Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blackhawks Downed

I know, corny title. But great game by the Habs, as they hold the NHL's 3rd highest scoring team to one goal. Carey Price looked brilliant, and the Canadiens played as a team, putting forth their best effort, arguably, of 2009. Unbelievably, that was the Habs first win against a playoff contender since February.

Montreal must now hit the road to face the Islanders and Toronto. However, they're in better shape than they were a week ago, with one point separating them and Florida, a game in hand, and a game in hand on the one point ahead Rangers. 

Oh, and Bob Gainey did it: he got the team to .500 since he took over. Way to go, Bob. Now keep it going. And win the Cup. 

Bring on the Bruins? 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Well they blew that one

At least Price was better in the shootout, and Kovalev looked good, but the Habs should have won that game. They're just making things harder on themselves as they go. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Spring is here, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, and the Habs are battling it out for eighth. How nothing changes.

A huge game tonight at the Bell Centre, after the Leafs did the Habs no favours and lost to the Sabres 5-3. The Canadiens must beat the Sabres to keep them at bay in the race for eight.

Puck drop at 7:05. CBC West and Quebec. Should be a good one.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Winning In Spite of Themselves?

For about 55 minutes last night the Canadiens looked like the dominant team so many people predicted they would be at the start of the season, yet it was the other 8 that almost sent them to what would have been a heartbreaking loss in their playoff push. With less than 10 minutes to go in regulation the Habs squandered a 2-goal lead against an awful Tampa Bay squad, and it took an OT marker by Saku Koivu to salvage a much-needed second point. Does the end in this case justify the means? Hardly...

This is still a team that lacks consistency, and can lapse in and out of focus on what seems to be a regular basis. Last night it was an inability to convert on scoring chances that nearly cost them the game, since there was no way it should have been only a 2-goal cushion given the opportunities that were presented. The Canadiens were 1-for-9 on the PP, and missed a number of cross-crease opportunities and open nets. That sort of thing just can't happen if you want to beat teams ranked higher than the bottom three of the league.

Tomorrow will likely be a better indication of just what the team is capable of, as the Buffalo Sabres visit the Bell Center. Should they manage to beat Toronto tonight Buffalo will be only 5 points back of the Canadiens for the 8th spot in the East, making tomorrow a desperation game in terms of the standings for both teams.

The question now is this: will the Habs manage to play like it's one?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gameday - Lightning v. Habs

This could be a tough one. Vinny and St. Louis always do well in Montreal, and have won two of three against the Habs thus far this year. 

Can the Habs maintain momentum?

Can they score six again?

Can Georges Laraque be any more useless?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The Habs actually won a game? Been a while since we could say that.

The Kovalev/Koivu/Tanguay line exploded for 11 points last night, and the Habs managed to beat the visiting Thrashers 6-3 in a must-win game that at times actually looked like one for the home team. Granted, this wasn't the stiffest competition as Atlanta sits in 27th spot overall, but given that Montreal has looked like some club teams could beat them recently it was still a good win all the same.

Unfortunately, certain issues still remain, as it seems that on any given night only 1 line can score while all of the others simply fill in time. Balanced scoring would go a long way toward making this team something resembling a contender, although as long as the "good line" changes every night I guess that will keep the opponents' defenders guessing.

Carey Price was adequate last night (stopping 22 of 25 shots), but did allow his trademark weak goal and often looks completely disinterested with the game as a whole. You still can't quite be sure what to expect from him down the stretch, and the team clearly needs a solid contribution to make any sort of serious run.

Regardless of these issues, the fact still remains that the two points from last night gives the Canadiens sole possession of 8th place in the East. With games against Tampa Bay and Buffalo on the schedule for this week there is still a reasonable chance to make up some ground in the standings, and any team that gets into the postseason has a shot at making some noise in a run to the Cup (look at Edmonton a few years ago), so who knows what to expect at this point.

One ain't bad

But...it was the Thrashers. Kovalev, Tanguay and Koivu looked great together. Carey Price had flashes of brilliance. And Mathieu Dandenault was extremely strong on the backend as the Habs beat Atlanta 6-3. Two is a streak: we'll find out Thursday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A great read on Bob Gainey

From the Globe and Mail's Roy MacGregor...

The changes continue

Pacriotetty down, Kostitsyn Jr. up. The big three on the first line. Can Kovalev-Koivu-Tanguay work? I would have preferred a flying Frenchmen line of Latendresse-Lapierre-Tanguay. I'm not one to put much stock in the French player debate, but I must admit, has anyone looked as desperate to win as these three the last few weeks? Perhaps Kostopolous, but that's about it. 

Can the big three come through? Can Lapierre repeat his performance from Saturday? Can Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak get through a first period period without giving up a goal?

We'll find out tomorrow. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009


This team is so bad it is unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. Who would have thought we could fall this far, this fast?


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Remember the All-Star Game?

Back when Alex Kovalev was the toast of the town and things were bright and cheery in Montreal? Those were the days...

The Habs suffered a 5th straight loss tonight (5-2 to the visiting Leafs), and now sit at an abysmal 1-3-2 with Bob Gainey behind the bench. Excepting another solid performance from Maxim Lapierre nothing worked well, and it's getting to the point where it's difficult to figure out just why the team has seemingly quit on the season. The effort just isn't there any more, and it's looking less and less like it's going to be coming back any time soon.

On the plus side, with Florida losing in regulation tonight the Habs maintain their tenuous 1-point edge for the coveted 8th place position in the East (and the privelege of getting thrashed by Boston or New Jersey in the first round of the playoffs).

Keep those postseason dreams alive...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kostitsyn benched for tomorrow

No Andrei Kostitsyn tomorrow against the Maple Leafs.

Oh good. Finally. I'm glad coach Bob has the good sense to bench our leading scorer when we can't score.



You Know...

...it's beginning to look as though Guy Carbonneau may not have been the main problem plaguing the Canadiens after all...

After getting a win in his first game behind the bench, the Habs have dropped their next 4 under the supervision of Bob Gainey and still look like a team destined to miss the postseason unless something drastic changes in the very near future. Carey Price was shaky in allowing 4 goals on just 15 shots last night, and was replaced early in the second period by Jaroslav Halak (who played yet another solid game in relief). Price was notably upset in post game interviews, and you have to wonder how many more mediocre outings his confidence can stand. I know he's Gainey's guy and all, but it's looking like he may not be quite ready to lead this team into the playoffs just yet. He is only 21 years old after all, and the lack of a veteran presence to support him at times like these seems like a bit of an oversight.

It's not fair to put all of the blame on Price though, since the entire team (excepting the phenomenal Kostopoulos/Lapierre/Latendresse line) didn't look ready to play a critical game last night. The lack of focus and motivation is quickly becoming the norm for Montreal (regardless of who's behind the bench), and you have to wonder if there's any way to fix it in time. The Habs return home on Saturday night to face the Leafs, and can probably expect to receive a hostile "welcome" from their home fans given their recent performances. This is likely their last chance to stop the bleeding, so they better make the most of it if they want to be taken seriously as any sort of playoff contender.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Well that's gotta be it. The camel's back is broken.

Can Bob find a new camel?

If the seasons wasn't on the line Tuesday...

...it is tonight. Habs v. Sens, in Ottawa, 7:30. It's a must win for the Canadiens, in every sense of the word.

Carey Price starts in goal.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A frustrating loss, and a coach past

The Habs lost another last night, in a shootout, to the Rangers. Doesn't matter how they lost - it was a loss. Great game by Carey Price - until they lost. The Habs head to Ottawa this evening, where hopefully they win. Otherwise, they'll be losers of four in five since Bob Gainey took over as coach from that other guy.

"It's the first time I have been fired."

Speaking of Guy Carbonneau, he addressed the media today, his 49th birthday. He said he had "no idea" he was going to be fired, and that it caught him by surprise. He also said, not surprisingly, that he is not happy he was fired. He said he is still cheering for the team and hopes they make the playoffs and go far.

Wow. What a 100th season. Whoo. Hoo. 

Hurray for the Loser Point!

In another game of ups and downs, the Habs fell to the visiting Rangers 4-3 in a shootout last night. There were times where the team looked competitive, but things still seem to be a work-in-progress as it pertains to a complete effort.

Case in point was the third period, where the Canadiens were outshot 16-5. If you were to only look at the box score and see that they scored 2 goals on those 5 shots you'd likely assume it was an efficient period, yet the score clearly doesn't tell the full story. The Markov goal was essentially a gaffe by Lundqvist, and were it not for that, the Canadiens would have lost another game at home during this crucial stretch drive. There just doesn't seem to be adequate focus to play an entire game, which is odd, since the switch to Gainey behind the bench was supposed to address that very problem. The powerplay was also less than stellar (1-for-6), and despite a great regulation and OT, Carey Price looked vulnerable in allowing all three Rangers shooters to score in the shootout. I know that it's essentially a hit-or-miss situation when you get to that point, but I still think that you need your
"franchise" goalie to make at least 1 save if you're going to have aspirations of going anywhere.

Fortunately, things weren't all bad, as Maxim Lapierre put in another inspired performance and scored a nice goal for his efforts. Andrei Markov was also solid with a goal, two assists and a +2 rating. There were certainly signs that the team may still have enough talent to make the playoffs, but they need to get it together in a hurry if that's going to be the case.

The next game is Thursday night in Ottawa against the Senators (6-3-1 in their last 10).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tanguay Out

Source: Montreal Gazette

Habs-Rangers Preview

Tonight's game is the biggest of the year, at least so far and maybe overall. Gainey's had us doing basic drills, and a victory would be a huge confidence booster and give us some breathing room. Price needs a big game as well. Kovalev is back, Tanguay is a game time decision. Should Tanguay be too ill, Latendresse is in.

Go get 'em boys.

Monday, March 16, 2009

These Habs need work

What an embarrassment Saturday. Outshot 48-23. Outplayed, like men against boys. And what happens? The team gets Sunday off. And Monday morning. Practice this afternoon.

Now, I'm not one to question Bob Gainey, but this team needs work. They need conditioning. Now. Clearly, something is wrong. It looks like Tomas Plekanec, Tom Kostopolous, Glen Metropolit and a goalie vs. the league. That's awful. Come on guys, let's get this going.

One can only hope that Alex Kovalev comes back Tuesday and things start flying again. The post-Guy era is quickly souring for many. But there is still time.

Question of the day: What happened to Mike Komisarek? How has he gone from dominant #1 to invisible #4? 

(cue Carmen Sandiego music)

Where in the world is Michael Komisarek? 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Standing Ovation in Montreal

Not for the reason you might think though. The Habs played another abysmal game in losing to the Devils 3-1, and were soundly booed throughout much of the third period and as they left the ice. The standing ovation was instead reserved for Martin Brodeur, who tied Patrick Roy atop the all-time wins list with career victory 551 last night. Forced to make only 22 saves it wasn't even much of a challenge for him, and were it not for a goal by Tomas Plekanec (who continues to impress) midway through the first period, he would have added another shutout to that impressive total on top of the historic win.

With the loss, the second Bob Gainey era now sits at a mark of 1-1-1. More disconcerting than just the record is the complete lack of defensive effort (to go along with a sputtering offence), allowing a staggering 48 shots on goal last night. For anybody still thinking that this is a legitimate playoff team, you have to question just who they'd be able to beat in a first round match up with the effort we've seen in the last week or so...

The 8th-place Rangers will be the next opponents to visit Montreal (Tuesday night), and with playoff positioning slipping away this will likely be a must-win situation. Whether the team will be up to that type of challenge remains to be seen

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Big Game This Evening

Brodeur goes for 551. Habs go for 2 points. Pittsburgh lost this aft, room to gain ground. Will Les Boys come through?

Jaroslav Halak starts. Brisebois plays #1000. Gainey coaches #3. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Coach, Same Old Habs

It didn't take long for the luster of the Bob Gainey era behind the bench to wear off, with the Habs falling 3-2 in OT to the lowly Islanders last night. Were it not for another outstanding performance in goal from Carey Price there wouldn't have even been 1 point to show for things though, as the Canadiens were again hopelessly outworked for large portions of the game (a disturbing trend). Interestingly, rather than being rewarded for his solid play Price will instead be riding the bench on Saturday night, with Jaroslav Halak drawing back in to face the visiting Devils.

This trend of sitting the hottest goalie is a bit confusing, since this is the second time in a couple of weeks that it has happened (Halak lost his starting position after 4 consecutive wins even after recovering from the flu). With Carbonneau behind the bench you could at least chalk it up to his lineup roulette, but with the much more calculating Gainey in charge it just seems a bit out of character.

In other lineup news Patrice Brisebois will play career game #1,ooo on Saturday night, replacing Ryan O'Byrne. The bigger story with respect to milestones will invariably come from the visiting Martin Brodeur though, who looks for victory #551 to tie Patrick Roy atop the all-time list.

Game time is 7 PM from the Bell Center.

Habs pay the Price

Or, rather, Price played his heart out and the team let him down. A 3-2 loss in overtime gives the Habs a point, but they were dominated late by an Islanders team that sits last in the NHL. Carey Price made nearly 40 saves, however, and if there's one positive out of this game, it's that he has now had three solid starts in a row. Carey Price is back. But where are his teammates?

(with apologies to Alex Kovalev, who has the flu, did not play, and is thus not missing) 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Parlez-vous francais?

Don Lever doesn't, and as a potential candidate for the presumable vacancy that the Canadiens will have at the head coaching position going into next season this has become something of a hot-topic issue in Montreal. Should it be a requirement that the next coach of "Les Habitants" be functionally bilingual in a predominantly French city, or should he only be selected based on his coaching credentials rather than what language(s) he speaks? Logic would suggest that finding the best coach for the position should supersede any other "secondary" concerns, but we all know how well logic prevails in the media firestorm of Montreal.

Needless to say, it should be an interesting situation that will play out in the coming months as a decision ultimately nears.

Big game tonight

Yan Danis returns to face the Habs as the starting goaltender of the New York Islanders. They're 4-1-1 in their last six, and Montreal born goaltenders such as Danis often do well at the Bell. 

Alex Kovalev is doubtful due to the flu.

This could be a tough one. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Poll

Well, based on our numbers, some 15% of you believe that the Habs will win the North East. That seems a little far fetched, but we welcome your optimism.

Please do vote in our new poll, regarding playoff opponents!

Three Solid Periods

Well, if you count OT as a full period anyway...

The Habs managed a 4-3 victory over the visiting Oilers last night despite playing one of the worst second periods in recent (and distant...) memory. Fortunately, other than that aberration the team actually looked quite impressive in the first game under the Bob Gainey regime, carrying the rest of the play and getting solid contributions from virtually the entire lineup. Carey Price continued his renaissance, and Saku Koivu scored late to tie the game and again in OT to seal the victory. The one obvious blemish was that the performance of Alex Kovalev was somewhat lacking (his only "contributions" came in the form of minor penalties), but given his strong relationship with Bob Gainey and his solid linemates, it is unlikely to be a prolonged slump.

The Habs continue their extended home stand on Thursday night, when they welcome the New York Islanders. Although recent games against Eastern bottom-feeders like Atlanta have been far from inspiring performances, you can be sure that Gainey will have the team prepared and focused for this one at a key point in the season.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What a game

Carey Price makes the saves when they matter. Saku Koivu scores to tie it and then scores again to win it. Glen Metropolit with his first goal as a Hab. Ryan O'Byrne hitting anything that moves.

Habs 4, Oil 3. 

Go Habs Go.

Habs v. Oil

A big game tonight under a new coach, or is that an old coach? Bob Gainey takes the helm for his second stint as interim head coach, overseeing his troops at home against the Oilers. Is it a coincidence this coaching change came as the Habs started a homestand, where they have a much better record than on the road? I think not. Look for the Habs to start strong, and win at least six of the next ten. I think even eight of ten is possible.

Of note, the Oilers had their rookie dinner on Sunday, an NHL tradition that every team has. Why this late? Because the Oilers had three days off in the city that loves to party, Montreal. However, word is the Oilers veterans are a tad groggy after staying out all night on the rookies' paycheques. Perhaps this gives Les Canadiens an advantage?

Carey Price starts in goal. He was drubbed last time he faced the Oilers, only three weeks ago.

Should be good. 


  • Sergio Momesso, everyone's favourite ex-Hab, has been named an assistant coach in Hamilton
  • The Canadiens will now practice every day out of their Brossard facility, and no longer at the Bell Centre
  • The Canadiens now has three assistant coaches: Jarvis, Muller, Lever. Who heads up top on a headset, and who stays behind the bench? 


With the sudden firing of Guy Carbonneau yesterday afternoon, the Canadiens will presumably finish their Centennial Season with Bob Gainey behind the bench. This isn't the first time that this has happened, with Gainey taking over from Claude Julien and amassing a record of 23-15-3 in 41 games during the 2005/06 season and leading the team into the postseason. He evidently hopes to repeat things this year, citing eight weeks of underachievement as the driving force behind the move.

While it isn't uncommon for the coach to become the scapegoat for an underachieving team, I was a bit surprised to see Carbonneu take the fall during the year. I had him finishing the season with the team before being moved out over the summer, so this certainly comes as a surprise to most parties involved. Conversely, we've seen Lou Lamoriello fire coaches with 3 games left in a season where the Devils set a regular season record for wins (again the unfortunate Claude Julien was the victim), so this sort of sudden move isn't exactly uncommon. What remains to be seen is how the Canadiens as a team react to the change. We won't have to wait too long to find out, as they're home to face the Oilers tonight (7:30 EST start).

Monday, March 9, 2009

124 Victories in 230 Games

And with that, the Guy Carbonneau era is over. Wow. 

Bob Gainey takes over, assisted by Don Lever and perhaps Pierre Gauthier, perhaps Kirk Muller, no announcement yet.

unconventional      adj 1: not conforming to accepted rules or standards; "her             unconventional dress and hair style" [ant: conventional]      2: not conventional or conformist; "unconventional life styles"         [ant: conventional, conventional]      3: not conforming to legality, moral law, or social convention;         "an unconventional marriage"; "improper banking practices"         [syn: improper, unlawful]
     4: Bob Gainey

Habs Win???

Who saw that one coming?

For the first 25 minutes the Habs looked hopelessly outclassed, yet a goal by Andrei Kostitsyn early in the second period surprisingly squared the game at 1. From there, the Canadiens went on to score two more times on only 19 total shots and coasted to a 3-1 victory over the Stars in Dallas. Carey Price was again outstanding, making 30 saves and keeping the team in the game during a first period that saw the Canadiens take 9 minor penalties and put forth about zero effort.

Despite the win, things are certainly not all well in Montreal. The startling lack of effort and discipline last night should never have amounted to a win (the stagnant Dallas powerplay helped things immensely), and more games like that will yield significantly different results down the stretch. As well, the team seems destined for a goaltending controversy with Carey Price wresting control of the starting position from Jaroslav Halak on account of an ill-timed bout of the flu. Halak was clearly the better choice before falling ill, and it seems reasonable to suspect that he'll be a bit upset about his new position on the bench.


-The team returns home on Tuesday night to face the Oilers.

-Patrice Brisebois should likely be back in the lineup for game #1,000 of his career; an event that will greatly impress his legions of adoring fans in Montreal...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Carey does Dallas

And it pays dividends. Carey Price was stellar, stopping 30 of 31 shots, as a lackluster Canadiens team won 3-1 over the Stars in Dallas. This was a game the Habs looked poised to lose, with 16 minutes in penalties in just the first alone (versus 2 for Dallas). All the minor infractions seemed sure to add up to Dallas goals.

Yet, the Habs came out in the second, allowed only 2 shots on three and a half minutes of straight power plays to start the period, and stormed back, led by Andrei Kostitsyn, Alex Kovalev, and Chris Higgins. Higgins goal sealed the deal, and came on a goof by Marty Turco, who misplayed the puck behind the net.

Carey Price is apparently back (where did he go?), and in that way that only goalies can, he has gone from disaster to hero overnight. That's two great starts for Carey in a row, only one of them wins but both of them solid.

The Canadiens are back home on Tuesday.

Price gets the start in Dallas

Not sure about this one, we'll see how he performs. He looked good Friday, but Jaroslav Halak is mighty p'd off that he's not starting. After all, he did win four in a row before the flu forced him to sit.

Can anyone say goaltending controversy?

As well, can anyone say 10th place in the East? That's what happens with a loss: the outside looking in. From a Porsche start to a Chevrolet finish. This years Canadiens are the General Motors of hockey teams. 

Without a win tonight, they'll really need a bailout. 

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Despite a much improved performance from Carey Price, the rest of the Canadiens didn't seem to bother showing up in Atlanta last night and the result was an ugly 2-0 loss. This follows on the heels of a 5-1 drubbing in Buffalo on Wednesday night, and seems to mark a distinct lack of both effort and urgency from the team as a whole.

The return of Alex Tanguay to the lineup did not have the desired effect on team scoring, although with just under 14 minutes of ice time it's clear that he's still rounding back in to game-shape after missing an extended period with a shoulder injury. Perhaps more disturbing were the body of special teams play, with the Canadiens taking a number of undisciplined penalties and the powerplay going ice cold after a brief stretch of success. Although the outcome wasn't greatly affected by either of these factors last night, if the Canadiens were playing a team with aspirations for Stanley rather than Tavares it would have been a much worse result to be sure.

Now sitting only 2 points clear of 10th place in the East, the Canadiens need to pull things together quickly or they'll be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. We'll see if they manage to right the ship on Sunday in Dallas (a 6 PM EST start), or if the gradual wreckage of the once vaunted Centennial season continues.

The Price is right, but the team is wrong

Well, the Canadiens move on from a pathetic showing in Atlanta, shut out by that eight time vezina winner Kari Lehtonen (note that these comments are dripping with sarcasm). Five minor penalties in the first did the Canadiens in, but so did the lack of effort all the way through as Carey Price battled back from an eternity of "confidence problems," and had his best showing since before the all-star break. Sure, it was the Thrashers, but Price stood tall, making some great stops on Rich Peverley and Ilya Kovalchuk. 

However, it was not to be, and the Habs go down 2-0. All of you voting in our pool that the Canadiens will catch Boston might need to see a doctor, because the Canadiens couldn't catch a cold right now. In fact, the chances are better that they finish out of the playoffs than in the top four. This pundit says that if the Canadiens don't win two of their next three, they can start booking tee-off times.

And a message to Saku Koivu: 

Oh Captain! My Captain!  
Rise up and hear the bells.
Rise up - for the flag is flung - for you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Price is right?

Carey Price starts again tonight, as Jaroslav Halak is too ill to play. This could be a rough ride, with Ilya Kovalchuk shooting the lights out this season. Or perhaps Price can break out of this funk and get his mojo back. 

We'll know soon enough.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The deadline day that was

Some great commentary from Elliotte Friedman at CBC:


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Wednesday to forget...

If you're anything like me, you probably turned on TSN this afternoon, or logged onto your favourite hockey websites, or turned on your local sports station, anxious to find out who the Canadiens had added for their coming playoff run. The answer: no one. And after tonight's game in Buffalo, maybe there won't be a playoff run.

This team looked bad. 1999 Canadiens bad. And Scott Lachance was nowhere in sight. Really, what happened? I know Carey Price was in net, but they were soft, and asleep after the first ten minutes. It's sad that Carey Price starts are now predictable losses. He was an all-star six weeks ago.

I must say, if I was on a team that didn't make a move at the deadline, perhaps I'd see it almost as a vote of non-confidence. And maybe that would affect my confidence.

But Gainey got Schneider. And Metropolit. That was good enough. Wasn't it?

As a sidenote, I really, really wish the Habs had grabbed Gary Roberts off of waivers. He's the jam that this sandwich needs.

Another Year...

...and another quiet deadline for the Canadiens pending some sort of late-breaking activity. It'll be interesting to see what Bob Gainey has to say in his upcoming press conference, which is scheduled for 3:30 from Brossard.

With trade talk now firmly behind them until the offseason, the Canadiens can turn their focus to the Buffalo Sabres (who they'll face tonight at the HSBC Arena). The Habs put their four game winning streak on the line, and are expected to start Carey Price in goal with Jaroslav Halak forced out of the lineup on account of the flu.

Many fans will be disappointed by the lack of trade activity from the Canadiens today (and the inevitable indictment by the TSN crew during the broadcast of the game tonight will do nothing to improve the situation), so hopefully the team can pull out a victory to ease at least some of the sting.

Olli Jokinen to Calgary close

So says Bob McKenzie on TSN.

UPDATE: Done. Deal for Lombardi. Makes Calgary that much better after the earlier Leopold addition. 

D-Day: 2009

All quiet on the Eastern front for Les Canadiens, so far. The biggest rumour to emerge over night has Phoenix sending Bryzgalov and Morris to Philadelphia for Biron and Lupul. but I cannot imagine Biron waiving his no trade clause to head to Phoenix, so I say this one dies before it happens. 

  • Boston is apparently after Mattias Ohlund as Chris Pronger negotiations have broken off. (Sportsnet)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Habs out of the Jokinen sweepstakes

According to Pierre Lebrun at ESPN, the Habs were hard after Jokinen but cannot make the salary cap numbers work. Thus, they have abandoned Olli as an option.

Gerber to Leafs?

This qualifies as the most bizarre rumour of the day:


It makes sense if it allows the Leafs to dump Toskala, but it seems highly unlikely.

Montreal, Boston rumours

  • CKAC in Montreal reports that the Canadiens are interested in Michael Nylander. My take: How? He makes $4.75 million. Not to mention he's old and fairly slow. Doesn't make sense. I call bull.
  • Boston radio reports that the Bruins have offered Patrice Bergeron and draft picks for Chris Pronger. My Take: This is close to the rumoured deal from the weekend.  I could see this one happening.  Blockquote
  • Bob McKenzie is now saying the Vancouver Canucks have entered the Jay Bouwmeester sweepstakes. 

Catch the waive!

Waived so far today:

Miroslav Satan

Brendan Morrison

Aaron Voros

Gary Roberts

Craig Adamds

Erik Reitz

Eric Perrin

John Sim

Mark Bell

Peter Olvecky

and more surely to come...


  • Ryan Smyth could be heading to San Jose for a package including Jonathan Cheechoo. Source: Denver Post
  • Bob McKenzie of TSN suggests that to get Jay Bouwmeester, the Philadelphia Flyers would move goaltender Martin Biron and go with Antero Niittymaki as their starter for the playoffs. He notes that the Bruins are taking a similar approach with Manny Fernandez. 
  • Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov healthy scratches tonight for the Leafs (tsn)

More rumours

Keeping you as up to date as we can...

  • Pierre Lebrun at ESPN says that Derek Morris will likely be going to either Philadelphia, Boston or Washington. 
  • Sean Avery...is a New York Ranger, again.
  • Wild sign Backstrom to 4 year extension. He is OFF the market. The Red Wings better start looking elsewhere, fast. 
  • Anaheim waives Brendan Morrison, NYR waive Aaron Voros (Sportsnet)
  • Rumours abound that Miroslav Satan has been placed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins

Looking Out for #1?

In an interesting discussion on TSN's "Off The Record" last night, the panel brought up the idea that the number of players on the Canadiens with contract uncertainties heading into the offseason has been a significant detriment to the quality of play of the team. This can be seen to manifest itself in two ways: players pressing too hard to try and score in the hopes of earning a better contract (ultimately leading to inconsistent play), or players avoiding intensive physical/defensive styles to limit injuries that would hurt their contract chances.

Two questions to throw out to our readers then:

1) Do you think that the number of players with uncertain contract status for next year has really been a contributor to some of the struggles the Canadiens have had?

2) Should Bob Gainey work harder to sign/extend his free agents during the season, or is waiting until the offseason still the more prudent choice?

75 trades...

On deadline days in the three years since the lockout. I'm no mathematician, but I'm going to go out on a limb and predict 25 trades tomorrow. A few rumours from today:

  • Anaheim GM Bob Murray says Scott Niedermayer "is not available"
  • Dominic Moore and the Leafs are a million per year apart on a contract, the Toronto Star calls his trade inevitable
  • Give teams (including Les Canadiens and Calgary) are still bidding for Olli Jokinen
  • Jay Bouwmeester is likely staying in Florida
  • The Minnesota Wild are leaning towards dealing star goaltender Niklas Backstrom. My Take: This could be THE move of the deadline. If the Red Wings grab Backstrom, watch out
  • The Bill Guerin trade watch continues, and the belief is he is headed to Washington, should they be able to trade Michael Nylander

  • TEAM 990: The Devils are pursuing Anaheim defenceman Scott Niedermayer, and will do so right up until the deadline.
  • SI's Jim Kelley says the Sabres are making inquiries of "every available goaltender," suggesting that they are not comfortable with Patrick Lalime down the stretch. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Less than 48 hours to go...

And the two guys I think the Canadiens should be targeting, other than the obvious Pronger, Bouwmeester, or Jokinen rumours:

  1. Martin St. Louis: He's good, he's French, he's a leader, and he's cheap. Next year's contract is for only $4 million, a steal for a guy +10 and a point per game on Tampa Bay.
  2. Teemue Selanne: I've said it before and I'll say it again. This guy has serious chemistry with Koivu. He'd be an awesome addition to what has, at times, been an anemic offence.
And for your viewing pleasure, some of the bigger deals of recent years and how GM's remember them going down:

    The Latest and Greatest...

  • Ryan Smyth has been linked to Calgary (various outlets), Vancouver (Globe and Mail) and now...Edmonton? (Sportsnet) Could Captain Canada really head back to the city he spurned for a few thousand dollars? And how could the Oil fit him under the cap? 
  • The Sens and Pens have discussed a Jarko Ruutu trade that would see him returning to his old team. (ESPN)

The first deal of the week is...

As per TSN: The Thrashers trade D Niclas Havelid to the Devils in exchange for D Annsi Salmela

  • The LA Kings have placed defenceman Tom Priessing on waivers

More Deadline Craziness

Updating a recent post, Brian Burke has flatly denied that the Bruins have made a pitch for Kaberle.


Perhaps they're focusing their efforts on Pronger?

Also be sure to check out The Insider video link on the main TSN page this morning, where Darren Dreger discusses a lot of interesting tidbits about the upcoming deadline. Included among them is the possibility that the Blues will be buying rather than selling; a disappointing proposition for all of those teams who were looking at Keith Tkachuk as a reasonable solution for their postseason push.

Quiet day in Habsland, but lots of rumours

With the Canadiens resting until Wednesday against Buffalo, things are fairly quiet in Habsland. Two great pieces in today's Gazette on Plekanec and Halak today.  I really believe Plekanec is a special player. Gainey should not, I repeat not, deal Pleks.

Rumours as they come today. First off, Bob McKenzie's discussion from radio this morning:

  • Philly wants to get rid of Briere, realizes it was a bad signing
  • Bob Gainey is still shopping for a top six forward, likely a center, Dominic Moore is a possibility
  • As far as he can find out, Kaberle to Boston rumours have been fabricated
  • Toronto will definitely trade Antropov and Moore, unless Moore signs a contract extension today, and likely Ponikarovsky
  • Ottawa will trade both Kuba and Neil
  • Phoenix does not want much for Olli Jokinen, McKenzie called this a "soft deal" to be had, they simply want to get rid of him as the relationship has not worked out

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bruins make "monster offer" for Kaberle

Not sure it is that "monster," but two first rounders, a third and a top prospect is pretty good.


More trade rumours...

It's that time of year! Philadelphia has apparently offered James vanRiemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and prospect to the Panthers for Jay Bouwmeester, as per the Toronto Sun.

To match, what would the Canadiens have to part with? Chris Higgins, PK Subban and a 1? 

  • Stan Fischler of NYP fame is saying Sunday on the Devils broadcast that the Flames and Avs have been discussing a deal that would bring Ryan Smyth to Calgary. The ultime screw you to Edmonton? My Take: This deal has legs. The Avalanche desperately need to clear some salary. I would say a package of Lombardi, Aucoin and a 1st would do it. Getting Smyth off the books would be a big win for Colorado's owners. 
  • Bill Guerin has been traded, but where? The pundits are saying Washington is the favourite, followed closely by Montreal, Boston, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Whoever grabs him may not like what they get, because Billy G's playoff stats, in over 100 games, are essentially .5 points per game. Not exactly first line material. My Take: He's going to Washington, probably for a 2nd round pick and perhaps a prospect, no more. 
  • Nasville is after Ponikarovsky, according to The Fourth Period. The Preds are looking to deal Radek Bonk. My Take: The Leafs want picks, not Bonks. Ponikarovsky for a 3rd and a 4th, and Nashville picks up a decent, gritty, top nine winger. 
  • Steve Sullivan: If, and it's a big if, the Predators decide they're not in this, then perhaps they deal Sullivan to the East. I would think Boston or Montreal would love his speed. But could his body take the beating that is the NHL playoffs? I'd have to think the Predators would be happy with a prospect and a late pick in return. After all, two months ago, he hadn't played in two years. 
  • Mathieu Dandenault: He wants out, the Canadiens want to shed his salary, and the Red Wings always liked him. I bet he gets shipped there as playoff depth, probably for a 5th or 6th round pick. 
  • Pascal Leclaire to Ottawa for Antoine Vermette, http://blog.dispatch.com/cbj/2009/03/leclaire_to_ottawa.shtml My Take: This makes sense. Ottawa desperately needs a goalie, and Columbus needs a centreman. I could see this one coming to fruition.
  • Gary Roberts is available, but has confirmed that he will definitely retire for good at the end of this season. My Take: Roberts is going to a contender that needs a veteran presence. Look for Pittsburgh to take a look. He could also head back to Calgary, or perhaps Vancouver to join his old buddy Mats "the sellout" Sundin.