mechanism that spells out top end and bottom end salaries players can earn, based on objective criteria. It would be understood that the ‘homerun’ contract is the third contract, the second one is the bridge contract that pays much better but doesn’t max out unless you’re the aforementioned Steve Stamkos and reach a few objective targets.

    The players gave up a lot in the last round (24% rollback on salaries, people) in return for more freedom of movement, so I’m loath to take this away, but I believe the game is healthier when players stay with their teams longer and teams are more stable roster-wise. When the Minnesota Wild or Colorado Avalanche roll into town, I’d like to know that pretty much the same players are going to be in their lineup from year to year. It’s good for rivalries and team identity. Fans, especially children, respond well to that stability. I grew up with the same Canadiens, Expos and Alouettes year after year, and I’d prefer if the new generation had the same attachments to their heroes.

    So I would roll back the free agency eligibility criteria. It doesn’t make sense in the big picture for 26 year old players who are hitting their athletic peak to be able to desert their teams.

    For when the players do reach free agency, I would also create a ‘hometown’ hero system where a player can earn more money with his incumbent team than by shopping himself to other clubs. So the player would be allowed to move, but it wouldn’t be in his best financial interests on top of everything else. In a way, we’d be fostering more Joe Sakics and Daniel Alfredssons and discouraging mercenaries like Dany Heatley and Pavel Bure. I have struggled with the details of this, maybe the weaker teams are allowed to dip into revenue sharing or escrow money for this, but there has to be a way to prevent every star from ending up a Ranger.

    So there you have it. The players still take in 57% of HRR, maybe a little less if they’re in a generous mood/quaking in their boots at the thought of a lockout, there’s still a salary cap to ensure competitive balance, but not a floor that’s driving smaller market teams to bankruptcy. Super rich teams can appease their fans and competitive drive by going over the cap if they desire, and in doing so pay into revenue sharing through the luxury tax. An escrow system underpins this system, one which gives the smaller teams a breather.

    After three to five years or so, the League and PA can re-assess if the small market teams are using this breathing space to load up and climb back up the standings and payroll rankings. If not, and the situation is not likely to improve, then relocation can be considered, but without a gun to anyone’s head.

    Comments are welcome. Be kind when pointing out errors or fallacies. Good talk.

    This isn’t “Billionaires vs. Millionaires.” Only a willfully uninformed fool would apply that sloppy shorthand designation to this disgraceful power grab crafted by some of the wealthiest individuals and corporate entities in North America aimed against professional athletes.–Larry Brooks of the New York Post

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      “So I would roll back the free agency eligibility criteria. It doesn’t make sense in the big picture for 26 year old players who are hitting their athletic peak to be able to desert their teams.”

      …Normand, You won Me right at that point. Nothing more to add. 🙂

      …I could care less about the business deal resolved to make the playing of games feasible

      …what I know is both the owners and players are very well represented in the bargaining …both sides will get close to what they both want

      …all I care about is to limit and control all the carpetbagging among the teams and players that take away from the ‘identification’ I feel for My Team

      Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

      Campaign to Retire Toe Blake’s Number 6 !!!

    • habstrinifan says:

      Most of your suggestions would disproportionately affect the players, keeping down their salaries and free-movement for their services. The teams who can run a bare-boned operation and be awarded higher draft picks for failure will put a damper on all players’ salaries. In effect you would be creating a two tier league.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        trini, I’m aware that this is mostly the players yielding on a lot of issues, which in this climate I think is realistic. If they can hold back against a rollback or significant drop in their share of the HRR they generate, they’ll count that as a moral victory I think.

        I also agree that we’ll end up with a two-tier league, with Phoenix and the Islanders falling off the pace among others. I think that’s a reflection of the current reality. If conditions change, maybe they can catch up in the future, maybe with a mega-star on their roster, or if the League stops throttling the game and lets the real players play instead of the muggers, and the game catches fire, which it totally should if the Gary Bettmans and Colin Campbells and Don Cherrys got out of the way.

        What is important is that we won’t have a three-tier league, with only the Leafs and Rangers and maybe the Canadiens and Canucks on top, and then everyone else mediocre and a few bottom feeders. The salary cap will allow the Buffalos and San Joses to compete also.

        As I stated, if there are a couple of teams in perpetual tank mode we can revisit relocation in three to five years.

    • Habfan17 says:

      I think your plan is pretty good, however I would make a couple of changes. I would take 4% off the top of league generated revenues to put into an escrow account for teams wo are struggling financially, then make it a 53% player/47% owner split. The owners do pay the freight and I read a great article that pointed out the owners of the Rangers will be paying about $1 billion to renovate MSG so they can increase revenues and the players don’t contribute to these costs. The additional 4% can help offset these costs.

      Since I am sure that the “rich” owners do not like having to support the weak sisters, I would add that if a team loses money for 5 straight years, they would be aloud to relocate to a city approved by the league. I would leave the cap as is like you suggested, but I would keep a lowered floor, around $40 million. The players would not like it if there were none as it would lower salaries to lower end players and hurt the older players who’s skills have diminshed as you pointed out. The lower floor should lower the over payment for those players and allow teams to develop their players slowly and in turn become competative. I would set unrestricted free agency at 28 period. The only exceptions would be players released by their teams or players not drafted. I would add that players who do not sign with the team that drafted them, go back into the draft, not become UFA’s regardless of age with the stipulation that the same team cannot redraft them.

      I don’t see an issue of having the entry level contract moved to 4 years. When a player comes in at 18, teams should be able to reap the rewards of their drafting without having to pay through the nose. It keeps players who have had one good season from capitalizing on it. There are too many players that had one good year and started making more than players who have had many good years.

      I think front loaded contracts should be eliminated, signing bonuses too. Teams should be allowed to pay bonuses for winning awards that would not count against the cap so young players who win would benfit from their success. Maybe the league and teams could split the cost and pay $1 million to each player who wins an award.

      I would keep arbitration, it makes no logical sense to take that away. I would also remove the cluase that keeps salaries for players who sign after age 35 on the books if the retire or get sent down.

      Last but not leats, I would cap the length of a contract at 10 years for players signed up to age 28 and 6 years for players over 28.

    • HardHabits says:

      How did that comment pass the Tome Filter?

  67. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …on paper, THN ain’t far-off
    …but there’s a reason We still must play the games …right ?
    …I will be surprised if We don’t have a tougher more resilient Team this season, and a few surprise additions to Our Team before the end of season
    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

    Campaign to Retire Toe Blake’s Number 6 !!!

  68. JayK-47 says:

    Right this minute, I agree.

    But the Habs have 2 RWs (Bourque, Gionta) that can score in the 25-30 goal range, 8 defensemen (with PK makes 8.) plus a bevy of good prospects to flip for a top 6 LW and 1 major defense upgrade.

    I’m not worried, I’d rather MB deal when someone comes knocking for help (Philly, Isles) when the season is about to start anyways.

  69. chanchilla says:

    thats weird, vancouver has done nothing to change their team, and are probably going to lose luongo.

  70. chelios_24 says:

    Do they have the top overrated / overhyped players? Carey Price should be top on thar list.

  71. HammerHab says:

    I say they finish 10th


    It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

  72. The Dude says:

    Toronto Hockey Network says 13th place ,eh…well I say Nathan McKinnon bitches!

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