Tough one tonight

Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban signs autographs for fans as he enters Rogers Arena for Tuesday’s morning skate.
Stubbs photo

They’re all tough lately.

But the Vancouver Canucks are REALLY good.

And the Canadiens haven’t won in Van since Nov. 30, 2000.

Martin juggles lines

Stubbs on Calgary game

“Classic” did nothing to showcase hockey – Hickey

Réjean Tremblay didn’t like it either

• Arpon Basu on decoding Martin

And thanks to video scout Jarred Friedman for the Sedin Twins playing the Newlywed Game




  1. HardHabits says:

    He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.

    Sometimes Dave it’s best to stack your armies and let others slug it out and then when the moment is right you make your move.

    Have you ever played chess, Risk or Diplomacy? Risk has the dice, but still involves strategy and thinking ahead, so in a sense it makes a good analogy as there is some luck involved with winning the Cup. Of the 5 best teams in the league only one of them will go all he way though.

    Another thing, irony seems to be lost on you.

  2. TomNickle says:

    Dave Pagnotta of reported in his column this morning that the target in Nasvhille was Ryan Suter. 

  3. observer says:

    They GM was smart enough to figure out how to draft BOTH of them at the same time! Anyone know his name?

  4. Rudy says:

    I agree, the fact that he was able to swing that is impressive, makes me dislike him even more

    “Start the season with a clean equipment bag and a freah bucket of febreze!”-CharlieHodgeFan

  5. Jonson says:

    i honestly think they would play the same way.


  6. notbigbird says:

    I would have liked Kirk to strut his stuff in Hamilton. He’s had almost nil head coaching experience AFAIK. For that matter, I would have respected Guy had he done the same. I think he’s finally figured that he has to earn his spurs though. All that being said, it seems that we have the best guy as opposed to the best of either Guy’s in Hamilton.

  7. joeybarrie says:

    ‘Why do people think that Kirk Muller would do a better job than JM?’ as asked below…….

    Obviously Boucher was BETTER than any CURRENT COACH.

    Kirk Muller WILL be better than any CURRENT COACH WE HAVE.

    ANY player in the NHL is better than ANY current player we have.

    And of course ANY gm is better than the one we CURRENTLY have.

    The grass is ALWAYS greener, or should I say the Snow is ALWAYS whiter on the other side of the fence.

    Every single player will do better in Montreal than any player we are currently bashing. AS SOON AS WE ACTUALLY GET THAT PLAYER, he will cease to be better, and the next one steps up.

    Every single player in the history of the world has played better outside of Montreal and it has been the fault of the CURRENT coach every single time.

    EVERY SINGLE TIME that same coach goes elsewhere he AUTOMATICALLY does better, and we were stupid to get rid of them.

    The current GM is useless and anyone with a pad of paper and RDS or TSN on TV can absolutely do better. OF COURSE as soon as that same GM is gone, the new one will be worse than the last and we will forever be screwed and never ever win a Stanley Cup again.

    THATS WHY KIRK MULLER IS ALREADY A BETTER COACH THAN JM, and really we would be on track to the Cup if we would just let Muller take the lead and coach us. But of course PG and JM are the best of buddies and we all know that your buddy would never ever fire you………… RIGHT???? Wait….

    Until we get rid of PG and bring in PK SUBBAN as our GM will will never have a chance. I mean don’t you know that PK is already a better GM than PG and we really don’t want PK to go anywhere and get a better offer for the position.

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

  8. Mattyleg says:

    Echh… I know. Dick Irvin and Scotty Bowman did pretty well, mind you, but that was before the hyper-mediatisation of hockey, and ding-dongs chiming in with their opinions of what would be good for the team/city.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  9. Psycho29 says:

    Ok we need to lighten things up here today….

    Once upon a time long, long, ago there was a season when neither the Leafs nor the Canadiens made the post season playoffs.

     It seemed so unusual, that the management of both teams got together and decided that there

    Should be some sort of competition between the two teams because of their great rivalry.

    So, they decided on a weeklong ice fishing competition. The team that catches the most fish at the end of the week wins.

    So on a cold northern Ontario lake they began their contest.

    The first day after 8 hours of fishing the Canadiens had caught 100 fish and the Leafs had 0.

    At the end of the 2nd day the Canadiens had caught 200 fish and the Leafs 0.

    That evening the Leafs coach got his team together and said,

    “I suspect some kind of cheating is taking place”,

    So the next morning he dressed one of his players in Canadien colors and sent him over to their camp to act as a spy.

    At the end of the day he came back to report to the coach. The coach asked “Well, how about it, are they cheating?”

    “They sure are,” the player reported, “They’re cutting holes in the ice”.





  10. Everlasting1 says:

    That’s YOUR take. He was definitely more vocal behind the bench (as is Muller) than the conservative stiff, JM.  And don’t get me started on Gainey who single-handedly tanked the centennial year as coach, in all his pompous glory. 

    It’s the cap timers is the name of the game. How many more losing seasons are you willing to endure?


    Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  11. observer says:

    gauthiers done enuff damage the last 8 years that a bandaid solution wont repair. when molsons fires the duo along with boivin now in his final days – only then will this team be a contender again.

  12. Bugs says:

    As well as an embarrassingly witless host.

  13. Off-side says:

    Bravo to Hickey’s article today in regards to the anthem scandel.  I am seeing fragments here and there about the reaction of including the American anthem.  What the heck was that all about?  Why not play the Russian, Finnish, Tchech, Swedish and Swiss anthems while you’re at it?

    When will Canada stopped getting —– by the US?

  14. TomNickle says:

    When we have a losing season I’ll let you know.  Great post.  Well done.  You should be very proud of how well you articulate your arguments.  I especially enjoy the way you degrade some of the most respected people in hockey when doing so.  Great stuff.  Keep up the good work!

  15. Mattyleg says:

    Many great former players have the career and the leadership, but that means nothing when it comes to coaching. Most of the great coaches didn’t have either of those things, so it’s obviously not a pre-requesite. Muller doesn’t have the credentials yet. He has to be a head coach before he can have credentials.

    The language barrier has no bearing on other teams hiring Carbonneau. He speaks English extremely well. I have a significantly harder time understanding Brian Murray than Carbo speaking English. Don Cherry has got by pretty well too, for someone who seems to have only a passing grasp at language. You think Jacques Lemaire’s English was perfect when he started out? Think again.

    Carbo needs to prove that he can be a head coach. His communication skills (as Tom pointed out) need work. He was a great motivator behind the bench, as Muller is, but to make that transition from First Lieutenant to Captain of the ship is a tough one.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  16. t1tan5 says:

    Yeah, and the three years before that. You have a pretty weak argument here.

  17. Hobie Hansen says:

    OK, if so many people think that Boucher or Muller would make a better coach than Martin, why don’t they list some examples of where one of those rookie coaches may improve things over Martin, who has more NHL coaching experience than either one of those guys will probably ever have?

    What was the result prior to Martin arriving of rookie coaches in Montreal, hmmmmm?

  18. avatar_58 says:

    They played the canadian anthem at the winter classic, so that has nothing to do with it

  19. notbigbird says:

    This team is never or at least seldom in a position to tank, however you define it. If you can make the playoffs at this time of year you have to try. Tanking would take a committment from the summer onward, a kind of long range planning (which I think is what you’re really on about). You just can’t do it when you’re in the hunt.

    Sometimes, however, I do wish they would tank. It’s just not going to happen, though, so there’s really not much point in keeping on about it.

    I think better choices have to be made wrt FA signings, but we already know that players don’t prefer to come here, so we settle for seconds. On top of that, we seem to give up more than we get with almost every trade. It’s just blasted difficult to get out of this mess.


  20. TomNickle says:

    On the lack of communication thing.  That’s not my take.  That’s the reason he was fired.

  21. Bugs says:

    Guy buys himself a new house. Day he’s unpackin his boxes, the doorbell rings and it’s the neighbour. And the neighbour says “Hey, I’m your new neighbour. Guess you’re movin in, eh?” And the guy says “That’s right; just gettin my stuff out.” And the neighbour says “That’s great; listen, why don’t you come over to my place later? I’m havin a big party; there’s gonna drinking, drugging, effing, and fighting. Whaddaya say?” And the guy is like “Whoa! That sounds nuts. Yeah, alright, I’ll go. With pleasure. What should I wear?”

    And the neighbour says “It doesn’t matter; it’s just you and me.”

  22. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Saying whether or not Kirk would be a good, or succesful coach, is predicting the future.  None of his here have the ability to do that.  If we did we wouldn’t be here, we’d be busy counting our millions in lottery winnings.

  23. observer says:

    so you say gainey/gauthier have been even worse than houle/a. savard who could only lose 3 years in a row there?

  24. Mr. Habs says:

    Cal me Nuts, Crazy, loonie but I feel that Price could have beatin the Caps & Pens in last season’s playoffs. Halak did play great but had some stinkers as well. Halak had trouble against the Flyers just like Price has had trouble with the Flyers in the playoffs.

    Playoffs are a different season. The play seems to be more tight with less goals scored. maybe the Habs could have a chance this April/May against Philly.

    The Habs management should get Guy, Jean, Bob, Ken, Serge, Guy, Henry etc and sit down with our current squad and tell them what it means to be a Montreal Canadien.

  25. twocents says:

    They are core, to this team, but tanking in this sense involves building a new team, around a new core. 

    Obviously Markov is not tradable now, but he easily could be early next year, if he has a successful return to play.

    Trading AK, Moen, Pyatt, Spacek, or even Gomez is not really tanking since they are not core contributors or especially valuable. That would just be regular hockey business.

    Wiz could be considered that, if he wasn’t a UFA, as it stands his return in a trade is not likely to be very high. 

    And, in my previous post I wasn’t stating that all those players had to go to consider it a tank, but that some combination of them would indicate that approach.

    The premise is to use top talent to build a team for 3 years down the road. Pyatt and the other bunch are not top talent.

  26. Mattyleg says:

    This just goes to show that you don’t understand coaching, Everlasting.

    A coach can’t be the one leaning over players’ shoulders and giving them endless pep-talks, or working plays with them. That’s the assistant’s job. The coach watches the play and makes adjustments through the assistants. If the coach is talking to a player and something happens on the ice that he misses, he is not doing his job properly.

    There! Do you understand the difference between a coach’s responsibilities and the assistant’s now?

    (oh, and I’m not sure why you would denigrate one of the proudest Habs of all time by calling him ‘pompous’. It makes you look extremely unintelligent. Perhaps that wasn’t your goal.)

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  27. Hobie Hansen says:

    Well considering there are no NHL teams in those countries…

    Plus, Calgary fans enjoy singing that anthem and during certain parts of the song they over powered the singer. Nothing wrong with a friendly gesture to the 24 American teams in the NHL.

    Lighten up!  


  28. Bugs says:

    Bylsma? Col coach, whatsisname, Sacco? Uhh, Boudreau (to the point where Jack Marty doesn’t eliminate’m of course)?

    I think others could do a better job than me at this.

  29. HardHabits says:

    You’re right. It look’s even worse:

    1999-00 Out of Playoffs
    2000-01 Out of Playoffs
    2001-02 Lost in round 2 (2W-4L)
    2002-03 Out of Playoffs
    2003-04 Lost in round 2 (0W-4L)
    2005-06 Lost in round 1 (3W-4L)
    2006-07 Out of Playoffs
    2007-08 Lost in round 2 (1W-4L)
    2008-09 Lost in round 1 (0W-4L)
    2009-10 Lost in round 3 (1W-4L)

    The Habs might have made it to the 2nd round a few times only managed 2 wins once they got there. By the time the Habs made it to the 3rd round they only mustered 1 win. Not to mention that the Habs wouldn’t have gone that far had Halak not given the Habs a goaltending performance for the ages.

    So tell me, was it worth it going for broke in 00, 01, 03 and 07? Wouldn’t it have been better to have been a seller a few times during those years?

    Better and more picks, rather than constant mediocrity or worse letting 11 UFAs go with nothing to show for it.

  30. Everlasting1 says:

    Ok then, let me know when they have a winning season. Capiche? I respected him as a player. No more no less.


    Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  31. Mr. Habs says:

    Martin has an enormous amount of experience in the NHL yes, but he can’t win a Stanley Cup. If you just want to go a couple/three rounds in the playoffs then Martin is the man.

  32. cautiousoptimist says:

    Big trade for the Penguins and Stars: Neal and Niskanen for Goligoski

    1. Flickering Pictures: not a hockey site, but still kinda neat
    2. Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”
  33. TomNickle says:

    Hobie wasn’t addressing the actual issue though Bugs.  The actual issue is assistant coaches replacing their former bosses with the same team.  And that’s a recipe for failure.  

    Boudreau, Bylsma and Sacco to my knowledge weren’t the assistant or associate coaches with their NHL clubs prior to taking the reigns.

    That’s where failure is bread.

  34. TomNickle says:

    They had a winning season last year.  They’re having one this year.  And based on the way you speak of Gainey I have a hard time beliveing you’re old enough to have seen him play.

  35. Bugs says:

    That ACTUALLY goes “He who runs away lives to run away another day.”

    It’s those who survive who write the history books after all, and not those who sacrificed themselves FOR history.

  36. CanadienBoy says:

    Gomez -18

  37. Bugs says:

    Thanks, CO.

    I see your time-machine is working splendidly. Perhaps a little tightening of bolts here or there but ready for patenting in my opinion.

  38. Mr. Habs says:

    Based on stats, Carbo’s has been better than Martins with the Habs & Martin has tons of experience as a Head coach. Martin got one more round in the playoffs than Carbo did!

  39. Mattyleg says:

    And all the Cups that Muller has won as coach…?

    Coaching perrennial losers like Florida and Ottawa don’t give you a lot of hope.

    You going to tell me that Lindy Ruff isn’t a good coach? Pat Quinn?

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  40. TomNickle says:

    Based on playoff results, you know, the results that matter, Martin is winning by a landslide.

  41. ABHabsfan says:

    That right there is funny stuff. I am currently in the heart of Leaf-land, (Lindsay Ont, family thing). I am going to tell that joke to every dilusional leaf fan I meet today. And let me tell you there is no shortage of them around here.

  42. Everlasting1 says:

    Yea, whatever he’s doing, it ain’t working. Thanks for your unnecessary shpiel. At the end of the day these are all just opinions. An unintelligent one wouldn’t recognize.


    Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  43. TomNickle says:

    Oh, and on that comparison.  Carbonneau had a healthy Markov and Gorges for the majority of his time here.  

  44. Bugs says:

    Aaah, I see.

    Yeah, a guy goes from “friend of the players and confidante” to “whip-cracker what knows all their secrets”, indeed, I mean, if it spelled trouble in Danemark, why wouldn’t it here, right?

  45. SmartDog says:

    What I’m worried about is all those Atlanta and Nashville fans scratching their heads over what state Calgary is in.

  46. Mattyleg says:


    So a chicken and a peanut are walking down the road. The chicken turns to the peanut and says: “This is the stupidest joke I’ve ever been in.”

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  47. Everlasting1 says:

    I’m sure that gives you a sense of satisfaction.

    I’ve seen Gainey black and white, and in french.


    Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  48. Mr. Habs says:

    Martin had a few Stanley Cup contending teams with great players far better than what the Habs have to work with now but could not get it done.

  49. punkster says:

    Been playing chess since I was a kid, Risk since the early 70s and love both games. But way different than sports teams. Way different. You can talk about drafting, luck, strategy and thinking ahead all you want. Purposely losing, surrendering, tanking? No thanks. Your white flag of surrender isn’t irony. It’s a white flag of surrender.


  50. Mattyleg says:

    Most importantly, as of next month, JM will have been coach longer than Carbo. Which means more than anything else, really.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  51. mjames says:

    I see where Apron Basu has to decode what Martin is saying. If we can’t understand what Martin is saying how the heck do the players. Who decodes for the players. Whoever it is is missing because Martin and the players are not on the same page.



  52. twocents says:

    Your ‘rithmetic skills need a little polishing.

  53. Hobie Hansen says:

    I won’t try and dissect the Xs and Os behind coaching in the NHL but from a fan who lived through the days between Jacques Demers winning the cup and Jacques Martin getting us to the conference finals, I know one thing, rookie coaches don’t survive here, end of story! There’s a small chance one might succeed but who wants to waste 2 years figuring that out and probably failing. The pressure is too high and it takes a very experienced and strong NHL leader to get the job done here. With the small size, lack of firepower and all the injuries over the last two years, could anyone else have done a better job, I doubt it!!! That is my humble opinion on the issue, coming from a guy who doesn’t ever want to live through another rookie coaching disaster like we did from the time Demers left to the time Martin arrived.

  54. Mr. Habs says:

    Wrong Sir. Carbo coached 230 reg. season games for the Habs. Martin so far, 141 games.

  55. notbigbird says:

    Presumably he speaks differently to the players than the press.

  56. Chuck says:

    Didn’t I see that in a Far Side comic?    :)

  57. Mattyleg says:

    I don’t understand your last sentence. There’s no subject.

    There is no opinion in this post. It’s about the difference between coaches and assistant coaches.

    And the original thesis was that Muller wouldn’t be better than JM. Which is an opinion.

    And JM’s doing fine; what he’s doing is working. We made the Conference Finals last year, and are in a comfortable playoff position now. We just need to keep the work up!

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  58. Malreg says:

    Daniel was injurred for a large portion of last season, and Henrik still won the scoring race and the Hart.

  59. Hobie Hansen says:

    Where’s Guy coaching now?

  60. TomNickle says:

    Are you trying to say that a coach would be more candid with his players than he would be with the people putting him under the microscope?  That’s crazy talk.

  61. Kooch7800 says:

    I think for a pure blood pressure stand point I will avoid watching tonights game. 

  62. twocents says:

    “If we can’t understand what Martin is saying how the heck do the players.”

    Let me get this straight.

    Your premise is that people who hang out in a cyber chat room and never interact directly with a coach should have an easier time understanding his messages than the players who spend large portions of their waking days with him?

  63. Mattyleg says:

    Riiight. Missed that one. I was looking at the wrong… nevermind.

    Lemme rephrase that: I have a feeling that JM’s tenure in Montreal will be longer than Carbo’s. JM communicates with his players and has had good success so far. You don’t fire a coach who is doing well. You fire a problem coach.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  64. TomNickle says:

    Patrick Lalime.

  65. TomNickle says:

    As a coach, not professional mind you.  I would die before I share the reasons for my decisions with people who aren’t members of my team or whose opinions I’m not seeking.  I would never share my thoughts with anyone outside of the family.  Everyone has an agenda and I’m not putting myself in a position where I’m adding fuel to their fire.

  66. Mr. Habs says:

    I said looking at STATS. Do you know Carbo is looking for a coaching job right now when he is still employed buy the Habs?

  67. Bugs says:

    Jean Perron was a rookie coach.

  68. Everlasting1 says:

    Btw, doesn’t matter how you slice it, it was Gainey who brought Carbo on board. I’d imagine effective communication would be a prerequisite for a head coach job. Chalk it up to another Gainey can’t play both sides of this argument.


    Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  69. KenD29 says:

    Are you saying Gomez and AK46 have contributed when the team was having success?

    Both should be watching the rookies from up above tonight.


    Tonight we skate with them, Tonight is our night!

  70. Bugs says:

    Yes, that’s right, THOSE rookie Hab coaches what won it all.

  71. Mr. Habs says:

    Detroit won a cup with a avg. goalie not to long ago. They could score more than they let in!

  72. TomNickle says:

    If you make it you have a chance.  I really don’t feel like going back through all of those seasons and analyze whether or not they should’ve been sellers.  

    That season specifically, the big ufa season.  Komisarek, Kovalev and a couple of others should have been traded.

  73. LA Loyalist says:

    Obviously experience is an advantage. But to me the issue is brains. A smart coach will adjust to what he has, not what he wants.

    Why was Pat Burns successful with 3 different teams? Cause he was able to adjust to the players he had.

    JM has some model in his head of what he wants and tries to break the players to it. To me that’s moronic.

    Look at what Lemaire has done in NJ – you can say he’s systemic and rigid. Then how did he get Kovalchuk going? He’s smart, he knows a game breaker when he sees one and adjusted.

    JM adjusts his tie, occasionally, that’s about it.

  74. TomNickle says:

    If you hold everybody up to Detroit as a standard over the last 15 years, they will all come up short.

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