Today’s reading

Louis Leblanc weighs his options

• Olivier Fortier talks about the Guy Boucher system – Hickey

Who are the real Canadiens? – Arpon Basu

• A dozen questions facing the Canadiens

• Pierre Durocher on his colleague and Hall of Fame inductee, Marc De Foy

• Réjean Tremblay on the scouting situation

• Kovalev says he’ll be back with Senators

Nick Lidstrom back for at least a year

At SI, Allan Muir on the hot coaching candidates, including Guy Boucher:

The AHL’s Coach of the Year became the hot name after a record-setting
season with the Hamilton Bulldogs and clearly is one of the top coaching
prospects in the game. But is he ready for the leap after just one year
as the head man in the minors? Even with an extensive track record in
the QMJHL and with Hockey Canada, there’s a sense that even Boucher
isn’t certain. The Jackets secured permission to talk to him, which has
some people assuming he’s their top choice. That may be, but it may also
just be due diligence on the part of GM Scott Howson (himself
the former GM of the Bulldogs). Boucher’s 1-3-1 system is intriguing,
but without the talent to adequately execute it, this may not be the
ideal situation. It says here he’ll wait out another year or two in the
AHL with the hope he’s considered for the job he really wants: The


  1. tonnywillgram says:

    My brother-in-law is an avid fan of football. Im sure he can post more comments than me!

  2. nunacanadien says:

    The difference comes where it counts, we have no way to push back their size, because don’t forget having Cammy and Gionta and Gomez kind of skewes the overall average both in size and height.  Up front where we need size we don’t have it to crash their nets.  We saw this time and again again Philly and Washington and Pittsburgh.  We were lucky Halak was hot and that the other teams gave up chances.  Through out the year we see only too often the lack of size being a factor time after time in games, both in defense when Gill is not on the ice, and again in size when Gill can’t move fast enough against simlar larger faster players.

  3. gumper says:

    Just bored tonight. (Must be because it really isn’t like me to stir the pot.)  But if PG did that deal we’d have pretty much every significant player rejected by either Burke or Yzerman for the olympic teams. Now there’s something to build a team around.

  4. slapshot777 says:

    What is it with ever trade rumor involving T.B  Lecavalier’s name is brought up. We don’t need that albatross of a salary. Let T.B keep it and see how they can work around it. Lecavalier is not worth the 11 million. Here we are complaining about the Gomez salary at 7.3 million, yet it would be okay to have 11 million for Lecavalier.



    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  5. joeybarrie says:


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

  6. TomNickle says:

    Your picture is far and away the best on HIO.  There isn’t even a close second.

  7. TomNickle says:

    Ever seen Pouliot?  He’s on the low end of 6’4 and at 200 pounds he has some filling out to do but he isn’t easily pushed around.

  8. TomNickle says:

    Was this pre-finals or present day Joey?

    I remember Paul Holmgren saying that people who think they’ll be back won’t be.  That could’ve applied to any number of people from Carcillo to Carter.

    I really don’t think Jeff Carter is in good graces right now but I could be wrong.

    That team is consistently injury riddled.  I don’t know how well those players you mentioned would fit with our roster.  Wait, if they’re injury prone, I guess they’re perfect.

    All kidding aside I think Gauthier is posturing for the sake of trade negotiations.  I believe very firmly that this team’s mentality approaching the offseason will be win now.


  9. joeybarrie says:

    Talking to a Philly Fan today and he was saying that Briere wants out, and the team want to dump Gagne… Halak or if we are lucky SK and AK for Gagne, and we get rid of Hamr. This would be awesome. Replace AK with a real player.

    Get rid of SK and AK…..Or let Halak get an offer, hopefully in the 4 million range. This way we get a few draft picks.

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

  10. HNS says:

    Good thing you’re not in charge

  11. gumper says:

    Markov and picks to T.B. for St. Louis and Lecavalier. A.K. and S.K. to anywhere for draft picks. Trade Halak for the best D-man you can get. Let Pleks walk, Sign Moore. Bring up PK and Weber. Keep Hammer cuz nobody wants him at 5.5. Well, it’s a start!

  12. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Pouloit is 6’2′ but he’s to thin,you need girth like BYylflin or that Ass in Boston….

  13. adamkennelly says:

    this is not rocket science – anyone who thinks our team is not lacking in size and is using examples about chicago and philly with actual player’s height and weights is not paying attention. 

    here is the reality.  Hab have a very soft team.  our skilled guys are extremely undersized and our “physical guys” are not all that physical and certainly do not bring any toughness to the table.  add those together and you get the often correctly quoted “undersized team” label.

    Habs are way too easy to play against – forwards can be pounded by opponenents at will and D cannot stop aggressive net driving.

    the way to fix this is to seriously toughen up the bottom 6 -and add 1 physical D and 1 top 6 with size…done.

    Rypien, Prust, Nystrom, Armstrong, Carkner –  maybe even go get a PL3 or Paul Bisonette for some local flair on the 4th…

  14. andrewberkshire says:

    Hemsky isn’t gritty at all, but he can take abuse without falling over.

  15. mbplekfan says:

    The Mtl philosophy was to draft the best player available regardless of position or size. The problem is that at the junior level the really dominant players are the mid-sized skilled centers or puck moving defencemen. The larger players havent adapted to their larger bodies and tend to be a step behind.

    Leap forward a few years and the bigger players have caught up and in most cases surpassed the smaller players. Even if the big kid doesnt turn into a points machine he can be useful for defending and providing toughness. The smaller, speed players either keep developing into scoring machines like Cammaleri and Briere or become minor leaguers like Corey Locke. They have no in-between status.

    The sub six foot centers that we have drafted have played very well in junior and in a few cases play very well in the AHL as well. The problem is that when they get called up they get pushed around by the bigger players and fail to have an impact. There is not much demand for a 5-10″ shut down center or winger. The demand is for a 6-2″ or bigger player who can impact the game physically even if he cant score.

    In Chicago Patrick Kane plays beside a 6-2″ Jon Toews and the hulking Byfuglien. Put him beside Pleks and Cammaleri and he will have much less room to play.

  16. Bill J says:

    I’m betting the same thing you will say when Halak is traded on Draft day.

    IMO not many are untouchable, specially if it gives the Habs the BIG Rugged Center we’ve been waiting for.

  17. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Not sure why I’m even bothering but:

    1) Where exactly did Anaheim end up this year?


    On average we gave up 0.9″ and outweighed PHI by 5 lbs. What were you saying about us being too small again?

  18. SLONCOLD says:

    ofcourse, get bigger and you’ll win? size doesn’t do much if you don’t have the skill to go with it. How about use your speed to make these big players look slow? Do you guys really think adding a 6’3” center or winger would have equalled a win against the phillies?…. pouliot is 6’2!!!!! where did his size go?

    some of phillies and chicagos best players are all under 6’0….

  19. nunacanadien says:

    Hello folks!  Anaheim broke the template and now on average you need a Chris Pronger size defense, a Chris Pronger size forward to crash the other goalie, and suprise, very few of the habs were able to push Pronger around significantly and why Montreal lost was partly due to size in the end, Cammy was wrong, smurfs cannot win in the playoffs in the end it seems.  Cammy was a media sweetheart and he deserved it all.  What we need though is size, and I will repeat this over and over again like Cherry, I agree, unless Montreal starts crashing the other net, and getting rid of people crashing ours, which all depend on size and strength, and Montreal has one man Gill who fits both, but honestly when the other lines could qualify to ride on carnival rides cause they are so small, its pathetic.  Now with firing their scouts, the habs are now definitely the blind leading the blind.

  20. MathMan says:

    Let’s hope that Boucher does, indeed, stick around in the AHL for the job that he really wants, that of the Habs’ head coach.

    And let’s hope it does not take more than a year. In fact, let’s hope it takes siginficantly less. It’s not like the guy they have in place is doing a whole lot for them, now, is it?

    Besides, I wouldn’t put a disastrous, coach-threatening start outside the realm of possibility, particularly if Markov comes back to play late.

    But letting Boucher go because the Habs decided that they wanted to keep Jacques Martin, for whatever reason they decide to do so, would be a terrible setback for the Habs.

  21. Chris says:

    Brian Campbell is also a much better skater (faster and more agile) than Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger or Zdeno Chara.  Doesn’t mean I would take him over any of those guys.

    If you put Bourque on the 1980’s Oilers, his point totals would go through the roof.  If you put Coffey on the 1980’s Bruins, his point totals would fall dramatically.

    Don’t forget that the Adams division, with the Nordiques, Bruins, Sabres and Whalers, was a much stronger division than the Smythe, where the Oilers got to feast on the weaker Jets, Canucks and Kings teams of that decade.  With the exception of Calgary in the mid-late 1980’s, playing 8 games per year against each of theirdivisional foes was a big advantage for those Oilers teams and the players’ point totals.

  22. Chris says:

    Phil Kessel had that same speed advantage as Kristo, but his rookie season (11 G, 29 PTS) and even his 2nd season (19 G, 37 PTS) were almost Latendressque.  And I would argue that he is a bit ahead of Kristo at similar points in their careers.

    I somehow doubt that Leblanc is going to get the “big man on campus” complex, based on everything we’ve read about him.  He seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders.

  23. Chris says:

    Ales Hemsky is turning 27 years old this summer.  Unless the Oilers think they can’t afford to keep him or are worried about his injury history, they would be pretty silly to part with him.

  24. Malreg says:

    Didn’t he win a U-18 Championship also? 

  25. TommyB says:

    At this point in Quinn’s career, and given his age, I would bet Pat doesn’t buy any green bananas.  It would be silly to think that he will be the Oiler’s coach much longer.  So, Quinn’s record with young players won’t matter much, probably sooner than later.

  26. SeriousFan09 says:

    Hemsky much of a gritty player? We need more toughness and size in the Top 6 I’d say.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  27. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    I agree…that’s why I’m wondering if Hemsky might be available for the right price (no pun intended, haha)

  28. SeriousFan09 says:

    I have a feeling it will be Hall/Eberle/Paarjarvi-Svensson lining up for Edmonton next year, very fast, very potent scoring line built on their top 3 offensive prospects.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  29. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    I’m not sure about that…Eberle looks like a lock to be a top line guy, playing alongside Hall/Seguin as well as with Gagner on the team.  That is a fearsome lineup, albeit based only on potential

  30. TomNickle says:

    I appreciate that though about allowing them to dominate but at the same token they’ve been basically point per game players in college as rookies.

    There’s just as much to be said for continuing to challenge young players as there is allowing them to dominate.  Allowing Louis Leblanc to dominate at the Ivy League level may hurt his game more than help it.  Danny Kristo, like P.K. Subban, has exceptional speed and therefore the ability to recover from mistakes made outside of his zone.

    Players who dominate can tend to get bored and not focus on the holes in their respective games due to being the big man on campus.  That worries me just as much as being rushed does.

  31. TomNickle says:

    The sad thing is that it looks like Gagner will be the only young player on that roster who develops into a top 6 forward over his career.

    Getting Seguin or Hall shouldn’t hurt but if I were Tambellini I wouldn’t entertain what are sure to be high end offers for that pick.

    He could really dump some dead weight and address needs for the future by trading that pick.

  32. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    For the Oilers’ sake I hope that the WJHC was  turning point for Quinn, otherwise he’s going to have an awfully difficult go of it with that young team!! haha

  33. TomNickle says:

    Actually, when evaluating Quinn’s career, the WJHC has been the only time he’s been any good with young players.  Toronto has been recovering from a world of hurt partially because of his desire to unload prospects for veterans at high price tags.


  34. TomNickle says:

    Thank you for reminding HIO readers that there is a business side to hockey and saving $2 million on a goaltender who may or may not allow an extra goal every three games than the goalie who costs you 2-3 million more is a more cost efficient move.  Especially considering the assets you can acquire with the goaltender who isn’t likely to equal the production that he flashed at points during the post-season.

    For every 1 or 2 goals on 45 shots performance there was a 4-5 goals on 20 shots performance.  I’m putting more faith in Rick Curran than I am in Allan Walsh.  If we can have Halak for $3-$3.5 million annually, I say do it.  If not, the team should seriously consider moving him to address the needs surrounding the core group brought in last summer.

    We don’t have another centreman waiting who can come close to what Pleks can do.  We have a goalie who has the potential to do what Halak’s done.  That doesn’t mean he will, but GMs can’t be fortune tellers and working with the information they have available suggests that Pleks should be the priority if the Price is right(no pun intended).

  35. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    I may be totally out to lunch here, but I just posted this on Arpon’s blog, and I’m curious what others think.  So here is my armchair GM attempt:

    I wonder if the Oilers is the team we should be looking at.  We have to young goalies, they are rebuilding a team around a young, talented core.  No one thinks the Oil is going to be a team to beat in the next year or two, but given four years, with their core, they could have a helluva team.  Khabibulin can’t be the goaltender the envision carrying them though.  While Price or Halak (I’m not entering the debate as in to which one) just might be.  Plus, if any team is willing to take SK74 from us for more than a bag of pucks (which I’d probably accept), it might be the Oilers.  He had success with Gagner, and is young and Quinn is good with younger players.  So what I’m wondering is do you think the Oilers would be willing to part with Hemsky?  He is big, consistent and has been to a Stanley Cup Final.  Still leaves a hole at centre I know, but he’d be a heck of an addition, and at 4.1 million a year, he’s a steal.  Price/Halak, SK74, AK46(?) or something to that effect?

    I’m thinking Hemsky may be a bit older and not entirely in the Oilers future plans (old relative to the core the organization is looking toward in the future).  Perhaps I’m way off, but a thought I’ve had….curious to hear opinions…

  36. G-Man says:

    Kreskin lives. What will you say when Price is traded on draft day? (I may as well be Kreskin, too)

  37. aemarchand11 says:

    We need a big center, Pleks wont be back.

    -Halak it alot because the Price is right-

  38. W35T5ID3 says:

    The next time we win the cup 3 things will be in place at the same time:


    1)Price will be our #1 goalie.

    2)Subban will be our captain

    3)Guy Boucher will be our head coach.




    ….So…i’d say these 3 things will come to a reality all together in about 3-4 years.

  39. andrewberkshire says:

    The 9 shorthanded goals shows you how dimensionally fast Coffey was. Two strides and he left everyone in the dust.

  40. W35T5ID3 says:

    Dude smoke another 1 …..Coffey was phenominal….ur on the glue.

  41. SLONCOLD says:

    pleks is still fairly young,  so it’s unlikely he would sign a front loaded contract that would only page him 1to 3 million in the last few years of his contract. Front loading contracts for older players like in the 29-32 age range makes more sense because the player gets his money now and is likely to retire towards the end of the contract.

    as for halak, i love the guy and i think he has just as much upside and maybe more than price. however, halak can’t score. For argument sakes, lets say halak has another solid year like .924sv% and price has a .912sv%. it really only represents 1 more goal allowed per 100 shots. Take away pleks and his potential 60+ points (let alone his solid defensive game) and i think you’re ihurting much more with him gone than with halak gone.

    but this all ultimately depends on what halak wants/expects as well as what ples wants…

  42. W35T5ID3 says:

    9 shorthanded goals in 1 season…and he plays D?!!Thats insane.

  43. SeriousFan09 says:

    Pretty much how I would call it. Your 2009 draft is meant to address your roster in 3-4 years, not 1-2 years unless you happen to get a lottery pick and even in some draft years that’s an iffy proposition.

    I’m figuring Kristo and Leblanc will not make the NHL roster until the 12-13 season at the earliest.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  44. W35T5ID3 says:

    Check out these Coffey records that he holds:

  45. NHL record for most goals in one season by a defenceman — 48 in 1985–86
  46. NHL record for most shorthanded goals in one season by a defenceman — 9 in 1985–86
  47. NHL record for most points in one game by a defenceman — 8 on March 14, 1986 (2G, 6A, shared with Tom Bladon)
  48. Most assists by a defenceman, one game — 6 (tied with 4 others) Mar. 14, 1986
  49. Longest point-scoring streak by a defenceman — 28 games in 1985–86
  50. Most goals by a defenceman, one playoff year — 12 in 1985
  51. Most assists by a defenceman, one playoff year — 25 in 1985
  52. Most points by a defenceman, one playoff year — 37 in 1985
  53. Most shorthanded goals by a defenceman, one playoff year — 2 in 1983 and in 1996
  54. Most different teams played on by a 1,000 point scorer — 8 (Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Detroit, Hartford/Carolina, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston)
  55. Most PIM by a 1000 point defenceman
  • likehoy says:

    having less scouts is an addition by subtraction

    instead of getting of having 8 good scouts and 8 bad scouts, with 8 giving bad reports, we have 8 good scouts that will give consistently good reports (hopefully) using the videos given to them. it means less travelling, but more time for the scouts to review video and do their paperwork. 

    interviews can be done over the phone (as i’m assuming a lot of them already are)

    – What if Jaro Halak’s hand was indeed shaking? What if you took the CHOKE out of Ovechkin? — History Will Be Made

  • G-Man says:

    Bourque was so much better there is no comparison. He could actually play defence, unlike Coffey, who was nothing but the 3rd winger out there.

  • W35T5ID3 says:

    its all about the wheels man….the wheelsss……….skating stride ……beautiful

  • joeybarrie says:

    I agree, unless we can sign them and put them on the top two lines, leave them develop in University and then in Hamilton. I don’t want to be negative, but they arent looking like they will come in and get 70+ points so let them develop….

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

  • W35T5ID3 says:

    Ugghh….dude i was just asking a simple question.Coffey and Bourque were basically playing their careers at the same time as each other.Thats why i chose those two.Nah …Orr was a phenominal skater ….i know but coffey glided effortlessly at high speeds….it was incredible to watch.His skating technique was flawless ,and, IMO….better just slightly than Orr.

  • joeybarrie says:

    Bigger questions. Like it has been brought up before we cannot have Halak and Pleks without dumping Hamr. And it does not look like we will dump hamr with Markov injured.

    SO PLEKS or HALAK…???

    I say Pleks at 4.5 million for 3-5 years. Or front loaded for 5-8 years.

    Halak has what might be his HIGHEST worth in his career. Reason is he isnt fetching 5+ yet. You can sign him long term and get a good bargain. So Cap tight teams can offer us something great.

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

  • andrewberkshire says:

    Bourque. Not even a question for me. Coffey was great offensively, but Bourque was just as good, and he was also a stud on defense and a great leader. I remember watching him in the final year of his career, blocking shots in the Stanley Cup final like he was in his 20’s. Love Ray Bourque.

  • W35T5ID3 says:

    You know what bugs me?On networks like sportsnet and tsn … soon as there is anything Maple Leafs newsworthy…like the recent talk of Kaberle possibly getting dealt….they are all over it.Its like big f—ing news on their websites.Ohhhh Kaberle oooh may get dealt ooooh….Like FOR F—-s SAKE i HATE them biased Toronto based sports networks that are all mostly f—ing Leaf fans.It drives me nuts.

  • Omit says:

    Why just two choices?  Btw, Bobby Orr was easily the best skater to ever play in the NHL, or any other league for that matter.

  • Chris says:

    Ray Bourque in a heart-beat.  He was the best all-around defenceman of his generation, a worth successor to Bobby Orr and predecessor to Nicklas Lidstrom for that title.

  • Chris says:

    Regarding calls to get Kristo and Leblanc signed and playing in the AHL this season…here are some guys who didn’t do too badly after spending multiple years in the NCAA:

    • Zach Parise (North Dakota, 2 years)
    • Mike Cammalleri (Michigan, 3 years)
    • Mike Komisarek (Michigan, 2 years)
    • Jack Johnson (Michigan, 2 years)
    • T.J. Oshie (North Dakota, 3 years)
    • Jonathon Toews (North Dakota, 2 years)
    • Dany Heatley (Wisconsin, 2 years)
    • Ryan Miller (Michigan State, 3 years)
    • Kyle Okposo (Minnesota, 2 years)
    • Martin St. Louis (Vermont, 4 years)
    • Patrick Sharp (Vermont, 2 years)
    • Thomas Vanek (Minnesota, 2 years)
    • Mike Knuble (Michigan, 4 years)
    • R.J. Umberger (Ohio State, 3 years)

    Or if you prefer some slightly older guys…

    • John Leclair (Vermont, 4 years)
    • Joe Juneau (R.P.I., 4 years)
    • Tony Amonte (Boston University, 2 years)
    • Doug Weight (Lake Superior State, 2 years)
    • Brett Hull (Minnesota-Duluth, 2 years)
    • Paul Kariya (Maine, 2 years)

    I understand that the apprehension with Leblanc is that he is playing with Harvard, who are not a powerhouse in NCAA hockey.  However, he has a smart coach in Ted Donato, veteran of 800 games in the NHL, to teach him the ropes.  Kristo is playing for North Dakota, a powerhouse program that has produced many excellent NHL players.

    Both guys are being given the opportunity to play heavy minutes in key roles that they almost certainly would not get in the AHL.  If they feel it is best for their development to spend another year or three in the NCAA, I have complete faith that it will not impede their development in any major way. 

    I fully agree with Trevor Timmins’ stated philosphy that the best thing for developing players is to let them learn to dominate at each level before pushing them to the next rung of the development ladder.  Patience is required with prospects…rush them along and you always run the risk of impeding their progress by letting them languish on the bench.

  • longtimehabsfan says:

    I’ll take Coffey.  He could change the momentum of a game with one rush.

  • W35T5ID3 says:

    tru dat..i guess i kinda give the edge to coffey cuz bourque was a hated bruin .

  • SeriousFan09 says:

    I’d take Bourque, Coffey played on the Dynasty Oilers and early 90s Penguins to get his Cups. Bourque was a superior player IMO.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  • W35T5ID3 says:

    My random question of the day:

      If you could take one of either Ray Bourque or Paul Coffey,in their primes of their career…..who would you rather have?


    Me….Coffey….best skater ever to play in the nhl.Great offensive defenseman….won cups too…although bourque did get 1.But man Coffey waas a beauty.

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