What, still no hockey?

A 1930s Imperial Oil-sponsored 3 Star minor hockey team. The company’s sponsorship would give birth to the NHL three-star selections in 1936-37.
© Imperial Oil

The Canadiens are back from their early-season vacation this morning.

They’ll practice in Brossard, preparing for New Jersey‘s Thursday evening visit to the Bell Centre.

• Dave Stubbs on Three Star voting

A rare easy week for the Canadiens

• We’re number 11! Up from 19 in ESPN Power Rankings

Hilarious Kovy video

• The Shane Doan hit



Larry Carriere talks to Ron Fournier

• Mathias Brunet on oddities of the draft

Robert Mayer in Hamilton

Ken Holland’s OT proposal


  1. JF says:

    I think they’ll have slumps like every other team, but unless they have massive injuries, they’ll bounce back.  After their atrocious season last year, that team is super-motivated.  And, say what you like about the Leafs, they’re a team that works hard.

  2. JF says:

    They’re getting scoring.  Clarke McArthur has 3 or 4 goals already, a trend which probably won’t continue.  However, their top line – Kessel, Bozak, Versteeg – is very dangerous.  Had Lundqvist not been very good to start the game the other night, that line would have had 3 goals.  For the moment, Kessel is scoring – 5 goals, several of them clutch; but if he gets injured or slumps, they’ll have problems.

  3. SmartDog says:

    I agree with most of this and comparing him with Carbo’s roller coaster ride of line changes does make me thankful that Martin’s a much more steady hand. Though it’s kind of like comparing your wife to your craziest girlfriend ever.   The crazier she was, the better your wife is gonna seem.

    Listen to the SmartDog. He knows his poop!

  4. helluva habs fan says:

     I feel the Habs often get rippped by referees, but I think part of that feeling comes from the psycofan in me. Sometimes in the heat of the game, I wish Jacques would stand up for his players on obvious bad calls, but my “cooler head” realizes it causes more harm than good. I get the impression that the Habs are regarded as “notorious divers.” I don’t think it’s a fair label, but that’s the impression I get nonetheless. As such, if Jacques starts ripping on the officials like that loudmouth redneck in Toronto (honestly, sometimes he’s as bad as Cherry), it only gives officials more reason to target the team.

    In the playoffs last year, fan or no fan, the biased officiating in those first two rounds was OBVIOUS. I was really proud of our guys for taking the high road, not saying a word about the officiating despite the probing questions from the media. Let other teams whine publicly if it suits them. I’d rather get behind a team of honest hard workers focused on the game, not excuses.

  5. TomNickle says:

    I like the math and you make an interesting point.

    I would personally weigh division games with greater importance however because winning your division can be the difference between the #3 seed and the #8 seed.  And when you consider the upsets that occur through the playoffs, it is tremendously important.  For example, the #3 seed last year would have had home ice advantage through the Eastern Conference Finals had they advanced in the first two rounds.

  6. HardHabits says:

    Here’s an interesting little mathematical conundrum. How much do the inter-divisional points matter for the final standings? 

    Let’s take a look at last season’s North East division:

    Buffalo finished the season with 100 points, and was 12-8-4 in the NE division for 28 pts.
    Ottawa had 94 points, was 14-7-3 inter-divisionally for 31 pts.
    Boston 91 points, 13-8-3 for 29.
    Montreal 88 points, 11-9-4 for 26.
    Toronto 74 points, 10-7-7 for 27.

    5 points separated the lowest team to highest in the division games and they were separated by 6 points over-all however the worse team was 26 points off the leader over-all yet finished only 1 point shy of the other in the inter-divisional play.

    Bottom line: All games matter. Winning in the division is a subset of the larger picture, winning in the league.

    Note: 24 games are played for a total of 48 possible points. In theory there should be only 120 available points but the OT losses skewer the final results.  There were 21 games that went into OT so the final tally was 141 points garnered.

  7. SeriousFan09 says:

    Performing well with no expectations or trying to keep your job for next season don’t always show the measure of a team. NYR were 7-1 to start last season, how quickly did that go off the rails? Leafs hit their first slump it’s going to rattle them I suspect. It’s one thing to start off winning but how they survive a losing streak will really show what kind of team they have.



    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  8. bwoar says:

    PRACTICE lines.  Maybe Pyatt is being offered a chance to prove something…. he’d better start contributing *something* since his play has been very average so far.  I think Martin wants one fleet-footed player on each line.  I’d like to see Pouliot back with G-G, tell him to drive the middle and go to the net like AK46 and he’ll end up scoring goals too.

    Eller ought to send him down rather than playing 4th line wing.  Me, I’d have Eller in Halpern’s spot and have line 4 as Boyd-Halpern-Moen but that line just wouldn’t be fast enough to suit the team’s style or slow defense..

    But then again, it’s PRACTICE lines, the game isn’t until Thursday and what the lads show in practice could mix the cards for the lineup.


    JM’s line combos are rarely wrong, this is the important point.  We howled at Carbo for his odd tinkering and we may disagree a lot and scratch our heads at Martin’s choices but the truth is, he’s right the majority of the time and his trios work well on the ice.  When they don’t, he doesn’t waste time before making adjustments.  Now if we could just play full-throttle, no-shell hockey with the lead…..

  9. TomNickle says:

    Toronto is going to need scoring from somewhere other than Phil Kessel.  They will need Giguere to be a Vezina candidate and they’ll need Komisarek, Schenn, Phaneuf and Beauchemin to be consistently good all season.

    Tall order.

  10. SeriousFan09 says:

    Just daily practice lines, don’t play until Thursday and even game-day lines don’t necessarily mean anything’s final. Just getting Pyatt back into it since Darche made his line a liability against Ottawa.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  11. TomNickle says:

    They’ve been bad with no expectations.  Just think about how hard they’re gonna hit the wall now that they’re planning the parade.

  12. Skotbot says:

    trying to find a spark for the G&G line it seems…


    Do I listen to pop music because I am miserable? Or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?

  13. TomNickle says:

    The only problem with that idea is that you’ve essentially created a middle man.

    Not a good idea.  The general manager or team president should have a direct line to the league offices for this type of thing.

    However, you’ll never see accountability from this league.  Referees and linesmen are treated as and thought of as robots.  They’re told to call the game in late stages the way they would in the first five minutes.  They’re defended blindly by the league office with no consequence and aren’t held accountable for their actions.  

    Look at the NFL.  That league gets respect for its officials and league offices when it comes to officiating because they acknowledge mistakes.  They actually docked a referee a full game cheque a few years ago.

    Until the NHL makes their on ice officials accountable, there will be no change to how games are called.

  14. JF says:

    Agree about Boston, but I think Toronto will also be a problem.  They nearly always are, even last year when the team was terrible. I’d like to be wrong, but I think this year’s Leafs will be contenders; their great start is not smoke and mirrors or luck or a fluke.  Peole who think they’ll lapse into their usual state of awfulness overlook the fact that they had one of the best records in the league late last season.  But I think your assessment of Ottawa is right.  As for Buffalo, they seem to have little beyond a great goaltender.  Losing Lydman and Tallinder hurt them a lot.

  15. joeybarrie says:

    No, maybe some people think it is. (then of course it becomes for Ovie) However, they do it at football games and other sports events around here. I actually think MOST people have no clue what it is for and just do it. Fans here are very sheepish.

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

  16. bwoar says:

    JM is an improvement to Carbo’s sniveling. Have you noticed this year that JM rarely talks at all on the bench, save for the odd f-bomb after a penalty call?  Muller is the big talker and he DOES give it to the refs with both barrels during the game.

    The public bashing of refs after the game does sweet f all to 1) change the outcome or 2) get you some calls in the next game.  It’s a dog-and-pony show put on by the coach when his players need an excuse after a tough loss.  Was Wilson right?  Yep.  Will his actions help his team?  Nope.

    Someone else with the team, an assist or someone else, ought to take it up with the league the following day, with a phone call to the Soup Can and a private discussion.  Publicly whining isn’t a professional activity and referees remember it.

    Not trying to take the zebra’s side, god knows I’ve piled on a lifetime supply of invective in this first week alone, but strictly speaking from a coaching standpoint this is one where Martin is 100% correct.  In fact the refs made the right calls in TB and he said so himself.  Which in my books just makes him a man, rather than a Crosbaby.

  17. TomNickle says:

    Didn’t we have 11 or 13 consecutive victories against Boston only to have the turn the tide and go for 7 or 8 straight victories against us?

    Funny league, funny game.

    To sum it up from my end.  If we can’t do better than a split against the Senators this season, I won’t be optimistic about out playoff prospects.

  18. Fant-HAB-ulous says:

    I heard Pierre McGuire on Melnick’s show the other day talking about how he asked if an ex-player would be willing to be a full-time officiating coach for a team. Basically this position would be in charge of analyzing every call in every game his team played in, keeping abreast on the minutae of the rules, and have an open line to the discipline office or something.

    While I rarely agree with McGuire, this idea made sense to me. There should be someone in every organization that is charged with keeping on top of officiating. It would force the officials to do a better job, and it would let us fans get better breakdowns of the calls because the media could interview this officiating expert much like they do other team staff.


  19. matmacat says:

    so very sad…

  20. SeriousFan09 says:

    Hey, any time a division opponent struggles I’m happy but I’d rather not plan an opponent being ‘easy’. OTT didn’t look like much after they got pretty badly hosed in the Heatley trade last season and TOR we figured we’d knock them 6-0… Potential knocking them around is nice but I’d settle for a season split with a team that’s been giving us trouble for years.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  21. sidhu says:

    Practice lines according to TSN:

    Cammalleri – Plekanec – Kostitsyn
    Pyatt – Gomez – Gionta
    Pouliot – Halpern – Lapierre
    Eller- Boyd – Moen

    Pyatt on the 2nd line after sitting out??

  22. AndyF says:

    It’s clear to see exactly what happened on that video. 

    Not only do we see that the pass was long-gone before Doan decides to hit Sexton, but we also see that it’s because Doan got stripped of the puck in the offensive zone.  Doan’s hit was premeditated and out of anger. 

    This stuff’s gotta stop…




  23. TomNickle says:

    Theodore, Fleury?

    I know what you’re saying but I think you’re going more by two seasons ago.

    The goaltending in our division is very top heavy with Rask and Miller, you might even be able to lump Giguere in there for the first 50 games.

    Not so good in Ottawa.  Like I said, they don’t scare me.  I don’t think Clouston will have a good year with that roster because it’s a lazy, defensively challenged roster.

    They’re in trouble, mark my words.

  24. HardHabits says:

    DGB hits another home run. Hilarious!

  25. SeriousFan09 says:

    Clouston is pretty good at getting blood from a stone in most of his cases except for the usual cases like Kovalev who can’t be managed by any coach. I respect him, he works a good system and does as best he can with what he has. I doubt they’re any kind of contender group but he’ll squeeze his roster for everything he can get out of it.

    The issue for OTT is the Habs either have trouble beating a B goalie or those B goalies for some reason will never play better than they do against Montreal. That’s why OTT annoys me, Habs have an issue beating up on the “Bad goalies” or those bad goalies play out of their minds and that’s the only kind of goalie they ever keep.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  26. TomNickle says:

    In last year’s playoffs we had Kelly Sutherland officiating three of our first six games against the Capitals.

    Martin went nuts in game one, which Sutherland called.  And we subsequently were screwed royally in two of the next three games.  One of which Sutherland called again.

    I remember a very long post that I put together here explaining that the Habs organization had better be on the phone with the league offices about this.

    One official having just under 50% of the games in one series when there are eight series being played is inexcusable.

    Sutherland has always been in Lee’s company too.  How he got playoff games is last season is beyond me.

  27. TomNickle says:

    Ottawa doesn’t scare me at all this year.  

    Clouston is getting a harsh dose of reality with a lineup that was put together out of desperation by a general manager who knows better.

    That team was already weak defensively.  Murray’s solution?  Add a defenseman who has never been good defensively and let his leading shot blocker and checker walk via free agency.

    I have a lot of respect for Bryan Murray but he acted out of desperation.  We will see the result of that desperation in February when they’re almost mathematically eliminated from the playoffs I believe.

    That team’s defense group is Phillips, Campoli, Karlsson, Carkner, Lee and Gonchar.  This is not a strong defensive group capable of bailing out sub par goaltending.  When you factor in that they have zero offensive depth and questionable work ethic, it’s a recipe for disaster in Ottawa.

  28. SeriousFan09 says:

    Considering how often we get decent officiating, I’d say the Habs are better off not complaining as the team would just likely antagonize the zebras even further. Have to wait I think for Geoff Molson to get some influence and maybe stretch his owner’s muscle as a money franchise to put pressure on the NHL.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  29. Rudy says:

    Yeah, I have season tickets here in DC. I thought the “O” during the anthem was for Ovie!

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

  30. habs-hampton says:

    So I see that Ron Wilson went off in the press about bad calls last night. Last week JM said nothing when the Habs got rooked by the zebras against TB in the final 2 minutes. I think there is a happy medium there. I just wish that JM would have SOME kind of reaction when his team gets screwed over.

    What do you guys think?

  31. joeybarrie says:

    Gonchar used to be a Cap. He got traded to Boston, but then signed with Pitts which is considered a big rival, especially cause everyone here (in DC) hates Crosby so much. So this is the Washington version of booing a players when he touches the puck.

    Weird I know, but then again they still yell “O” for the Orioles during the National Anthem despite the Washington Nationals…  This is from a crowd where 3 years ago when the Caps were just decent, there were more Habs fans for the games than Caps fans. You could get tix for $10 day of the game… Now you can’t get 2 for under $90… If the Caps do well, its very POPULAR to go to the games here, despite most of the people’s lack of any hockey knowledge or loyalty.

    Still, people get into the games here… NOW…

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

  32. Mattyleg says:

    That bad?

    Not worth the road-trip?

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  33. SeriousFan09 says:

    Problem is OTT generally manages to be a thorn in our side for whichever reason, I’m looking for a season split with them and pushing to 4Ws over TOR and BUF while denying them OT points.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  34. Mattyleg says:

    In relation to Madcap Habsfan’s post below, here’s the link to the Islanders’ website.


    —Hope Springs Eternal—

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