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  • The Canadiens welcome the Leafs tonight after a strong road effort in New York. The Habs have scored 11 goals in their last two games and won 5 of their last 6.

  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    January 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    If you can’t get up for Habs-Leafs you’re probably a paraplegic. Even when the leafs suck its entertaining hockey.

    In other news: Tavares is going to London. As a London boy myself I couldn’t be happier! We had to give up Mason last year, so its good to see the tables turned. Go Knights and Go Habs Go!

  2. What an absolute farce that Kovalev is a starting winger in the All-star game. Laughable. Naslund sucks too. 😛

  3. #3 Joseph says:
    January 9, 2009 at 12:58 am

    The All-Star game in itself is an absolute farce… a mere marketing tool to sell the game. So why not use the game’s most storied franchise by showcasing its current players.


  4. #4 Mats Naslund says:
    January 9, 2009 at 1:54 am

    waa waa.

  5. #5 Mats Naslund says:
    January 9, 2009 at 4:39 am

    Just had a look at last year’s standings from this time last season, and the Habs are 5 points up through 40 games with 2 games in hand form our break out year. Pretty good for a team “struggling” offensively. 18 goals in our last 3 games. Les Canadiens sont la.

  6. #6 Donnie says:
    January 9, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Nice win last night over Canada’s joke of a hockey club.
    A little worried about the guys coming back from injuries and f**kin up this gelling process we have now.
    Also…..guys, sooner or later we’re gonna need Laraque to play and do his job. We got the best scrapper in the league, and we gotta watch Tom K get throw around every time someone has to fight. Laraque woulda settled things with May last night…in a hurry. Gonna run into huge trouble soon when we get bullied into fights again, with no one to fight, and Big George can’t lead the way cuz he’s havin a cold one in the press box.

  7. Laraque is in the dog house apparently. The Habs made him take down his blog, and aren’t overly thrilled with him… not sure what he said in it myself..

  8. #8 Mats Naslund says:
    January 9, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Laraque has been hurt, and poorly conditioned for most of his time with the Habs. He has not been a healthy scratch. Carbo couldn’t and wouldn’t put him in the lineup because of this. Until Georges gets serious about hockey and his conditioning he can forget about cracking the lineup. We need him healthy or he’ll just be taking a spot from a valuable contributor..

    As for his blog, I think he was talking candidly about fighting in hockey and Montreal’s issue wasn’t so much with what he said, but that his blog violated team policy about media access to players.

  9. #9 groundworking says:
    January 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    The future:

    Get ready Brad May.

  10. #10 Joseph says:
    January 9, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    My brief hiatus from viewing NHL games did me good. I feel like a new viewer. :-) But I can’t imagine my patience with Bettman’s gong show lasting very long. It’s good to see the Habs back on track though! It is a bit frustrating however…

    Why does it always seem to take injuries to go-to players to get a team playing like, well, a team? It’s as if they come together and rally behind one another to get the job done until the big guns return… which is precisely what they should do when they’re healthy. But I guess it’s natural to look at a line-up full of offensive weapons and convince yourself that someone will come through if you don’t. No?

  11. #11 PACTUM SERVA says:
    January 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I thought i heard that he had mentioned that he does not have the passion to fight like he use to. Now dont qoute me on that but if that is true i am not really sure what he is good for. I stll love BGL on this team but he needs to lose the nice guy image and start doing his job. I know he has been hurt but i would like to see him be a little more aggesive on the ice even if it means fighting middle weights. Giving a few extra pokes at the puck when the goalie covers the puck,big hits,late hits anything that gets under the other teams skin. Stop all that showman crap and start busting heads like we know you can . GO GEORES GO

  12. #12 Mats Naslund says:
    January 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Yeah, I’ve only read pieces of what he wrote (from, but basically he said that playing the role of the fighter takes a physical and mental tole on a player, and that he’s getting tired of the added stress. He said that he wouldn’t mind being a 10 million dollar star who has someone else fight his battles for him, but acknowledged that isn’t reality for him. We need him in the lineup for the fear of what he can do as much as his actual fights. Last night is a perfect example. There is no way May goes after Boullion if he knows big Georges is coming after him. For now though, all accounts are that Laraque will be out of the lineup for the foreseeable future.

  13. #13 Senet1 says:
    January 10, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Hey guys lets look at it this way, our guys are not backing down from the fights with the big guys like May and that is a positive. Yes we would like to see the win the fights but more importantly is that they are standing up for one another regardless who it is that wants to fight.

  14. #14 Senet1 says:
    January 10, 2009 at 12:20 am

    I have never been much for the allstar game but since it is in Montreal I guess I should change my tune a little for this year because of our 100 years and all. As far as Kovalev being on the team he is our captain right now and should be on the team and is he our most skilled player as well. So lets get it over with and move on the real hockey and the second half of the season.

  15. #15 Senet1 says:
    January 10, 2009 at 12:26 am

    One of the reasons why we have improved over the last month is the addition of our young guys from Hamilton as well as Lapierra and Latendresse. If you check the score sheets of our last 10 games theys kids are playing great. With Kovalev starting to score again and AK starting to improve his play and our defense playing pretty good as well, it is no wonder we have put some points on the board. It was not that long ago we were 12 points behind Boston and if we win our game in hande it is down to 8. It also nice to see Halak place a little steadier the last couple of games because he looked really bad against NJ.

  16. #16 Senet1 says:
    January 10, 2009 at 1:02 am

    In the January 7th blog, someone mentioned how the canadiens style of play has changed from last year. This comment was right on the mark and as time goes on they are playing this style better and better and as a result we are now winning games with this style. Yes it would be nice to score more goals on the PP but I still believe that will come. Carbo stated the other night that the teams goal this year was to play better 5 on 5 and the team has not only played better but also are scoring more goals as well 5 on 5. Last year if we did not score on the PP we did not win. This year it is the opposite. It is important to beat the better teams and in the laast month we have played and beaten Detroit, Philly and the Rangers, at the time all we ahead of us in the standings. Now we are ahead of the ran rangers and the flyers. The only black mark was our game against NJ and to me that was strickly poor goaltending. So what can we expect from the games against the Bruins and Capitals. Well not sure but it may be too much to ask to beat the bruins until we are healthy but I do think we can beat the caps as long as we get decent goaltending.

    Getting Healthy leads me to my next point. It is important that we get these players back ASAP, but I expect Carbo will gradually work them back into the lineup. I hope that they come back one at a time, so this can be accomplished. D’Agostini misses Koivu, since Kov got injuried the rookie cannot seem to jell with the other centres. So hopefully, Koivu comes back first. we can do without Higgins but we need him to get health so he is available for trading when the time comes.

    That is how I see it anyway.

  17. #17 Donnie says:
    January 10, 2009 at 2:32 am

    So with George, it’s the chicken and the egg situation ?

    He’s not playing cuz of conditioning, or is his conditioning bad cuz he’s not playing?

    He doesn’t really wanna fight for teammates cuz he’s not played enough to get close to them and become one of the gang..(like in Pitt).

    Bottom line guys…we picked up this guy to do a job, nd for what that job is, payed him pretty well. Was evident we needed this kinda guy in our lineup after last year. Believe me, they’re gonna come alot bigger and badder than Brad May in games to come and who’s gonna do what. We gonna have Kostopolous or Bullion get throttled again? Or maybe Komisarek will have to step up again, re-injure the shoulder and be out for the playoffs?

    Playing good hockey but basically we have the same softies as last year. George was what we all said we needed last year and he’s not out there to monitor things so our guys can play hockey. GEORGE SHOULD BE PLAYING…PERIOD !!!!

  18. #18 Mats Naslund says:
    January 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I agree with you Donnie except for one thing: Laraque isn’t out of shape because of missing action. He got hurt, and (apparently) hasn’t done the work needed to get himself back in the line-up. While having his presence in the lineup would go a long way towards protecting the other guys on the ice, who do you take out of the lineup to let him play? Do you take out a guy like Begin who is in great shape and an effective player? If Laraque isn’t in game shape, he needs to get on a bike and get himself ready. Otherwise Carbo has no other option but to go with players who are prepared to make hockey their number one priority.

  19. #19 Senet1 says:
    January 11, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Donnie,I am afraid I agree with Mats on this one, George has to get into condition to play not play to get into condition. If it was mental condition that is one thing but you do not get into physical conditioning by playing, the fact is George came to camp in September out of shape and he has not made the effort to get in shape. Personally, I think our team is more physical this year, than last year and we are playing 5 on 5 better this year. Now we can skate with teams line Washington and physical more physical with teams like Philly. Here are the players that are playing more physical. Latendresse, Kostopoulus,Laprierre, Lang does not get pushed off the puck, Begin, Komesarek, Hamer, SK, Chipchura, Pacioretty if you watch our team they are not backing away from the tough going like they did in the playoffs last year. Now do we need another power forward and strong defenseman YES. But right now George is not the answer unless he can contribute.

  20. #20 Senet1 says:
    January 11, 2009 at 12:17 am

    So game one of two important games and we win, Now Boston, I think our team is gaining confidence, so it will be interesting to see how we fair against the Bruins. A big four point game, if we win we still have a chance at beating out Boston for first place if we loose then the best we can do is fourth place in the conference.

  21. #21 Senet1 says:
    January 11, 2009 at 12:27 am

    So as the injuried players come back who stays and who goes back to Hamilton. Denis will definitely go back, but what do we do with Chipchura, Pacioretty, D’Agositi, I like all three and would like to see them stay up but who sits. I would like to see D’Agostini reunited with Koivu, they seemed to have good chemistry and when Koivu got hurt Mat’s production fell off. So he gets to stay for a while, I also really like Pacioretty and would definitely keep he up. Seemd to play well with Kovalev. Chipchura if the obvious one to go back down because of the numbers game at centre ice. Lapierre will go back to centering that fourth line I like our lines tonight, AK,SK and Land seem to work well to gether. I also like Pacioretty with Kovalev and Plex. So when Koivu come back I see him centering D’Agostini, Begin. or Chipchura.

  22. #22 Senet1 says:
    January 11, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Higgins will also return sometime soon and regardless if we plan to trade him or keep him he will have to get some iceteam to be able to show other teams he can play and help them, So he will probably we Koivu’s othe winger once he is healthy.

  23. #23 Donnie says:
    January 11, 2009 at 1:04 am

    Big win tonight. This team is playing great team hockey as of late. I’m afraid to get too excited however…seems every time I do, they go into one of their slumps.
    I still say that fiddling with this lineup is tampering with sucess…and some guys are coming back soon…gonna be interesting. This team is doing more right now than they did with Koivu, Tanguay and Higgins in the lineup. Also, Kovy is coming around, and now we’re gonna take that C from him again..flirting with disaster there again too.

    Anyways, Boston is next…need to take this one for pride alone after that last fiasco. Guy, don’t mess with the lineup too much, finally got em clicking, and it took 3 months for that. GO HABS GO !!!

  24. #24 jack hab says:
    January 11, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I have a feeling Boston is going to play us much like how the leafs did. It does bug me that Laraque isn’t in fine form, not that he’s in the lineup for this game. Right now, as far as I’m concerned Boston is the new Toronto. Man would i love our team to deliver the slaps… on and off the score sheet. Can’t help but think back to the stiffs that trolled this site at last years’ playoffs.
    Have a great day fellow Habbies.

  25. #25 Mats Naslund says:
    January 11, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    It is an interesting dilemma that Carboneau will have when the injured players return to the lineup. Koivu and Price are the closest to returning, so clearly Denis and Chipchura will be the ones returning to Hamilton soon. The moves I will be watching will be when Tanguay and Higgins return. D’Agostini started out great when they brought him up but has leveled off some since being used in a less offensive role. Still I don’t think we should ignore the great work that the “4th” line has been doing by getting the puck in deep for a cycle. I personally think this has helped spur on the recent offensive play in Montreal. Pacioretti looks a lot like Andrei Kostitsyn looked last year in that role, which is very encouraging because Kostitsyn looks a lot like Kovalev on his new line with Sergei and Lang. For me I wouldn’t want to mess with those two lines when the others return. When healthy:



    Unfortunately to have these kids playing with the big club means that that at some point Gainey will have to pull the trigger on a trade since this lineup leaves Laraque, Begin, Higgins, Dandenault, O’Byrne as scratches. Considering we have 23 goals in the past 4 games, I wonder whether Gainey’s focus will be on offense or defense, or whether he’s planning on staying with the group we have. Do you make a move? Who do we deal in order to get that final piece? What position needs an upgrade?

    I’ll be at the game in Boston on Tuesday, and it has all the makings of an epic rivalry battle.

  26. #26 Senet1 says:
    January 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I agree that we are going to have to make a move within the next month, but in order to trade say Higgins we have to show him and that means playing him. Begin is a hard player to trade away because of his value and experience come playoff time. Dandenault and O’bryne are also tradeables considering our defensive depth in our system. I am not convinced that O’Bryne is going to make a bonifided NHL’er. He has had his opportunity and had not shown he is ready. He has spend enough time in the minors to develop.

    So Kaberle is our best bet if we can make enough cap space for him. Which means that Higgins has to go for sure.

  27. #27 Senet1 says:
    January 11, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    I would really like to get Boumeester from Florida, but he is a FA at the end of the year and I am not sure we can sign him he will want 5-6M.But I think he is the type of defenseman we need come playoff time.

  28. #28 Mats Naslund says:
    January 12, 2009 at 3:16 am

    I’m not sold that a deal for Bowmeester is really that tangible for Montreal. We’re pretty close to the cap as is (and by all accounts its going down next year). What happens if we send a 1st round pick, Weber, Higgins (just tossing names)for him and he walks next year because there isn’t enough cap room for both him and Komisarek? Its been a while since I looked at the cap situation for our team, but given that there are so many free agents at the end of the year, going after Bowmeester would mean a major purge in guys like Lang, Kovalev, Koivu, Tanguay etc (maybe not a terrible thing?). Basically you’d be looking at having over 22 million locked up in 4 defensemen – Bow, Markov, Hamrlik, Komisarek (considerably more if Bowmeester fetches Brian Campbell type numbers). And while we would have undoubtedly the best defense in the NHL, our offense would get pretty thin. This is all out the window if Gainey is taking a win now and figure the rest out later approach – which knowing Bob Gainey isn’t the case.

    The Kaberle type deal makes a little more sense in that he’s under contract at a more manageable number (4.25) for a few years. His game is very similar to Markov’s however, and wouldn’t necessarily address a team need other to shore up our already good D. He is a good player on a terrible team and wouldn’t necessarily cause a cap issue next season (with some careful negotiations.

  29. #29 Mats Naslund says:
    January 12, 2009 at 3:24 am

    One last thing- If I’m Bob Gainey, I’m extremely hesitant to deal either of the Kostitsyns, Lapierre, Latendresse, Pacioretti or Weber. Trading young players is sometimes needed, but there is no sense in trading players who have the potential to grow into superstars and will be the nucleus of the franchise when guys like Koivu and Kovalev aren’t around. Montreal is the envy of much of the league because of their ability to fill their roster with players developed in their own system. If we go for a quick fix we could be selling out our future success. Instead of buying a player like Kovalchuk with half of the prospects, teach them how to be successful and watch as guys like Andrei Kostitsyn develop into the impact players we want them to be.

    P.S – My mid term prediction is that AK46 goes on a tear to finish the year and is our leading scorer going into the playoffs.

  30. #30 Mats Naslund says:
    January 12, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    The hockey Gods can be cruel. I awoke this morning to a TSN news story in which Darren Dreger laid out the possibility that not only is Vincent Lecavalier being shopped by the Lightning, but that he is being pursued most aggressively by Montreal’s Bob Gainey. Last but not least, the final cruelty is that Dreger adds that Higgins, Plekanec, Subban and a draft pick are what it would cost to bring one of the most exciting French Canadian players of our generation to Montreal. A steep price, but there are few among us who wouldn’t gladly pay it for such a potent offensive weapon. It would be genius to trade Subban while his stock is so elevated. I say trade our first round pick (we have toronto’s second rounder this year) which is bound to be only a few spots behind if Lecavalier could come to our squad for a playoff run. Higgins is a guy that I couldn’t even make room for in his return to the roster because of the play of D’Agostini and Pacioretti. The only piece of the trade that doesn’t make sense to me is Plekanec. I understand that to get quality you need to trade quality, but Plex is a FA at the end of this season. I don’t really get why the lightning would trade for him unless it was solely to equalize the cap. I’m jumping the gun by a country mile on this one simply because the trade is so intriguing, and the price seems fair for a superstar player who is locked into a contract long-term (and is tied to the Montreal area through both his and his fiance’s families).

  31. #31 PACTUM SERVA says:
    January 12, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Both higgins and pleckanecs are RFA’s at the end of the year.

  32. #32 Mats Naslund says:
    January 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    The fact that they are RFAs could help. That would mean that Tampa would have the opportunity to match offers. Or Montreal could sign and trade (which they would probably have to do anyway).

    The only players actually under contract next season are:

    Andrei Kostitsyn, Georges Laraque, Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxime Lapierre, Max Pacioretti, Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, Josh Gorges, Yannick Weber, Carey Price and Jaro Halak.

  33. #34 Don Carnage says:
    January 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I say whatever the price is don’t matter trade and get Vinnie here … he is a Superstar player … In Bob We Trust

  34. #35 Mats Naslund says:
    January 12, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Things certainly have been interesting today. Now Bob Mackenzie has chimed in on the Vinnie Lecavalier situation. The deal as revealed earlier has changed. Now it looks like:

    Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, prospect P.K. Subban, Josh Gorges and a package of draft picks including more than one first-round pick going to Tampa.

    As the body count piles up, I’m getting more and more stressed out about this move. Yes I want Vincent Lecavalier in Montreal. It makes sense on SO many levels as far as team needs, and personality.. However, the addition of Josh Gorges and potentially other high draft picks adds weight to what the Canadiens would give up in order to have Vinnie in the bleu blanc et rouge. Gorges has become a solid member of our club on and off the ice, and as far as Cap space goes, you won’t find a cheaper more reliable defenseman. What do you guys think?

  35. #36 PACTUM SERVA says:
    January 12, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Its funny but out of all those guys mentioned i would hate to see josh gorges go the most.The kid has really come into his own and is a great team guy and a big part of our defence.

  36. #37 Donnie says:
    January 13, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Would love to see this deal go thru….but, I don’t think Gainey is going to make a pressured move. He won’t be hastey and give away what HE thinks should’nt be given away. More than likely, IF Vinnie is really up for a trade, some other team will offer something unreal, and swoop in and grab him up right under our noses.
    Remember last trade deadline when Hossa was all but a Hab…Pitt jumped in with a huge offer and grabbed him up, while Gainly just sat there and said Atl wanted too much. Good move on Gainey’s behalf I think for that deal. Just an example of Gainey not selling the farm and other teams desparation in the offers they make.
    Would love to see Vinnie here, but don’t think it’s gonna happen at all.

  37. #38 Habs 4 life says:
    January 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Like any Hab fan, I’d love to see Viny in a red blue and white jersey but I really don’t see Gainey thinning out our blue line even more to do it. Besides, he’s got more urgent things to think about, like what to do with our young guys when people return from injury.

    Except for a couple people, I like the habs the way they are. We have outstanding young players just chomping at the bit and good on-ice chemistry, not to mention a 9-1-1 record lately. let’s not rock the boat.

  38. #39 Mats Naslund says:
    January 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I also can’t see the deal happening if it is indeed:

    Plekanec, Higgins, Gorges, Subban + High Draft picks.

    Its not as though TB is negotiating from a very strong position – Yes they have the superstar that should command a high return, but his contract and no trade clause make him a liability that could stay on the books for a generation. If I’m Gainey I would be pressuring them to take a little less or let someone else pay the price. Substitute O’Byrne for Gorges (2 top 6 forwards, 1 top 4 D + our best prospect ad 2 1st rounders is outrageous). The deal has to follow some precedent.

  39. #40 Habs 4 life says:
    January 13, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Vinny has doesn’t have a no trade clause.

  40. #41 groundworking says:
    January 14, 2009 at 2:17 am

    I think the Lecavalier trade is looking promising, with the bulk of the deal being the draft picks, prospects, and the financial dimension, plus the extra players to make hockey at least somewhat interesting in Tampa, to free up cap space in Montreal, and to remove Tampa from the long term financial commitment that they’ll be getting themselves into quite soon.

    I think BGL is getting injured because he’s out of shape, and he’s caught now in a vicious cycle.

    Good posts re Lecavalier. I was shocked to see the extent to which this rumor is dominating some of the more accurate predictors — it’s at least a lot more promising than it’s ever been before!

  41. #42 Mats Naslund says:
    January 14, 2009 at 2:51 am

    H4L: His no-trade clause kicks in this summer, which is what I was referring to. This is why many people believe that Tampa will trade now, before they lose that ability. For all intents and purposes if he gets traded he will have a no trade cause on his new team. Making a 10 year commitment to a player who is 28 is a big deal. I’ll be happy either way with Gainey’s decision.

    We sure could have used him tonight. I was subjected to unnecessary heckling from the legions of Bruins fans leaving the Garden tonight. I was pretty disappointed with 17 shots in first and no goals. I had to watch the hit Kostitsyn got the 5 min major for when I got back home. It looked like a brutal call live, and upon review was nowhere near a major penalty.. unless we give penalties for checking in the shoulder now.

  42. #43 HabFull says:
    January 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Mats: I agree with you completely. The Kostitsyn check (that’s what it was) wasn’t worthy of penalty. I saw a lot of checks and interference that could have been called against the Bruins, especially in the first, that wasn’t. But I fear that’s my opinion because I’m a (diehard) Habs fan. I feel for ya coming out of the arena!
    What worried me about last night wasn’t so much the loss and the penalty, it was the relative lack of team size when compared to the Bruins. This may carry the Habs through the season, but come playoff time, team size is simply not there. Don’t get me wrong, we have the toughness to do very well, but the playoffs are a completely different game.
    We saw this last year and that’s why Georges was acquired. In fact, my feeling is that Habs management would rather have him fully healthy for the playoffs than to push him into service for (relatively) meaningless games during the season – I think while he’s on the IR, his much-discussed salary doesn’t even count against the cap.

  43. #44 groundworking says:
    January 14, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Lecavalier would have to leave his comfortable life in Tampa to come back and be a hero, a legend, in Montreal. He’s only 28. He won’t have nearly as much privacy in Montreal. But if he wants people to remember him as a hockey player in 50 years, 75 years, maybe 100 years, that road’s in Montreal.

    He might be nervous about what the pressure has supposedly done to other French Canadian captains. But let’s think about that. Montreal fans have a tendency to over-rate French Canadian talent, but Vinny IS, as a point of fact, a superstar. Turgeon, a good player, was never a superstar. Damphousse, a good player, was never a superstar. Lecavalier is different.

  44. #45 Joseph says:
    January 14, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    All I can say is that the Habs best make a big move if they’ve any hope of surviving the East this season. As it stands, a team such as Boston will likely have little difficulty disposing of them in the playoffs.

    That said, I wouldn’t be so anxious to part with PK Subban. He’s a spark plug and every team needs that. Can he be left out of the mix?

  45. #46 Habs 4 life says:
    January 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I didn’t catch the third last night, but I was pretty impressed by how the habs played. I’d like see the time on attack numbers because it seemed like we were in there zone for the most part but Thomas kept them in it.

    As for Subban, I agree that he’s got talent to spare but he’s cocky and too much of a show boat. Usually that’s ok with me but he also makes terrible (show off) plays at crucial times (ie: the no looking spin-o-rama pass that kept getting picked off over and over) I’m not sure that a guy like that will gel with Gainey’s style.

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