Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gionta is Captain, Markov approves, Hamrlik wants to play, the top-12 Habs forwards...

Habs Inside/Out - Day II of the Gionta era

Boucher Shakes Up Bolts, Roenick Blasts Thrashers, Ovie Returns

Audio: Brian Gionta named captain - Which Canadiens Would Be In Your Habs Top-12 Forwards List?

My Montreal Canadiens 12-Man Roster - by Tyg

My Montreal Canadiens 12-Man Roster - By Willey

RDS - Martin : un choix évident

Hamrlik espère être du match inaugural

Markov endosse le choix de la direction


(Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Montreal Canadiens 12-Man Roster

by Tyg

When I first thought about what forwards I want playing for the Montreal Canadiens next week, my first inclination was to have fun with it and go gonzo. Frankly, I’d pretty much ice Team Canada in the bleu, blanc et rouge.

But stepping off Fantasy Island here, I thought it only fair to work within the confines of the roster that head coach Jacques Martin has to choose from and pick my team accordingly.

1. Eller – Gomez – Gionta

Cap hit aside, Scott Gomez is actually a speedy, effective centreman who routinely gains the offensive zone. Brian Gionta’s attributes I’ve lauded time and again in a bid to get a “C” pinned on his chest, but in addition his chemistry with Gomez is undeniable.

Rewatch game 2 of the Pens’ series and pay attention as Gomez passes without looking to where he knows Gionta will be, as always, parked in front of the opposing net.

While Gionta routinely goes into the corners and fights for the puck, Gomez seems more reluctant to take a hit. What they lack is a solid winger who can take some hits, help Gionta win the battles, and still finish the plays.

Having not even heard of Lars Eller before the trade for goalie Jaroslav Halak, I wanted to reserve judgment on him until I’ve really seen him play. Other than some choppy internet feed the only real opportunity I’ve had to watch him was the Panthers game—which RDS finally decided to cover.

I liked what I saw.

He’s a big kid who’s constantly fighting for possession, and solid enough that he’s not easily knocked off of the puck. As a projected top line center, I don’t see the point in wasting him on the 3rd or 4th lines—both of which are just as easily anchored by others on the roster.

I think his skill set is such that he will adapt to playing on the wing with two veteran linemates.

Bonus: instead of the Giant Mexican Chicken line, we now have EGG.

2. Cammalleri – Plekanec – Kostitsyn

Like Gomez and Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec seem to have found a certain chemistry—evidenced during the playoff run—which I am just as reluctant to break apart.

Cammalleri is a bonafide sniper and Plekanec is a solid two-way centreman coming off a career year—of which he’s still showing signs of at training camp.

Both are fast and fight for the puck, but a bit of muscle and a helping hand with the goal scoring would not be amiss on this line.

As for Andrei Kostitsyn, I’ll freely admit I’m not a fan.

He has the ability to be a great linemates he is clearly able to finish solid checks and still contribute offensively. What has been lacking for me in the past is the drive, intensity, focus and even at times some good old fashioned “hockey sense”. Since he’s killing it in camp this year and bringing actual sustained effort I’m willing to admit he’s earned another chance on the wing.

3. Pyatt – Boyd – Lapierre

Tom Pyatt has proved to be a trusted PK specialist who possesses good speed with enough hard work to help out with the occasional goal. Maxim Lapierre—who in my opinion is more effective on the wing—is a strong skater and constant puck hunter who should deliver good checks to help harass the opposition.

Dustin Boyd provides another injection of youth, speed and intensity to help complement this energy line.

4. Moen – Halpern – White

Here, I’ve sent Travis Moen down to help grind it out on the fourth line.

Along with the capable and intense Ryan White he will offer some toughness and still manage the occasional offensive contribution. Jeff Halpern as my centreman can help relieve Plekanec of some faceoff duties and offer veteran stability on my checking line.

On the Bench

Benoit Pouliot is a disappointment to me because no matter how great his talent level, for whatever reason he cannot and will not apply solid effort with any kind of consistency.

After watching his lack of effort at camp I’m no longer willing to just hand over a spot and hope for the best that he’ll get it together. While it’s hideously expensive, but I’d rather box Pouliot than put him on waivers in hopes that he’ll at least be good trade bait.

Ben Maxwell’s stood out in camp a couple of times for me, though not as much as Eller or White. Still, I’ll take Maxwell over Mathieu Darche any day.

I can’t fault Darche’s work ethic but Maxwell is no slouch in that department either, and he has more youth, talent and more importantly speed—on a team where it’s pretty much a prerequisite.

Since Maxwell can outskate Darche, he wins the toss up over Pouliot and Darche gets waived.

In building this roster it’s pretty evident that what I value above all from a player is a consistent, solid work ethic. Talent is only slightly secondary but I think these lines offer a pretty good mix of both, especially considering I did not have Team Canada from which to pick my players.

I doubt very much that my roster will even come close to Martin’s lines though, as he never answers my calls or emails and seems determined to vex me for some reason.

A big thanks to Scott Schmidt who tweeted the idea for this challenge yesterday and has gamely set the whole thing up after it snowballed uncontrollably.

Hopefully it won’t be the last such undertaking.

And now I’m lifting my self-imposed ban and am off to read what my fellow Habs writers had to say on the matter. Please be sure to check out their blogs too!

Tyg used to frequent the old Forum during her early childhood when her father was a corporate season ticket holder, where she fell in love with Larry Robinson, so her lifelong obsession with the Habs is entirely his fault.

My Montreal Canadiens 12-Man Roster

By Willey

The start of the 2010-11 hockey season is right around the corner and a certain buzz is filling the streets of Montreal but to me, the start of a new NHL season is always accompanied by a series of nagging questions.

Is this team good enough to make the playoffs? Will this team be tough enough to compete on a daily basis? What is this team missing? What would I do if I was GM?

Like any arm-chair GMs, I consistently question every single player on this roster and continuously use EA SPORTS NHL 11 as my de facto forum to make the roster changes which I feel would work best on my team.

This year however a fellow Habs blogger Shmitzy ( has thrown out a challenge to all those who listen.

The mission is to select 12 starting forwards and two guys in the press box. No rules, no restrictions other than the team must follow within the cap.

Simply put; forget who you think will make the team, tell us who you want on your team.

Now I don’t know about you but this is the sort of thing that I love to do!

I am the type of guy who longs for a gritty team. I want 12 forwards with size who can hit and drop the gloves but who can ultimately put the puck in the net.

The problem here is that it is impossible to simply make moves without parting ways with some of our D-core given the amount of cap space that they currently take up.

With that said. Here is my overhaul...

We currently have 12 forwards on one way contracts. These players include: Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Benoit Pouliot, Jeff Halpern, Travis Moen, Maxim Lapierre, Tom Pyatt, Mathieu Darche and Dustin Boyd.

For arguments sake I will include Lars Eller in that mix as well.

Who I am Keeping

Cammalleri, Plekanec, Lapierre, Eller, Pouliot, Halpern, and Pyatt: All of these guys will be part of my team. I like what each of these guys brings to the table and see them succeeding given my current roster. Two of the above mentioned players will be the 13th and 14th forwards however.

Who I am Trading

Kostitsyn: He has to go. Looking around the league there are a couple of team who are in need of a LW’er. With that said the best trading partner would be the Florida Panthers. I am therefore sending Kostitsyn along with Yannick Weber in exchange for Steve Bernier.

Gomez: I really like the guy and what he has done for the team but I would still rather see an alternate player because of his production and cap hit.

I am packaging Gomez along with Gionta and sending them to Tampa Bay in exchange for Lecavalier and Malone. Salary wise these guys are fairly similar but Montreal would be taking on more term. I am perfectly fine with this given the fact that Lecavalier has to come back home.

Ben Maxwell: I know he was not included as part of the above mentioned players but I think that he is in need of a change of scenery.

I would send him to the Islanders along with Jaroslav Spacek in exchange for Radek Martinek. The Islanders need some additional cap and could certainly use some more young skilled forwards.

Maxwell unfortunately will not be making the Habs this year and so would have to clear waivers if demoted. Moving him is a necessity.

Moen: I love this guy but $1.5 million is too much for my current team on the fourth line. LA is very short on LW and can use a player of Moen’s ability. They are currently in a position to compete for the cup and lack that gritty 3rd or 4th liner with cup experience.

I am trading him to LA in exchange for a 2nd or 3rd round pick.

Dustin Boyd: Again this is a kid I was high on and has no issue taking him on my team but given the current structure the only way he has use is as a 13th or 14th forward. That position is better suited to alternative players.

Right now NJ is in need liquidating some cap space. I am sending Dustin Boyd along with the pick acquired in the Moen deal to NJ for Jamie Langenbrunner.

Roman Hamrlik: Never been a fan of the guy so have no problems with him in any other uniform. No. 44 will be shipped off to Edmonton in exchange for Sheldon Souray.

My Demotions

Darche: Why we ever offered this guy a one way contract is beyond me. He will be called up on an emergency level but certainly would not be part of my starting roster.

He is going to Hamilton.

Who I am trading for

Milan Hejduk: He is a UFA at season end and doesn’t exactly fit in the Avalanche’s plans. Milan carries a $3 million cap hit and could come in very useful to my team. My guess would be that he would come fairly cheap so acquiring him for the rights to Brock Trotter and Matt Carle should be feasible.

Who I am signing

Evgeny Artyukhin: He is still out there and is the prototypical 4th line forward. He brings size and toughness and could fill in on a top line for the odd shift to create some room for some of the smaller guys.

My Lineup

Malone-Lecavalier (C) -Hejduk : $15.2 million
Cammalleri-Plekanec-Langenbrunner: $13.8 million
Pouliot-Eller-Bernier: $4.621 million
Evgeny Artyukhin-Ryan White- Lapierre: $2.1 million

Tom Pyatt & Jeff Halpern: $1.1 million

Total: $36.821 million

Andrei Markov (A) - P.K. Subban : $6.625 million
Hal Gill (A) - Josh Gorges: $3.35 million
Sheldon Souray - Radek Martinek $6.9 million

Ryan O’Byrne $942k

Total: $17.817 million

Carey Price- Alex Auld: $3.75 million

Total Spent: $58.388 million


So there you have it. A 23-man roster that has tremendous size, skill, speed, leadership and toughness.

In my mind it is a perfect blend of veteran leadership with a number of blue chip prospects. A group of 14 forwards who play with grit and toughness yet who are defensively responsible. A combination of players with long term contracts with a number of salaries coming off the books at seasons end.


Willey was the shinning light among the wicked growing up as the lone Habs fan in Toronto. Pray to Holy Ghosts of the old forum and all shall be answered I was told, and just like that my family was transferred back to Montreal and away from the damned. Olé Olé Olé.

Which Canadiens Would Be In Your Habs Top-12 Forwards List?

by Kamal Panesar

So a challenge, of sorts, has been thrown out into the Habs blogging community this week by @shmitzysays of the blog Shmitzy Says.

And what is the challenge?

To name the 12 forwards that I would choose to start the season in Montreal.

Given the nature of this assignment, I think "challenge" is perhaps not the right word. Shmitzy is a smart guy and with all the conversation and opinions going on about who should or should not be on the team, he simply wants to get all of the Habs blogger's opinions on the topic.

...and I think it's a great idea!

So, without further ado, here is my 2011 Habs forward lineup:

The First Line

Michael Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Andrei Kostitsyn

Cammalleri and Plekanec are both locks on that top line. The only question mark is Andrei Kostitsyn.

Since the beginning of camp, Andrei is playing like he means business and wants to earn himself another contract. Perhaps having his brother out of the picture and seeing how that played out helped clear AK's head and get him focused on the task at hand.

Whatever happened, Andrei looks ready to try and finally break the 30-goal barrier.

And hey, what do the Habs have to lose? If he's not cutting it by Xmas, try to trade him and bring up a player like Max Pacioretty or Aaron Palushaj, both of who are chomping at the bit.

The Second Line

Benoit Pouliot - Scott Gomez - Brian Gionta (freshly named as captain!)

I know, I know, Pouliot has not been outstanding so far at camp. His intensity level is sometimes questionable, and he occasionally looks nervous and unsure of himself.

That aside, there have been some flashes of goodness from him and he often seems to be going to the net, so all hope is not yet gone.

I think that one of Pouliot's problems is that he is feeling the breath of players like Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty on his neck, and is not rising to the challenge.

That being said, I think that the Habs have to at least give him a chance to show what he can do/ see if he can become the top-six forward that he should be.

That's why I have him next to Gomer and Gio. I would want him to prove me wrong.

In all honesty, though, out of AK46 and Pouliot, I think the latter has the best chance of losing his spot to a youngster during the course of the season.

I hope I'm wrong, because Pouliot has the hands to score 30 goals in this league—but there seems to be something wrong between his two ears!

Like AK46, if things don't work out with Pouliot by Xmas, trade him for picks or bundle him for a prospect, and let Max Pacioretty or Lars Eller take his spot.

The Third Line

Ryan White - Lars Eller - Maxim Lapierre

Lars Eller is a natural center and I, personally, would like to see him continue to play as a center.

While there is no doubting the fact that his blend of speed, skill, and size would fit nicely on the wing in the top-six, I would prefer to let him learn at the NHL level at a position that he is used to playing.

Moreover, having Eller as the Habs third line center gives them a serious upgrade in the bottom-six.

I think that combining Eller with two speedy, grinding players like Lapierre and White, will give that line the opportunity to be very dangerous offensively—while playing against the oppositions third best defenders—and equally defensively responsible.

The beauty of this line is that with Lapierre and Eller, you would have two centers on the ice in key defensive situations, which is always a good thing.

An ancillary benefit for Lapierre would be that, freed from the responsibilities of the centerman's position, he could focus more on causing havoc in the corners and going to the net.

As a result, we should see Lapierre return to the 15-goal range.

The Fourth Line

Travis Moen - Jeff Halpern - Dustin Boyd

This line is a get-your-nose-dirty, in-your-face kind of shutdown line that goes out there and hits everything in sight.

Your stars need a rest? Send this line out to wear down the opposing team’s defense a little bit and hey, maybe even start a fight or two.

I would also not hesitate to shift Travis Moen and Ryan White back and forth between the third and fourth lines as the need arises.

The great thing about this line, is that you have Jeff Halpern at center—a player who had comparable faceoff and penalty killing numbers to Plekanec last season—and as such, Jacques Martin doesn't have to worry so much about having Plekanec on the ice for key defensive zone faceoffs.

The Spares

Tom Pyatt and Ryan O'Byrne.

OK, they are not both forwards but I, personally, wouldn't have two forwards as spares.

I think Pyatt and O'Byrne can float in and out of the lineup as needed. I really like Pyatt and would have liked to see him in the lineup, but I think that there are too many other players that are of should be ahead of him in the depth chart now.

If it wasn't for his tremendous speed, he would be waived or traded.

The Traded

Ben Maxwell and David Desharnais.

As good as Maxwell has looked at camp—and he has looked real good—there is no room for him on the team.

With the top two center positions locked down between Plekanec and Gomez, and Lars Eller and Louis Leblanc nipping on their heels, Maxwell just doesn't fit into the team's plans.

More importantly, the Habs would have to place Maxwell on waivers—which he would surely not clear—before sending him down to Hamilton.

With the talent and potential he possesses, losing him for nothing would be a crime.

Trade him for a pick or package him for a prospect.

Desharnais represents another small but gifted player who just does not have a place on this team. It's unfortunate too, because Desharnais works his butt off on every shift and has tremendous speed, skill, and heart.

The thing working against him is his size. At 5'7" and 182 pounds, Desharnais is another small player trying to crack a lineup that can't use another small, offensive player. As such, there is no way he could slot into the logjammed center ice position on any line.

He does look like an NHL-caliber player, however, and as such the Canadiens should trade him and give him a chance with another team.

Like Maxwell, he could fetch a pick or be packaged for a prospect.

The Waived

Mathieu Darche.

Is there any explanation needed?

Darche, for all his effort and heart, lacks the foot-speed to keep up with the pace of the modern game and, more importantly, the pace of the speedy Canadiens.

I would place him on waivers and hope that another team picks him up. If not, let him play in Hamilton and eat the NHL salary that you'd have to pay him because of his ridiculous one-way contract.

So there you have it, folks. Those are the four lines that I would roll with going into the regular season.

So the bloggers have spoken but now it's your turn!

I want to know who YOUR top-12 Habs forwards would be going into the regular season. So let us know!

Brian Gionta Officially Named Captain of the Montreal Canadiens

by Kamal Panesar

Well it's finally official!

Brian Gionta has been named the 28th captain of the Montreal Canadiens and I couldn't be happier.

More reaction later but for now, here are a couple of links to peruse:

Habs Inside/Out - Gionta named captain

RDS - Le 28e capitaine du CH - Habs "C" a Leader in Gionta

TSN - GIONTA NAMED 28TH CAPTAIN IN CANADIENS HISTORY - Gionta named captain of Canadiens

(Picture by Phillip MacCallum - Getty Images)

Brian Gionta is Captain, Training camp battles, Avstin, Leblanc, Hockeyville, and more... - Brian Gionta Officially Named Captain of the Montreal Canadiens

Habs Inside/Out - Eight more sleeps

Hockeyville game brings NHL back to roots

RDS - «Je pense avoir laissé une bonne impression»

Le Canadien propulsé par les jeunes

TSN - CULLEN: TRAINING CAMP BATTLES - Sedin has heavy competition in quest for Hart repeat|NHL|home

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010 and brings you Habstalk Roundup

In our first podcast, Rick from and I discussed some of the highlights of training camp so far, young prospects Aaron Palushaj and Lars Eller, and we touch briefly on the Carey Price booing fiasco.

Click play below to listen in. and join forces to bring you Habstalk podcasts

by Kamal Panesar is proud to announce our collaboration with to bring you our first Habs podcast.

Rick, from, and myself have been talking about working together for a few months now, and we are happy to be able to bring you our first collaboration today.

Below is the first of many podcasts to come so please send us your feedback so that we can continue to mold them to your liking.

In our first podcast, Rick and I discussed some of the highlights of training camp so far, young prospects Aaron Palushaj and Lars Eller, and we touch briefly on the Carey Price booing fiasco.

Click play below to listen in.

Canadiens - Panthers: Montreal KO's Florida in 6-2 Drubbing

by Kamal Panesar

Montreal—There, isn't that better now, Habs addicts? Doesn't a decidedly convincing win like last night make you feel better about this team?

The reality is that while it is always great to see your team win, a preseason victory means about as much as a preseason loss, which is to say not very much. But it is still good practice!

Last night, as the Canadiens cut 16-plus players from their roster, the lineup started to look a little more like what we will see once the regular season starts.

As the Canadiens dominated play for large stretches of the evening, their speed and youthful exuberance were on display and their young guns continued to impress.

A few fights, a lot of hits, and a high level of intensity made for an enjoyable event for all.

If this is the pace of preseason, I can't wait to see the intensity that the regular season brings!

Special teams were the story of the night as the Canadiens scored one shorthanded goal but failed to convert on any of their eight PP chances—including going oh-fer in a couple of minutes of 5-on-3 time.

Andrei Markov can't come back soon enough!

Final Score: Habs 6 - Panthers 2
Canadiens’ scorers: Jaroslav Spacek (1), Tomas Plekanec (3, 4), Tom Pyatt (1), Ryan White (2), Michael Cammalleri (1).
Panthers' scorers: David Booth (3), Stephan Weiss (2).

Game Notes
1. Carey Price stood his ground.

Price looked confident and calm in the net last night but didn't need to be the savior.

Despite his relatively easy workload—Price face 21 shots total—he was called upon to make several difficult saves and made them look relatively easy with his strong lateral movement.

It was also nice to see that the crowd was behind Carey last night, as we heard chants of "Ca-rey! Ca-rey!" after each of the Panthers' goals—rather than the boos of game one.

Perhaps all the talk about the booing has/will cause a backlash against booing.

We can only hope!

2. White should be on this team.

Ryan White continued to show why he has a place on this team, last night. He was again one of the most aggressive players in the bottom-six, and his energy seemed to rub off on those around him.

White scored another goal last night—his second of the preseason—and rang the puck off of the post on another occasion. More importantly, White continued to be a plus player as he was plus-2 for the night—a stat that will undoubtedly please defensive-minded Coach Martin.

White continues to be the standout of training camp and must be on this team come October. The problem is that the Canadiens foolishly resigned Mathieu Darche to a one-year, one-way contract this summer. That means that the team has to pay him his full salary whether he plays in the NHL or the AHL.

As such, and given Martin's seeming love for the lead-footed Darche, there is a chance the White will get squeezed out of the lineup.

I, personally, would love to see White on the team and Darche put on waivers after training camp, but I somehow thing the latter is unlikely.

They have to find place for him somehow, and maybe a player like Jeff Halpern becomes a casualty instead.

Time will tell.

3. Lars Eller is going to be a big-time player.

Playing on a line with Plekanec and Cammalleri last night, Eller did not look at all out of place.

He uses his 6'1", 200 pound frame effectively to dig the puck out of the corners, to cause havoc in front of the goaltenders, and to add a physical dimension to whatever line he plays on.

It seems unlikely that Eller will start the season as a top-6 winger as he is more likely to be the third line center. That being said, Martin is wisely getting a look at what he can do on the wing just in case things don't work out with Benoit Pouliot and/or Andrei Kostitsyn.

Don't be surprised to see Eller move up the depth charts over the course of the season.

Once he gets settled in with some consistent linemates, watch for good things from this young player. I think the fans are going to love this kid by the end of the season.

4. Plekanec is a man-possessed.

How many times have you seen a player have a career year, sign a big-time contract, and then fail to deliver?

In the modern inflation-based salary-cap era, it seems like that kind of thing is happening more and more frequently.

Not with Plekanec, though.

Tomas seems to be picking up where he left off last year as he one of the best players on the ice, night in and night out.

Last night was no different, as he scored a beautiful short handed breakaway goal, was dangerous every time he was on the PK, and was the offensive catalyst on the team's top line.

No, Plekanec is not wilting under the pressure of his $6-million contract. Rather, he is rising to the challenge and showing that he is the real deal.

With the addition of players like Halpern—who can eat up PK minutes and win faceoffs—and a strong contingent of young, tough players, I expect Plekanec to score in the 65-plus point range this season, and to challenge for the Selke Trophy as one of the best two-way forwards league.

Next Game
After making five more cuts this morning, the Canadiens are getting closer and closer to their opening day lineup.

The Canadiens now have two days off before playing their final preseason game on Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres.

Things are getting tight and the fights for roster spots are getting more and more complicated.

Tune in to see how it all plays out.

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Habs wins, players cut, why the Habs are awesome, goalies since Roy, and more...

Habs Inside/Out - Habs win, send five to Bulldogs - Press Release - Canadiens assign 16 players to the Hamilton Bulldogs

Press Release - Canadiens assign five players to the Hamilton Bulldogs

Max Pacioretty and Ryan White Making Choices Difficult for Canadiens' Coach

Les gardiens du CH depuis le règne de Patrick Roy

Press Release - Maxim Lapierre awarded the Jean Béliveau Trophy

Why are the current Montreal Canadiens awesome? by @HabsLaugh

RDS - Des fleurs pour Lars Eller

Desharnais et Dumont retranchés

La force des jeunes

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Why Are The Current Montreal Canadiens Awesome?

by Habs Laughs

Hello HA/AA! The name is Habs Laughs, I've been blogging on my own site for about 10 months now and the fine people at HA approached me to write a he said/she said piece for them. Due to some complications the she said portion of the article could not be here is my contribution.

For more Habs Laughs pieces check out

You can also follow me on twitter @habslaughs

So without further ado, here is my first article:


Why Are The Current Montreal Canadiens Awesome?
Because they’re possessed by the ghosts of dead Canadiens, stupid.

With the Habs Frankenstein season behind us, our beloved Tricolore is beginning to look more and more like a real team by the day.

Experts say that a championship team is built through the draft, so it’s obvious that what Bob Gainey did during the Summer of 2009 was crazier than Milan Lucic on ‘ludes.

In case you forgot, all Bob Gainey did was do away with 10+ years of drafting, trading, and key free agent signing to collect a gang of short, old and overrated players (according to the experts)!

Bob Gainey did something else that off-season, something unknown to him, the players and every single fan in the world except for me.

It’s a good thing you came to Habs Addicts today, it’s also a good thing you clicked on the Addict Alley section, it’s also a good thing you clicked on this very link because I am about to let you in on a chilling secret that I did not make up for the sake of this article.

Bob Gainey broke Hockey rules.

You can’t just sign free agents and trade for Scott Gomez and get away with it. You have to pay your dues, be really bad for 10 years like the Penguins and Blackhawks and then you can go deep into the playoffs.

When Bob Gainey overhauled the Habs he also unleashed a terrible curse on the team. The curse caused the ghosts trapped inside the Pepsi Forum—scared the crap out of the people eating at Guido and Angelina’s—to escape and possess several members of your current Montreal Canadiens team.

The curse backfired though, because it turns out that the Habs had some pretty good players in the past. I’m sure I can work in some kind of Spider-man gift/curse segue into the main part of the article but I do not have the writing talent to pull something like that off.

Mike Cammalleri is possessed by Howie Morenz.

Ok, this one is too obvious. They look exactly alike:



Look at the resemblance and tell me that the soul of Howie Morenz is not embedded within Mike Cammalleri.

You can’t, because it is.

Looks aside, Cammalleri and Morenz play a very similar game. They’re both fast, have keen on-ice vision, have a sick wrist shot, and love to fist pump after they score goals.

It’s also no coincidence that they have incredibly similar nicknames. Howie Morenz’s is ‘The Stratford Streak’—alluding to Morenz’s speed and the city where his roots are.

Mike Cammalleri’s nickname is ‘The Thornhill Thunderbolt’ for the same reasons.

EDITOR'S NOTE: That’s not his nickname.

It’s not? Well it should be.

Brian Gionta is possessed by Boom Boom Geoffrion

Did you know that Boom Boom was only 5’9? You do now sir/ma’ do now.

Source: my own editing of Wikipedia for the purpose of this article.

We all know that Brian Gionta is short. What he lacks in size he makes up for in heart, leadership, and testicular fortitude. If you look for those three words in the dictionary you will find Boom Boom’s picture next to them

Side Note: Sami Salo is also there next to testicular fortitude.

Brian Gionta plays big, much like Boom Boom did in his prime. These wee warriors cause headaches for their opponents and it is also really, really funny if you speed up the footage of them that you’re watching and play the theme song from Benny Hill.


Maxime Lapierre is possessed by Maurice Richard

Maxime Lapierre is French-Canadian ipso facto his soul was the only one that Richard could latch onto safely without pissing off the French media.

The Rocket was an idol.

When Latendresse got traded, Lapierre became the idol by default.

There is no doubt that the spirit of The Rocket is lodged within Maxim Lapierre. Lapierre is the best hockey player to ever play in the NHL. Lapierre skates like the wind, hits like a wrecking ball, and shoots like a high powered rifle.

Lapierre is the voice of our generation; he is a symbol of light in an otherwise bleak and dreary world. He is the one ray of hope that the Canadiens have left at keeping their Quebecois identity alive.

Side Note: The previous paragraph was written by my guest contributor, Maxim Lapierre.

Carey Price is possessed by Bill Durnan

I bet you thought I was going to say that Price was possessed by Jacques Plante.

Where’s my money?

When Bill Durnan played for the Habs—the only team he played for professionally—he was lights out.

In his rookie year he was 38-5-7—the 7 is ties, for those who don’t remember Hockey before 2004.

That’s a scary record, as is a 208-112-62 lifetime stat. He’s a hall of famer and was depicted on one of Price’s centennial masks which of course is Hockey’s highest honor.

Bill Durnan retired at the age of 35 due to him not being able to handle the stress of playing in the NHL.

Sound familiar?

Well, there you have it folks, undisputable evidence that several Canadiens are currently being possessed by the Ghosts of the Forum.

Please don’t try to take matters into your own hands by trying to perform an exorcism if you run into any of the players on the street. Also, don’t call the Ghostbusters or any type of ghost related reality show on A&E. They will think you are crazy for believing that this article is in any way real.

Side Note: Ignore that last sentence, it’s just meant to cover Habs Addict’s butt in case any lawyers come knocking.

Ghosts are real and they’re living in the souls of the aforementioned players.

For real.

Habs Laughs is very funny. He was always funny, but has only recently been doing it semi-professionally/not at all professionally.

His great uncle may or may not have been General Manager of the Habs in the late 70s. He's been tied to the Habs for generations and is a life long fan.

Press Release - Canadiens assign five players to the Hamilton Bulldogs

Canadiens assign five players to the Hamilton Bulldogs

MONTREAL (September 27, 2010) – The Montreal Canadiens announced tonight that five (5) players were assigned to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs will be leaving on Tuesday, September 28 for Newfoundland where they will hold training camp until October 3, including three preseason games against the Binghamton Senators. The Canadiens will play their last two preseason games on Thursday September 30 against the Buffalo Sabres, at the Bell Centre, and on Saturday, October 2 against the New York Islanders, at the Colisée de Québec.

Here are the five players assigned to Hamilton:

Goaltender (1)
Peter Delmas

Defenseman (1)
Mathieu Carle

Forwards (3)
Gabriel Dumont
Andreas Engqvist
David Desharnais

Thirty-one (31) players are still at training camp, including three (3) goaltenders, ten (10) defensemen and eighteen (18) forwards. The list of injured players at camp includes; Curtis Sanford (lower body), Andrei Markov (knee), Roman Hamrlik (knee), Hunter Bishop (upper body), Max Pacioretty (upper body) and Ryan Russell (lower body).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Press Release - Canadiens assign 16 players to the Hamilton Bulldogs

Canadiens assign 16 players to the Hamilton Bulldogs

MONTREAL (September 27, 2010) – The Montreal Canadiens announced today that 16 players were assigned to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. The Canadiens also announced that forward Louis Leblanc (Montreal – QMJHL) and defenseman Jarred Tinordi (London – OHL) will be joining to their respective junior team.

The Bulldogs will be leaving on Tuesday, September 28 for Newfoundland where they will hold training camp until October 3, including three preseason games against the Binghamton Senators. The Canadiens will play tonight the fifth of seven preseason games, hosting the Florida Panthers, at the Bell Centre.

Here are the 16 players assigned to Hamilton:

Goaltender (1)
Robert Mayer

Defensemen (7)
Neil Petruic
Kyle Klubertanz
Brendon Nash
Frédéric St-Denis
David Urquhart
Sébastien Bisaillon
Marc-Antoine Desnoyers

Forwards (8)
Alexander Avtsin
James T. Wyman
Jimmy Bonneau
Andrew Conboy
Dany Massé
Olivier Fortier
Ian Schultz
Aaron Palushaj

Thirty-six (36) players are still at training camp, including four (4) goaltenders, eleven (11) defensemen and twenty-one (21) forwards. The list of injured players at camp includes; Curtis Sanford (lower body), Andrei Markov (knee) and Roman Hamrlik (knee), Hunter Bishop (upper body), Max Pacioretty (upper body) and Ryan Russell (lower body).

Press Release - Maxim Lapierre awarded the Jean Béliveau Trophy

Maxim Lapierre awarded the Jean Béliveau Trophy

MONTREAL (September 27, 2010) – The recipient of the Jean Béliveau trophy for the 2009-10 season will be honored during a ceremony prior to the game between the Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre tonight. For the occasion, Canadiens legend and Hall-of-Famer Jean Béliveau will be presenting the award to forward Maxim Lapierre for his charitable endeavors and involvement in the community.

The selection committee, comprised of members of the Board of directors of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation, evaluated the candidates according to the effort, enthusiasm, implication and time invested in both collective and personal initiatives. Each nominee was also evaluated on his commitment, leadership and financial assistance to the causes close to his heart.

Maxim’s efforts in the community are particularly felt with the youth in need throughout the province of Quebec. Ever since he joined the NHL, Maxim has been adamant when it comes to supporting charitable organizations with a generous heart. Maxim responds in spontaneity whenever touched by an opportunity to partner with community groups and individuals in need. His motivation comes from the opportunity to be a positive role model for Quebec’s youth. He is motivated to give back to the community and strives to make a difference.

His contribution comes in part from his annual golf tournament which benefits the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation. In 2010, the 2nd edition of the Maxim Lapierre Tournament raised $50,000.

For the past two seasons, Maxim has been the spokesperson for the Canadiens game day lottery lending his name to the popular initiative in support of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation. This year, Maxim accepted to be the spokesperson for the Riverside School Board campaign against bullying and violence at school and on the school bus.

The Jean Béliveau trophy is awarded annually to the Canadiens player who best exemplifies leadership qualities in the community. In honor of Jean Béliveau’s devotion, attentiveness and commitment to the community, the award is accompanied by a $25,000 grant from the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation which Maxim will remit to organization of his choice.

The Montreal Canadiens are proud to contribute to Montreal and Quebec’s heritage not only through their on-ice accomplishments, but also their commitment to the community. Accessibility, authenticity, generosity, commitment and team spirit are the values cherished by all members of the organization as they unite their efforts to make a difference for the present and the future.

Les gardiens du CH depuis le règne de Patrick Roy

Par ZoneHabs

Être gardien de but pour le Canadien de Montréal, c'est être l'une des personnalité les plus en vue dans les médias du Québec. Le poste tant convoité est aussi à l'origine d'innombrables discussions dans les foyers de la province. On se souvient tous du débat Price/Halak qui a divisé les partisans durant la saison dernière. Maintenant, que la question est réglée (sauf pour quelques faux fans du haut des gradins du Centre Bell), ZoneHabs a décidé d'analyser les performances de tous les cerbères du Tricolore depuis l'époque de Patrick Roy.

Carey Price - The Globe and Mail

  • Le nombre de victoires de Patrick Roy est phénoménal! Il est évidemment l'un des plus grands gardiens de l'histoire et son excellence a placée la barre extrêmement haute pour tous ses successeurs. 
  • Théodore est le gardien qui a disputé le plus de matchs après Roy avec ses 353 parties dans l'uniforme bleu-blanc-rouge.
  •  À noter, les performances solides de Price et Halak. On respire par le nez dans le cas de Carey! 60 victoires et 48 défaites pour le jeune homme de 23 ans, de quoi être très optimiste pour l'avenir.
  • Brian Hayward affiche des chiffres impressionnants. Si Patrick Roy n'avait pas été dans la formation au même moment que lui, on peut croire qu'il aurait connu une grande carrière avec le CH.

Le prochain tableau classe les gardiens selon leur moyenne de buts alloués lors de leur passage à Montréal.

  • Andy Moog se hisse au premier rang de cette liste ayant disputé une seule campagne dans l'uniforme du Canadien en 1997-1998. Évidemment, il faut être conscient que certaines années ont été plus axées sur le jeu offensif que d'autres. Certains gardiens sont avantagés par cette réalité tandis que d'autres voient leur moyenne en être lourdement affectée. 
  • Garon se place au second rang bénificiant lui aussi du peu de buts marqués dans la ligue nationale entre 2000 et 2004.
  •  Cristobal Huet fait belle figure affichant une moyenne de 2,539 lors de son passage à Montréal de 2005 à 2008.
  • Patrick Roy et Brian Hayward n'ont aucune honte à avoir face à leur moyenne quand on pense au au style très offensif des années '80.
  • Le moins que l'on puisse dire est que David Aebischer n'a rien brisé avec le Canadien lors de son cours passage avec l'équipe (2005-2007).

Le dernier tableau classe les gardiens en fonction de leur pourcentage d'arrêts avec le Canadien.

  • Deux gardiens échangés par l'organisation dans les dernières années se retrouvent au sommet de cette liste: Huet et Halak. Dans les deux cas, ils ont gagné leur contrat avec leur nouvelle équipe grâce à leurs performances étincelantes avec Montréal. Pour ce qui est de Huet, il n'a jamais été capable de répéter ses exploits ailleurs. L'avenir nous dira si Halak sera aussi dominant avec les Blues qu'il l'a été la saison dernière.
  • Garon et Hackett suivent avec un excellent pourcentage d'arrêt tandis que Price, Moog, Théodore et Thibault se retrouvent dans la même partie du tableau. Une fois de plus, aussi critiqué sois-t-il, Price affiche un solide pourcentage de 0,912 depuis ses débuts dans l'uniforme du Canadien.
  • Le grand Patrick Roy est le seul gardien qui demeure au dessus de la barre du 0,900 parmi ceux qui ont connus les années plus difficiles pour les gardiens.
  • Aebischer... ouch! On pourrait croire qu'il a évolué à l'époque de Gretzky avec les Oilers.  

Voici donc les principaux gardiens de but à avoir porté l'uniforme du CH depuis Patrick Roy. Avec un contrat en poche et déjà 134 matchs avec le Canadien, Carey Price risque fort d'être l'un des gardiens à jouer le plus de matchs à Montréal depuis Roy. Espérons maintenant qu'il pourra répondre à toute la pression et qu'il sera fidèle aux attentes parfois démesurées des partisans montréalais.

Max Pacioretty and Ryan White Making Choices Difficult for Canadiens' Coach

by Kamal Panesar

Montreal, QC—Fresh off the heels of another solid Team B performance last night, the Canadiens are right back at it tonight as Team A—lead by Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Carey Price, and Lars Eller—look to get their first preseason win as they take on the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on RDS at 7 pm.

With a second round of training camp cuts on the horizon, a few trends—some good and some not so good—have started to emerged from the play so far.

Carey Price
It probably doesn't need saying, since everyone is talking about it, but suffice it to say that Price has not yet gotten his feet under him.

As I said when fans started booing Price after the Habs' first preseason loss to Boston last week, this is the preseason and the final result of each game doesn't mean much.

Oh sure, it's nice to get the win, but this is training camp which means that the players are in training.

He'll get there and so will the team.

Personally, I am looking forward to watch Price with his full team in front of him. I think that once Jacques Martin trims the roster a bit more and we start seeing a lineup that starts to approximate the players we will see once the season starts, we will finally get an idea of what this team looks like.

Right now, there are battles taking part for individual spots on the team and, watching the games, it looks like a bit of a free-for-all with players not entirely respecting the system.

Give it a week, and you will start to see some cohesion on the ice.

Max Pacioretty
The forgotten one coming into camp—seemingly eclipsed by Lars Eller, Aaron Palushaj and others—Pacioretty is turning in one of his best pro camps yet.

Last night he was on a line with Dustin Boyd and Ryan White and the trio combined for four points and were a collective plus-4 on the night.

More importantly, Pacioretty seemed to be the key cog, digging in the corners, going to the net, and using his size and speed to create offensive opportunities.

Said his linemate Ryan White of MaxPac's performance, "Max said early in the first period to keep playing off each other and keep feeding off each other and we used that energy to keep playing. He played awesome, going to the net hard and making plays. When he plays like a big man out there he's tough to stop."

Tough to stop indeed as his four shots, two passes and plus-2 rating show.

If MaxPac can keep it up, he will make the final few cuts very difficult for Coach Martin. Despite his strong play to date, it seems unlikely that he will start the year in the NHL considering the massive logjam in the Habs' bottom six.

If he keeps up his solid play, however, Pacioretty could be putting himself in line to be one of the first call-ups for injury replacement later in the season.

Pacioretty's other chance at a roster spot is dependant on what players like Benoit Pouliot and Andrei Kostitsyn do from now until around December. If one or both of them are not cutting it by then, Pacioretty could see a door swing wide open for him.

To be honest, a few months in the AHL might be just what the doctor ordered to ensure that Pacioretty continues moving towards his goal of becoming a top-6 power-forward in the NHL.

Ryan White
Like Pacioretty, White has been a standout at camp.

Coming to camp in the best shape of his life, White seems intent on making the big club this year and his four shots, one goal, and plus-1 rating last night shows exactly that.

While, like Pacioretty, starting the year in the NHL seems like a bit of a long shot right—given Jacques Martin's love for Mathieu Darche and his reticence about inserting young players into the lineup—White is likely making the coach's decision more difficult.

Given how quick the pace of the preseason games are and the fact that Montreal is without a doubt a very fast skating team, I would rather see Ryan White—who has quick foot speed—on the fourth line than Darche—who is one of the slowest skater in the lineup.

Not to mention the fact that White does not hesitate to drop the gloves if need be—like he did the other night versus Eric Gryba when he ran a Habs player.

Jacques Martin tends to have his own way of doing things, however, and while there is an outside chance that White could beat out Darche—leading to the team waiving his services—I think the likely scenario is that Ryan will start the year in Hamilton.

White has a excellent combination of speed, grit, and toughness that the Habs need more of in their lineup and while I don't expect him to start the year in Montreal, he might not have to wait too long to get called back up.

As injuries arise during the course of the season, White is showing that he should be one of the first pluggers to be called up when the opportunity presents itself.

So who has stood out to you at camp? Who do you think is on the bubble and who is pushing for a spot on the team?

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Habs win, Pluggers excel, Pacioretty, White, Boyd, Rumours and more...

Let's try this again

Big night for the pluggers

RDS - White et Boyd se signalent

Pacioretty force la main de ses patrons

Price sera à son poste - Canadiens 4, Wild 3 - Canadiens 4, Wild 3

Spector's Hockey - NHL Trade and Free Agent Rumors - September 27, 2010

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Habs lose, Price, Boucher's legacy, Wild preview, Rumours and more...

Habs lose 6-2: Hickey's game story

Can't do in Kanata


RDS - Le CH est déclassé dans la capitale

Une visite du Wild

Spector's Hockey - Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup - September 26, 2010

The Daily Habit - Boucher's Legacy

(Picture courtesy of Press Canadienne)

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Habs beat Sens, Sens again, Hamrlik back on skates, Subban, Eller, and more...

Habs Inside/Out - Sens again

Markov back in October: RDS

Halak's Start A Shaky One

New Head Check Rules A Step Forward

Habs beat Senators, now 1-1

RDS - Subban s'illustre dans un gain du CH

Roman Hamrlik de retour sur patins

De bons mots pour David Desharnais - Canadiens 4, Senators 2 - Canadiens get first preseason win by beating Sens 4-2|NHL|home

(Picture by David Reginek/Getty Images)

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Booing Price, Habs v Sens, Eller gets his shot, Halpern's dream, Price asks fans to 'chill'... - Can you boo the Canadiens and still call yourself a fan?

Habs Inside/Out - Habs aim to end skid vs. Senators

The Penguins Green Arena and the Igloo Blues

Audio: Eller gets shot with a top line

Habs 'a dream come true' for Halpern

RDS - Le CH peaufine sa préparation à RIS

Price invite les partisans à se calmer

J. Thibault ne comprend pas les huées

CH : Lars Eller avec Gomez et Gionta


Spector's Hockey - NHL Rumors for Friday, September 24, 2010

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can You Boo The Canadiens and Still Call Yourself a Fan?

by Kamal Panesar

Montreal, QC - The topic of the day in Montreal and around the NHL today, is the booing that Habs' goaltender Carey Price received during the Canadiens preseason loss to the Boston Bruins last night.

I watched the game from the comfort of my living room couch, and was doing live in-game Tweets while all of this was going on. Once Price let in the first goal—93 seconds into the game—you could see a shift in the sentiments being expressed through the Twitterverse.

While a small minority jumped all over Price for letting in a bad goal, the majority started to wonder how long it would take before the real boo-birds came out.

More importantly, however, many came to Price's defense, explaining that it was only a preseason game and to give him a break.

That, to me, was a welcome sight.

I have to admit that even before turning on the television, I was wondering to myself how long it would take before the fans started booing Price.

After all, he is the one left standing after GM Pierre Gauthier traded playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to the Blues this summer. Sure, fans fell in love with Halak and many felt that Price should have been the one traded, but how is that, in any way, Price's fault?

As goal after goal went in on Price last night, you could feel the tentative crowd start to turn on the Habs young goalie.

It got to the point where there were even mock cheers when Price would make a routine stop.

So what does that say about the fans in this city? Are people who boo their own team really fans? Is it possible to be a fan of your team and still boo them?

In one sense, I imagine that you can be since the word fan comes from the root word fanatic.

Fanatics don't tend to be the most rational people on the planet.

But in the true sense of what it is to be a modern day fan of the Montreal Canadiens, shouldn't booing your team immediately disqualify you as a fan?

Booing players in Montreal is nothing new and if we look back over the last 20 odd years, we'll see that the hometown crowd has booed the likes of Patrice Brisebois, Vladimir Malakhov, and yes, even the great Patrick Roy.

Well, despite Habs fans rich history of berating their own players, I say that enough is enough.

I understand that people are passionate, and that we want for the Canadiens to win but booing players, regardless of how well or poorly they play, does not help.

If you are truly a fan of the team, you should want your team to win and be successful. If that is the case, then how can you boo?

Booing can in no way help Carey Price or make him a better goaltender. Nor will the boos bring back Halak or contribute, in any way, to the success of the team on or off the ice.

So how can people who boo the team call themselves fans then?

In my book, they can't. Sorry folks, but if you boo Price, boo the team for a bad performance, or in any other way contribute to the team having less success, you are not a fan.

Some may say that the opposing teams' fans boo the Habs. Yes, they do. But they are supposed to and the hometown boys can easily ignore that.

If you call yourself a Habs fan but choose to boo your team or its players you are actually worse than opposing team’s fans. By calling yourself a Canadiens fan, buying a ticket to a game, and then booing your team when you are supposed to be the wind in their sails, you are directly contributing to their downfall.

We have to remember that hockey players are human beings and being booed by the very people who are supposed to support you is without a doubt a painful experience.

If it happens once, the players can likely shrug it off. But when it is systematic—as it has become with Carey Price—the only effect it can have is to destroy the player’s confidence and make him scared to make a mistake.

Anyone who is anyone will tell you that you can't play the game scared and if you do, it is a recipe for disaster.

So I say enough. The booing has to stop.

Sure, as a paying customer you have the right to boo if you want. I will not dispute that fact. But this is not about rights but rather about doing what is right.

If you truly are a fan of the Canadiens and want this team to win, then stop booing, immediately, because you are just shooting yourself in the foot.

So is it any surprise then that free agents don't want to play in Montreal? Is it shocking that Habs fans are thought of, in many parts of the NHL community, to be terrible fans?

Sure, we're the loudest and most voracious fans when the team is winning, but we can turn into a dead weight around the Canadiens' waist when they are losing and that is not what a fan is supposed to do.

If you are a fan of this team and want them to win, then support them whether they are winning, losing, playing well, or playing bad.

I assure you that if you take this approach, it can only contribute to the success of this team on and off the ice.

As for Carey Price, I think my friend @kyleroussel—of Cowhide and Rubber—said it best when he tweeted "I've long said that many fans would rather have their Halak tears justified rather than see Price succeed."

Amen, brother!

Michael Cammalleri himself went so far as to say “That's our goaltender. It didn't go ideal for him, but nobody in this room was booing him. It you want to identify with this group, then get behind him. Because we are."

The line has been drawn, so make your choice people: Are you a true Habs fan or not?

Canadiens - Bruins: Carey Price Has Rough Outing in Boston's Wins 4-2

Montreal, QC—OK, everyone, repeat after me: It's only the preseason.

Nothing that you saw in last night's 4-2 Bruins victory of the Habs in Montreal means very much. In a lineup that included Jarred Tinordi, Aaron Palushaj, Louis Leblanc, Gabriel Dumont, and Frederic St. Denis, a loss doesn't really mean that much.

So while many were lamenting the loss, we have to remember that this kind of game is exactly what the preseason is all about: Practice. Refinement. Testing. Getting into game shape.

The game bore no effect on any potential standings and is, in reality, just a way to showcase the young players while getting the veterans ready for the regular season.

So take some deep breaths folks. A preseason loss is nothing to get worked up about.

Boston Scorers: Nathan Horton, Johnny Boychuk, Patrice Bergeron (2).
Habs Scorers: Maxim Lapierre, Tomas Plekanec
Final Score: Bruins 4 - Habs 2

Game Notes
1. Carey Price had a tough night.

While Tuuka Rask was busy putting on a clinic in the Bruins net—he stopped 36 of 38 shots on the night—Price let in three goals on his first five shots against.

While he would ultimately surrender another goal early in the second, shorthanded, Price could scarcely be blamed for the loss.

There is no question that Price would like to have the first goal by Horton back—a low wrister over his left pad—he was essentially hung out to dry on the other three.

Broken defensive coverage, bad turnovers, screens and deflections were what Price had to contend with all evening. Not to mention that there was no real semblance of a system being played. In fact, it looked like a bit of a free-for-all.

So while there were some boneheads who started booing Price, there is no way that this loss could be hung around his neck.

2. Palushaj is fast.

Playing on a line with Michael Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec, Palushaj's incredible speed was on display all night as he danced through, around, and past the Bruins' defenders.

He didn't seem a bit intimidated by the NHL competition and was always going toward the net. The knock on Palushaj is that he might not have the hands to be a top-6 player.

While he didn't score last night, he did have a lot of opportunities. I think a year—or less—in Hamilton should help determine what kind of player he will become. But suffice it to say, that he should become an important player for the Habs down the road.

3. Leblanc is going to be real good.

Like Palushaj, Leblanc was not at all intimidated by the Bruins as his incredible hands and foot speed were on display.

Also on display was his nose for the net as Leblanc was constantly buzzing around the Bruins goaltender.

He did get bodied off of the puck a few times but that is to be expected from a six-foot, 175-pound 19-year old. Once he packs on a good 15 to 20 pounds of muscle, he should end up developing into a top-end NHL player.

4. Andrew Conboy made his mark.

Conboy is a rough and tumble type of player whose role on any given team is pretty evident: abuse and intimidate the opposition.

Last night was no different as Conboy made himself seen by constantly being in the oppositions face. Whether it was smashing a player behind the net, tussling after the whistle, fighting with Adam McQuaid—a fight which Conboy lost badly—or going to the net to create havoc, Conboy was effective in his role last night.

With a shortage of tough fighting-type players in the Habs lineup, Conboy represents a good option if ever Jacques Martin wants to add more toughness to his bottom six this season.

Next Game
The Canadiens are back to practice today as their 'B' squad—consisting of players such as Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Lars Eller, and P.K. Subban—prepare to take on the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night at the Bell Centre.

Eller is currently penciled in on a line with Gomez and Gionta and it will be interesting to see how he fits in.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: fans are going to love Eller and realize why he was the keystone in the trade that sent Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues.

Habs lose to Bruins, Price has rough night, NHL recap, Price ducks media, and more...

Habs Inside/Out - Back to practice in Brossard

The Price wasn't ... ah, forget it!

Comment: Was silence golden for Price?

RDS - Pas le départ souhaité


Spector's Hockey - NHL Trade & Free Agent Rumors - September 23, 2010

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Young Guns Strut Their Stuff at Montreal Canadiens' Training Camp

by Kamal Panesar

Montreal, QC—With the Montreal Canadiens 2011 training camp in full swing, the Habs young prospects are slowly starting to make their mark.

While the Habs have done a good job of restocking their cupboards over the last few years and boast a variety of good, young players—Alexander Avtsin, Jarred Tinordi, Max Pacioretty, Ben Maxwell—there are three individuals who seem to be grabbing most of the headlines so far at camp: Aaron Palushaj, Lars Eller, and Louis Leblanc.

Eller Makes His Mark
Leblanc and Palushaj seem to be destined to play in juniors and the AHL, respectively, this season but Eller seems all but a lock to make the team out of camp.

Jacques Martin yesterday lauded Eller's speed, skill and on-ice vision and rewarded the youngster's hard work by giving him a tryout on a line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.

The ancillary benefit of that trio is that it will surely serve notice to Benoit Pouliot and Andrei Kostitsyn that their hold on their positions in the top six are tenuous, at best.

If either of these players cannot produce the way they are expected to, Martin will surely switch Eller into one of their slots at some point during the season.

Leblanc Turns Heads
To his credit, if Leblanc continues to progress as expected, he looks like he should make good on his elite second-line center potential. He is big, fast, and skilled and seems to have all of the tools to become a force in the NHL in the future.

But let's take it one step at a time.

Leblanc, for all his promise, will be best served by playing for the Junior de Montreal this season and being a key component on the Canadian World Junior Champion team this winter.

Both of those things should help continue his progression and make him AHL ready next season.

Aaron Palushaj Will Be a Key Component in Hamilton
Fast, fast, fast. That is what Palushaj is.

Once one of the most highly touted prospects in a deep St. Louis Blues farm system, the knock on Palushaj right now is that he doesn't necessarily have the hands to get it done as a top-6 forward.

But that doesn't mean that he isn't and can't be a valuable player.

Quite the contrary, actually, as Palushaj has the size and speed to become a very effective third-liner and maybe even a fringe second liner, down the road.

Cue the Pre-Season Games
Tonight, the players finally get a chance to play against some real NHL competition. Well, semi-real anyway, given that most teams are icing lineups that consist of half of their NHL players, at best.

No matter though, as the Habs first pre-season game will see them take on the Boston Bruins in Montreal tonight, on RDS, in what is sure to be a charged atmosphere at the Bell Centre.

While pre-season games that lack the likes of Zdeno Chara and Brian Gionta don't tend to be the most exciting events in the world, I would take a page out of Pierre McGuire's book tonight and pick one or two young players to watch.

Tonight, for example, Palushaj will be playing on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri.

Watch this kids speed, and see how he lines up against the likes of Milan Lucic.

Those are the kind of battles that take place this early into the pre-season, and we get to see our first taste of how our youngsters stack up against NHL players.

Other players to watch tonight will be Jeff Halpern and Louis Leblanc who will both be making their Bell Centre debuts.

The raucous Montreal crowd is sure to give them—and all the Bell Centre virgins—a warm welcome and a small taste of what they can expect in the future when playing in front of the most frenzied crowd in the league.

I know it's a pre-season game and all, but I for one can't wait to see the Habs back on the ice.

What about you?

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