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Bouillon’s Back and 8′s a crowd.

  • Francis Bouillon will decide today whether or not he will make his return to the lineup against Minnesota Wednesday night.

    Bouillon’s knee is ready to go and the Doctors have given him the greenlight to play.

    First, this is great news for the Canadiens. Assuming he is healthy and will compete at the same level, Bouillon will no doubt improve the blueline.

    Bouillon may be one of the more underrated Defenseman in the league. Despite being on the smaller side physical, he is usually the most physical player on the ice and often surprises opponents with his strength.

    More importantly, Bouillon brings heart. There is nowhere in the world Bouillon would rather be at any given moment, than on the ice playing for the Canadiens. An attitude that rubs off on his teammates, and an attitude that certain other highly paid Habs seem to lack.

    The guy loves to be a Montreal Canadien and he shows it on every single shift.

    If Bouillon returns Wednesday, the Canadiens have a surplus of defenders and a decision to make.

    Anyone who has watched the Canadiens would agree that Janne Niinimaa and his 2.5 Million dollar contract has not fit in since arriving in Montreal. Before being a healthy scratch for the last three games, Niinimaa was given plenty of ice time and opportunities to show he belongs.

    He doesn’t. 17 games, 1 assist, -7.

    Will Carbonneau send Niinimaa to Hamilton? What other choice does he have?

34 Comments
  1. #1 Sly Vester says:
    November 21, 2006 at 12:04 pm

    Who cares, as long as he gets the hell off the team. Our D is back! Now we just need our higgins and the conference will be ours! muhahahahahahaa

  2. Yep, send him down. They guy is horrible!

  3. Niinimaa served his purpose: a veteran dman to bolster a woefully thin blueline corps. While the Habs have a deep set of young forwards to call up at any time, the best young dmen they had were lost on waivers (Ron Hainsey and Francois Beauchemin). Gainey had little option but to try and get someone. And let’s not forget that Niinimaa afforded him the opportunity to unload Ribiero. That’s worth the price right there.

  4. Does anyone know if his salary counts towards the cap if we send him down? Think there is any way to hide him and his salary in a package deal to get an improvement like Rico Fata lol. Just kidding a bag of pucks will do. At 10$ a puck, if my math is correct hmmm a bag of 250 000 pucks!!! It is too bad though, I liked this guy when h ewas on the Oil.

  5. #5 smiler2729 says:
    November 21, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    Y’know when Janne Niinimaa came up with Philadelphia in the late ’90s, he played very well for them and was even a power play quarterback type (1996-97 77GP 4G 40A 44PTS +12). Then he was traded to Edmonton for Dan McGillis and a 2nd rounder! In Edmonton, he was solid again with his best year coming in 2000-01 (82GP 12G 34A 46PTS +6). What the hell happened to him in the last 5 years? Did playing for Milbury on Long Island completely suck his talent away?? I thought maybe Montreal with its tradition, speed based game and crazy fan base would pump this guy up back to where he could be but no… I think Niinimaa’s reached the end of the line in the NHL, last gasp is hoping being in Hamilton in the AHL will spark him, doubt it. I’m still glad Mike Ribeiro’s gone though, what a weasel.

  6. Ninnamaa had a serious ankle injury last season which hampers his ability to pivot, which is why he takes so many penalties cause people can blow right by him. Bouillon coming back is absolutly fantastic news.

    But who’s going to play on the second line. Perezhogin never worked with Kovy/Sammy. Begin shouldn’t be taken off the fourth line. Do they call someone else up? I doubt a trade will happen till later in the season when most of the salary’s have been paid. So what Carbonneau does with the second line is, was, and continues to be the 7.2 million dollar question.

  7. #7 smiler2729 says:
    November 21, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    Kovalev-Koivu-Ryder
    Samsonov-Begin-Latendresse
    Perezhogin-Bonk-Johnson
    Downey-Murray-?

  8. #8 fanatic1 says:
    November 21, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    Actually. I think Bonk should be on the 2nd line, with Kovalev and Ryder, that is, when Higgins returns. Right now it’s a chess match; because it doesn’t matter who plays with Kovalev, THE PROBLEM IS KOVALEV!He is unable to play with anyone.He should have been a goaltender, so he could play by himself.We have a disastrous situation here. 1 functioning line. So who can we expect to get goals from on a continuing basis? (other than Koivu, Ryder, Higgins).It’s a big problem. We didn’t seem to have this problem last year, or maybe it just wasn’t magnified. And I do think we need to make a trade. Kovalev and Samsanov for? We might have a hard time unlosding Kovalev, because he is now probably considered damaged goods, as well as invisible on most nights, and lack of scoring.Also, Samsanov has turned out to be a bust, and doesn’t score, so who would want them? Gainey certainly has his work cut out for him.

  9. It’s amazing the panic you see on this site sometimes. You’d think the Habs are in the middle of a serious slide with no hope in sight!

    I disagree. Yes, the second line situation is a concern. No, it’s not a disaster. Assuming Kovalev and Sammy will get on track at some point, the team has adjusted to the loss of Higgins with Latendresse’s relatively excellent play, and the special teams continue to work above expectations. In addition, goaltending has been overall quite good, and getting better. The defense is solid with Bouillon and Dandy back.

    I’ve heard a lot of talk about Higgins joining the second line as the center when he returns… it’s definately worth a try. The reason: both Kovalev and Samsonov are money players who have not played to their potential this year, so far; they need Higgy’s hustle and desire up the middle. If we were in February, I’d be worried. But with most of the season to go, lay off the CONSTANT trade talk and let these guys work it out. I believe that the second line should, and will, produce as the first line they are –it may take a few weeks for that to come about, though.

    Filling Kosty’s spot on the second line in the meantime is more difficult. You certainly don’t want to break Bonk’s line up right now, and Latendresse is effective with Koivu. Possibly Begin, who has the ability and also needs to enjoy more success this year…

  10. #10 HabsInBlood says:
    November 21, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    I share HabsBlog’s excitement re: Bouillon’s return. The 2nd most mobile defenseman, next to Markhov. When you think about it, with Bouillon back in the lineup, and with Komi’s “step to the next level” so far this year, our “D” is starting to look pretty damn good. Let’s hope they stay healthy. I’m looking forward to the return of Bouillon’s explosive body checks.

    Re: Bonk, I think him and Johnson have a pretty good chemistry going, and if I were Carbo I would be hesitant to break that up.

    “Kovalev’s a bust and Samsonov’s a dissappointment!!” Cmon, keep the faith. If the Canadiens win the cup, it’s not going to be because of a 50 goal scorer, it’s going to be because they have 18 guys (19 with goalie) on the ice playing for each other. I think Kovalev has done alright. I think the guy works harder than everyone thinks. All the out of town broadcasters on Center Ice are always knocking Kovalev for his “lack of effort”. It’s now Kovalev’s label, and everyone uses it like sheep. Just because he makes some dazzling plays with the puck, it doesn’t mean he can be doing it all the time, and if he doesn’t score on a shift, it doesn’t mean he’s not working hard or has failed. The name of the game is puck possession, and if he’s going to continue at center, he needs to get better at faceoffs.

    Latendresse never played more than 1 period on the 2nd line I think. When Higgins comes back, I would try Guy on the 2nd line. Kovalev and Sammy are both guys that like to make plays and have the puck on their stick. They need someone like Guy that can help dig the puck out of the corners and go to the net. Ryder/Higgins can both do that too, but Guy outweighs them by 30+ lbs so I’d go with him. Now that Guy has a bit of confidence, it would be interesting to see how he’d do on the 2nd line.

  11. Let me tell you an ancient story. Adapted to modern times it could look like this:
    Two old hockey managers disagree as to who is the better manager. So they decide to test it out. They will each hand pick a team player by player and play against eachother in a one all or nothing game. It is decided that one manager gets to choose his entire team first. M1, eager to be the first to choose, wins the coinflip. His team had in net Brodeur, Kiprusoff, Luongo. In Defence were guys like Niedermeyer, Pronger, Lidstrom, Chara, Redden, Zubov. Jovanovsky was their 7th defencemen and wouldn’t even play. As forwards he chose Jagr, Forsberg, Ovechkin, Crosky, Iginla, Thornton, Heatley, etc, etc. Every single player in his roster was a well known superstar.
    Manager2 wasn’t worried at all. He surprised M1 by picking 18 players from the Buffalo Sabers. He only ditched their 2 worst D-men and 2 worst forwards and replaced them with solid hard-working players with good numbers and no prima donna delusions. The game was set to start.
    A week later the game started in a heavily entertaining and competitive atmosphere. Both teams wanted to win.
    Do you know who won and why? Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of this story. In the meantime, you can make your predictions and give your reasons.

  12. #12 jfk0202 says:
    November 21, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    The sabres won..and then all the habs fans panicked and wanted to trade all of team 1!!! :) God we are never happy are we??? lol

  13. 1. Markov
    2. Komisaurus
    3. Souray
    4. Boullion
    5. Dandeneault
    6. Streit
    7. Rivet

    8. JP cote
    9. Ninimaa
    10. Traverse

  14. #14 HaBs4EveR says:
    November 21, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    Yeah guys Kovalev is really working hard. Every time I see him on the ice, I look at what he’s doing and you know what? He’s doing really well defensively, he moves the puck pretty well too. Only problems are his faceoff, and that he is extremely unlucky when he shoots. How many times do you hear the puck hit the posts when Kovy shoots? Atleast once a game.

    And don’t forget that for a while, every team would knew that Kovalev was the man to watch out for when they played montreal. They would always be on him as soon as he stepped on the ice. Remember our last game against Atlanta how our game plan was to stay busy on Kovalcuk, Hossa and Kozlov?

    Don’t be hard on him. He probably has the most pressure by us fans and the team at the moment. He still plays well, he only needs to get his scoring back.

    And definetly, don’t break up Johnson and Bonk. Those two are incredible together.

  15. #15 Rubberman says:
    November 21, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Well, above everything, I wish I was making the money these guys are making! Especially to play a game. If aliens were ever studying our society, they think we were pretty #@&*ed up. School and hospitals aren’t funded the way they should, people make crappy wages, employers expect more work, less benefits, etc…. We pay big bucks to see a game, support our team. Ten yrs ago, I saw a Blue Jay game. The week-end cost me over 400$, that was a week’s wage, then. And, I saw some Yanks scratching the nuts, etc..So, I’d like to see Kovy and all the others that don’t give it their all, put up a week’s wage to see me teach Gr. 3. So, yeah, when players like Kovelev don’t show up every night, we do have a right to #$tch!!! They’re lucky and fortunate to do what they do. They could at least try every night.

  16. #16 Habs#1 says:
    November 21, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    It’s plain enough to see that either Kovalev dosen’t care before the playoffs(the Shaq of the NHL), or his knee injury is a bigger concern then we know.

    And also, I was listening to the Team 990 over the internet today(the Edmonton station is of course Oiler central, can’t blame them for that but I just don’t care about the Oilers), and they said that Carbonneau is moving Kovalev back to the wing tommorow and that he’s going back to the Kovalev/Samsonov/Plekanec experiment. If Plekanec dosen’t shoot more, since he’s the only one it seems with the will to do so, this line will once again fail miserably.

  17. Good point…someone should remind them of that.

  18. I’ve been waiting for Kovalev to break out soon…not sure what his hang up is. Maybe he feels left out or maybe he’s waiting for the star treatment from management. But before we have another Patrick Roy situation let’s put diggers (Begin, Johnson and even Murray) and we’ll see if they give him some room. If those fail, then looking for a trade might make more sense. I think, a combination of Sammy and Kovalev might be the right bait.

    Go Habs Go!

  19. #19 HabsInBlood says:
    November 22, 2006 at 11:14 am

    Here are some numbers for all the Kovalev bashers. It’s an account of even strength stats for the top 3 lines. I’ve excluded Latendresse and Plekanec since they haven’t really been a fixture on the top 3 lines throughout the season so far.

    G A Pts +/-
    – – — —
    Koivu 2 5 7 -3
    Higgins 5 2 7 E
    Ryder 2 3 5 -4

    Kovalev 4 4 8 -3
    Sammy 4 5 9 +1

    Bonk 4 4 9 +9
    Johnson 5 5 10 +8
    Pierogi 2 5 7 +11

    The Bonk line (outside special teams) is clearly the most valuable line for the Habs so far, but hardly ever gets mentioned. Most of what I hear about Bonk is: “Bonk sucks… Bonk’s boring… what a lousy trade”. Remember also that this line typically plays against the opposition’s top scoring line.

    Kovalev’s numbers are consistent with everyone else on the top 2 lines. I expect Kovalev to perform too, and I love both him and Koivu, but I’m not singling him out like lots of others. Don’t just look at his points, look at the attention given to him by other teams. This opens up space for other players/lines on the Habs – an intangible that never shows up on the scoresheet. The beginning of the Habs mid-season swoon last year was the day they announced Kovy would have knee surgery. We still need to be able to win without him (or any other individual), but at the same time I’m hoping he stays healthy.

    GO HABS GO!!

    I don’t remember anyone mentioning it so far. Remember on Sat night when they played a recording of Roger Doucet singing the anthem. I jumped off the couch and summoned by wife (from Beijing – no clue about hockey – she’s always worried I’m going to get hurt when I play drop-in at lunch) to the TV screaming to her “This is the guy from my Montreal Canadien’s watching childhood – this is the guy I’m always mimicking in the car when I’m singing my national anthem – this is part of what it means to be a Montreal Canadiens fan”. It fell on deaf ears, because she just doesn’t understand the passion of being a Habs fan.

    That brought back memories of me sitting in front of the tube as a kid to watch hockey night in Canada when i) we saw the Habs every Saturday on CBC with Irvin and Gallavan and ii) the games started at 8pm. The good ‘ol days.

  20. #20 smiler2729 says:
    November 22, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    Yeah, the Roger Doucet clip gave me goosebumps. They should play every night on tape, so far we’re 1-0 when Doucet sings us in!
    Why does everybody hate Bonk? Cuz he’s not the scorer he was supposed to be? I like him just fine. Love Mike Johnson too.
    Why do people expect Sergei Samsonov to score 50? He never has but he’s valuable as a skating, passing, playmaking machine. I say keep him.
    Same for Alexei Kovalev. Not his fault the other teams focus on shutting him down…
    I like this team, good thing going. Best chemistry from top to bottom, management to ice since ’93.

  21. I have this strong feeling we will see Higgy back sooner than expected..
    I think they should keep him on the first line, don’t mess with the early sucess.

  22. #22 HabsInBlood says:
    November 22, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    Sweet – to all those “NHL Center Ice”ers out there, looks like tonight’s game feed is RDS again. This is the 3rd time this year!! I only remember 1 game in french last year. Tomorrow is thanksgiving here in the US, and I can’t exactly remember how, but I somehow volunteered myself into cooking thanksgiving dinner. Looking forward to watching the Habs tonight as I start working on the pies, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

  23. #23 smiler2729 says:
    November 22, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    I have NHL Center Ice here in central Ontario, being a born and bred Montrealer, I need my Habs but I work evenings so my wife watches more than I get to. I married an Ohio gal and brought her to Canada 6 years ago, now she’s a hockey fanatic (Finished 2nd in our annual hockey pool last season)! Still suffers with her Blue Jackets but got an instant distaste and hatred for anything Toronto Maple Leafs, gotta love her! I don’t mind watching in french since I’m fluent bilingual but I wonder whatever happened to the english CBC coverage of the Habs in Montreal that I grew up with??

  24. #24 HaBs4EveR says:
    November 22, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    I guess that since the habs aren’t getting 5 cups per decade anymore that CBC doesn’t find it worth while enough to show the habs play…

  25. #25 HaBs4EveR says:
    November 22, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    hey guys, I was just checkin out the habs stats, and you know whats really scary? Higgins is still our top goal scorer…
    (tied with Souray at 8)

  26. #26 HabsInBlood says:
    November 22, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    smiler2729 – you should invest in a TIVO or other DVR. It has changed my hockey viewing TV life ever since I got it.

  27. Glad to hear there are others who have the same blood syndrome as I. We are definitely an outcast group…It seems that over the many years my desire and pride have tempered in intensity (primarily because I’m always reminded) that no matter how much I scream and yell and throw fits n fury and curse…the players go home and prepare for the next game, and I too will awaken the following morning. There is another day! However, getting those goosebumps and looking back and reminiscing about the Habs sure mean a great deal to me. It’s in the blood! Sort of what the description for ‘passion’ ought to be.

    Go Habs Go!

  28. #28 HabsInBlood says:
    November 22, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    I just read on Canadiens.com that bouillon with be up front tonight. http://www.canadiens.com/eng/news/redirect.cfm?sectionID=habsNewsDetails.cfm&newsItemID=5365

    Just like when Dandenault came back.

  29. The last time (versus the Leafs), the Canadiens had 3 days off and were so invisible that I am hoping for a change. I want some of the pack to take a stance and make things happen…Begin, Murray, Johnson, Plek.., I really want them to take hold of this season and beating these teams (incl Florida) are a must! Show me the WIN!!! Go Habs Go! (Calling out to Russians…wake up, nows the time)

  30. #30 fanatic1 says:
    November 22, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    I too,am a longtime habs fan, dating back to the glory years of the 70′s.I sure do miss those great teams that won 4 cups in a row, never to happen again. I doubt we will ever see a team as talented as that group. Ominous!They didn’t have a weakness anywhere on that team. they were simply, UNSTOPPABLE!I guess that’s the reason I hunger so much for a winner again. It’s unfair to expect as much, but we are so spoiled from that era; We always think our team will rise to the top.So, we rant and rave hoping there will be the necessary changes to accomplish that feat. But guys, it’s time for a douse of reality! This is a different century, and a much different, and less talented team. The best we can hope for, is to make the playoffs! I just don’t see enough talent or heart on this team to get us to the promised land. I wish I was wrong, and I hope they prove me wrong! Anyways, we can dream!

  31. #31 HaBs4EveR says:
    November 22, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    Hey guys, I’m a big habs fan too but I was born in 1988 so I can’t even remember when we won the cup in 93. I know our past really well and Fanatic is right, they way the NHL works now, our 5 cup dynasty will probably never be surpassed. Its already becoming rare to see a team win two cups in a row. And unfortunately I don’t know exactly what kind of talent the habs need to get to a cup, but I do believe our team has heart. And when it comes to either choose heart or talent, I’m for Heart big time. When you see the sens and their super talented team and they arent producing, I rather look at the habs that have a tough fight almost every game and with that extra part of heart, usually get the win.

    I believe this team is good enough overall for the playoffs. I’d just like to see them get passed the first round so that I may start considering a possible stanely cup win.

    BTW, have you guys realized that the last two stanely cup champs went against Montreal?

  32. Yeah we do a good job preparing teams for a long cup run.

  33. #33 hab-dab-a-do says:
    December 18, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    I hope none of the players read this blog, If they do thats probley why they come out dead in the first period sometimes and probley why samsonov is going thru his slump,He reads this and gets down on himself.

  34. #34 hab-dab-a-do says:
    December 19, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    Ryders brother Dan just signed with the Flames

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