Wiz returns, Martin tweaks lines

AUDIO: Brian Gionta | Hal Gill | Jacques Martin (barely audible) | Jeff Halpern | P.K. Subban

Defenceman James Wisniewski returned to practice today after missing two games with the flu. He’s expected to face the Bruins tomorrow night in Boston.

Jacques Martin, who juggled his lines for the last two periods Sunday against the Devils, returned to a more familiar lineup. There are some changes on the bottom two lines. Jeff Halpern is between Benoit Pouliot and Travis Moen in what shapes up a checking line. David Desharnais is between Tom Pyatt and Mathieu Darche on a line which didn’t see much ice time against Jersey and probably won’t see much more action in Boston.

The top line has Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta while Scott Gomez is with Andrei Kostitsyn and Lars Eller.
Michael Cammalleri is still out with a separated shoulder. He didn’t skate with the team and will not accompany the team to Boston.

Defence pairings are Hal Gill-P.K. Subban, Roman Hamrlik-Wiz and Jaro Spacek-Yannick Weber, with Alexandre Picard as extra Dman.

The Bruins had a casualty at practice this morning. A shot hit Patrice Bergeron in the chin and he was taken to hospital for stitches.

156 Comments

  1. SeriousFan09 says:

    Thanks, Part 2 should be tommorow, final revisions currently ongoing as I work on Part 3.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  2. TomNickle says:

    People continue to say that we need a solid two way defenseman and a physical scoring forward.  My opinion is that we don’t need anything more on defense, we need Wisniewski and Subban to be reliable consistently which will lower the team need to rely on Hamrlik and Spacek and their aging bodies.  I also believe that Andrei Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot are inconsistent physical scoring forwards.  So if we do need a physical scorer at forward what player could be added who is consistent?

    Penner and Lupul aren’t consistent.  Those are the two biggest names who get bounced around here.  

    The point I’m making is that if you can only acquire an inconsistent version of a physical scorer what’s the point when Pouliot and Kostitsyn are exactly that?

    Let the youth on the team develop and rely on them, from there, let the chips fall where they may. 

  3. Jordio-oh says:

    Cliff Ronning was 5’8. But he was about 7-10lbs lighter than DD.

    Back to back 62 points with the Preds in 99-00/00-01 at the ages of 34 and 35.

    Not too shabby.

  4. HardHabits says:

    Aaaargh, another cliff hanger. When are the follow ups?

    Good stuff BTW. An excellent read!!!!

  5. HabFanSince72 says:

    The only player we cannot win without is Price.

    Obviously if you subtract Gomez and add nothing else we are a worse team, but in the long run his cap hit is an albatross, his jokes less than amusing, and his unwillingness to fight for any puck vexing, to say the least.

     

     

  6. mbplekfan says:

    We lack size on the back end and it will be very painfully exposed in the playoffs. After Gill we dont have a large, crease clearing defender. Our defence does not punish forwards for dump ins and in a seven game series our guys would get worn down by more physical forwards.

     

  7. BJ says:

    Some of you might might remember “The Refrigerator Perry” 

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2010/news/story?id=6091766

    Wonder if Chris Higgins future is like this?

  8. Kooch7800 says:

    In my opinion, we will never win a cup with him.  He takes up too much cap room and does not deliver in regards to offense.  Does he have skill yes, does he help bring the puck up yes, but he also is lazy on back checks is the highest paid player by far and is the teams worst plus minus (not counting Wiz cause he was on the island).

    In a cap world we will never win with him as our number two centre who is putting up numbers of a third and fourth line player.

    People always say ignore his contract, that is difficult in a cap league. He has to produce or after next year when his pay drops I would buy him out.

     

  9. DearyLeary says:

    Neither Andrei or Benny have had a good enough season to warrant the faith you’re putting in them.

  10. punkster says:

    Hmmm, agree with your premise that the players we need are already in the system but not sure that playing Pouliot and AK more is the solution just yet. Neither seem to have their heads in the game at all times, not that some of our other players do either at times, it’s just that these two tend to be streaky in that regard. Good talent for sure but talent in need of more development. Playing more minutes alone isn’t the only answer but maybe more coaching first?

    On that note, it must be tough to have so many rookies on the squad needing coaching attention (and naturally so) then discover you have a couple of relatively experienced players in need of special coaching as well. I’m sure most teams face this challenge. I hope the Habs can work through it because it would be a shame to see AK and Pouliot perform in the same streaky manner in the playoffs even with additional minutes.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  11. oshawahabsfan says:

    Exactly! We all know about Martin and his urges however…

  12. PeterD says:

    Excellent stuff Robert…I look forward to parts 2 and 3.
    I think you may have made an error in the Tampa Bay win stat…”Boucher has his team playing an aggressive up-tempo game that is all-offence and has led to an impressive record of 3-16-5″.

  13. SeriousFan09 says:

    As I will address in Part 2, the Canadiens did hire Christer Rockstrom to take over European Scouting for the Canadiens. His previous body of work includes the last two decades as a scout and later, Head of European Scouting for the NYR and had a five-year stint before that with the Detroit Red Wings in 84-89 (he was on the job when they selected Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom and Vladimir Konstantinov). What influence he will have on the effects of European scouting are yet to be seen, it could take 5 years or more to really understand what this whole scouting department makeover did for the Canadiens.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  14. Mark C says:

    Halpren’s injury was at the 2008 Worlds, he’s played in two NHL seasons since then. It had nothing to do with luck, PG knew what he was getting.  

  15. Bill says:

    What if I put it like this: one more solid forward of the type likely to be available – an Umberger or a Weiss – is not going to be enough of an upgrade to really improve the Habs offense, so they’ll have to win with goaltending and D.

    Give Pouliot and AK consistent top-line minutes and power-play time and see what happens. Meanwhile, target a good D-man for a deadline deal and strengthen that aspect of the game.

    Kostitsyn – Plekanec – Cammalleri (18:00)

    Pouliot – Gomez – Gionta (18:00)

    Pacioretty – Desharnais – Eller (14:00)

    Moen - Halpern – Darche (10:00)

    Hamrlik – Wisniewski

    Gill – Subban

    Weber – Spacek

     

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  16. Puck Bard says:

    Nice stuff Robert.

  17. punkster says:

    Better. I do agree that we have what we need (AK and Pouliot) but maybe it’s just the method of getting them inserted into the top 6 that I’m uncertain about. It’s Feb 8 and they have 2 months (and 28 games) to ramp up. Just saying “get out there on the top line and work” won’t guarantee success. The team doesn’t have the luxury of time, as they did in October, to let these guys work it out for themselves. It will take a joint effort from their coaches and line mates as well as the players themselves to get these two guys slotted in and clicking.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  18. billylove says:

    Sharks are taking it to the Caps. OV and Caps being outhit, outskated, outshot – looks there playing a man short. Couture will get the game winner, I think he now leads the NHL in that category. Not bad for a rookie. Sharks are beating everyone right now.

  19. solomio says:

    Time to worry ?

     

    Toronto is 12th in the East, but the deficit behind eighth-place Carolina is down to eight points with 28 games remaining.

  20. oshawahabsfan says:

    Thanks, let’s pass the word on to Martin now!

  21. Hobie Hansen says:

    With the play of Pacioretty improving on a daily basis and Cammalleri hopefully returning well ahead of the playoffs, I think the Habs should focus on landing a defenseman.

    Spacek can be awfully shaky and Weber seems to get overpowered. Bieksa would have been perfect but Vancouver just lost their top Dman to injury. If Montreal can land a steady defenseman to take Weber out of the lineup and bump Spacek to #6, I’m all for it. 

    The talk here in Ottawa is that Phillips will not finish the season with the Sens and will be rented out…   

    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” – George Orwell

  22. SeriousFan09 says:

    The Canadiens have a new exhibit in their Hall of Fame, the Captains http://bit.ly/f2cUeD

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  23. Kooch7800 says:

    Wow, that is just sad.

  24. Jdub1985 says:

    This victory put the habs at a 33 – 19 – 9 record

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGEwzY1E98M&NR=1

     

  25. solomio says:

    Hey Oshawa…that line up looks real real good.
    I’d like to see that.

  26. jimmy shaker says:

    no not saying you were numbering the lines at all…..i was just saying how I felt about the lines, saying that JM could put them out there anytime and not really be worried about limiting minutes with the balance these lines projected. Good ideas all around!
    Shaker

  27. Kooch7800 says:

    We really don’t have a physical team period. On D or forward.  If we play Philly in the playoffs we might win one game.

     

  28. PeterD says:

    I’m with you on your logic…I think if all that is available is a large inconsistent forward, then don’t make the move because we have enough inconsistency in AK and Benny right now.

    But if we could get a Knuble or Brad Richards, or a Rolston, then I think we could beef up our top 6 wiht a short term quality scorer.

    On the back end I think we need some more size to clear out the Flyers and Bruins that park them selves there…think of our last game against Philly and how easliy Carter stood in there and scored.  Or the game against the Ducks when Perry did the same thing.  I like the top 6 D-men we have now but we have zero experienced depth if we run into injuries during hte play-offs…I don’t see Picard as a top 6 d-man in the long run.

    If we could add a Chris Philips or a Robyn Rehger to our back end I would be move comfortable for the play off run.

  29. avatar_58 says:

    They are injured for ONE season and you think they’d take Gomez who has quite a few more years to go?

  30. Mr.Hazard says:

    LOL check this out from TSN:

    “We’re less than three weeks away from the most active day in the NHL and TSN gets you ready for the wheeling, dealing, shocks and surprises that is Trade Deadline Day. Host James Duthie will be joined by Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger on Countdown to TradeCentre, tonight on TSN at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.”

    Wheeling, dealing, shocks and surprises? Trade deadline day!

  31. Kooch7800 says:

    Man Boyd now has 14 goals in 21 games with the dogs.  Good for him.

  32. Bill says:

    I really think the forwards we need are already in the system. As someone posted earlier, Pouliot is first in the NHL in points scored in games where the player plays less than 14 minutes. He’s big and mobile and he’s got a great shot. Just about all of his goals are pure goal-scorer’s goals.

    Then there’s AK46. Constantly demoted and bounced around. Playing 15:00 minutes and change, yet third on the team in goals, second in +/- at +11 (behind only Pleks), and laying out lots of hits. Big. Fast. Talented.

    With more ice-time these already productive players would obviously be more productive. And they cost nothing in a trade. All that has to happen is for Jacques to resist the urge – somehow – to switch Moen for Kostitsyn or Pyatt for Pouliot.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  33. LA Loyalist says:

    I agree with you, but Moore cost quite a bit more and PG was counting his pennies. We’re lucky Halpern has worked out as well as he has as he had a pretty serious injury (though of course that’s why he was inexpensive).

  34. LA Loyalist says:

    Excellent summary and analysis, thank you for your hard work.

    The most disturbing point you raise is our virtual abandonment of Russia, Sweden, Finland in terms of scouting. Yes there have been issues, but as a perennial mid-pack team we are unlikely to have really high first round picks, we have to uncover diamonds in the rough and how can we do that with such a minimal commitment to those sources?

    Look at how many of the really stud players right now are from Europe and Russia.

    If we had an announce plan i.e. Don Cherry “I’m only drafting right-handed Canadian boys from Mississauga who like TimBits(tm)” philosophy that would be one thing… but stealing a Markov, Halak, Ovechkin or a Koivu under the radar? G*d isn’t that worth some effort from Management?

    My personal feeling is we will have a clearer idea about PG after Feb 28 in terms of his approach.
    Keep up the good work.
  35. 24moreCups says:

    Good video!

  36. Mark C says:

    I don’t know, the Moore/Lapierre due costs $900K more and is being out produced by Halpern and Darche.

  37. The Cat says:

    I still say though that Moore and Lapierre shouldve been the 3rd line still. I certainly dont see Halpern-Darche as an upgrade on them.

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

  38. SeriousFan09 says:

    Thanks for reading!

    Part 2 will be up tommorow likely.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  39. shiram says:

    Thank you very much for writting this, it not only refreshes some of the moves made, but brings a different view on them as well.

    Be sure to post the next part, and I’ll make sure to read them!

  40. rob_c says:

    I wouldn’t trade all 3 of them.. just tossing names around. As for the other 5 it wont be as hard as you think. the 5.5 coming off the books from Hammer helps a lot. 

  41. Rudy says:

    Excellent feature on PK’s first “year” on TSN http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/#clip414618

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

  42. SeriousFan09 says:

    I am getting to the point where I feel bad for the TSN guys on Deadline day as they try and make something out of nothing “Well yes he’s only got 1 goal and 2 assists this season but he’s going to ber a key player for this team in the stretch run and the 7th-round pick the other team got for him is going to be HUGE on draft day.”

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  43. krob1000 says:

    sad to see Cammi not skating…he and Komisarek seemed to have some chemistry.

  44. oshawahabsfan says:

    Totally agree with the 1A, B and 2A, B labelling, I mentioned I didn’t see the fourth line as a demotion for anyone the team needs balance in the lines and the ability to roll four on a nightly basis. Not rolling four lines was our downfall last year, players were burned out by the time the third round came around. The PHD line was pretty effective before so it’s worth another go. If only Martin read Habs Inside/Out haha…

  45. PeterD says:

    Rumour …TSN to trade Duthie to CBC from Milbury and a roll of tape.

  46. PeterD says:

    LOL…Good to have shutdown forwards…these guys will do it for both teams on the ice….LOL

  47. Mark C says:

    Sorry but your selling Darche and Halpern way too short, on any night those two are good enough to be in any team’s line up.

    Look at some of Philly’s bottom-6: Blair Betts, Jody Shelly, Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe. Do you really think any of those guys are better than Darche and Halpern? Darche has turned himself into a legit bottom-6 player, and Halpern helps a team in a lot of ways, he’s 7th in NHL faceoff %.  

     

  48. HabFanSince72 says:

    You can also try stubhub.com

     

     

  49. habs001 says:

    would be nice to win .not sure we score 4 goals unless there are 2 empty net goals….i believe we will win in boston and come back the next night and beat the islanders …but i have a feeling we will have to score a few goals to win sat..for some reason the leafs forwards gives us problems and their top 5 forwards in points have produced 91 goals… our top 5 forwards have produced 70 goals

  50. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’ve been writing a blow-by-blow review of Gauthier’s first year as the Habs GM and examining the organization’s 30 most significant moves since he took on the job, here’s Part 1 for those interested.

    http://bit.ly/fODk1P

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  51. The Cat says:

    It appears to be the reality of todays nhl: to have most of the money on the top 2 lines and have the rest be expendable fillers.

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

  52. oshawahabsfan says:

    It’s ridiculous that Boston is ahead because of their loser points, not to mention Montreal is 3-0 against them this season. The NHL needs to make a change to this, if Boston finishes ahead of Montreal by one point from a loss, it really makes the league’s point system look pathetic

  53. oshawahabsfan says:

    Oh yeah I understood that for sure. Balance is a good thing, it’s pretty easy to shut down one line – hello Washington – but having four lines that contribute at both ends should be the goal. Martin’s going for that, I just feel a lineup like I posted would play to strengths of the players more and potentially deliver more goals, we sure as heck need them!

  54. habbs9 says:

    habs win 4-2 to the bruins tommorow night

  55. Say Ash says:

    Rask or Thomas tomorrow? Gotta be Rask, no?

  56. kempie says:

    I think it will be a dman that’s added in the next couple of weeks. I think PG is looking first for a player who will fit into his plans for next year so a pending UFA as a rental isn’t that attractive if we have to give up a lot. An RFA perhaps – Wiz is a good example, I think PG intends on keeping him. I’m relatively confident with the forwards going into the playoffs the way they are but I fear that the D will break down fairly quickly. It would be nice to land a younger version of Hamr for the future (Regehr for ex.). A scoring forward would be nice but you’d have to give up something of value to get something of value. For example, I don’t see guys like Penner & Lupul as upgrades over a guy like AK. I’m not crazy about shipping out prospects because I like what’s in the cupboard at the moment. All that being said, Capgeek claims that the Habs have $4,772,439 to burn right now, due mostly to injuries I guess, and that’s a pretty good chunk to go shopping with. Whatever move PG makes, I doubt anybody will see it coming at all. They call him the Ghost for a reason.

  57. SmartDog says:

    Good post. LMAO

    —-

    “It bothers me…there are old coaches in the league today that don’t know how to deal with these young personalities.” – Mike Peca on JM handling of PKS

  58. krob1000 says:

    that is a very sad story..for everyone involved…

  59. Hobie Hansen says:

    Ya I’d have to disagree on that one. Believe me I love Volchenkov but the contract he just signed with NJ is completely nuts. I think the Habs would be completely hard pressed to get that defensive lineup on the ice. And the three players you suggested trading for him are pretty steep.

     

    I like his style and it would be great to have him but financially it would never work, unless we didn’t resign one of the other defenseman you suggested. But like you said, it’s only a dream…

    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” – George Orwell

  60. fun police says:

    great new nhl commercial.  have some b list celebrity read your post in the background while cammy fips tires with a determined look on his face.  That’s gold Jerry, gold!

  61. adamkennelly says:

    I gotta believe that no one on this site (and hopefully not PG either) thinks that this set of F are good enough and properly balanced to win in the playoffs.  sorry but Darche, Pyatt, Halpern, Desharnais – on a good night, 1 of them should be in the line-up – not all 4…toss in BP and AK on nights they decide to take off and this team will have a ton of trouble scoring goals when the going gets tough and no way of pushing back.

  62. habs001 says:

    well moen and pyatt will earn their keep as not only will they shut down the opposition from scoring but they will shut down our 3rd and 4th lines from scoring

  63. habs001 says:

    we can switch the lines around but the reality is this line up will be a low scoring line up..we have had anough sample of games to see that…since it is very hard to obtain goal scorers if we add any players before the trade deadline it will probably be a checking type player with size…

  64. rob_c says:

    Weber has been playing pretty good hockey of late, Im not sure I’d have him sit over Spacek. But  thats besides the point as I’m kind of against us going after another dman unless we can do so without giving away any of our future. I’m COMPLETELY against going after another puck moving dman as next year Id like to see Wiz, Markov, and Subban, deployed on each of the 3 pairings on D (obviously hoping we resign both Wiz, and Marky). I’d also like to resign Gill and Gorges. Having Gill and Gorges play together is a pretty good shutdown pair. But I don’t you’d lose that with Gorges playing with Markov. I’d stick a defensively minded Dman with one focusing on O. In my dream world we could land a guy like Volchenkov from NJ, in that case because he’s got term, I’d give up a Carle/Kristo/Avsitn, 2nd rounder whatever it takes. Imagine we had these pairings

    Markov Volchenkov

    Subban Gill

    Wizniewski Gorges

  65. BJ says:

    Bruin’s Bergeron taken to the hospital by ambulance after getting a slapshot on the chin. Hope he’s OK but that he needs to skip tomorrows game. 

  66. The Cat says:

    They might. Pittsburgh -if well positioned- has the tendency to go for it rather than hope for next year. But the problem is we wouldnt be getting a centre in return…

     

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

  67. SmartDog says:

    Good post and good stats re. Benny and AK.  I agree about Benny 100%. AK…. if he can be resigned for 3 mil maybe.. but at $3.5 he was being paid partly for potential that he hasn’t reached.    I’m guessing he won’t stay, for better or worse.  I hope he stays but…

    “It bothers me…there are old coaches in the league today that don’t know how to deal with these young personalities.” – Mike Peca on JM handling of PKS

  68. solomio says:

    Wow. Just read about the lines JM is trying out.

    Jeez is the guy out of his mind? He’s diluted any scoring punch that he didn’t have !!!

    These are really bad

    Glad yo see that you guys are all over it

    Jeff Halpern is between Benoit Pouliot and Travis Moen in what shapes up a checking line. David Desharnais is between Tom Pyatt and Mathieu Darche

  69. oshawahabsfan says:

    Here’s a crazy thought; with Pacioretty seemingly ready for a full-time top six gig, why not reuinte the “big little three” upon Cammalleri’s return? I feel that those three would produce together. Pacioretty seems comfortable with Plekanec, Plekanec makes anyone he plays with better. Put AK with Pleks and Patches as AK seems to only be able to play well when with Pleks.

    Benny can stay where he’s comfortable and producing this season, on the third line along with Eller and DD (two centres is always good if one gets booted from the draw. also Eller would likely work out better on the wing than DD)  As much as I like Darche, and his mentoring ways with the younger players, he is better suited for the fourth line in my opinion. That’s not to say it’s a demotion, more to seek balance amongst the four lines so that they all have a chance to contribute at both ends of the rink, as well as to not over-use players in games. Halpern was brought in for PK duty and to be a strong, reliable fourth line centre. Moen is a perfect winger for that line.

    So upon Cammalleri’s return, why not give these a go:

    Cammalleri-Gomez-Gionta/ Pacioretty-Plekanec-Kostitsyn/ Pouliot-Desharnais-Eller/ Darche-Halpern-Moen/

    I’d like to see different configurations for the PP to play to the strengths of the forwards and to open up other shots when the pointmen are being rushed. For example play Cammalleri on the right side on the PP with Plekanec at centre, Pacioretty on the left. Opens up Cammalleri for a one-timer if PK and the Wiz get tight coverage. Pacioretty can crowd the crease, and hopefully not get hit with any more slapshots. Second unit Gomez centres with Gionta on the left side, Kostitsyn or Eller on the right, again opening up good shooting opportunities for the forwards for one-timers from the off wing, or to drive the net.

    Apologies for the long post, have at er’

  70. Klondike Habs Fan says:

    Hello Good People,

    So, looks like I will be in VAncouver for the game on the 22nd. I need to find tickets. I have found some on EBAY but need three together, as my wife is a big fan too and we have a kid in tow.

    Any leads, hints tips or wonderful benefactors out there who can help?

    I am so pumped.

  71. Klondike Habs Fan says:

    My photo is from the last game I got too, in LA, bumped into George Gillet after the game and he chatted me up a bit – he was really interested to hear I was from the Yukon. Maybe I will bump into a Molson or two at this one. (Well I know I will for sure find a few Molsons)

  72. Danno says:

    LOL! Best movie ever. Should have won an Oscar for the TurboLax scene alone.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  73. Mark C says:

    So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5jNnDMfxA

  74. Mark C says:

    It was certainly better than Forrest Gump, which that Oscar year.

  75. J_P says:

    I dont think Umberger would be THAT expensive.  He isn’t exactly lightning the world on fire in terms of offensive production.  With Columbus being out of the playoff picture yet again, I highly doubt anyone is untouchable.  Im sure a defensive prospect and draft pick is enough to get him. 

  76. The Cat says:

    Well I guess Im wrong. But I think its a mistake on their part. Not saying Nash isnt a keeper but a GM shouldnt pigeonhole himself.

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

  77. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    After the contract, Nash and the GM spoke openly about how he took less money to make a committment to Columbus. It was on an Inside Hockey special I believe. Hard to imagine them trading him after that. Although I’d love to see him on a more prominent team with better players around him. One of my favourites in the league

  78. Jordio-oh says:

    I’ve read reports that Columbus will not trade Umberger, Nash or prospect Ryan Johansen.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Conroy+caller/4232058/story.html

  79. The Cat says:

    If Columbus looks to not be making the playoffs, I bet no one would be untouchable. The blockbuster with Nash could be had I think.

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

  80. J_P says:

    Nash and Shea Weber are two dynamite players that just don’t get the recognition they deserve because of the hockey markets they play in. 

  81. Jordio-oh says:

    Yeah, you could be correct. I’m just updating on about what I’ve read so far.

    Still, Umberger has another year left on his contract at a cap hit of 3.75. I’m not so sure I’d move him unless they got a nice little prospect and draft pick package. Considering they are the Columbus Blue Jackets, their top 6 is alright for right now. Only Huselius is over 30.

  82. J_P says:

    GM’s play games.  Columbus’ GM knows teams are going to be calling about Umberger.  If he gets the right deal (especially one that improves their defense) for umberger, he’ll take it.  I’m sure about that. 

  83. oshawahabsfan says:

    Definitely need to roll four lines, can’t win over the long-term playing one line for less than five minutes a game

  84. jimmy shaker says:

    Didn’t like JM dropping Darche for most of the jersey game. Darche does more for this team than a lot of people give him credit for. He works his arce off and that’s all you can ask from a guy. As far as saying that darche and that line won’t be playing much is a bad thing for the team. They need to role four lines and 8 times out of 10 darche makes things happen out there. Makes a good dump in, a good hit, good back check etc etc. JM is a jabroni if he’s going to sit this guy or use that line for token shifts vs the cubs on wednesday.

    Shaker

  85. Maksimir says:

    Yeah – Darche is one of the few guys who consistently works. I don’t get how in a game as fast as hockey you can justify sitting a guy after one mistake. Holy Crap Batman – Gomez should then have missed 20 games!

  86. ProHabs says:

    DD will be playing for the Tampa Bay Lightening before the beginning of next year. You can take that to the bank.

  87. HabFanSince72 says:

    If AK goes, we would have a hole in top 6 forwards.

     

    Also if he stays.

  88. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    I guess I just don’t see him thriving in this system. His best season was what, 50 points?  And that was under a run-and-gun Carbo system. He is an inconsistent 20-goal scorer. Given the right circumstances, he might be able to do much better, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be with the Habs, and I’m OK with cutting the losses on him and hopefully getting something back in return. We could be spending that 3 million on someone better I think.

    Definitely hope I’m wrong though because when he’s hot, he’s fantastic to watch and can be a wrecking ball on the ice. But too few and far between are those games.  And I don’t think other teams are going to part with anything substantial for a 40-50 point, inconsistent 3.25 million dollar player.

  89. habaddict_andy says:

    If AK goes, we would have a hole in top 6 forwards.  Eller is not ready.  Pouliot, although has great hands, seems sometimes lost out there when playing with top 2 lines.  Trade AK for 2nd or 3rd is nuts.

  90. BJ says:

    If you’re willing to let AK46 go for a 2nd or 3rd, I would recommend knitting as your evaluation would be better kept between you hands.

  91. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    Except for the Habs of course, who will pay 8 million for that type of player…hahaha

  92. J_P says:

    Trading AK right now for a 2nd or 3rd rounder would be ludicrous.  He would be far more valuable to use as a chip in a blockbuster trade in the off-season IMO.

  93. rob_c says:

    Thank God you’re not the GM. 

    This team lacks scoring, size and toughness. Lets trade our fourth leading scorer, the player 2nd on the team at +11 for a second or third round draft pick?. Kostitsyn leads the team in hits with 98 and is usually on the ice against the other teams top line. Assuming you watch the games you’ll notice our coach has trusted him playing in the final seconds of most games this season. Lets not forget he gives our team some much needed size up front as well.

    I’m also a little puzzled over the fact you mention his salary. He makes $3.25mil/yr. In todays league for a player of his calibre thats a fair amount to say the least. Lets forget about the hits, the size, the defensive responsibility for a minute and just focus on point production. Lets focus on a few of our current players point totals in relationship to their annual earnings. To figure this out it’s pretty simple. You just divide the number of points they currently have into their base salary. I’m going to leave out D as their point totals are usually a lot lower, as well as players like Pacioretty and Eller who are still on their entry level contracts. It wouldn’t make sense to use players who have spent a significant time on IR either like Cammelerri, and Markov.

    EG.// Plekanec – $5,000,000(salary) divided by 43(points) = $116,279.07/point

    Gomez – $262,755.11/point (you think these guys make to much money? especially this one…disgusting)

    Gionta – $178,571.43/point

    Kostitsyn – $112,068.97/point

    Keep in mind that these numbers will drastically decrease as the season goes on and the players get more points. Judging by those figures however, Kostitsyn’s salary is a non issue. 

    By this point I’m sure you all must think I’m a Kostitysn fan. And you’d all be wrong. I’m just stating facts that support the unjust treatment so many Canadiens fans have displayed towards Kostitsyn. I agree he’s a streaky player as many skilled forwards are, I agree theres been many games he hasn’t showed much emotion, but I don’t believe for a second he’s not trying and not contributing to this team. If the last name on his jersey was Smith or Larouche and he spoke fluent english and french would people still be talking the way they would about him? 

    We have a good team this year, and most importantly we’re winning hockey games. Lets try not getting on our own players as this rarely helps. I know this is easier said then done especially considering Gomez is on this team…. aw well I guess if my boss offered me a salary 3 times more then I’m worth I would take it as well. 

    And as far as Kostitsyn goes.. If you’d still trade him for a second or third round pick… I’m sorry to hear that 

     

     

     

     

  94. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    I think you may have unrealistic expectations on what a $3.25M player is supposed to bring in today’s game. Here are a list of forwards with a cap hit between 3.1 and 3.5M this year.

    Sturm, Lombardi, Justin Williams, Stajan, Cullen, Zubrus, Duchene, Bolland, Steen, Bourque, Mikko Koivu, AK46, Brassard, Ponikarovski, Dustin Brown, Brayden Schenn, Parise, Olesz, Weiss, Evander Kane, Hornqvist, Versteeg.

    Obviously there are some really young guys on deals that will see upgrades (Duchene, Schenn, Parise, Kane). Koivu’s already been upped to a 6.75 cap hit starting next year. AK has been performing to salary expectations, he just hasn’t been performing to upside expectations. I’d hate to deal that away for a 2nd or 3rd rounder.

  95. shiram says:

    Baby steps…

  96. HabFanSince72 says:

    AND the Leafs too if they continue this hot streak.

    One win in a row?

     

  97. Danno says:

    You’ve got to be-Leaf!

    Edit. You’ve got to be kidding…

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Northeast/MapleLeafs.html

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  98. observer says:

    Both NYR and Atlanta (to Toronto now making their playoff run) lost last night and the gap is increasing as the remaining season is becoming shorter. It sure appears we won’t be seeing any #7 or #8 seeds upsetting the top seeds this year. Habs must get up to that 3rd seed to meet one of the teams below – ALL have serious flaws – NYR, Atlanta, Buffalo, Florida or Carolina. Correction AND the Leafs too if they continue this hot streak.

  99. G-Man says:

    The laffs- with their 22W 31L record will not make the playoffs. This was decided in June of 2004. Where have you been?

  100. adam76 says:

    both are not ready for the NHL.

  101. observer says:

    Eller is a larger presense! Mucho larger!

  102. oshawahabsfan says:

    Larger in size of course, in terms of production, hardly

  103. krob1000 says:

    Eller has a season and a half of North American hockey under his belt (127 games), is 3 years younger and has a ton of size, defensive presence and physicality to offfer with similar offensive abilities.  Desharnais has been playing pro for 5 years, is 24 years old and offers little if not offense.

  104. oshawahabsfan says:

    I’m not chirping Eller, I just thought the post about Desharnais working his way out of the lineup was a little unfounded considering in his short stint up here he’s put up nearly the same amount of points as Eller. I think the two should be playing together so they can ply their NHL trade with a little less spotlight than the top six, see my post above

  105. MTLForever says:

    it’s ridiculous to me that people are chirpin eller cuz of his points. he’s doing so many great things out there and is very strong on the puck. his game against the rangers was beautiful to watch. 

  106. oshawahabsfan says:

    I don’t see what Clarkson brings that we don’t already have. If a trade is to be made it has to be someone that will actually have a big impact on the scoring as that’s this team’s biggest weakness. With our two most solid d-men out for the season there really is no point on making any moves as we’ll be giving away assets for no reason. The team needs both Markov and Gorges for the playoffs and that’s clearly not going to happen this season

  107. habs03 says:

    Umburger seems to be the heart and soul of that Columbus team so I doubt they would let him go, David Clarkson would be perfect, but I have to strongly disagree with getting Rutuu, you trade Laps and replace him with Rutuu, talk about a sideways move.

  108. gohabsgo25 says:

    from columbus. i would love to get umburger, he is the physical forward we want and i think he will be a great fit in our team.

    also David Clarkson should be targeted

    also who would love jarko rutuu on on our team. let me know

  109. oshawahabsfan says:

    Desharnais has scored the same amount of goals since his callup than Eller has all season if I’m not mistaken. He’s more NHL ready than Eller is

  110. Jordio-oh says:

    If you’ve watched Corey Locke and DD play, its fairly clear they’re not the same player. I think DD has more fight in him. Corey Locke has always seemed like a player who can perform well in the AHL level but is either just unable and or unwilling to take his game to the next level. I’m not a big fan of DD and i don’t have much hope that he finds a permanent spot on one of our scoring lines, but its possible that he finds a steady job in the NHL. I don’t have the same hope for Corey Locke.

  111. The Cat says:

    Seems to be an unfair post, Desharnais has outproduced Eller quite easily. JM should leave him with Pouliot and Darche.

     

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

  112. munch17 says:

    Desharnais is working himself out of the line-up. There will be all sorts of complaints on L’antichambre that he can’t produce on the 4 th line with Darche and Pyatt. Truth is he’s like Corey Locke and can’t create much on his own in the NHL. Eller on the hand shows at times that he can play in the NHL – hopefully he can start to produce.

  113. Sakus Evil Twin says:

    I think that AK would be a beast in the west and there are surely teams out there who recognize his potential in a team with a different style of play…

    We can’t afford to let him go for nothing. 

     

    No answers, just opinions. Bite me. Och.

  114. habs03 says:

    I wish, Vermette would be a perfect fit and Methot is playing really steady D for the Jackets, lets try to get Umberge from them too, lol, how i wish.

  115. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    To be honest, if a team were willing to take AK46 and his salary, I’d do it for a second or even third round draft pick. Especially with the ascension of MaxPac.

  116. arcosenate says:

    OK, just for conversation sake, what about trying to pick up Antoine Vermette and Marc Methot from Columbus?

    Would they want AK as part of the deal?

    Could it possibly work?

  117. J_P says:

    I can’t see Columbus trading Methot considering how poor they are on defense.  Also, Methot is only 25, and he’s RFA at seasons end. 

    As for Vermette, he is signed for the next five years at $3.75 million/year.  Maybe they would like to move that contract, but the return they would get would hardly be worth it.  I also can’t really see teams trading for a player like vermette at the deadline considering the term left on his contract. 

  118. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    Perhaps my original comment should have been, why not put Pouliot up with Eller and Gomez and move AK46 down!

    That theory does make sense. Pouliot hasn’t been in the top 6 much, but he also hasn’t been riding the pine as much as he did at the end of last year, so maybe that is exactly what JM is doing. Letting him develop outside of the limelight a bit. I certainly hope so. Of course as fans, we tend to me more like petulant children…easing a talented player who shows flashes of brilliance in for the future is hard to comprehend…we want it NOW! haha

  119. Mark C says:

    Pouliot, statistically is one of the most productive forwards on this team hands down. I subscribe to a theory, I think started by Twocents, that Martin is taking a long-term confidence and player building approach to his handling of Benny this season. The thought being that Benny needs to better his two-way play and gain self-confidence before getting a large role on this team. We saw that Benny can be a legit top-6 forward last season, but we also saw him burn out with the added pressure and expectations. I hope this is the reason Benny hasn’t seen an increased role.  

    Outside of Price and Subban that line has me the most excited about the Habs future.

     

  120. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    That’s a good point, although I’m just not sure if we have the luxury of trying to spread out scoring, especially with Cammy out. But I definitely see what you are saying.

    Know what could be a great line in the years to come?  MaxPac – Eller – Pouliot

  121. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    Not sure I’m quite as pessimistic! I think we have a lineup that is built entirely with the playoffs in mind – very strong defensively (ask the Caps what impact that can have!). And there is more heart on this club than I’ve seen in the past few years.

    Burke likes truculence, JM and PG go for tenacity. I think it is a team philosophy that is still developing, but heading in the right direction.

  122. HabFanSince72 says:

    I think the objective is to have three lines that can score (fat chance) and four lines that are defensively responsible.

    The fact is that our roster doesn’t look good.

    Not good at all.

  123. habs03 says:

    Well Pouliot was natural a centre ;), I keep wonder why Pouliot hasn’t been given another shot at the top 6, Pouliot-Gomez-A kost might work but I noticed whenever Pouliot is put on the top 2 lines he folds under pressure it seems. As for Eller, he ends time to adjust to NHL D-man, I don’t agree with people that say he needs more AHL time because he reads the players well, he just needs to adjust, example he isn’t use to D-men closing the gap on me, and he has soo many shots get deflected out of play when he shots.

  124. Mark C says:

    Helps to create three lines with the ability to score. Also, that line isn’t a checking line in a classical sense. Boston spreads their scoring out fairly evenly among their top three lines, given that and it being a road game, JM can’t really match his lines to Boston’s, leaving it in his best interest to have three solid lines.

  125. lavie says:

    I bet JM didn’t learn chemistry in high school.

  126. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    I’m not sure why JM would take a rookie who is a natural center and put him on one of the top lines, and leave Pouliot – a big, natural winger who has been playing really well lately – on a checking line.  I just don’t get it.

  127. avatar_58 says:

    Maybe because in the last while Poutliot has been terrible at managing the puck. Back to his old trip over the blueline nonsense.

  128. habs03 says:

    you are right on with Pouliot only getting put on the top 6 at the end of games. I think JM should give me a chance until cammy is back. I don’t know if anyone else notices but I hate that Pouliot gets knocked off his feet soo easily, he has to fall down atleast once or twice pre game, I don’t get it, he is an alright skater, maybe it’s just he is too big for his body.

  129. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    I agree about Eller, I meant to put in to that post that it wasn’t meant to be a knock against him. Someone posted a while back that Eller now is reminiscent of a young Pleks (back in the ol’ #35 days) and I agree. I’ve found that Eller is far more impactful when he’s playing center though.  And you got me on the Pouliot…didn’t know he began as a center!

    I guess I think Pouliot has been an unfair whipping boy at times. When he does get a shot in the top 6 it seems to be during the game, when things aren’t going well and JM is mixing lines to shake things up. I think he deserves a stint of a few games, where bad shift or good shift, he’s in the top 6.  But then again…what do I know that JM doesn’t?? haha

  130. Kooch7800 says:

    Could be worse. They could put Moen back on the top two lines again.  That is just painful to watch> I actually don’t mind darche on the top two lines. He has the hockey smarts and will stand in front of the net

  131. observer says:

    Martin tweets lines?

  132. J_P says:

    Clarkson brings size and physicality, exactly what the habs need more of going into the playoffs.  You’re going to tell me that a player like Clarkson isnt better to have in the line up going into the post-season than a David Desharnais?

    Playoff hockey is totally different than regular season hockey.  If the habs can get Phillips out of Ottawa for a fair price and get either Clarkson or Umberger (although umberger would be far more costly to obtain than clarkson), they will be a far superior team heading into the playoffs IMO.   

  133. oshawahabsfan says:

    All that means sh!t all if we can’t score, and Clarkson isn’t exactly an offensive dynamo. Trading any assests right now is pointless for someone of Clarkson’s calibre. The team’s defensive structure is pretty sound but I still feel we’d need Markov and Gorges for a shot at the cup

  134. samTHEman says:

    Why not bring back the PHD line?

  135. DearyLeary says:

    Big game, a short bench makes sense.  Winning might secure us home ice in the first round against our age old nemesis the Bruins, so I like this move.

  136. MTLForever says:

    can’t even compare the two and how they play lol eller is much stronger all around.


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