Will Ryder flourish on third line?

The Gazette’s Pat Hickey writes today of head coach Guy Carbonneau’s loss of patience with first-line winger Michael Ryder, who seems bound for the club’s third line tomorrow night in Buffalo. The hard-working Tom Kostopoulos was elevated to the first line in Wednesday’s practice.

Hickey also speaks to Canadiens goaltending coach Rollie Melanson, who speaks of the "healthy" competition between Cristobal Huet, tomorrow’s starter in Buffalo, and Carey Price, Saturday’s starter back home against Boston. 


  1. El Guapo says:

    Tu eres uno des dos cosas, un culo grande, o un pedaco de mierda, peude ser los dos.

  2. ClaytonM says:

    The strategy I’d go with is to not vote for the obvious competition for 2nd & 3rd forwards, so do not vote for Crosby, Sundin or Lecavalier. That will put Saku at a disadvantage.

    How the hell did Bryan McCabe make the ballot??? I’m torn between writing in for Komisarek and Hamrlik and picking McKlutz for sh*ts and giggles.

    We should also start a write-in campaign for Craig Rivet in the West.

  3. ClaytonM says:

    Too bad you can only choose one player who’s not on the ballot, or we could choose to vote for only Habs players and then former Habs from the West

  4. joe-hab-nuno says:

    would be interesting though, maybe he is the power forward we need 🙂
    could yoou imagine the forchecking bodychecks and trying to see opponent d trying to knock him out in front of the net.

  5. Chorske says:

    Heheh, we’re just messin’ round.

  6. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Nalia, i too like what you mentioned with Ryder-Freddy-Begin line.
    Chorske, yes we are winning, but why wait when or if things start going bad to fix the things we need now(hope things don’t start going bad 🙂 ). I agree on sending Lats down and giving him a reality check cuz to me he seems like he things he’s a keeper in the bigs. I think hehas potential to be a good power forward but why not teach this kid what needs to be thought in the Ahl instead of dealing with his crap here for 1 1/5 season so far. Bring one of those kids that played well in the preseaon like Kost jr or Dagostini. I think lats need more time there then either these 2.

  7. J.T. says:

    I wouldn’t play Chipchura out of position when he’s doing so well. I’d rather make him the third line centre and play Ryder with him. He plays a simple, straightforward game that might inspire Ryder to try and do less.

  8. JF says:

    Naila, I like these lines. You could be right about Ryder and Chipchura. But to me the obvious thing to try first would be simply to switch Ryder and Dandenault. This would leave the fourth line intact, and I really like the way Begin and TomK work together. But Carbo often uses TomK on the first line near the end of a game when we need a gritty checker to protect a lead, and I guess that’s why he’s chosen him over Dandy. It could work if Kostopoulos parks himself in front of the net and tries for a tip-in or a rebound.

  9. GTC says:

    That bites dude. Same thing happened to me so I just used my initials. Nothing we can do we don’t have patents on names. Just pick another one. Could be anything. One guy DD used his cupsize.

  10. Scotty90 says:

    Krob… their system will probably only accept one vote from a particular IP!

  11. fuhgawz says:

    i’m with you on this one —- going to vote right now

  12. Chuck says:

    Why he’s not on the main ballot I’ll never know…

    “Vote Saku for All-Star… or little Timmy gets it!!!”

  13. krob1000 says:

    I am writing Kovalev in every time I vote too….and since we are slow at work today I have voted several times already.

  14. Scotty90 says:

    I think its great that the Spartan will be playing alongside Koivu and Higgins. The problem on the first line isn’t Higgins or Koivu, yes their production is down, particularly Higgins’, but I think thats’ as a result of Ryder’s lack of shots on net, lack of passing, lack of working hard along the boards and coming up with the puck and finally, being too fancy with the puck and coughing it up! Higgy and Koivu will benefit from having Kosto on their line. I am really looking forward to it.

  15. Chuck says:

    Well, now Brisebois has at least one vote! 🙂

    “Vote Saku for All-Star… or little Timmy gets it!!!”

  16. fuhgawz says:

    not in Saskatchewan —- we all talk ass backwards here

    To everyone who likes to correct …. thanks from now on i will do a better job.

    Go Habs Go ——-

  17. drecha says:

    I think Kovalev deserves a write in vote! Do your part!

  18. Chuck says:

    It’s actually “damn it”.


    “Vote Saku for All-Star… or little Timmy gets it!!!”

  19. Chorske says:

    Naila, I like those lines. I guess your lineup has helped me see the problem that Carbo has. He needs a winger on that first line, to take the pressure off Ryder so he can get his mojo back with great guys like Freddy and Begin. How do you replace him? You can’t bring someone up because you’d need to send someone down, and who do you send? Lats? Maybe, but it’s too early for that. What kind of message does that send? We’re fourth best in the whole friggin’ league and there’s no point upsetting the apple cart. We’re winning.

    But you need a winger on that line, and in reality your choice is pretty much TK or Dandy, and Dandy is a defensive forward, whereas TK is an offensive forward who brings his A game to every game. SO you go with TK.

    We’ll see how it goes. I was iffy about keeping Price up when Bob made the call, and see how brilliant that move looks now.

  20. fuhgawz says:

    dammit — they need spell check on here

  21. Chorske says:

    it’s ‘grammar’ :p

    😉 C

  22. GTC says:

    Thats a great point. Which guy do you think is Gretzky? Higgins or Saku?

  23. fuhgawz says:

    ok ok ok — did not come on here to practice spelling or grammer — but thanks for the tip

  24. Naila Jinnah says:

    Because they’ve got a whole bunch of individual players and no one to bring them together. Just wait for Baines to get back in there, I’m sure things will change. Also, maybe the guys are watching the big boys and thinking, why am I not up there instead of (insert under-performing forward of choice here). And that’s tough, not only on the ego, but also on the confidence and focus. As Rollie said, that’s Halak’s main problem, and you can bet other guys are thinking about it too…

  25. Naila Jinnah says:

    I think that Tom the Bomb could jump start things on the first line, but not for more than a few shifts. Instead, I’d have Dandy up there with Koivu and Higgins. My third line would have Begin, Chipchura and Ryder, because I think that Ryder and Chipchura could really work well together, especially with hard-working Begs to be tough in the corners. And on the fourth, Latendresse (because we all know he’s not going to be wearing a suit all game), Smolinksi and Tom the Bomb.

  26. TradeRyder says:

    Here’s a simple one for you hockey brainiacs!

    If Hamilton has such depth, how come they lose so much?

    PS: Trade Ryder

    Trade Ryder! Hope makes a good breakfast, but a bad supper!

  27. Naila Jinnah says:

    PS: Speaking of spelling, it should be “You’re right”.

  28. Naila Jinnah says:

    Except Freddy’s a centre. Like Saku. And that’s not going to change. I don’t think Kyle can perform as well on the wing… he’d have to completely change his style.

  29. Chorske says:

    Totally agree with your assessment of the Ryder situation. It’s being bollixed but when your first line is stagnating, you need to do something. And Carbo’s favorite ‘something’ is futzing with lines. *sigh* it’s cute when we’re winning but it won’t be so amusing when we hit our seemingly inevitable Christmas meltdown.

    The one thing I’d not do is tinker with that second line. They’re amazing to watch. Kovy is a man reborn. I was watching the replays from the Leafs game and was struck by how much puck support they give each other, how focused on the net they are, and how responsibly they pull back if they lose the puck in the offensive zone. It’s not so much backchecking / forechecking as simply being present and play-aware in the neutral zone.

    I hope that second line stays put.

  30. Habs_008 says:

    Good Call on the Laffs game, but i really want to blow them out one time, we are so much better then they are! Why dont we play well against them??? Carbo knows what he is doing. Let the man coach, lets see how they do this weekend before we judge too much. Ryder will be back, keep faith.

  31. fuhgawz says:

    LOL point taken —

  32. drecha says:

    Let’s also not forget that we had Aebisher as a “back up” to an injured Huet. Aebisher even got cut from one of the worst teams in the NHL, and is now in the Swiss league. You have to admit it was hard to watch Aebisher in net last year.

  33. 24 Cups says:

    When it’s all said and done, the Habs are off to a great start – much better than anyone predicted. What I loved about the Leaf game is that we came away with a victory on the road when basically the other team outplayed us for most of the game. We also won it coming from behind and with a goal in overtime from a guy who rarely scores – and on a breakaway. We also had a rookie in net. I see all of these factors as good omens. In the past, we would be snakebitten in these tight situations.

    My only major concern is our lack of proficiency on faceoffs. We lose possession of the puck too much which can be a problem for a team that is playing so many tight, low scoring games where one break here or there can be the difference between winning and losing the game. This baffles me seeing that the coaching staff is headed by former centres like Carbo, Muller, and Jarvis who all were great defensive players.

  34. fuhgawz says:

    lets not forget tho —— he was a -25 last season yes he scored 30 but that did not get us into the playoffs …..

  35. drecha says:

    I hope I am right too, One good season could be a fluke, but 3 consecutive seasons! Not a fluke!
    (Your welcome for the spelling)

  36. fuhgawz says:

    thanks for the correction on the spelling ……. and you know what I HOPE YOUR RIGHT about me eating my words …. that would be great ……

  37. Jay_in_PA says:

    I agree. Chips showed some nifty moves last game, and he might prove to be very interesting with increased ice time. And anyway, we know he won’t be a defensive liability.

  38. cautiousoptimist says:

    I just posted my long-winded defence of Ryder on the “Ryder seems likely for 3rd line vs. Buffalo” thread, but all that to say, give the man a break.

    And amen about the depth – our depth chart goes two lines into Hamilton’s roster for Pete’s sake. We could have put any number of guys in Ryder’s spot – from Kostitsyn to Grabovski to Latendresse (who unexpectedly impressed on the top line last year) all the way down to a d’Agostini, who was arguably our best player in training camp. He picked Kosto because he wants grit up there with two guys who can make plays and score, and because Kosto has made some surprisingly nice plays himself lately.

  39. drecha says:

    It’s Lecavalier, and relax man!! Ryder is more than just a shot. You do not get 85 goals in your first three seasons in the NHL if you are “just a shot”. He can hit and he can start and finish plays. Do not judge him on what he has done so far this season, he will be back producing on the first line and trust me you will be eating you words.

  40. Sulemaan says:

    Arguably we could have a better player on the top line instead of Kostopolous but at least he keeps working. He’s also pretty solid defensively and provides good defensive coverage for Koivu and Higgins.

    Personally, I wouldn’t touch the second line of Plekanec, Kovalev and Kostitsyn as they were fantastic against Toronto.

    I also like how Chipchura, Begin and Kostopolous play together. Our issue is that our first line isn’t clicking because Ryder is in a slump. Our third line (Smolinkski, Latendresse, Dandenault) is mediocre.

    Perhaps it’s time we called up Lapierre from Hamilton, now that Murray is gone. Have Lapierre, Grabovski and Gorges as the substitutes although I’d like to see O’Byrne get called up soon.

    I also agree with GTC – I’m glad the comments are back. I’m going to be in Montreal this weekend to catch the Saturday/Monday games. Looking forward to them!

  41. fuhgawz says:

    what is it with everyone and “Ryders Shot” if this is the only thing this player has he should obviously not be here on the first line on any team … there are hundreds of guys in the minors or elsewhere who also have a “big shot” – but frankly that is all they have. Lets face it folks Ryder is less then a one dimentional player …. no defense, no offense……. oh but wait he has a big shot — who cares .. everyone in the NHL today has a good shot. He is not a first line winger … not even close …… 3rd line ABOUT FREAKING TIME!!!! —– for those of you who say we have depth … look at our situation now. We have to move Kosto. to the first line to me that does not sound like depth …. we need to get another top scorer or at least bring up the young Kostitsyn who may actually add some fire power to this offense. Big shots do not win championships or scoring titles my friends …. all round players do (example Vinny Lac. in Tampa sorry i do not know how to spell his name so i am not going to try and butcher it)

  42. GTC says:

    Im just tickled pink by the depth on the team. Ryder is in what is arguably a slump no problem we have Nonstopoulos for the first line. If he doesn’t work they we have Dandy or Grabs or Begin. I think they should have given Murray a look on the top line too. He didnt get a fair chance
    And thank goodness the comments are back. I had so many important things to say and this is better than just pacing my room muttering them to myself. I hope you put the karma points back soon too because my ego is a little deflated lately and my cats arent doing it for me. I need a boost. And can we have some smiley icons too please I like those.

    Go Habs Go!

  43. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Excellent move by Carbo. Ryder will play with less pressure on him being on 3rd line. Kotsopolous provides toughness and is more than willing to go to the front of the net, not to mention provide much needed protection for Koivu/Higins. Well worth a try. I like it.

  44. krob1000 says:

    Kotsopolous works but I don’t know about playing him with Koivu and Higgins. Kotsopolous on his best day is no better than Ryder on his worst. Obviously there is a reason I only get to express my opinions here so perhaps Guy will prove me wrong….I hope so. Ryder scored 17 of his goals last year on the powerplay (which he hardly ever plays anymore). He is what he is and with this move I am starting to realize that his being traded is increasingly likely with every passing day. I saw Brett Hull (G.M.) last night say that Dallas is actively seeking a scorer to play with Modano……not to start any rumours because that was the entirety of his statement.

    Here is my solution…play Ryder with Pleks and Kovalev. As good as Higgins is he doesn’t see the ice all that great (Koivu is the best passer on the team though). Plekanec and Kovalev both have excellent vision and are extremely adept at drawing defenders and finding an open man. I understand that Kostitsyn has played very well and fit nicely with Kovy and Pleks but I think he is adaptable enough to play with either line. Kovalev and Plekanec are a two man show and Ryder could just as easily play with them. In fact it would give more opportunities to find space in five on five situations. With Kovalev and Ryder’s shots beng feared at the same time it would make for an interesting defensive matchup for opponents….even if they did cover those two Plekanec would just score himself. Kostitsyn could skate and think with Higgins and Koivu and there would be no insertion of a grinder onto an offensive line. Ryder is not a player who can create his own chances and to expect him to work out of his slump with Begin and Smolinski is absurd. He needs to work out of his slump on the powerplay…..score a fluky goal like Higgins did to break out his slump at the beginning of the season.

    This Ryder thing is the only negative situation facing the team and it has to be resolved soon. Koivu and Higgins have not exactly been lighting the lamp either and I think this controversy and issue may be partly to blame. They too are victims in this fiasco as it is they who have their line toyed with regularly.

    I support Carbo and the crew 99% of the time but I think this situation is being mishandled…..badly. What one dimensional scorer can possibly break out of a slump with Smolinski and Begin. I don’t understand why noone has knocked Smolinski’s lack of production on the powerplay. He has been great killing penalties and in his defensive role but he looks lost when they play him on the powerplay. He just immediately gets rid of the puck and poses no threat to shoot himself. He doesn’t even look at the net when he has the puck on the power play…..at least with Ryder the fear alone of his shot forced the oposition to move towards him and create space for others. I just don’t get it…….I honestly don’t get it. Oh well, we are succeeding as a team so I guess things aren’t that bad but every time I hear the name Ryder I get upset right now. He really hasn’t played that bad. He has done what he normally does and to take him off the powerplay where he is most effective does not help him, the team, or anyone. That’s about all I can handle discussing this as I am starting to type way too hard and probably have a red face right now.

    I would be a lot more o.k. with this situation if our record was reversed and we need to punish someone and Carbo was trying to make a point but up until this moving and benching of Ryder at least Koivu and Higgins were producing and Ryder was working hard and trying to expand his game. Now the sistuation is a distraction and is probably creating some tension in the locker room. I have noticed though that Ryder has never once been a jerk and made a statement even slightly implying that he is unhappy. Many,many, many players would not be taking this demotion and treatment the way he has so for that I commend him.

    For not shooting on breakaways I think they should skate his ass off in practice until he pukes or shock him every time he moves the puck to his backhand (or lack thereof) but for God’s sake don’t take him off off of 5 on 3’s and the power play and hurt the team.


  45. Habs_008 says:

    I agree with Julian, maybe lattes can play in the minors for a bit, he wont have to clear waivers. He needs to get his confidence back. Ryder will be ok on 3rd line for now. Let see what Tom can do on line one.

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