ChrisMember since November 21, 2007
Habs fan since: 1984
Favorite current player: Andrei Markov, Lars Eller, Chris Higgins
All-time favorite player: Mats Naslund, Eric Desjardins, Stephan Lebeau, Kirk Muller, Saku Koivu
- Comment on Bring on the Bruins! Canadiens get ready for a busy weekend (2014-11-21 17:19:18)
Grab bag of goodies while I take a break from setting an exam: 1. Mats Sundin's career was absolutely worthy of Hall of Fame induction. I understand that a lot of people don't like his NHL impact, but I simply think he was a slam dunk. 500 goals and career point-per game player despite being stuck on some pretty talent-deficient Leafs teams for about half his career.. First European to ever be drafted 1st overall. Perennial All-Star. That gets him to the border. But his international play, which might have been the best of any player of any nationality of his generation, made him a lock. Nobody played better than Sundin on the international stage. He was simply dominant. I am a huge Igor Larionov fan and fully supported his induction, but Sundin's case was even stronger than that. 2. Marc Bergevin is a freaking Houdini of GM's when it comes to getting rid of bad contracts. I just wish he would stop burying Tinordi (who really has to be wondering how he's ended up so far from the NHL once again, as his play did not warrant this) and Beaulieu so far down the depth chart in the process. 3. I was not a fan of the Michel Therrien hiring. I was wrong. At some point, he has to be given credit for what he has done. I don't see a particularly talented roster in Montreal, yet Therrien has now run his record to 90-47-14 since returning to Montreal. That is in pretty select company over the past ~160 games: Anaheim: 96-36-19, 211 points Pittsburgh: 100-39-8, 208 points Chicago: 93-35-21, 207 points Boston: 94-41-15, 203 points St. Louis: 93-46-10, 196 points Montreal: 90-47-14, 194 points Los Angeles: 84-49-17, 185 points Montreal is right in the mix of the best teams in the NHL over the past couple 2+ seasons, and they have done it without offensive superstars like Crosby/Malkin, Toews/Kane/Hossa, Kopitar/Carter/Gaborik or Getzlaf/Perry. Put a center of the caliber of some of the guys in the list above on Montreal, and I have little doubt that they are right near the top of the heap. That speaks of good coaching, even if there are things to complain about on a game-by-game basis. 4. It's nice to see Eller heating up. 1 goal, 2 points and -7 in his first 11 games, but 5 goals, 7 points and a +2 in the next 10 have him playing much closer to his real capability. Any time you can get that kind of even-strength production out of a 3rd line forward with no power play time, your team is in good shape. Equally importantly, picking up just one minor penalty in his last 9 games (after earning 6 in his first 12) is a pretty telling indicator that he's moving his feet. 5. As nicely as Jiri Sekac is playing this season, I'm looking at the improvement in Leo Komarov's game this season as a sign of things to come with Sekac. The adjustment from the KHL to the NHL is a big one: the style of play, the size of the ice, the language and cultural adjustments, etc. I'm very curious to see what Sekac can do as he gets more settled. 6. Pekka Rinne looks like he has fully returned to form after two years of battling hip injuries. I guess the battle for the crown of best goaltender in the NHL has one more contender, with Rinne re-joining Price, Lundqvist, Quick, and Rask in the conversation. 7. Whenever people talk about goaltenders, I am always surprised at how much value people place on them when it comes to trades and such. This isn't to question their importance, but more to point out that there are some very good ones available cheap every summer. I'm really happy for Jonas Hiller, as he was a guy who I think a lot of people consistently underrate. He's a good goalie, and the Flames' success thus far has been due in large part to Hiller stabilizing their goaltending and allowing their offensively minded defencemen to take chances without worrying about getting burned as easily. 8. I can't remember who the discussion was with last summer, but I recall people labeling the Sedins as being spent as elite level players. Yet there they are, once again posting a point-per-game pace for the Canucks this season. They still have some time left in them...their style of play should lend itself to a at least 2-3 more productive years, as their game isn't built off of physicality or speed, the two traits that often suffer with age for forwards. 9. Remember how there was some pre-draft buzz that Filip Forsberg, one of the youngest players in his draft year, might end up the best forward of the 2012 draft before he fell into the teens? Well, he's certainly looking like he's ready to give Galchenyuk and Yakupov a run for the crown now. What a great season he is putting together in Nashville. 6th in the NHL scoring race while averaging just a smidge over 17 minutes per game is phenomenal. 10. Full circle...Saku Koivu's NHL career is certainly not worthy of HHOF induction, but when you factor in his own illustrious international career, it becomes a bit more difficult to completely rule him out. There were few players that were more important to their country than Koivu, as Finland's player base is relatively paltry compared to the hockey powers yet they always managed to be strong contenders during Koivu's run as captain of the team. I don't think he gets in because Selanne will justifiably garner much of the credit when he goes in as a first-ballot inductee, but I won't be surprised to see Koivu inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame for the international game.
- Comment on About last night … (2014-11-14 08:21:55)
That was a great piece bu Murray and Farber. We need to hear more about this stuff and less of the noise that we usually hear in sports broadcasts.
- Comment on Canadiens send Jarred Tinordi down to Hamilton, try new look on power play (2014-11-12 20:13:27)
Sadly, fewer missions going up these days. We have a flurry of cool things happening over the next few months, but then there is going to be a lull as we pay the price for massive cuts to NASA and the Canadian Space Agency over the past decade.
- Comment on Canadiens send Jarred Tinordi down to Hamilton, try new look on power play (2014-11-12 12:54:48)
I didn't like the Douglas Murray signing last season, or the Mike Weaver signing this past summer. I emphatically don't like the Gonchar for Moen trade. I have no problem with dumping Moen, and getting a bad contract back was probably necessary to get rid of Moen. But like many others, my first reaction to hearing about the trade last night (I was teaching all day) was that this will give Michel Therrien every excuse, once again, to not play Beaulieu or Tinordi. Tinordi has been playing adequate for the third pairing, certainly no worse than some of the veterans ahead of him and miles ahead of Beaulieu. I can't say that I understand the team's handling of Tinordi this season.
- Comment on Rene Bourque clears waivers, sent to Hamilton by Canadiens; Drayson Bowman called up (2014-11-10 14:15:45)
Clearing out 4th liners because the team needs goals is a bit of a waste. Moen has played reasonably well in his expected role, checking and killing penalties. He wasn't (and shouldn't be) expected to contribute much offence from the 4th line. The team does need goals, but we should be looking at the top-9 guys if we're going to look for scapegoats.
- Comment on Canadiens put Rene Bourque on waivers, recall Jarred Tinordi from Hamilton (2014-11-09 22:40:14)
Can't see the upper bowl. Empty seats in the lower bowl for an arena that is usually full isn't a big deal, as those are more often than not the season ticket owners that aren't attending games they have paid for. Anaheim's average attendance is sitting at 95.2% of capacity. Last year, they averaged 95.9%. Lockout year, they were at 92.9%. Given that hockey probably takes a while to take off in the saturated California sports market due to weather and such, I don't think the Ducks have much to be worried about yet. Colorado sitting at only ~84% capacity is a far bigger worry.
- Comment on Canadiens put Rene Bourque on waivers, recall Jarred Tinordi from Hamilton (2014-11-09 22:34:15)
I'm sorry, but I simply don't see what you see in Komarov. He plays with an edge, but I've rarely see him cross the line.
- Comment on Canadiens put Rene Bourque on waivers, recall Jarred Tinordi from Hamilton (2014-11-09 22:29:05)
I watched the Sens-Leafs game on TV (currently watching Vancouver-Anaheim). I thought Komarov, Holland and Santorelli were outstanding for the Leafs. Komarov is having a really nice season...I was half hoping Montreal would add him in the off-season, as I like his speed and ability to agitate without taking penalties. He's providing more offence in his second campaign. For the Senators, Zibanejad had an outstanding game...he was a threat throughout the game. Karlsson was brutal today...the hockey panel on Hometown Heroes was all over him, and justifiably. That was ugly hockey. As for the Canucks-Ducks, I still miss Higgins. :)
- Comment on About last night … (2014-11-09 10:55:28)
Montreal's identity in recent years, for better or worse, is team speed. They are soft. They lack the high end talent of the major contenders. Their defence corps is not particularly big or nasty. But the roster has speed all over the place. The problem is that they have a lot of players whose work ethic is inconsistent. When a soft, speedy team is not skating, they are just a soft team. And that gets them blown out. Last night was a Jekyll and Hyde game. In the first period, we saw them once again coasting, not moving their feet, and the Wild took it to them. Were Price not on his game, it could easily have been 2-0 or 3-0 after the first period and they risk getting demoralized and mailing it in for the rest of the game. These lackadaisical first periods have to stop. Price was good even in the two blowouts, but he's facing crazy chances that no contender has any business conceding at that frequency. If he doesn't keep it tied or within 1 goal after the first period, the Habs don't seem to have the horses to get back in the game. I'm just hoping that Eller and Gallagher breaking their slumps last night might turn things around: both guys are very streaky, and the team could desperately use the scoring from somebody other than Pacioretty now that Plekanec has cooled off again. One thing I've been noticing this season: the defencemen are swarming again. Through the first 15 games, I've noticed both defencemen in the same corner far more often than I recall seeing last season. I would rather see the center and a defenceman in the corner than both defencemen, leaving the center to guard the front of the net. Plekanec has been playing strangely high in the zone this season, leaving Galchenyuk as the man in the slot. That is not where Galchenyuk excels. Similarly, I'm not keen on the ability to box out for Desharnais, nor for Eller, who is prone to puck-watching and not watching the guy coming in behind him. Eller is a big, strong center, while both Plekanec and Desharnais have active sticks and excel at getting pucks in those battles. Let them go in there and leave the second defenceman to handle the front of the net.
- Comment on Canadiens vs. Wild preview (2014-11-07 16:08:44)