montreal canadiens hockey – habs blog RSS

Surplus of Forwards

  • Assuming the Canadiens and Captain Saku Koivu are all healthy to start the year, the Habs coaching staff may have some major thinking to do regarding line combinations. There are a surplus of options and the Canadiens probably have more depth right now than any time in the last 10 or 15 years.

    Who will dress and where will they play? Who will be spending more time in the press box than on the ice? With newcomers like Sergei Samsonov and Mike Johnson all but guaranteed prime spots up front, what happens to character players and fan favorites from last year like Steve Begin, Garth Murray and Aaron Downey? What happens to young talent like Tomas Plekanec, Alexander Perezhogin and Andrei Kostitsyn who need ice time to develop?

    The Canadiens Jumble

    Where do they all fit?

    Sergei Samsonov – Saku Koivu – Alex Kovalev
    Mike Johnson – Mike Ribeiro – Michael Ryder
    Chris Higgins – Radek Bonk – Steve Begin
    Aaron Downey – Garth Murray – Tomas Plekanec
    Andrei Kostitsyn – Alex Perezhogin

    Looking at the players above, it looks easy to say that prospects like Guillaume Latendresse, Kyle Chipchura and Mikhail Grabovsky are still quite some time away from ever having a chance to play.

    How do you see the lines matching up for Game 1 on October 6th?

  1. Quite a predicament indeed. All I know is that wherever Begin and Murray play they will still give it their all on very shift.

  2. #2 jfk0202 says:
    August 31, 2006 at 11:21 am

    I see some time for the yougn talent to play. BG and Carby has said they want to develop them. I see something like this

    C.Higgins – S.Koivu – M.Ryder
    S.Samsanov – M.Ribeiro – A.Kovalev
    A.Perezhogin – T.Plekanec – M.Johnson
    S.Begin- R.bonk – (A.Downey|G.Murray)

    I think that a rookie or two will be fill ins lduring injuries and slumps ike Kostityn was last year…and also swapping with Downey, Murray. Begin has too much heart to sit and the 3 rookies last year did too well to sit them this year especially Higgins and Plekanec. I predict a trade at some point for a defensement in order to give Kostityn or
    whichever rookies breaks the line up. Maybe a trade wont be necessary for a D and BG will
    call in Emelin…One thing i’d love to see butdoubt will happen unless the lines have no chemistry is Samsanov – Koivu – Kovalev…very skilled line.

  3. #3 Habsfan4ever says:
    August 31, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    I still think Montreal should have figured a way to get JP Dumont. He wanted to play here. Other than that I think if Koivu is Healthy put him back with Higgins…..

  4. Too much depth?!
    Then it’s simple.
    Trade Riberio, Perezhogin and a prospect and in return get a decent center for Kovalev.

  5. From the newspappers, it’s look like Carbo want Ribeiro to play with Kovalev and Samsonov. Is it because they know something we don’t about Koivu or is it because rebeiro did well with Kovalev and Koivu with Higgins and Ryder ?

    In the LaPresse, they said Ribeiro took skating lessons this summer and learned a bit and hope to keep on this year. He said he learned a lot about braking and fast start with the buck. So if he really get a great year, it will be good to see him with both of those and see if he can read their play and make the right pass or the goal when he have to. Carbo will probably try Koivu with Samsonov and Kovalev some times during games etc… just to see how it goes….

    Murray did great last season, but just like Downey I don’t think we needed those players this year. We signed them too early. I am sure both will see some Ice time but they will be on the press box more often.

    I hope we get a trade to make some place for the youngs one this year. But it’s gonna be hard to do so.

    If all player do well, we might see something like this, with line 1-2 having same ice time, and 3-4 the same too.

    1 – Samsonov – Ribeiro – Kovalev
    2 – Higgins – Koivu – Ryder
    3 – Perezhogin – Plekanec – Kostitsyn
    4 – Bonk – Begin – Johnson

    But if Ribeiro isn’t able to fallow, things might change.

    1 – Samsonov – Koivu – Kovalev
    2 – Higgins – Plekanec – Ryder
    3 – Perezhogin – Begin – Ribeiro (or johnson here)
    4 – Kostitsyn – Bonk – Johnson

    Well, until we see them play during the camp, if trades happens and w/wo injury it’s hard to know.

  6. #6 The Leafs of the 80s are back says:
    August 31, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    JFK202 is pretty much dead on with his lines. Although it will depend on how they preform in the preseason. I would like Guy to mix it up in preseason a little bit too see if anyone els matches up incredibly well. Last preseason they played Zednik-Koivu-Kovalev one game and the Dagenais-Ribeiro-Ryder the next and never really switched it up. Look what happend to those lines come the regular season. They fell apart and put us behind the 8 ball.

    ANyways I know this is easier said then done but we have enough youth and depth to pull of a trade right now to acquire a center to solidify our forwards. In all honesty if we added a Marleau type player then we would be SERIOUS stanley cup contenders. IF all it would take was a Perezhogin to acquire Robert Lang we would be insane not to do it. Perezhogin is one youngster that has not impressed yet seems to get alot of droolers. If it takes a trade like a Ryder and a Perezhogin to get Marleau we would have to do it. Although Im sure the sharks would pressure for Markov which would eliminate any deal. It is great to have alot of youth talent but eventually we have to trade a bit of the future for the present. I just dont want to see in five years the we still have promising youth and still be a good but not great team. Eventually we have to make our move on the Cup AGAIN.


  7. #7 The Leafs of the 80s are back says:
    September 1, 2006 at 12:03 am

    ALso if what I am hearing is correct(MTL interested in Legwand) which Mtl rumours usually are not, then I would be willing to give up a forward prospect say a Kostisyn for a Legwand. I know everyone is all high on Andrei but HOw many prospects actually reach full hype. Terry Ryan, Sebastien Bordeleau, Brent Bilodeau, Jason Ward and Ron Hainsey to name a few. Look at Hainsey, here is a guy that had everyone awaiting his presenc and he has become a 6th d man at best for a noon playoff team.

  8. The pre-existing forwards and potential line ups/combinations are fantastic as is. I don’t know how anyone would have even thought for one moment that the Canadiens were going to add JP Dumont as another forward on top of what they already have. From that start, I said that Dumont joining the Habs was a myth that was propagated by a French media who would still want Stephane Richer signed with the team if they had their way! All they have done is created unnecessary hard feelings for Gainey in Montreal; Well done, you idiots at La Presse! Try and slew foot the best GM that the Habs have had since Sam Pollock! Maybe, with all your collective brilliance at La Presse, you can get Gainey fired so we can get another loser (?Mario Tremblay) at the helm again. Before you decide to report in the papers that some other French player wants to play for the Canadiens maybe you should actually check with Habs management first to see if they want/need the player involved!

    With Chipchurra, Latendresse and Kostitsyn waiting in the wings, every single Canadiens forward will have to produce in their assigned roles or else someone else (who will produce) gets their job. I cannot remember a Habs’ team in the last two decades that had this much depth; they could throw five bona fide NHL lines at their opposition on any night.

    I cannot believe what I am about to say, but I think even Ribeiro might have a good year this year; he must know that it’s now or never for him as a Hab for the upcoming season, and I believe he will respond favorably to this pressure.

  9. By trade deadline it will be OUT with Ribeiro
    and OUT with Bonk. LINES WILL BE:
    1. Higgins – Koivu – Ryder
    2. Samsonov – Plekanec – Kovalev
    3. Perezhogin – Chipchura – Johnson
    4. Kostitsyn – Begin – (A.Downey|G.Murray)

  10. My apologies for the last message to La Presse. On looking back, I believe it was that started the rumour mill on JP Dumont becoming a Hab without doing any simple fact checking like speaking to Habs’ management first.

  11. Well the trade deadline is in March, so what about the first 6 months of the season? :)

  12. I saw Higgins working out this offseason. He will have a “sick crazy’ year. Can anybody say 50 goals??? He has been working hard on his physical and mental game. Will be getting a video link for all to check it out.

  13. to Rob :
    Who ever first said that JP Dumont could come to Montreal doesn’t matter. They only reported what JP Dumont said. Dumont said that Montreal was on top of his list to play. So if Montreal made an offer to Dumont it would have been highly considered but it didn’t happens. I think the press did right with what they said, nothing more than the truth.

    stevejur : Are you talkind about the trade deadline or the start of the season, it’s make a big 6 month of difference. And either way, I don’t think neither will move. I don’t see who would be interrested in Bonk, he is not worth much and salary still big and useless for a team in playoff. May be Ribeiro could go in the end if he is not good but why wait in the end if he is still worth something ?

  14. Gang, I dont want to mess your line schemes up, but the surplus of forwards is more than likely to cover Koivu while he heals. I would be surprised to see him ready for Oct. 6th. However, the tough little bastard has surprised me before, he may again. Also, Carboneau has made several hints at Ribiero being a project of his- I am certainly no fan Ribs right now, but I’m a big fan of Guy. If Guy sees something in Ribs that he thinks he can build off of, then I defer to Mr. Carboneau. After all, he’s won a few more Stanley Cups than I, so his opinion should count for something.

  15. #15 Habs#1 says:
    September 1, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    With all these surplus forwards and possibly an excess goaltendre it wouldn’t surprise me to see Gainey deal for a defenceman since Boullion is out till Novembre.

  16. The lines to start the season should ressemble this: (LW-C-RW)

    Kostitsyn-Begin-Plekanec(Debateable w/Perezhogin)

    I don’t think that any enforcer-type players will be starting (ie.Murray Downey)Because BG and GC would like to see one of their prospects like Kostitsyn.I have Bonk at 3rd line because he’s a very good player in the defensive zone, and showed his talent nearing the end of the season. If Bonk get’s traded which is probably gonna happen mid-season then Murray steps in as an enforcer role. I also think Chipchura is gonna see some ice time during the season. Hopefully Ribiero can step up his game and have an 80 point season, thats reaching quite a bit, but if he does our top 2 lines will be on unstoppable.

  17. The Leafs of the 80s are back …I know I being baited did the leafs win a cup in the 80’s??:=)
    GP I hope you are right I love the way Higgins plays with a lot of heart!!

  18. #18 The Leafs of the 80s are back says:
    September 1, 2006 at 11:44 pm

    I heard JFJ is a very spiritual man. Maybe he has been taking advice form Harold Ballard.

    As for RIbeiro, there is little doubt in my mind he has the talent to score 70+ points in this league but what scares me now is he is under the microscope coming in to this year. I think it will be more of a mental struggle for him. ANd for everyone that rips him for being a player with the ladies, cmon give me a break. You cant blame the guy for that.

  19. For all those of you who think Ribeiro will have a 70 point season, dream on! And if all you people think we have so much depth, look again! depth means nothing if your depth are unproved talent, or more importantly, proven under achievers, both of which we have. Honestly, murray, Kostityn, perohzogin, Johnson combined won’t score 25 goals! Don’t talk about depth, unless they are proven commodities! Anyone can throw bodies out there, and say they have depth. Not So! What we need is more TALENTED PLAYERS!

  20. #20 Leafs - Canada's only non playoff team in 06-07 says:
    September 2, 2006 at 1:59 am

    The Leafs will be in the playoff race as long as the leafs remain on the trees.

  21. #21 Leafs - Canada's only non playoff team in 06-07 says:
    September 2, 2006 at 2:01 am

    Its funny how many people write opinions with some much confidence it what they are stating. Like RIbeiro will not get 70 points. Or johnson and Co will not score 25 goals combined. But when they are proven wrong they disappear are change their name. Save the predictions for the pros and just root for your team.

  22. the last time the leafs won the cup, most of the people on this blog weren’t even born! And you’r giving advice? Fix up your own team first!

  23. #23 Black Sassatoo says:
    September 2, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    Montreal will get the scoring we need from the top 2 lines

    Higgins-Koivu-Ryder, clicked we’ll at the end of the year
    Samsonov-Ribeiro-Kovalev. The pressure is on Ribeiro to score often and early

    After that I’m not too sure. The Habs haven’t had a dynamic scorer who put up big numbers since Damphousse. But we’ve still won some big games. Higgins, 50 goals? I’d love to see it.

  24. I would love to have Higgins and Ryder open up this year.

    But here is a thought about Riberio all of us have traded Riberio off 8 or 9 times over that`s the census on this website, he is most disliked player with the Habs..right.

    Ok question if he keeps up with Samsonov and Kovalev and becomes the playmaker we so desperately want for Habs, do we the FANS accept him into the Canadiens or are we still going to write him off like we have done the whole summer?

    For myself I`m willing to see how the season starts and to give this guy a chance to show if his power skating courses are going to pay off for him and that the money he receives will bring him up to the next level.

  25. I think everyone’s giving him one more chance. Now’s his time.

  26. #26 Harold Ballard for PM says:
    September 3, 2006 at 12:58 am

    I youth is looking very inpressive right now for our team. Price, Chipchura, Kostitsyn are the leaders of the pack. These are players that could probably crack key roles for the Toronto squad this year, but will not make a impact for us for a while yet. Matt Stajan is a joke.

  27. #27 jack Tornton says:
    September 3, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    Everyone is talking about ribeiro, ribeiro, ribeiro, ribeiro. Why are all you guys blaming him so much? Did you expected a Jagr from him.Last year was his second full season. And he reached the 50 point plateau. what do you think?

    Now the question is are we going to give a chance to our youngsters? How can we give a spot to one of them when we dont have a spot for murray yet?
    I think that you guys are overrating bob gainey.This guy is aint smart…

    proof: if he would be smart he would have already started negociating with markov’s new contract last year. Everyone knew that markov is our bes D right now. But you know what mr. Smart is going to wait when the last day comes and then hes going to offer him a shitty contract and guess what—we lose markov–
    or the only way we can still keep him is by offering him a rich contract( im talking about over 5 million)

    What do you think after seeing chara getting a 7.5 million contract, he wont feel like getting atleast a 5 million one?

    Bob gainey does the same thing with ribeiro, he gives him a 1.9 million contract and he wants to see if he can proof that he has some gas in his tank. Even if he performs amzingly this year we wont take advantage of it. cuz anyways his contract expires the same year. Good job BOB!

    What happened with Huet?
    When we aquired him we offered him around 0.9 million contract and he prooved that he worth it and what happened?
    We had to pay him 3 million dollar.

    Man if we could see all the mistakes that Bob is commiting we wouldnt be sitting on our sit right..

    Im the first one to search for his street adress! Ill find his adress and you guys bring the tomatoes..

  28. TO Jack Thornton:

    How do you know what Gainey is doing?

    Are you Andre Savard in diguise?

  29. Tricolor True: Ribs having a 70 point season is not impossible at all, in 03-04, he scored 65 pts, without these new rules that allow smaller players room to play. Not to mention he’ll be centering Samsonov AND Kovalev, 2 great playmakers. So before you write him off and say he won’t get 70 points, think a little, even last year he had 51 points, where he played terribly, think of what he can do on a good season! As for depth we do have a lot of young players, but that’s not necesarily bad, Perezhogin had 19 pts in his rookie year, and Mike Johnson scored 54 points and is playing on the 3rd line, and depth doesn’t mean every player is a superstar. We DON’T need more talented players, our first 2 lines are very good, our last 2 line aren’t unbeliveable, but considering they’re made up of young players, they arent bad at all. Our 3rd line will score a combined 15-20 goals max, but that doesnt mean they’re bad, remember-3RD LINE. They have a great team, and have a shot to make it far in the playoffs.

  30. Jack Thornton: The reason he payed Huet 2.5 mil this year, is because he had an unbelievable season, he had 7 shutouts in 36 games, .929 save Percentage and a 2.20 GAA, he was the key to us makng the playoffs, so before you bash Gainey, look at the stats. Huet’s career Save SVP is .918, and he played for the Kings, his GAA is only 2.32, that’s not bad at all, and buddy, Jose Theodore is making 5.5 mil in Colorado, is Huet worth it now, or would you rather us have Theo here, because he’s sooooo great? How about Kolzig, 5.45 mil, or is Huet still too expensive, or lastly JS Giguere – 4.99mil – I don’t know about anybody else, but Huet is a bargain for what we’ve seen, you can’t say he’s gonna choke because no one knows, any goalie can choke, but Huet had a fantastic season, and deserves every penny he’s getting.

  31. #31 jack tornton says:
    September 5, 2006 at 11:08 am

    I thnk you guys arent understanding me

    Go and read what I said…

    YOu still dont get read it another time…

    But you know what forget about reading it another time..What Im saying is that when we aquired huet bob didnt give him a long term contract and thats what is the bad side of the game. If youre a good GM you have to know who youre aquiring. We might have given a 4 year term contract to Huet and he could be playin for 900 000$.

    I never mentionned the mistake Bob commtted by aquiring Bonk and giving him a long term contract(3years)


    If Bonk would have turned a great player we would be paying him only 2,4 million dollar which is not alot for a player that I was expecting him to be.
    Its all about luck and it didnt work.

    I hope you get a clearer idea of what I man Frank

  32. #32 jack tornton says:
    September 5, 2006 at 11:09 am

    *I hope you get a clearer idea of what i mean Frank* sorry for the mistake

  33. #33 Jack, What are you mumbling about? says:
    September 5, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    Jack, you are not making any sense. Either you are a Leafs fan and you are pretending to be a Habs fan you so you can disgrace oiur team or you are some over zealous french habs fan that dislikes Gainey because there are not enough average to unskilled french born players on our team. Or you are just an idiot.

    To all those other french MOntreal fans; DOnt diss Gainey for this lack of french talent right now, there just isant much out there right now. Gainey’s only responsibility to the people of Quebec is to put a winning team together which he has done and will continue to do. There are only about 5 or 6 GMs out there who have the knowledge and snarts to do that job and we have one of them. IF you bash Gainey you are bashing the Canadiens symbol. If you run Gainey out of tow then you are no different then the Monteal media which would make you a peice of crap. Be a fan and shut your mouths.

  34. #34 Jack, What are you mumbling about? says:
    September 5, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Trade rumour:

    To MTL : Jack thornton

    TO Tor: Raphael

    Oh second thought I think we would be giving up too much.

  35. #35 Jack thornton, what the hell are you talking about? says:
    September 9, 2006 at 11:05 am

    Trade rumour #2

    To mtl: Jack THornton’s mama

    To TOR: Carey Price, Thomas Plekanec, Guilliame Latendresse, 2 first rounders.

  36. #36 jack tornton says:
    September 9, 2006 at 4:28 pm


  37. #37 jack tornton says:
    September 9, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    You’re one of those kids that doest make sense. How old are you 12?
    Leave the web site and harass people somewhere else… tell me one thing that is wrong with my opinion? What kind of reply are you leaving? If you got some intelligence you note the cons I wrote rather than talking about a trade involving my! How much can someone be idiot…God bless him… Loll funny kid

  38. #38 jack tornton says:
    September 9, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    This same person leaving messages everywhere.. Who’s in charge of this website? Isnt anyone cheking the messages at the end of the day?? And deleting those which absolutely don’t make sense?

  39. #39 Jack thornton, what the hell are you talking about? says:
    September 10, 2006 at 10:47 am

    Dont patronize yourself, no one has agreed with anything you have said.

    To MTL: Jack Thornton’s mama

    TO TOR: Spank that wet ass

  40. #40 jack tornton says:
    September 10, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    How come your name changed moving from article #33 to article # 34 ???
    Youre bizarre

    Go and contact a psycholgue

  41. Jack thornton, what the hell are you talking about?

    Aren’t you tired of your vulgair language buddy?

  42. To ne1 who put Chipchura on their lines, I doubt they are bringing him up.

    Begin-Perezhogin-Kostitsyn (Substitute Downey/Murray for perezhogin/kostitsyn)

    I think Begin is a good player to put with newer players. I think spacing out Koivu/Kovalev/Samsanov/Higgins is important. Koivu/Kovalev can make plays and score, higgins/ryder/samsanov/ribeiro can all score. Kostitsyn will probably also get a very nice rookie season.

    Habs have the cup this year, leafs have 15th place in our conference reserved for em.

Leave a Comment