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Home Boys

  • The Canadiens are at the beginning of a stretch of 7 consecutive home games. The Habs will play 9 of the next 10 games at home.

    The Canadiens are 6-2-2 at home so far. Okay, but not great.

    With so many home upcoming home games there is bound to be some tough road stretches ahead. Time to bank some points.

    A good start is crucial, lose 2 or 3 in a row at home and the fans will make the Bell Centre feel like the most brutal road building.

131 Comments
  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    December 17, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=259989&lid=sublink02&lpos=headlines_main

    Well, it looks like some of us are going to get our wish, in that Carbo has decided it is time to reunite last season’s best line of Alex Kovalev, Thomas Plekanec, and Andrei Kostitsyn. I for one am happy to see this trio at least get another shot considering how comfortable they were together at the end of last year. The other VERY positive news from this story: the return of Mike Komisarek. After 16 games, he is back and apparently fit enough to play against Philly on Thursday which is great news for the Canadiens because the Flyers are playing some good offensive hockey right now. Biron has had an up and down season thus far, however, so I’m watching to see how the top line responds to this opportunity. Like Carbo said: they don’t have to score every game, but they have to make a difference.

  2. Well, that’s something, and it’s about time that Carbonneau decided to go back to the line which was so successful last season.

    Hopefully Komisarek’s presence will make forechecking a more difficult task for the opposition.

    This team is very much in need of a five or six game winning streak, but I think that they’ll need Koivu and Price to accomplish this.

  3. Another note: Plekanec dazzled in the slanted game. He just has to start finishing his plays.

  4. The game against Carolina was a joke. Is it me or has anyone else noticed that when the Canadiens play teams from the southern US states that the penality calls are out of wack with reality. I recall last season against San jose and Anaheim there were questionable calls. My personal opinion is the fix is coming from Bettman’s office to promote hockey to southerns.

  5. California, although geographically a southern state, needs little promotion. Hockey is ‘right popular’ there. :-) Seriously though, you’re not dealing with selling the game to the reds in CA.

    Further, I can see no reason to sell the game in Carolina as they’ve already won a Stanley Cup. That team is either going to have a fanbase or it’s not.

    Anyway, if this is true, then Bettman might find that the game would sell better if he were to promote the New York Yankees of hockey in this their centennial season rather than attmept to cripple their efforts.

    Sports as a business. Sickening.

  6. #6 Mats Naslund says:
    December 18, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I can say as a Canadian living in the US that Bettman’s quest for the ever elusive American market is doomed to failure. Coming originally from Southern Ontario, a place where you will find packed buildings for regular season peewee games, I will say that Hockey is doomed to remain an unacknowledged step-sister of the big 3 sports (Baseball, Football and Basketball). Given the amount of immigration from south of the border, we may even see a day when Soccer gains more popularity than Hockey. I live in Boston (probably the biggest Hockey culture in the US) and still the sport is almost entirely ignored in mainstream media coverage. There is one place where despite the economy or politics hockey will always be the number one issue: and that is Canada. Bettman has ignored this for too long. That is all the venting I want to do with regards to him.

    It could seem when watching penalty after penalty that the fix was in, but I have to say – many of the penalties were warranted. You put your stick in a bad spot without moving your feet and you’re going to get called. And if Montreal had committed that many penalties I have no problem with the ref’s handing down punishment after punishment until they start skating. My problem is that when it came to the other end, and Montreal players were being interfered with there was no consistency in the way the officials called penalties. Montreal got no leeway, while Carolina got all kinds. That is my frustration with how that game was called. I think most of us prefer if the refs let the players play a little, just be consistent.

    Maxwell is sitting out tonight as Big George is back in the lineup along with Komisarek. While it has been Montreal’s offense that has struggled since he was hurt, it should be a boost to have him back on the blue line beside Markov.

    Lines for tonight:

    kostitsyn-plekanec-kovalev
    tanguay-lang-d’agostini
    kostitsyn-lapierre-latendresse
    laraque begin-kostopoulos

    markov-komisarek
    hamrlik-gorges
    boullion-brisebois

    halak

  7. Soccer will never succeed at the level which other sports have in North America because a) us yanks are not usually open to and therefore not receptive of new ‘things’, and b) the west will achieve a full collapse before we can become more open-minded about much of anything, which is ironic.

  8. Of course.

  9. Hey I know you Latendresse haters won’t like what I am going to say but you have to admit he played a pretty good game to night and one a goal and could have had a couple more. Using is body to his advantage in the corners and along the boards, protecting the puck and taking the man. Nice to see him working hard.

  10. Kovy still playing hard and starting to get some luck and the bounce of the puck.

    Why to I feel uncomfortable with Halak in goal??? He played well tonight but when philly got that lucking goal in the third it just seemed to make me feel uncomfortable everytime he touched the puck. I guess I have to get over it, but I will be happy when Price is back.

  11. Well I think in the long run Carbo’s line suffling will pay off, I remember when Bowman used to do it and everyone criticised him for it especially when we lost, but hey come playoff time everyone could play with everyone and I also think this is a intangible thing that many are missing. It is called team growth, how can you not stick up for everyone on your team with you play with everyone all the time. There was a quite a bit of that tonight, glad to see Komisarek back the defence looked so much more confident.

  12. #12 Joseph says:
    December 19, 2008 at 1:19 am

    Halak makes me very nervous. He should proably avoid handling the puck.

    I hope that this post doesn’t repeat but way to go Kovalev, Latendresse, D’Agostini et al. Hopefully that kind of effort will be more consistent from this point on.

    Oh, and Burnside and I are in complete agreement on at least one thing: Unnecessary Drama

    I’m so relieved that Sundin didn’t come to Montreal and ruin the potential of this team.

  13. #13 Donnie says:
    December 19, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Way better game. All we gotta do is keep it up. Seems Kovy is slowing getting the feeling back. 4th line still playing hard, but still need our scorers to keep scoring. Loved that Laraque is back in, he should have a permanent spot. Great that Komisarek is back too….stay well Mike.
    Having these two in the line-up is necessary right now.
    Like the comentator said last night….with George and Komi. back in, you can see a little more jump in the rest of the team, the feel secure, and play with more confidence. Every man on this team plays like they are a foot taller with these two guys around. Keep em there Guy.

  14. #14 habknot says:
    December 20, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I agree, Donnie. I just think its about accountability. The players, especially the young Kotsitsyn, the grinders etc., can just play their game; which includes hitting everything that moves with the puck. They don’t have to worry about being intimidated by Hartnell for delivering a check to Gagne or Richards. Hartnell knows it too; that if he tries to respond to a good check on a skill player with a show of force, he is going to have to face Big George. Without that presence, everytime we even hit a skill guy, there is a scrum, and our guys are being shoved around. Plekanec, Higgins [when healthy] are fine body checkers, they just don’t know how to handle the gratuitous shoving, face wipes, etc. Those of us who are still hopeful are waiting for Lats to really add that to his game. He shows signs, especially recently, and again; I think it will be easier on a team that has the police presence that Laraque brings.
    Go, Habs, Go!!!

  15. #15 Senet1 says:
    December 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Habknot, I am glad that you also agree that Lats is starting to play a little more agressive with and without the puck. I think there are some that have been too hard on the guy. No he has not played as good as he can but the benching and then the extra ice time he is getting now seems to have given him the message that he needed, let hope that he keeps it up.

  16. #16 Joseph says:
    December 20, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Bad habits die hard I guess.

    Too many missed chances.

  17. Nice to see Kovie starting to find his groove now. Classic Kovalev roofer to win the game on the power play tonight. Go Habs!

  18. #18 Mats Naslund says:
    December 21, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I’ve figured out that it was actually me watching the games that was jinxing the habs on that streak since I’ve missed the last two. I was glad to see Sergei score two last night as well as Kovalev with an absolute beauty in OT. Go Habs.

  19. #19 Senet1 says:
    December 21, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Well to put missed chanced in the proper prospective you have to figure that even the best goal scores only score on about 20% of their chances so althought they are missing some chances I think that is normal. Then take the fact that your second, third and fourth line players are not as good as the best players, if they score on 5-10% of their chances then that is also probably normal.

  20. #20 Senet1 says:
    December 21, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    As Kovy said the other night he was trying to do too much and so the harder he tried the worse it got. You could see lately that he was really working hard but no breaks were going his way, so now that he has the monkey off his back the whole team will improve, power play and everyone will loosen up more because with Kovy scoring there is less pressure on everyone else.

  21. #21 Senet1 says:
    December 21, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Mats I also was blaming myself so I purposely missed watching the first period in the PHilly game the other night until they got up 3-1 because I thought I was Jinking them too.

  22. #22 Joseph says:
    December 21, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    That comment was posted some time in between the second and third periods but came through later, and I did follow it up with another one which got lost in the mix I guess.

    Senet1, you always see the positives in things, which is a great way to see things, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched a team miss that many chances at a gaping or at least semi-gaping net in one game. You expect a few to be chipped off the post or wide, but not 12. Are they holdiong their sticks too tight? Maybe. Either way, it honestly could have been a blood bath.

  23. #23 Joseph says:
    December 21, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    That being said, I am more than pleased that they prevailed for their second win in a row.

  24. The NHL is a joke.

    Incompetent/inconsistent officiating taints this league with the stench of sh*t, and this an enormous reason why so many would be fans choose to leave it rather than take it. It’s no fun at all–in fact it’s painful–to endure these clowns in stripes skating around, making terrible calls, missing text book penalties, calling something for a penalty in the first period, letting the very same thing go in the second period, and then calling it again in the third period. That’s enough to make a potential fan of this game lose interest in a hurry, and so it does. Sickening.

    That said, anything that grows too large ultimately destroys itself, and it is my opinion that the best thing that could happen to the game of hockey and its fans would be the mass extinction of a pletora of franchises, the resulting disappearance of corporate logos from the boards, and ultimately a newborn desire to play the game for the sake of playing the game. Meanwhile, Bettman can keep his laughable circus. I’m about ready to get off of the carrousel for the last time.

  25. Joseph, here I go again, looking for the positive, Don’t leave the game we habs fans would miss you, I know what you are saying, I thought the refs were very bad in the carolina game as well. It seems we get this kind of referee when we play these types of teams, I sometimes think the NHL does it on purpose to keep them in the game. Having said that our team seems to be working hard at times I just wish out goal scores would work as hard as the third and fourth lines are right now. Honestly if Lapierre, Latendress and Kostopolus could get a few more breaks or a little softer hand they would be our #1 line. That line and the rookie are making are so called scorers look bad. Even Laraque, Begin and Maxwell looked good at times, where are plex, Kovalev and S. Kost. Price look very good at times but the first goal and the OT goal were bad mistakes but where was his defence on the OT goal. That is were I still believe we are the weakest.

  26. When to try to hard you squeeze your stick too tight and you miss the net. As Kovy said he was just trying to do too much and consequently he was actually doing less.

  27. #27 PACTUM SERVA says:
    December 22, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    S. Kostitsyne and kovalev have been our best players in the past few games so i am not sure why you would say where are they

  28. Here is a stat I bet most of you would not have bet was correct. Now seems I was criticized a week ago for suggesting that he was starting to use his body more. Those critics have to admit that the last two games he has played very well both physically and with and without the puck. Is he a star yet? No but he is picking up his game and working harder which is what the carbo message was all about.

    8 Game-high hits thrown by Guillaume Latendresse, who leads the Habs with 84 hits this season.

  29. Another stat that surely shows how well this line is playing.

    10 – Times over his past 11 games that Maxim Lapierre has claimed over 50 per cent of his faceoffs, with the scrappy centerman having won 8 of 12 draws against the ‘Canes.

  30. 98 – Weeks since the Canadiens last notched a win at the Bell Centre on a Sunday, dating back to a 4-3 overtime win over the Penguins on February 4, 2007.

    I think we better start sending these guys to church instead of sunday morning skates.

  31. #31 Senet1 says:
    December 24, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Well I guess you and I have been watching two different teams because there line is the only line that has not been doing anything. The third and fourth line have been putting the pressure on too bad they can’t score with some regularity because if they could with the chances there are getting they would have a bundle of goals. The Kid is playing with Lang and Tanguay, Lang and the Kid are producing but Tanguay seems to have fallen off.

    I have always said the Plex and Kovy are working hard but they are not producing and I guess that is the reference to where are they?? We don’t expect the third and fourth lines to produce yet they are playing great. Kovy has scored a couple of goals after his slump on a winner but it seems to me that he is not playing 60 minutes yet!!!

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