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How good are the Montreal Canadiens?

  • Are the Canadiens legitimate contenders this year?

    Are the Canadiens a playoff team?

    How good will the 2006/2007 Montreal Canadiens be?

    The Habs have changed in many ways since last season, but will they be better?

    The offseason brought new faces to replace some old and tired players. Jan Bulis and Richard Zednik were a main part of the offence last year. Whether they performed that way or not, they were expected to be some of the top guns up front. Bulis and Zednik are gone leaving holes up front.

    They were quickly replaced by Sergei Samsonov and Mike Johnson. Polls on this site indicate nearly everyone believes these replacements to be much better and are expecting big things from them. Especially from Sergei Samsonov who was the ‘big name’ free agent everyone needed to hear we signed. Bob Gainey was attacked by everyone until this deal surfaced. Is Samsonov that big a savior? Had Gainey not signed Sergei Samsonov would the Habs be, for lack of a better term, ‘screwed’ this season? Samsonov is no doubt extremely talented and a very skilled player but can he improve the team on his own?

    Mike Johnson will be a surprise this year and at the end of the season possibly be considered Bob Gainey’s best move. The guy is a solid player and contributor, a guy who is hungry to play and fill the role that’s given to him. Johnson also comes in with absolutely no pressure or expectations on him as you can see by the poll to the right.

    In theory Samsonov and Johnson should be improvements over Bulis and Zednik. What about the other issues the Canadiens will face?

    The Canadiens defence has not improved. The most questionable part of the team. In fact if you remove Andrei Markov from the D you are left with a rather grim looking picture. Craig Rivet’s play improved last year, Mike Komisarek is slowly coming around but far from a top 4. Which Sheldon Souray will show up? Frank Bouillon has more heart than anyone but will his body cooperate? The Habs are still lacking that #1 guy on defence.

    The Habs have more depth than they’ve had in a long time. With so many players available a trade for a #1 Defenseman is not out of the question.

    Cristobal Huet. Now we see if he is for real or not. Was it a flukey season or will he be able to be a top NHL goalie? Games are more often than not decided by goaltending and if the Habs want to contend they need big things from him. Aebischer is a safety blanket but Huet is the go to guy to start the year. Can he handle the pressure and expectations thrust upon him now as the #1 Goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens?

    Another thing to consider is the Habs coaching staff. Guy Carbonneau takes over as Head Coach for the first time ever. Kirk Muller debuts as an assitant coach with no coaching experience whatsoever. The fact they were good hockey players and Stanley Cup winners doesn’t guarantee anything behind the bench. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle to be put in place and the coaching staff will no doubt have their hands full.

    On paper and in theory the Canadiens are a better team than they were one year ago.

    The only thing left to do is prove it on the ice.

    Digg this story.

49 Comments
  1. the proof is in the pudding! I don’t think they have improved sufficiently to compete for the stanley cup. they still need a big D man, as well as another centerman; i’m not convinced Huet can handle the pressure over 84 games, and Aebischer just hasen’t played enough games to be judged yet. I still think, that before the regular season opens, Gainey will make some kind of move. I think he just waiting to see how things work out in training camp, before he knows what pieces will fit into the puzzle, or in this case, which pieces he is lacking.

  2. I think Gainey knows exactly what he’s doing. If we need changes, I trust he will do what’s best for the team. It’s hard to predict what is going to happen. It’s too early. Let’s see what kind of chemistry these players have, and if they mesh well together.

  3. Everyone on the team is one year better. Many of the teams younger players are maturing and will rise to the fore. Compared to many other teams, the Habs remain virtually intact from last season. That will be asset at the beginning of the year.

    As far as the defense not having improved goes, consider this. Markov will soon be in his prime, we’ve only been teased so far by his talents. Souray will settle nicely back into his former self. Issues with his marriage and adapting to the newer style of play are in the past. Komisarek is progressing every game he plays and will be much more efeective as the year goes on. The remainderare solid enough without being exceptional. They have the advantage of having played together for some time and no adjustments are needed when it comes to compatibility.

    The Canadiens remain a fast team up front. Had injuries not compromised the middle of the last regular season, and the playoffs, we may have gotten a better idea of what they were truly capable of. Should the question marks surrounding Bonk and Ribeiro be lifted by better play, this team could challange for top spot in the east. With Ottawa and Buffalo having been weakened by the departures of their respective best D’s and valuable scoring punch, the gap between these clubs is minimal at best.

    Stanley Cup winners are built, not bought. While not making huge moves, the Habs are on the right upward track. Better days are coming – something that could not be said four years ago.

  4. #4 Leafs - Canada's only non playoff team in 06-07 says:
    September 3, 2006 at 12:04 am

    Obviously the team has improved from last season. You would have to be a TO fan to think otherwise. ALthough I would have liked to see at least one of our starting 6 d men change. Markov should improve and Souray only gets ripped cause he is not french. I dont see Dandeneault getting the same punishment from the media. Any team in the playoffs can make a run like he Oilers did and sure we can finish 6th or 7th and do the same but If we want to be a 1,2,3 team throughout the season we do have to stay free of injuries, something this team can never seem to do. I still stand by my word that we are only a Marleau away from being a serious monster. Even if it means givng away youth to do so.

  5. Getting rid of Jose in goal was a good move, as was not losing Auby even though Huet played well. Samsonov is a probable upgrade over Zednick, but he does tend to hang onto the puck too long. I’d say the defense is the biggest area of concern this year.

  6. If this team seems to be dangerous approaching march, Gainey could get some reinforcements for the playoffs (in the same way Edmonton and Carolina did last year). Basically, a #1 D man and a #1 center is all we need.

  7. #7 CH tattooed on the heart says:
    September 3, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    I’m very excited for this year’s edition of the Habs. We all realized last season that Kovalev held on to the puck way to often for our liking, but if you think about it who was he supposed to pass the puck to? Bulis? Ribeiro? He now has a great option at his disposal in Samsonov. Whatch both of them open up the opposing teams’ defence and give Ribeiro more space to operate. I’m also extremely excited about our third line which should probably be made up by Johnson, Plekanec and Perezhogin. We have one of the most talented 3rd lines in all of hockey. We don’t have a big name defenceman on the blue line, however they work well as a group. The same thing can be said about Carolina and look how far they went. As for the Cristo-wall, he has always been good but never noticed until mid way through last season. I’m confident that he’ll prove his nay-sayers wrong.

  8. #8 jack Tornton says:
    September 3, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    I think that the montreal canadiens have improved.. but theyre not ready yet to contend for the cup… They might have the mighty Samsonov who could play play well along with kovalev.But if you look on the other side of the bottle, we dont have a great number one line. Whos playing on the first line? koivu? Ryder? Higgins? They might be good but not great. If could get a power( i mean POWER) forward we might have been a contending team. But as far as I see this team going they might fight for the 8 or 7 seat but theyre not even close to win the cup. Every team has a number one line which is composed of decent players. Look at ottawa: heatley, alfredson, — buffalo: briere, afigenov
    boston: bergeron,chara,savard —carolina: staal, brindamour, cole– atlanta: hossa, kovalchuk– tampa bay: St louis, lecavalier, Richard fedotenko– anaheim: niedermyar, Pronger, selanne, macdonald–calgary: iginla, tangay, Phaneuf–colorado: Sakic, Leopold–columbus: zherdev,Nash, fedorov–dallas: modano, lehtinen,jokinen—detroit: lidrostrom, datsyuk, zetterberg–florida: jokinen, bertuzzi–minnesota:fernandez(sick golie!!!),demitra, rolston–nashvile: kariya, vokoune (my favorite in the league),arnott–new jersey: ELIAS,gionta,gomez (unfortunately gomez or gionta may have to leave), BRODEUR
    New york R.: Jagr, Shanahan,Prucha—Philadelphia: Gagné, Forsberg—Phoenix: Doane,Jovanovski–Pittsburgh: Crosby,*Malkin*, gonchar– San jose: Thornton, Cheechoo,Mc Laren,Marleau, vancouver: Sedin twins, Naslund—washington:***********OVECHKIN********* period

    you guys understand whati mean… Our best player kovalev reached 65 points
    what about koivu? He gets an average of 60 points as well but this is not what we call a great player. He might be a great leader but when the time comes hes always injured.Last year we got an amazing year but when the time came ( in the playoffs) he got injured… This is not the type of player we need. We need a player of marleau types of caliber. We NEED a POWER FORWARD and samsonov is not going to help us. Please BOB do something

  9. #9 4mGhost says:
    September 3, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Habsblog is right- Defence. The Ghosts concur.

  10. #10 jack Tornton says:
    September 3, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    Those players that i have mentionned dont necessarely have to be a forward on defenceman or be playing in the first line. What i meant was that they are great players and we dont have any….As far as I know not yet…

  11. #11 Ron Jackson says:
    September 3, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    Yeah! true! The canadiens dont have a power forward and thats what we need. Good point tho.

  12. I totally agree with Jack. There simply aren’t any great players on the habs. We need an explosive power forward, preferably at center. Also our D collectively, is very average. Souray gets beaten all the time, and makes the hilight reels, for all the wrong reasons. This is a very mediocre team. All the other teams have improved substantially, and we have improved marginally. Not enough changes. Basically, all Gainey did, was add Samsonov. Forget about johnson; not much of a goal scorer. zero changes on D. So what do you expect? miracles? Don’t expect greatness; not going to happen. possibly a little more goal scoring, but anything would be an improvement over our anemic offence of last year.right? only time will tell. But if the Canadiens get off to a rough start in October, expect changes in a hurry!

  13. #13 ch master says:
    September 3, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    I think that we need a power forward. A player that is not always injured. Marleau would the perfect addition to the team. But why do we forget about our defence were not that strong on that end either. But what we need right now i think is a power forward. Not any power forward. We need a big player to protect our small ones. Marleau would fit perfectly with koivu. what do you guys think?

  14. #14 paella says:
    September 3, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    But what will give back fo marleau??
    Yesterday i was thinking about trading few of our prospects..
    We got enough but do you guys think that they will fit NHL
    Im not that sure
    What im sure about is that marleau has alreay proven that he is a super star, a great leader and a power forward.

    Ribeiro+grabovsky+markov+1rst round choice for marleau+ Mc Laren

  15. #15 ch master says:
    September 3, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    Im down for this trade
    GO HABS GO
    If this trade happens im gonna run naked on the street.

  16. If we could hold on to Markov the trade would be better.

    Marleau for Kostisyn+Grabovsky+Rivet(garbage)

  17. Jack THornton for new GM.

  18. #18 paella says:
    September 4, 2006 at 1:25 am

    Jack Tornton’s and habs heart 1′s messages were pretty pathetic. It is pretty obvious that neither of these cheesecakes have any kind of education or intelligence. Please learn how to write before you go ahead and yap off all of the idiotic ideas that assault your fragile minds.

  19. We have to be patient with the “SUPERSTAR PLAYERS” their coming.
    Look what’s in the farm boys. You can’t start trading away players like Mad Mike,
    you have to find that diamond first. Trust me Chris Higgins will be one of those guys.
    With all that talent on the farm im excited to see who’s gonna step up.
    My dark horse pick for next year will be Corey Locke, he has amazing skill.
    Should lead the Bulldogs in scoring this year.
    As for replacing Ribeiro, “Captain Canada” (Chipchura) will do just fine!

    The championships will return, sit back and enjoy the ride.
    After all look at our GM. Now that’s something to brag about.

  20. #20 jack tornton says:
    September 4, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    Im sure I didnt comitted as many mistakes as gainey did lol

  21. #21 jack tornton says:
    September 4, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    Im posting this message for those who like those begin, murray and downey…
    As far as i konw these feroce minimis have lots of fans because they play with heart.
    yes, I mean they play with heart…But we dont need three of the same style players, they dont help us scoring. What they do is cheking the opposite team’s players. But what we have to focus on is on scoring. I dont mean that we don’t need them. All what I want to say is that we might need one at max but not THREE. If we you guys look at this present situation you would understand me more clearly.

    I f we wouldnt have signed all these garbages we could have a higher budget and we could leave a spot for on or two of our future stars. Thats not all we could have enough money to add another good player that could help this team and as i said thats not all, our prospect would have additional player to take knowledge ( or experience) from.

    If I could just have a chance to meet Bob one day, I could explain him the situation.

  22. #22 PACTUM SERVA says:
    September 4, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Hahahahahaha You are so right jack thornton do us all a favour and please talk to bob for us. (end of sarcasm)

  23. #23 paella says:
    September 4, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    Yes, what we need is Jack to meet with Gainey and explain to him the situation. Once Gainey has been illuminated with Jack’s insights there is no telling how far this team can go.

  24. I would like to see an all russian line tested out in the pre-season
    (Kovalev-Grabovsky-Samsonov). As for Ribeiro, im not his biggest fan either, but I think he could have a breakthrough season this year. Otherwise, come march, he should be sent packing on a trade.

  25. #25 jack tornton says:
    September 4, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    Lots of people only focus on unecessery aspects of the game. One example could be Whatever Epa just said. Placing three russians on the same line. Why? Because theyre all russians? The background info doenst affect the game…

    WE need to find chemestry between our players and I think thats why we made it to the playoffs last.

    Who would think that montreal would have surpassed atlanta in points?
    Not me….
    What went so great was the fact that our players fit well together.
    No one could tell that Higgins would one day be playing beside Koivu.

    So what this team needs right now is chemestry… Thats why Guy is trying to find some chemestry between Kovalev, Samsonov and ribeiro. But this is not necessarely going to happen. As I said lets hope that the players fit well together.

    I hope you take it easy there paella!

  26. #26 jack tornton says:
    September 4, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    thats why we made it to the playoffs last year* sorry for the mistake

  27. #27 christopher ramzi says:
    September 4, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    yoooooo this is fo paella mother fuck you think youre smart men stop ur bullshit with your grammarr.this aint school awryt. you lil bitch. get your ass out of this site if you wanna talk about grammar. You might wanna leave your oppinion about the team but you aint correcting people iight???
    now you peace oo shit hope you aint do da same mistake.

    peace out ya alllll

  28. #28 jack tornton says:
    September 4, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    hey,,,,,take it easy there. This is not a site to insult each other. An I would like to tell you chris to be more respectful next time.. Dont ake it offensive..

  29. Hey, do any of you cheesecakes know if montreal’s preseason games will be shown on TV? If so, when is the first one, and in what channel would it be on?

  30. It would seem the leaf fans didn’t even make to the beginning of preseason to become disillusioned w/the team and visit us here. My earlier prediction was a bit off. Part of me feels bad for them- can you imagine what it must be like being a leaf fan since 1967? Poor guys. How is toronto’s basketball team?

  31. #31 jack tornton says:
    September 5, 2006 at 10:33 am

    As far as I know the preseeason games are never shown on tv. But you might wanna take a look on the newspaper.they always report the game.

  32. #32 jack tornton says:
    September 5, 2006 at 10:48 am

    I want to mention something else once again.

    As I canadiens fan we always wanna discover futur trades…But what are we getting out from that? Onw way or the other we’ll gwt to know about it as soon as it happens. Why are we digging so deep in our heads. We cant do nothing about it.

    All what I wanna say is that this is not a rumour site. It generally talks about the canadiens. The overall look and I like this aspect of the site.

    What I hate is when some noname person comes and drop a rumor and it goes on the headlines and so and so on….This is what I call lost of time..

    Thanks for taking a look at my report at todays date.

  33. You can usually pick up a radiocast of the preseason games on the internet, but televised games are another matter. Especially when they play in the smaller arenas- I think licensing and building limitations usually nix preseason television.

  34. #34 jack tornton says:
    September 5, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    Does anyone know if you can watch a hcokey game live on internet?

    This would be interesting

  35. #35 Jack, What are you mumbling about? says:
    September 5, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Hey Jack;

    Your sour grapes attitude is quite tiresome.
    Gainey is going to make you jizz your pants this year, if you really are a habs fan. GO BOB GO

  36. The Habs lines to start the season will look like this:

    Higgins Koivu Ryder
    Samsonov Ribeiro Kovalev
    Perezhogin Plekanec Johnson
    Begin Bonk Murray/Downey

    Markov Rivet
    Komisarek Souray
    Dandenaut Streit (Boullion being injured)

    Huet and Aebischer
    Seems pretty good…

    http://rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/212292.html

  37. i think a trade is verry possible ,leave it to carbo &bob .these guys have lots of knolage when it comes to hokey.let the season begin,and lets see what these players are made of . if the heart is there things will hapen ,koivu is at his end,time will tell. we still neeed a no1 deff,i think that bob will be making a trade soon.Montreal will finish the season in fine form mark my words ,all will fall inti place.

  38. #38 jack tornton says:
    September 9, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    Jack, What are you mumbling about?
    ????
    Youre lucky ou maa f**** those bit*** like you i smoke them two three times per day…Man you got balls send your msn email man see if youll use your legs..

  39. #39 jack tornton says:
    September 9, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    Man im being polite.. Thats it!

  40. #40 jack tornton says:
    September 9, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    Let’s predict we aquire gagne( I said lets PREDICT )

    the line up would look like that…

    Higgins-Koivu-Gagne
    samsonov-ribeiro-kovalev
    johnson-pleckanek-Kostsisyn
    Begin-Chipchura-Murray

    I think we would be calssified as one of the best team
    Thats only a dream *(it’s said: never keep up on your dreams)

  41. #41 Jack thornton, what the hell are you talking about? says:
    September 10, 2006 at 10:44 am

    What are you talking about JACKie boy?

    smoking?…..I hope you are not hitting on me, that would be weird. I will not show you my legs!!!

  42. Hey Jack;

    THere is no room on this site for sexual advances. Keep your posts about hockey or go find a perv room. We dont hit on other dudes here.

  43. #43 jack tornton says:
    September 10, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    Again???
    “Jack thornton, what the hell are you talking about?” writes something and “Habs” agrees with him??lol kinda makes sense. Go away Habs and harass people somewhere else. And as for the legs I would precisy my explanation. Braking a leg has something to do with sexuality??? mmmm….

    You’re one of those fans that drinks while reading articles??

    Anyways youre trying hard to prove yourself next time as I said it previously back up your opinion! Dont leave an opinion without backing it up…

    What tells you that I braking a leg has something to do with sexuality??

  44. #44 jack tornton says:
    September 10, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    Vieux pd de merde

  45. #45 jack tornton says:
    September 10, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    Does someone see this trend???

    Last message he left somewhere else on the site, under “Jack thornton, what the hell are you talking about?” name and just after 15 minutes somehow some one came under “Habs” name backed him up…This time he came under “Jack thornton, what the hell are you talking about?” name and then just after 10 MINUTES somehowe someone apparently came under “Habs” name and backed him up?

    You got me wondering….

    Anyways this site is opened to everyone canadiens, leafs, sens, oilers fans. But im proud to admit that I am a canadien fan. And if you just dont want to trust me then its up to you Habs. Freedom of speech..lol

  46. Jack you seem to be getting off topic. This is a hockey site.

  47. #47 Begin Rules says:
    September 12, 2006 at 2:51 am

    In my mind this will be a year for the franchise to make money off their improved image and to give some young guys a shot at the roster and give them playoff experience. The Habs are not a cup contender, they’re a playoff team with a future.

  48. HOw good are they?

    Good enough to even anxiously await training camp.

  49. #49 Darrell Westerner Hab Fan says:
    September 14, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    The Habs are good “TEAM” .They may not have the so called superstar player to lead them but they are solid in all areas and a lot of their young guys have the potential to make that next step to “superstardom”. Watch out if they do! This team is headed in the right direction . You don’t build championship teams by constantly trading away your youth. Gainey knows that you build through the farm and add those little pieces when needed. Block buster trades very seldom happen and even more seldom work out the way everyone anticipates they will. I guess what I’m trying to say is “PATIENCE” Hab fans , the cup will return in time.

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