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Two Headed Monster

  • When the Canadiens are playing at the top of their game this year they are exciting to watch and hard to beat. Their 13-6-3 record makes them 8th best in the entire NHL.

    What’s encouraging but also frustrating to see is the Canadiens are not playing to their potential and often times don’t play a complete game.

    Beat the best team in the league on the road, lose to the worst team in the league at home. That’s the kind of polar opposite things Habs fans are getting used to seeing.

    The Habs also seem to have problems winning back to back contests despite having a favorable schedule this year and having a fresh starting goalie available on any given night.

    The loss to Chicago, Florida and now the Flyers were all back to back games, against inferior teams. Those six points would have given the Habs 35 and have them second only to the Sabres.

    If Carbonneau can get the team firing on all cylinders, game in game out – the Canadiens have the potential to go somewhere.

    What next?

    The Panthers, whom you can’t write off as an easy win. The defending Champ Hurricanes and of course the Leafs.

    Which team will show up?

39 Comments
  1. Even with the loss on Saturday to the Flyer’s I have been impressed with the Hab’s this year. As Anaheim found out two week’s ago when they lost to Philadelphia at home anything is possible if you run into a hot goalie as was the case on Saturday night. Is Montreal perfect? Absolutely not ie. too many penalties still, inconsistent goal scoring, bad stretches in each game etc….but guess what I just described every team in the league. There is such a fine line between winning and losing in this league that nothing surprises me when the Hab’s do happen to lose to a last place team ( although it is frustrating for any Hab fan). I still feel strong about this team and I feel they will get even better over the second half and should comfortably place in fourth or fifth in the conference. Look for the Hab’s to win two out of three this week!

  2. Like every Hab fan, I cannot hide my frustration either. The question is whether this is how they’ll play the entire season… and eventually the playoffs? I still have full faith in Carbo and the rest of the management. Perspective or am I fooling myself? Taking a nap during the game… like the 2nd period against the Wild and part of the Flyers game… can happen here and there during the season. Fact is, they won’t finish number 1… is that such a big deal as long as they stay awake for the playoffs?

    As you say, HB, when they’re at the top of their game, they’re very hard to beat. But staying at the top of your game, especially in those back-to-back specials during the season, takes more energy that its worth (right Kovy?).

    So, as long as they do well in the playoffs and make a good run for the Cup, do we care about the odd frustration??? Yes, of course. But, how much does it matter? Usually they’ve been great this year.

    Players who did well during the last few games include the much maligned Souray, whose interview in today’s Gazette indicates he’s ready for a trade and is well aware of increasing his value and bargaining power as a result of his play of late — here’s hoping he can keep it up and STAY with the Habs. And BTW: Kovy and Ryder have quietly started producing, a very good sign.

  3. With the win 2, lose 1 pattern they usually follow.

    That means they’ll win each playoff series in 5 games :)

  4. Habs Blog, I love those odds.

    And Jack, I really don’t want to bring up Souray because of how much trouble it’s gotten me into, but don’t worry he’ll most likely finish the season with the Habs. Another change in the NHL is that there isn’t much of a market for players who are going to be UFA at the end of the year anymore. Last year the only offer the Laffs got for McCabe, who’s situation last year is comparable to Souray’s, was from Dallas for Martin Skoula. Souray will most likely finish the season in MTL.

  5. And if any of you are wondering about those Montreal Gazette comments Jack was talking about here they are:

    Of the four impending free agent defensemen for Montreal, Andrei Markov should be the one that is locked down first, says Sheldon Souray.

    Despite being one of the four free agents, Souray believes Markov is the Habs best rearguard and also the youngest, which makes it imperative to sign Markov first.

    “Bob’s got to start with (Andrei) Markov,” Souray told the Montreal Gazette. “Rivs (Craig Rivet) has been here a long time, loves playing here and I’m sure he wants to retire a Hab. Whatever he gets, he’s going to deserve. That leaves me and Janne (Niinimaa), so we’ll see. It’s hard to predict.”

    With 17 points and a team-leading nine goals, Souray is in the driver’s seat come negotiation time. But with a plethora of talented blueliners, the Habs could use Souray as trade material, rather than risk losing him for nothing at the end of the season.

    “It’s no secret that Montreal has been really good to me and for my career,” Souray said. “I’ve been fortunate to have been here as long as I have (arriving March 1, 2000 from New Jersey). But people are moved all the time. It’s a big part of our business.”

  6. And if any of you are wondering about those Montreal Gazette comments Jack was talking about here they are:

    Of the four impending free agent defensemen for Montreal, Andrei Markov should be the one that is locked down first, says Sheldon Souray.

    Despite being one of the four free agents, Souray believes Markov is the Habs best rearguard and also the youngest, which makes it imperative to sign Markov first.

    “Bob’s got to start with (Andrei) Markov,” Souray told the Montreal Gazette. “Rivs (Craig Rivet) has been here a long time, loves playing here and I’m sure he wants to retire a Hab. Whatever he gets, he’s going to deserve. That leaves me and Janne (Niinimaa), so we’ll see. It’s hard to predict.”

    With 17 points and a team-leading nine goals, Souray is in the driver’s seat come negotiation time. But with a plethora of talented blueliners, the Habs could use Souray as trade material, rather than risk losing him for nothing at the end of the season.

    “It’s no secret that Montreal has been really good to me and for my career,” Souray said. “I’ve been fortunate to have been here as long as I have (arriving March 1, 2000 from New Jersey). But people are moved all the time. It’s a big part of our business.”

    Odds are Souray stays.

  7. Sorry for accidently putting the same article in.

  8. #8 fanatic1 says:
    November 27, 2006 at 11:26 am

    well, if Souray keeps producing on the PP, and elsewhere, that’s okay. The name of the game is WINNING. That’s the only thing that matters. Montreal is such a hockey crazy city, that the fans constantly crave for more. If you win 2 in a row, why didn’t you win the 3rd? It’s hard to please the fans, but if you win, you’re the toast of the town. all we ask for is CONSISTENCY! So habs, just try and win as many games as possible, because where you finish in the standings, has alot to do with what you’ll do in the playoffs, and how far you will go.That’s all they should be thinking of. And if I was Carbo, I would tape their sticks to their body, so as to avoid taking penalties, especially ones at crucial times of the game.But someone, especially all the GM’s need to sit down with the NHL front office and devise a plan to cut down on all the insignificant and borderline calls that are taking away the game as well as the flow. after all, especially in the playoffs, do you want a penalty to determine the result of a game, and your fate?there has to be a happy medium.

  9. I think it’ll have to do a lot with where we are come the trade deadline.
    If we’re cruising well and are top 5 in the East and have a decent shot in the playoffs… then there not going to mess with that chemistry.

    If things slow down and we take a dive, dealing Souray to change the rhythm and bring someone in to salvage the year might happen. But it would only be for a big name big talent player.

    I think scenario 1 is much more likely.

  10. #10 smiler2729 says:
    November 27, 2006 at 11:53 am

    Why are you people so hung up Sheldon Souray’s situation? He’s right, Markov is a better all around defenceman than he is but Souray is just as valuable as any other important kog on this team (yes, and that includes Samsonov). I wouldn’t trade anybody (contract status or not) on this team except for the lesser lights (Murray, Niinimaa and those types but who’d want them?). Believe it or not, winning teams are based on players each fulfilling roles and getting them to buy into it and who’s better at teaching the importance of role playing to overpaid prima donnas (aren’t all modern day hockey players?)than Carbonneau, Muller and Gainey? So hate Samsonov and Kovalev all you want and scream about trading Souray before he walks away into L.A.’s rich sunset to be with his daughter but I WOULDN’T TOUCH THIS TEAM’S ROSTER THIS YEAR. You people seem to think Samsonov is 50 goal scorer, Kovalev a 100 point man and Souray the next coming of Doug Harvey, they’re not but they are important parts of the machine we love/hate called the Club de Hockey Canadien de Montreal. As an aside here, I JUST WANT TO CREAM THE LEAFS SATURDAY FOR ONCE TO SHUT THOSE IDIOT LEAFS FANS UP! They plan their Stanley Cup parade after every win and it bugs the shit out of me.

  11. #11 fanatic1 says:
    November 27, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    I also just read, as a rumour, that habs are looking to trade Souray(wants to go to the west coast), and Aebischer(because he wants to be a #1 goalie)to a team in the SW . I know we have been talking about this for awhile, but I think it will come to fruition before the new year begins.As much as I like his booming shot, and scoring, we have to be realistic. He will be gone the end of the season. Also, do you people believe he will be the difference in getting us to the promised land? I don’t! Yes, our PP will suffer, but he’s not a Bobby Orr, Chara, or even Pronger, and tho he scores, he’s a defensive liability. He gives, then takes it away, by constantly coughing up the puck. So are we better or worse, keepin him or trading him? We are only better trading him, if we get a top player in return. None of that crap, the likes of a B player like Ninnimaa. He has to be a TOP ELITE player, or forget it! We can’t mortgage the farm for 1 player. But remember, Aebischer is going too!

  12. I’m sure Souray will stay because the Habs are a contender this year. It’s also safe to say that Niinimaa will go (eventually), freeing-up his massive salary for signing FAs and his spot for rookies like Cote.

    You’re right Smiler and HB. No matter what, there is a chemistry going on on this team, and that’s more than money can pay for. Let’s hope the glue that binds ‘em remains strong through the season.

  13. Souray’s emotional play is an example for the players,when they need a goal his deadly slap and wrist shot are served up,just look what happens when opposing defencemen block them,plus its the only weapon from the point that goes in the net. As well he protects his teammates on a heartbeat notice.HE STEPS IT UP AND DELIEVERS,give Niinimaa’s pay to Souray & say thank-you!

  14. The usual reason for a team’s performance, like the Habs, is because the Team does not believe they are the level of winning more games in a row. It’s the Coaches responsibility to increase the beleif of a team to that of Stanley Cup Champions for the players to play that way. When a team believes “they should make the playoff”, that is what they will do, just make the playoffs.

    Gary Parks
    Leadership Coach , M.A.C., M.A.T

  15. #15 Jack Tornton says:
    November 27, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    Is Habs Blog the same guy as The reality Check????

  16. Bottom line when it comes to dealing SOuray is what can we get for him. IF we are talking draft picks or youngsters then forget it. We have enough of that and our goal (at least mine) is to contend for the cup this year not in 2011. IF we can get a center for him, a good one then yes but if the bait is not super high on a UFA which it is not then we keep him and take our chances.

  17. I laughed when I read SPectors comments that RIvet will get 3.5 million. What a joke. NO thanmks, see you later carig. 1.75 tops. You dont get raises for declining play.

  18. I totally agree with Snake here. There is no way Rivet is worth 3.5. Souray and Markov definitely, but not Craig. Here’s an idea : Deal Rivet to some sucker team looking for a 4-5 D man and resign Souray and Markov to identical deals. Gainey is a whiz thought, so I’m sure he’ll pull something crazy out of his hat.

    First time poster, go easy.

    -Mike

  19. Mike you may be a first time poster but you are wise in your words. Apparently according to Pierre Mac, Rivet is a hot commodity although Im not sure we can read too much into that considering his Huet comments. ANyways if Gainey is offered anything half decent for Rivet he should go for it. I amd pretty sure there has been absoulutely no offers yet or Im sure Rivet would be gone already.

  20. #21 Habs#1 says:
    November 27, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    Snake, you’re absolutly right about Rivet not being worth 3.5 mil. He’s worth 1.5-1.75, but the problem is that guys like Kevin Lowe are giving out 2.5 million dollar contracts to guys like Steve Staios. The market dictates what a guy makes these days, not their play unfortuanitly.

    But the problem with signing Souray and Markov to big deals is were’s the depth? you’d have a Ninnamaa or a Streit in the line-up every time. And if Souray keeps going the way he’s going he’ll command 5.5 to 6 mil. The Habs won’t have the cap room.

    Habs blog probably has it right though. The Habs if they’re top 5-6 in the conference, Souray isn’t going anywhere till the season’s over(you already know my opinion there so I’m not going to beat the dead horse anymore), and if the Habs are out or stuggling to make it(dosen’t look likely right now but we can’t forget their huge Decembre/January collapse last season, but this time around they have a goalie who won’t let in 2-3 weak goals a game.) then he could be dealt.

    And there really isn’t a market for UFA defenceman so Souray will probably be in the CH come April.

  21. IM also pretty sure Gainey can pull of some crazy deal with Markov. Markov likes it here, has friends here (he is a super shy guy) adn Gainey will pressure him. Some might not think so but I think Gainey can sign him for less then 4 million per. ALthough the length will be beneficial to Andrei. Proabably 3-4 years.

  22. #23 Habs#1 says:
    November 27, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Snake has a great point about Markov. With all his Russian buddies why would he leave. But I did read somewhere that he’s asking for a 4 year-16 million dollar deal and then Gainey countered with a 4 year-12 million dollar deal so negociations have begun between the two.

  23. #24 kazmojo says:
    November 27, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    The last loss came after the Flyers had to travel from Philly the night before. Fatigue would have impacted them as well. So this was a worse effort (from that standpoint) than the losses to Florida and Chicago.

    The big difference was that their goaltending was better than ours — each team dominated stretches but Nittymaki bailed them out. Aebischer did on occasion, but obviously not enough. Had to have hurt his trade potential.

  24. #25 fanatic1 says:
    November 27, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    If we dealt Ninnimaa , Streit, and Aebischer, that would free up cap room to resign Rivet and Markov, and don’t forget, Aebischer’s contract is a fairly large one; if we bring up Danis(very small contract) we would have plenty of room to sign an UFA. Who I’m not sure, but teams close to the cap might be willing to get rid of a high priced player, especially if it looks like they’re out of the playoff race. So maybe, their won’t be any trade until January. By then, teams will know where they stand, and if they are out of contention. I read where NJ is close to the cap, that when they have an injury, they have to wait until game day before calling up a reserve, simply so they don’t have to pay him for an extra day. Sad situation around the league. But that’s why there is so much parody today in the NHL.

  25. #26 Habs#1 says:
    November 27, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    One problem fanatic, no one would want Ninnamaa or Streit. And then the Habs would have no depth on defence. Those two like Souray aren’t going anywhere THIS season. Although Aebischer is an interesting propositon. And his contract is only 1.9 mil, small when you think about it.

  26. I dont mind paying 1.9 for a capable backup. ITs better then paying 1 million for a Brian Boucher or Leveneu.

    Habs1: IF Markov is starting his talks at 4 million per year that is great news. Then would definetely get him for less then 4. I have no arguments to signing him long term. He is worth it.

  27. Does anyone know if Stephen Lebeau is still playing in Europe. Maybe he can solve our center problem.

  28. Its no secret now that Souray plays the way he does in hopes of getting traded. What else explains the highest assist rate against your own team? Souray must rank one of the most likely defensemen in the NHL most likely to give the puck away which happens to be the game winning goal against the Habs. IF you counted all the assists that Souray has against his own team (giving the puck away to the other team so they can score) Souray would lead the lead in all time points by now…..when is Gainey gonna get it? Hello Bob, Hello Guy, Sheldon does not want to stay around no more….that’s why he is trying so hard on power plays in hopes he will be traded…hello?

  29. #30 Rubberman says:
    November 27, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    IF the Habs want a big centreman, they’ll have to make an offer that is worthy. Ninnema (?)and Streit haven’t proven themselves and noone is interested in them. If you package Souray/Abercher, you could count on some managers to talk. I’d hate to see Souray go. I think Gainey could have made a pitch for S. Gagné when he was injured. I would only make a deal like that if I could land a big name that will help the team and not get stuck with someone else’s problem…

  30. In a perfect world SanJose would find a taker for Nabokov’s high salary and then Toskala would struggle and San Jose would need a goalie. Then we would trade Abby and Souray for Marleau. That is of course in a perfect world.

  31. As for Simon Gagne, I cant think of any team that would be willing to pay him 5 million a season. I know Bob Clarke was burnt out but what was he thinking?

    Gagne for Nabokov? 5 mil each
    Abby/Souray for Marleau? 5.4mil for 4 mil.

  32. It kinda makes you wonder if Carbo and Gainey are out to sink the Habs, what with getting horrible trades like Ninny and Streit and Abby….or broken down players like Downey and Johnson…those guys need to change their bandages every few seconds on the ice….and Carbo can’t even field any strong players on the ice full time, hence the old shoot the puck into the other teams zone so you can change the line just when the line is getting hot….can’t help but think that Carbo and Gainey want to sink the habs….what else explains why they won’t let the good lines stay on when they are hot?…that just sucks, you see Kovalev and Markov just getting warmed up only to have the likes of Ninnima and Downey go on….man, that just sucks big time….just what does Carbo and Gainey have against the Habs anyway….

    Go Habs Go, prove Carbo and Gainey wrong….

  33. Hey Josh: strange post???? Gainey = bad = nonsense

    Go to the hockeybuzz page. There is a great article on the Habs. Apparently we are the only team that can compete with the Sabres in the playoffs.

  34. #35 Jack Tornton says:
    November 27, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    *********************************NEW RUMOUR************************************

    cite:
    http://www.hockeytraderumors.com/modules.php? name=News&file=article&sid=7812

    This rumour makes perfect sense. Habs trade samsonov, who is unproductive with this club, for Seabrook, who apparently is one of the best upcoming d-man rookie in the league. He was drafted in first round, 14th overall in 2003.

    description:
    Position: Defenseman Shoots: Right
    Height: 6′ 3″ Weight: 220
    Born: Apr 20, 1985
    Origin: Richmond, BC, CAN

    *Why is this rumour realistic:
    1) Havlat needs a good scorer to play with since Handzus is out for the rest – of the year
    2) Secondly, resigning Souray is unlikily, thereofre replacing him witha young talented d-man seems to make sense in my opinion

  35. #36 johnnyhab says:
    November 28, 2006 at 9:12 am

    Looks like Aebischer is trying to find himself an out ant the expense of his teammates

    “Finally, a minus to David Aebischer, who isn’t stopping the puck or making any friends in the Habs dressing room right now. The Canadiens backup netminder has lost three straight games, giving up four goals in each of those starts. When asked if he felt responsible for Saturday’s loss, he sarcastically replied ”What, did I take the penalties?’”

    from Gino Reda’s plus minus on the tsn website

  36. I don’t think Gainey will go after a premier forward this year. He’ll probably try to land someone
    from this class next year.

    CLASS OF ’07 FREE AGENT FORWARDS.

    Next summer’s potential top 10 unrestricted free agent forwards. Among them:
    centers Pavel Datsyuk, Peter Forsberg, Chris Drury and Robert Lang,
    left wingers Paul Kariya, Ladislav Nagy, Jason Blake, Keith Tkachuk and Ray Whitney
    right wing Daniel Briere.
    Others receiving “honourable mention” include centers Joe Sakic, Michal Handzus, and Mike York, left wingers Slava Kozlov, Brendan Shanahan and Fredrik Modin, Ruslan Fedotenko and Mike Johnson.

  37. #38 fanatic1 says:
    November 28, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    and what makes you think they want to play in Montreal? we got snubbed this year by alot of them. same thing will happen next year, and we’ll end up with nobody! The only way to get any of these players, is thru a trade, because they won’t come on their own accord.

  38. Hockeybuzz page makes the last place Flyers look like God, honestly, do you smell a little payola? Too many Molson Canadians, six pack too many, hence the buzz in hockeybuzz…….

    Tonites game was great man, except for when Streit and Souray kept giving the puck away….there is no excuse now, the habs defense is in a dismal state….they couldn’t even clear the puck out of their own zone most of the time, thank God the Panthers had to change their lines, that was about the only time the Habs had a chance to do their one man rushes….

    I thought this was supposed to be a team, not a bunch of Kamikazi hockey players like Samsonov blitzing the net in hopes that gravity will force the puck in, again Carbo’s law of physics….I can just see Carbo telling his players, if you float the puck slowly the law of gravity will force it in….hello Guy, there is no black hole in the other teams net, the law of gravity will not force it in…

    The shoot out was great. You could really see the offense line of the Habs try hard, like Kovalev and Samsonov’s one man shows….what ever happened to pass the puck, the game was just lets shoot it in and chase the puck and hope the Panthers won’t get it….only to have the Panthers almost win the game rush after rush, no doubt, Huet saved the Habs one more time…..

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