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Another W

  • The Habs quickly put a stop to their only losing streak this season with a 4-2 win in Long Island.

    • 3/4 points in the New York area is a good if not great result.
    • Saku Koivu is heating up.
    • Michael Ryder was flying and had at least 10 chances to score. This is good news, getting Ryder back on track is essential for the Habs offense.
    • Sergei Samsonov actually did something. Although not credited with an assist he was instrumental in setting up the Habs 2nd goal.
    • Cristobal Huet was hardly tested but made the stops when he needed to. A quick win after his only poor start against Boston should have him ready to go for the Sabres.
    • Late in the game we saw some possible new line combinations. Kovalev skated with Koivu and Ryder. Carbonneau is still trying to get more from Kovalev and Samsonov and Chris Higgins should be back before January. They all have to fit somewhere.

    The Sabres lost another game, to the lowly Florida Panthers. Is there a chink in the Sabres armor or will this be a dangerous setup for a dynamite effort from them on Saturday?

39 Comments
  1. Guess who is skating in full uniform and will be looking to skate with the University in Montreal to get into shape??? can we say “Get Higgy with it”
    Was at the Islander Game last night, there were a large group of LOUD HABS fans there, (sitting in the upper section),and I thought NY fans were loud!! impressive..

  2. #2 naslund 26 says:
    December 8, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Great effort last night. 36 shots last night from 19 the night before. Habs looked like a totally different team. Great confidence builder for Huet. Koivu continues to look amazing as does Bonk. I still think there problems arent fixed but they looked better than the night before. Go habs GO

  3. #3 smiler2729 says:
    December 8, 2006 at 10:10 am

    I GOT IT! I dreamed up the perfect trade. After reading Doug Wilson and the Sharks saying they wanted a number one defenceman, I cooked this little number up, now I’m not sure of cap issues so bear with me and Bob Gainey, if you read this, do it. Habs send D Andrei Markov, LW Sergei Samsonov and a high draft pick or prospect to Sharks for C Patrick Marleau and D Kyle McLaren. Ya gotta think big Joe Thornton would love his buddy and ol’ linemate from Boston beside him again… hmmmmm.

  4. I’m with you smiler , except for the Markov thing why trade markov for Mclaren…Samsonov and DP for Marleau…Markov stays HERE!!!

    You nailed 2 out of 3 though!

    Go habs Go!

  5. Not to change the subject…

    Jaroslav Halak (Habs’ Goaltender prospect) in Hamilton is putting up phenomenol stats for a rookie, (save percentage .951, GAA = 1.85, 4 shut outs in 11 starts) and was named the Goaltender of the Month in the AHL for November. He has basically turned Yann Danis (who was one of last year’s goaltenders for the AHL all star team) into the backup goaltender in Hamilton.

    Carey Price is also waiting in the wings. Not to fuel trade rumors or speculations, but I am sure that just about everyone would agree that the Canadiens have to deal a goaltender (or two?) No NHL team can keep two bona fide NHL starting goaltenders on their roster while leaving three top goaltender prospects withering on the vine. Still it is nice to have that luxury… If you ask me, this just shows how smart Canadiens management were a few years back while the rest of us were almost exclusively focused on Theo who?

  6. Like I said in the last section, the likelyhood of Patrick Marleau coming to MTL for anything less then Souray, Higgins, Plekanec, and 1 or 2 first round picks is slim to none. He’s their Koivu and is their leading scorer right now. The deal has to work for San Jose to you know, not just Montreal.

  7. And Marleau isn’t French Canadian if that’s one of your reasons for wanting him(a proud Saskatchewan boy).

  8. #8 HabsInBlood says:
    December 8, 2006 at 11:35 am

    This *entire* message is written in honor of all the (so called Habs fan) bandwagon whiners that frequent this blog.

    Sabres lose 3-1 to the Panthers, outshot 38-18, outhit 18-14 w/ 29 minutes in penalties. This is a disgrace. This team is supposed to be an elite team. How can they lose to a cellar dwellar. First and foremost Lindy Ruff has got to go, else we’re not going to make the playoffs. Furthermore, the jump out of the gate is starting to sag and Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, Derek Roy, Tomas Vanek … and well, the rest of the forwards on the Sabres for that matter … are underperforming. I say trade the whole *ucking team because I can’t stand to watch anymore. It’s time for management to wake up, smell the coffee, and decide to bite the bullet and start rebuilding.

    And one more thing, what’s with all the goddamn Europeans on the team – if we only had more Canadian content, we might have a fighting chance.

  9. #9 chitownhabsfan says:
    December 8, 2006 at 11:41 am

    I am ever so happy that my prediction of these two recent games was proven wrong by Les Habs; where I predicted two losses, Habs got three out of four points, although they could have possibly gotten the fourth point in a shoot out in Jersey.

    Well, if the Sabres lose to the Panthers, I shouldn’t be so disappointed that La Sainte Flanelle lost to the Panthers in the second game of a two in two nights schedule on November 16th & four games in five nights, all on the road.

    I think Habs fans have watched Markov grow into a very dependable #1 or #2 defenceman and now that he is a valuable asset to the team, he is a keeper and not to be traded away.

    Surely, in lieu of considering a trade, all alternative solutions should be explored in order to increase/improve the effectiveness of Kovalev & Samsonov; two big money players that should be contributing more to the team effort. That is why we have Carbonneau, et al as coaches.

    Too many goalies is a nice problem to have and perhaps BG may be able to turn the problem into a valuable bargaining chip for the future. At the same time, there is the problem of projecting the future NHL capability of these goalies. If you are going to select one or two to trade, hope you select the right one. The issue may to take a wait-&-see position relative to a new goalie in the league who is putting up good stats. Can that be done on a consistent basis once the opponents determine his weaknesses? If any?

  10. ‘And one more thing, what’s with all the goddamn Europeans on the team – if we only had more Canadian content, we might have a fighting chance’

    lol eurosceptic, bordering on racism.

    Lets get rid of Koivu, Huet, Markov, Kovalev, Bonk, Perezoghin and Plekanec and see how the team does.

  11. #11 HabsInBlood says:
    December 8, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Presume a good number of you noticed that Kovy was on the 1st line and Latendresse was on the 2nd line for most of the 3rd last night. Kovy and Koivu together, that could be good. Given that they are 2 of the most talented players on the team, I always by default presumed they should head the 1st/2nd lines, respectively, and then match winger(s)/center with them to “make” the line.

    I think you will see those lines again next game. You could see a bit more jump in Kovy’s step when he played with Koivu last night. Bottom line, and I said this way back when (when my id was ‘bauld’) that Sammy and Kovy, despite both being Ruskies, don’t match up well together. They are both better with the puck than without.

    Latendresse is really coming along – it would be interesting to see how he does on the 2nd line – maybe open up the ice a little more for Sammy. He has not only benefited like any player that plays with Koivu has, but he has also starting making some plays of his own – showing good vision on the ice.

    Higgins coming back makes it even more interesting.

  12. #12 HabsInBlood says:
    December 8, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    smiler2729: Give me 4 Kyle McLarens and I’ll give you 1 Andrei Markhov.

  13. Kovalev + Koivu = Goals

  14. #14 fanatic1 says:
    December 8, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    what’s so great about Kyle McLaren? Isn’t he the guy who put a vicious dirty head hit in Zednik, and put him out of commission for a long time? we don’t need cheap shot players, otherwise we could go and get Kaspairitis! Think about your possible trade. when a player is scoring alot of goals, like Marleau is, there’s no way in hell the sharks would consider trading him! and especially the way they ‘re playing, winning, just forget it!I think we made a big blunder when we didn’t pickup Perreault. He’s already scored 8 goals in but a few games, with the lowly coyotes. time for Gainey to wake up before other GM’s do!

  15. #15 chitownhabsfan says:
    December 8, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    First, let me say that I don’t watch too many Habs games, but listen to CJAD on the internet and my opinions reflect what I hear from Rick & Murray, especially Hab Murray Wilson.

    I agree with HabsinBlood #11 post. I do have a concern with so much so-called goal scoring capability on one line, it allows the opposition to more effectively use their #1 checking line against us. If you are able to spread the goal scoring amongst two lines or more, it is more difficult to keep us in check. I am sure that was what every Habs fan was thinking when we acquired Samsonov to play with Kovalev.

    I also agree with fanatic1 about Perreault, lives in nearby Sherbrooke [I think, during the off season] and would have been a good fit, given his goal scoring capability with Nashville last year and previously with the Habs. He must have some shortcoming that wasn’t corrected when he was with the Habs, I believe the knock on him is that he is a slow skater. But don’t his pluses outweigh his minuses? Best % faceoff person in the NHL and scores 20 goals a season.

    Which brings me to Jan Bulis, another 20 goal scorer with Les Habs who thought that he belonged on the second line vs. BG who didn’t resign him.

    I realize there is a need to bring in new players from the Bulldogs on a yearly basis thereby making it a difficult decision for BG to make, relative to adding a new player or keeping an older successful one and I am sure that payroll plays an important part in the decision making, but Yanic is making not much more relative to an NHL rookie.

    Congrats to Mike Johnson on his exceeding most Habs fans expectations thus far and for Radek Bonk for really showing up this year. I don’t see many complaints about their play this year.

  16. chitownhabsfan:

    Good point, but the question is how do you test five goaltenders at this level when one really only has one testing ground? Goaltenders have to actually play to build the confidence to play well. I agree that this problem becomes a potentially, valuable bargaining chip, but it also has the potential to become both a distraction and hurt the development of the three quality prospects. As I said, I am not trying to stir trade speculation (nobody needs to be asked to that — it seems to happen spontaneously ????Markov for MacLaren, OMG.) I am only pointing out the fact that the Canadiens need to very likely make a move sometime in the near future with their goaltenders. This is a “need” as opposed to a “want.”

  17. #17 Smiler2729 says:
    December 8, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    San Jose wants a number 1 D man and Andrei Markov is one or one in the making… I know Marleau is not French Canadian but he’s a gritty, talented center who would thrive here. Throwing in Samsonov for the Thornton factor and getting McLaren (a tough as nails defensive d-man) only sweetens the pot for both teams. Maybe a prospect or draft pick sweetens the deal, again I don’t know about each teams’ cap issues but I know about their needs…

  18. #18 nilan says:
    December 8, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    Ouch. I could give a damn where they were born, as long as they skate hard, play their role, and take pride in the jersey they wear. If that means Europeans, bring em.
    Forget about the trades. Enjoy watching the best product the Habs have put on the ice in ten years. Bob will do what he can when he has to.

  19. um….why are we spending so much time on a would be fantasy trade that incidently makes absolutely no sense….Markov on the way to becoming a #1 D? Have you seen a game this year?….best freaking d man in the eastern conference bar none….on his way…jesus…absurd…..he’s worth Marleau and package up any other nine sharks…….ya might wanna watch the whole game on saturday instead of heading off beddie bye after the first….oh./…Markov wears # 79.

  20. #20 Habman says:
    December 8, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    I’LL BE UP !!! GO HABS GO!!!

  21. #21 joshtm says:
    December 8, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    I say just go with forwards one hundred percent as our defense was no where to be seen in the victory….heck if it wasn’t for Koivu basically taking the puck out of the zone, the defense was no where to be seen…..apart from getting stupid penalties, that was the defenses contribution.

    I don’t know what is wrong with Montreal’s defense though. Go Habs Go!!!!

  22. #22 meekster says:
    December 8, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    well i think that the habs are just fine . BG will make a trade when he needs too.

  23. #23 meekster says:
    December 8, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    ps i seen all but 2 habs games this year on tv. rds dont trade the dmen they are great

  24. #24 coutNY_HabsFan says:
    December 8, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    Last night was big for the Habs, so they need to build on this momentum! As a fan a can not complain on their play, just a few losses, but no devastating blowouts…
    Its hard not to call for changes after a few of these close losses because it seems, if only they had one other person that had the heart of Downey and the skills of Koivu, possibly unload a certian few struggling slugs, Montreal would be in a class of its own. I believe the potential is there, but the engine just has not been firing on all cylindars at once. (Maybe there’s a faulty plug, but i hope they tune things up and string a few together?!?!?)

    Anyway, I have a Sabres fan roaming my office saying “Habs were lucky in their last showing because they were down a few men”… This tics me off! One may be a fluke but 2 is a statement! They need to kick the Sabres when they’re down to put the trade rumors to rest and establish to the league they’re a force to be reckon with!

    Sammy get over yourself, get your line established in your zone, and put some work in front off the net! I have seen too many failed carry-in’s that turn into rushes for the opposition. I am sure you feel the pressure, with the comentators sending you down to the Hamilton as a lost cause, but this is team sport, so show some love and you might receive it back! I’ll hop off the soap box now.

    Go Habs!

  25. #25 Jack Tornton says:
    December 8, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    The perfect player would be someone that:

    1.Has the talent of Koivu
    2.The heart of Begin
    3.Build like Latendress and tall like him as well
    4.Resistent like Rivet

    Question: Are we ever going to get this player?

  26. #26 Ryder_On_The_Storm says:
    December 8, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Hey guys – great blog, been a avid Habs fan for quite a while now and a lurker on this site for the past year and a half or so…

    This will be my first foray into actually spouting anything off – so be easy on me!

    Jack, about your comment above, does that player even exist? And even if he does, do you really think he’d be worth the money given the new cap system? Teams like Tampa Bay, Boston, even Toronto for that matter have uber stars with gargantuan salaries – and in doing so, have tied up so much cap room that they end up with one or two lines that are effective, and weak role player that are liabilities.

    The one big thing that I love about the Habs is the balanced, team effort put forward. On any given night, any one of our players can be a star. No, we don’t have any 100 point players, but we have many 40 point plus players. This makes for both an uneven threat to opposing coaches – do you play the big kill line against our line 1 or 3?, and exciting hockey team to watch. Seeing Begin score two is AWESOME!

    Call me crazy, but I’ll take our whole team style of play over a couple of selfish superstars any day.

  27. #27 TonyMuerte says:
    December 8, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    Well, it would be very dumb to trade Markov. He is not only our best D, but one of the best in the league. He is 28 years old and he has at least 5 more good seasons to give to the Habs. Plus he is one of the more underestimated player in this league. Im not sure but if Bob Gainey calls the Sharks manager, he will hear something like Andrei who? In fact this is really cool, can you imagine how much $$$ could he do if he was a north american?

  28. #28 stevejur says:
    December 8, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    You heard it hear first.

    Peter Forsberg or Simon Gagne to Montreal before the trade deadline.

  29. Either Forsberg or Gagne, would be nice but what would it cost in return…

    mmm…Aebischer & (Samsonov or Kovalev) or a draft pick (I would consider it)

    as for all the comments about trades…It’s pretty simple (IMHO), if the floaters continue to do just that then they are useless to us…

    Since we are in the enviable position of having a pretty good showing in the standings then we want to stay there or strengthen ‘that’ position even more.

    It doesn’t mean we want to get rid of everyone and anyone that makes errors. Hell, just stop doing the same errors game in game out. As for the floaters, especially the ones who are there to produce (the argument can be made that everyone should be there to score, but no we have spent big $$$ and these same floaters are not putting in a return…so that’s what spurns the trade talks…

    so yes, the team is far better than the previous versions but there is still inconsistency, bad penalties and poor defensive plays, and obviously the lack of scoring punch. (I think everyone would jump for joy if we saw Kovalev and Samsonov punch in a 2g and 3a nightly effort). Heck I’d even shout for restructuring their current contracts….but let’s face it, right now they’re going for the ride as passengers…we need them to direct and lead the boat as part of the crew!!

    So here we are facing the Sabres…let’s play 60 minutes, stop the puck giveaways and the bad penalties and we should be in for a heck of a game. Go Habs Go!

  30. #30 TonyMuerte says:
    December 9, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Well, i dont think that the Flyers want to trade Gagné. I think that they want to contruct their team with him. And for Kovalev and Samsonov…. you remember last year what we thought about Bonk…. now he his one of our key players.

  31. #31 Hab-a-dab-a-do says:
    December 9, 2006 at 8:40 am

    score tonight, habs 3- sabres 2

  32. @ Ryder-on-T_S

    Welcome…You made some pretty excellent points! I am a firm believer that to have 5 or 6 players that can potentially get 50 points Kills having 1 or 2 100+ point men, and as for team stratagies, against us all they can figure out right now is to cover Koivu 5 on 5, get bodies in front of Huet and don’t let the puck get to souray on the PP! My only move at this point (EASY EVERYONE!) Would be to dump Kovalev..It’s hard to say… considering he’s argueably the most talented player in the NHL…But to me, With talent and Dollars (ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THE CAP ISSUES NOW)IT’S HIS RESPONSABILITY TO THE TEAM TO JUSTIFY THE 10% OF THE TEAM’S SALARY THAT HE’S “EATING” And he’ll never be a true superstar for 2 reasons…HE’S SELFISH AND LAZY!!!

    Tonight’s game should be the epitome of hockey in the new NHL!

    predictions:

    MTL 5 Buff 3

    (AS LONG AS THE REF’S DECIDE NOT TO BE THE STARS OF THE GAME!)

    GO HABS GO!!!

  33. Bonk wasn’t brought in to score goals…if he developed into this then that’s an extra bonus.

    Both Kovalev and Samsonov are goal scorers and that’s what they need to do. At the very minimum skate like hell and make things happen. Right now they are invisible. Remember Kovalev when he made things happen against Boston and then versus Carolina in the playoffs well, that’s why he’s getting paid the $$. That’s why we are expecting better things and effort from him. Samsonov can probably be better bait than what he is doing for us. (IMO). Besides waiting another year before they wake up (like Bonk) is too risky and then they’re value will be peanuts. Go Habs Go!

  34. You wanna get psyched!! got to the link below and see the plays of the month!!! I watched it 5 times and got chills everytime!

    P.S right click on the video window and select zoom so that you can really see it!
    ENJOY!

    http://www.canadiens.com/eng/index.cfm

    GO HABS GO!

  35. #35 smiler2729 says:
    December 9, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Facts for IZZY: Habs have 4 unrestricted FAs in July (Markov 79, Souray 44, Rivet 52, Niinimaa 6). Cap issues say they can’t retain all of them.

  36. #36 Johnny Chan says:
    December 9, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    How come those f@cking idiots on CBC ALWAYS show a leafs game on saturdays?! No matter if they are playing the most boring team in the league, and the canadiens are playing one of the best

  37. #37 Hab-a-dab-a-do says:
    December 9, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    Show me a network that carries or covers anything about the habs,(Other than RDS) I said it before and I will say it again it’s because the Habs are from Quebec and the rest of the country looks down on Quebec, Just hearing Bob Cole call a leafs-Habs game make me wanna put my foot thru the TV, Mats this and Mats that.

  38. #38 Habs#1 says:
    December 9, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Gagne or Forsberg? Not likely. Gagne is only 26 and since the Flyers are likely, if they’re smart, to go into full rebuilding mode they’ll be building around Carter, Richards, Gagne, Nittimaki and Pitkanen, they will be untouchable and if Gagne wanted to come to MTL he would have signed a one year deal and become a UFA. And Forsberg has a no-trade clause and he decides were he wants to go. And Aebischer+Sammy/Kovy+a draft pick would bring neither guy. They’re a rebuilding team so they’d want young players like Higgins(who’s probably untouchable), Plekanec, Komisarek, Kotstitsyn, Ryder or Latendresse and it would take two of them.

    Hopefully Markov is back tonight since they’ll need their #1 d-man against the Sabres.

  39. #39 fanatic1 says:
    December 9, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    yeah, unless you’re part of LEAFS NATION, the rest of the country could care less. And , on LEAFS TV, they have a show,”AFTER THE HORN”, after each leaf’s game. it’s on for 90 minutes, and all they talk about is, that game. it’s sickening, but I love to watch it, but, only if the leafs lost the game. I think Buffalo has been alittle complacent recently, so now would be the time to try and beat them. if we don’t put in a 60 minute effort, and if Huet is off his game, expect a loss. I don’t know if you guys have noticed it, but Saturday night games, recently, have ended in losses for us. I don’t know why, but we aren’t playing well on Saturday’s. Please prove me wrong tonight!

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