Are the Habs for real?

I have been coming to this site on a daily basis for the last 6 months or so and I finally decided to post an article. this is my first one so please be easy on me.

After about 20% of the season played already, the Habs have been playing some pretty amazing hockey for a team that many were predicting them to finish 13th in the East and I started to wonder, are the teams taking them seriously or should they? Lets look at a few stats.

Teams Stats
17GP 10W 4L 3OT

2nd in their division behind Ottawa
4th in the East
5th in the league only behind Ottawa, Detroit, Carolina and Colorado (pretty good company)
53 Goals For (Tied for 8th in the league)
42 Goals Against (Tied for 10th in the league)
29.6% Power Play (1st in the league)
81.6% Penalty Kill (16th in the league, got better lately)
7W 2L 1OT Last 10 games (Tied for 3rd in the league)

Goaltending
Personnaly, I think that they probably have the best tandem goalies in the league or one of the best.
Huet 11GP 6W 3L 2OT 2.07GAA (7th) .931SV% (8th)
Price 6GP 4W 1L 1OT 2.44GAA .919SV%

Defencemen
Andrei Markov
17GP 6G (1st def.) 9A (Tied 10th def.) 15P (Tied 2nd def.)
Michael Komisarek is not knowed for his offensive skills but he is probably the most underrated defensive defenceman in the league. His is at the top of the list for blocked shots and hits. And boy, when he hits he hits HARD.
Roman Hamrlik and Mark Streit are also playing some pretty solid hockey for the Habs.

Forwards
Alex Kovalev
17GP 9G (Tied 13th) 7A 16P (Tied 37th)
Saku Koivu 17GP 4G 11A (Tied 33rd) 15P
With almost a point per game, these two players are playing quite well, espacially Kovalev. Last year, I gave up on this guy like so many other fans. But this year, he is a hole different player. He’s got so much skill that he can change the game arround just by himself. He is so much fun to watch this year. Him and Thomas Plekanec have been more than good together. I am starting to wonder wich of the first two lines is the actually number 1. I think that Kovalev-Plekanec-Kostsitsyn should be line #1. Anyway, they are sure playing like it.

With many experts putting them 13th in the East, this could be a cinderella year for the Habs. I am not saying that they are cup contenders but I think that they are on the right track. The youngsters are coming along great. Probably no cup for this year but I am predicting one in the next 3 to 4 years.

Thanks for reading me and like I said, this is my first article so please go easy on me.

Your thoughts?


34 Responses to Are the Habs for real?

  1. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    what i dont get is why the habs play like crap against the leafs…(in all 3 games thus far)

    if they played as well as they did against Boston and Buffalo, they would clean the leafs clocks….

    really odd….

  2. flamingsenator says:

    its the same thing as last year….they were great at the beginning but faltered around the all-star break(i stand corrected)

    will see if its in the cards for these guys…..their goal tending always seems to save them

  3. 29_other_teams says:

    Maybe they don't play as good against the leafs as they play against other teams but maybe the Habs bring out the best of the leafs when they play them?

  4. 29_other_teams says:

    I know about last but I think that they might have learnd with that experience and the Young guns have an other year of experience under their belt.

  5. THEGREATHAB says:

    Lets not forget about last year,  the Habs were 2nd in the league at Christmas, and then the wheels fell off.  I hope the same doesnt happen this year but that all depends on a few things
     

    #1  They have to stay healthy,  The flu bug and a few injuries to key players started the slide last year

    #2 Carbonneu cannot loose the team,  last year he started a feud with Samsonov which affected everybody else on the team,   Kovalev often voiced his opinion of the rookie coach, and the team which had great chemistry before X-mas couldnt get on the same page after X-mas

    #3 Thier 5 on 5 play must improve,  Last year and this year the 5on5 is not where it needs to be,  the last few games have been better, but we still need to improve

    If the Habs can keep playing the way that they are going now,  making the playoffs should be in the cards,  however call me a pesimist, but I still think we will be fighting for that 8th spot.  My prediction before the season started was that the Habs would finish 9th,  I can still see that happening, but I hope I'm wrong.  I do agree that in 2-3 years the Habs will again be a contender.

  6. jimbob says:

    Remember last season when the habs were battling the sabres for top spot in the east?  Were they "for real" then?  Carbonneau is still an inexperienced coach in that he can't stop prolonged slumps.

  7. jody200411 says:

    SCENARIO

    The NHL decides to give you a hockey team of your very own to be based in Kansas City. The league gives you two choices. You can take the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, farm, prospects and picks, or you can take the Montreal Canadiens roster, farm, prospects and picks.

    Who do you choose?

  8. habs_punk says:

    You'd have to be unbelievably pro-Leafs to pick the Leafs in that scenario. Montreal's got the better current team, and the LARGE majority of hockey experts feel Montreal has the much better prospects. Hands down it's Montreal.

    Of course that would mean losing my Habs… Take the Leafs.

  9. habswinthecup-again says:

     Yes, they are for real. I have said from the start that their young players are all going to be better than last year and they definately have been, Carbo is also a much better coach than last year. This is something that even the so-called experts did not seem to pick up on and that is why the Habs were picked to finish what? 13th in the East?
     So they are for real, but I am not suggesting that they are ready for a Cup run altho anything is possible – 1986 anyone? but I will be shocked if they do not comfortably make the playoffs this season.

  10. habswinthecup-again says:

     I agree with you, Toronto seems to play their best while Montreal has been very lacadaisical at best against the Leafs this season. But for as long as I can remember even when the Leafs were terrible and the Habs were the best ('70's and early '80's) Toronto did the same.

  11. Habfanforever says:

        This article should also go along with certain facts that make Gainey-bashers non credible. Of course its easy to see that he hasn't made to many moves as far as trades go but that is because the only thing that other teams wanted, was our youth, something he is wise to want to hold on to. Komisarek, Higgins, Plekanec, Kostitsyn, Markov (arguably the MOST underrated player in the nhl) Latendresse and Price are all youngsters who are in the regular lineup and have all been meeting expectations except maybe for Latendresse who is seems slow to learn the ropes. Those 7 guys form a very good youth core and are surrounded by above average veterans like Koivu, Kovalev, Hamrlik and Smolinski. Many people say this youth core is scary good but what's scary is that its still coming! Here's a few names:

       Forwards: 

       Ben Maxwell and Ryan White. Smart all around player in Maxwell and gritty forward with skill in White. Both will get a shot at the Christmas classic (WJHC) which is important to their development.

       Sergei Kostitsyn. Just lighting it up wherever he plays, NHL ready on a top 6 role, no room for him… yet.
     
       Matt D'agostini. Big game player who racks up the points when its most needed, also very close to an NHL spot.

       Max Pacioretty. Putting up decent numbers for a rookie with broken knuckles over at Michigan state. A power forward in the making.

      On defense:

       Yannik Weber. Putting up a ridiculous amount of points for Kitchener. Ranks 2nd in OHL D scoring.

      Ryan McDonagh. My favorite prospect. Another Mike Komisarek. This guy is a horse who just does everything so well at both ends of the ice.

        Just by seeing the direction this team is going and where they will be in 2-3 years, its not too far fetched to say that this team will be legitimate contenders with a roster made up of mostly players that were drafted and developed within our own system. See what Timmins did with Ottawa, he's doing the same kind of work with Montreal. With such a bright future ahead of us, its difficult to bash Gainey and his smarts for standing pat when the temptation to trade comes along.

  12. habsrock99 says:

    During the summer, I made numerous comments saying the Habs would surprise everyone and would likely come out of the gate fast again. I also said the Habs could finish anywhere from 4th-9th in the East, while also pointing out a more realistic finish being 7th-9th. These comments came with a negative reaction from both Leaf and Habs fans alike as well as other fans. People would call me a retard or tell me that I'm on crack or that I'm "dis-illusioned".

    I also made an article called "Don't Under-Estimate Les Canadiens", which pointed out various reasons as to why the Habs should do better. It also pointed out that these so-called "experts" have been predicting Montreal to finish 11th or lower for almost 10 years now. Again, my article was met with various comments about my sanity as well as comments about me being on crack.

    Now, the question remains, can they keep up this pace through the remaining 65 games. Probably not because no team (besides the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens and the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings) can keep up a certain pace through all 82 games. Every team struggles at some point during a season and saying the Habs won't struggle at some point, would just be dumb and idiotic.

    But saying that, their is no reason for the Habs to miss the play-offs. They have the team as well as a rejuvenated Alex Kovalev. They're even scoring Power Play goals without Souray. They're winning when last year's leading goal scorer Michael Ryder, has been nothing more then a fly on the wall all season. If Ryder can get going and if Kovalev continues at a good pace, the Habs should make the play-offs and could quite possibly make a little noise.

  13. habsrock99 says:

    I think Sergei Kostitsyn is Montreal's most under-rated prospect. I've watched this guy play with the London Knights for 2 years and he is the complete package.

    He scores, he makes plays, he has a good wrist shot, he can play the point, he is defensively sound, he can give and take a hit, he can fight, he can stand up for himself and he fights through traffic as well as in the corners.

    He is a Top line prospect, which is better then most of the Habs other forward prospects.

  14. cartino says:

    I'll be the first to admit I was one of these people that brushed the Habs off as finishing anywhere between 8th-12th, and realistically felt they'd probably just miss out of the playoffs.

    Well so far they're proving me wrong they've been playing some good hockey and winning with solid play, defence, goaltending and powerplay goals. Right now I'm impressed with alot of facets of there game and they could easily make the playoffs in a comfortable position 4-6th if they keep there pace up, however I do have some concerns.

    History Repeat itself?
    The Habs got off to an amazing start last season uptil December and hit there typical second half losing streak and came down to earth and just missed the playoffs…. is that going to happen again? Is a weak second half going to strike again?

    5-5 Play
    Let's face it, The Habs Power-play is winning them alot of games as it's clicking at 30%, They are not going to keep that pace up all year and it will come back down to earth, it will still be very good even tops in the league still but for scoring goals 5-5 they're one of the worse teams at it. If you can't score 5-5 and your power play fizzles then you're not going to win as many games and it's bound to happen if 5-5 doesn't improve!

    Those 2 issues aside, alot of there young guys are playing very well and the team has a good future, it's too bad they couldn't have lured one of the big UFA's in the summer like Briere or they'd be that much better.

    Best of luck to them this season. As a Sens fan I'm really enjoying watching the 2 teams play together and it looks like a growing rivalry as the games are getting quite competitive, I couldn't imagine how intense it would get if they ever met in the playoffs!!!

  15. TheDonkey says:

    Nicely put. Now go smoke some more crack.

  16. ferron says:

      Like I said many times before the habs are amazing on the PP and it wasn't because we had Souray who will look as bad as the McCabe deal one day and who we lost for nothing at last year's deadline, Souray will never be worth as much has he did at last year's deadline! Montreal's fine play on the Power Play is all due to MR. KOVALEV who handles the puck like Bad Mutha on the PP, last year "I" and a few of us complained about Kovy's lazyness and unmotivated but HE(Kovalev) was and is, one the NHL's best stick handler, Kovalev just get fed up with all the bad jugdment call from the coaching staff(Carbo) this past year and even now Carbo  plays guys like Begin, Kostopoulos and Latendresse while trailing by one or two goals at the end of a third perio? Also Carbo keeps Playing Ryder on the first line and why isn't Ryder playing on the left wing since he is a right shooter and then play Kovalev on the right wing along with Koivu at center and then we could see Higgins, Plek and Kostitsyn back together. It would not take long for these guys to take over the first line.These are the lines that I would Play!

    Ryder-Koivu-Kovalev
    Higgins-Plek-Kostitsyn  (best 2nd line in NHL)
    Chip-Smolin-Dandenault
    Latend-Begin-Kostopoulos  ( that line shouldn't play more than 8 min./game)

     I also think we should give S.Kostitsyn and big Ryan O'Byrne a chance they are both doing realy well in AHL. I'm afraid that Grabovski will become the next Samsonov! I realy miss Bonk on the third line why didn't we just pay the extra million to a guy that had been with the habs for the previous two years and would of look much better than Smolinski in our line-up! But it's A OK! After seing Price in ONLY 5 games this year "I" think it's safe to say that "IF" every thing goes right he (Price) should become a very good if not Great Goal keeper, this guy is too big, too technical, too good a stick hanler at 20 years of age. The habs future looks and I cant wait to see one of our many defensemen prospects!

  17. leafy says:

    I agree that the Habs bring out the best in Toronto.

    But another reason could be that the Leafs are a big team.  Montreal seems to excel against faster teams (i.e., Buffalo, Pittsburgh) but tends to have problems with bigger teams.  In fact, that has been Montreal's downfall in the playoffs the past few years.

    If they can correct that, look out, because their D and goaltending is exceptional.

  18. leafy says:

    I know I'm repeating myself, but Montreal's goaltending and D is excellent – top 5 in the NHL for sure.  If they can somehow improve their size upfront without trading quality roster players, look out!

    Best Habs player in my opinion (at least the games I've watched): Christopher Higgins.  He does it all….a real hockey player.

  19. habsrock99 says:

    Outside of Komisarek's great defence and Kovalev's surprising offence, Higgins has been he best player all around. And I found it funny people were saying his comments about thinking he could score 40 goals was dumb yet he went out and had 11 shots against the Leafs a week or two ago. I believe 40 goals isn't far off but more realistically speaking, 35 might be his number.

  20. habs_punk says:

    Don't forget O'Byrne, Valentenko, Emelin, and Fischer on defense. And there are others that could crack the Habs lineup.

  21. habsgod says:

    i just think the leafs know that this is there stanley cup beating the habs so that's why they (the leafs play extremely well against us)but i agree if we ever put the hammer down like we did a couple of seasons ago against toronto(when tellquist played those back-to back games )you'd see us not only win but route the leafs much like we did those 2 games when we won6-1 and 7-2 i think you'd see us win these games with those blows outs being a regular occurance!!!

  22. habsgod says:

    yes they are for real!!and are a better teams this year and are better prepared and coached and more sound defisively!!hamrlik is night and day an improvement over souray!!smolinski for one year will help in the development for chipchurra, kostopolous is an improvement over mike johnson and we have a deeper defence that if we get an injury or 2 we can now rely on that depth(brisebois,gorges etc)and even dandeneault if worst comes to worst!!our forwards too are deeper and more skilled and if we get an in jry we can sustain it for awhile!!(grabovsky,lapierre,s.kostitsyn….etc)and our goaltending is way better this year and we don't have to worry about aebischer and is inconsistency this year!!because with price and the cristowal i think we have the best 1-2 tandem in the league and they both give us  achance to win on most nights even when we don't deverse to win!i.e. the other night against the leafs!!and also the depth we have at goaltending(if price or huet go down halak will fit in without missing a beat)so yes we are improved so much i think you'll see us finish 4th-6th in the conference!!

  23. habsoverserver says:

    I thought Montreal would finish 6th-8th and win a playoff round.  That is what I expect every year.  Given their strong start, I could see them finishing more like 5th-7th.  But without powerful 5 on 5 play, they will not advance beyond the second round. 

    Montreal is clearly doing better than I expected and I credit Kovalev and the defense, especially Hamrlik and Komo for their strong play.  Hte team chemistry is improved.

    Huet will want a three year deal as a starter and Montreal can't afford it.  But, he is playing like a top 10 goalie and it is tough to let him walk. 

  24. leafy says:

    He's an extremely versatile player.  Reminds me of Chris Drury.

    You mention Komisarek's defence, but don't forget Andrei Markov?  He's a rock.

  25. leafy says:

    Even 3rd place is not out of the question.  After Ottawa and Carolina, the East is wide open.

    Goaltending and defence…they are key and Montreal has them both.

  26. leafy says:

    I've seen chicks get carried away like this, but not hockey players.

    If you're going to do it, at least pose in a magazine like a decent person and get paid for it.

  27. mattisonfire says:

    Hey Guys, you probably all know that our HockeyClub gonna suck by the famous December 23rt. Unfortunaly.

    By the way, i'm way surprise how good Price is. Even RDS says that he is better than Roy at same age. Whatever RDS says. hehe.

    I've good feeling about this year. woohoo!

  28. habsrock99 says:

    Can't get 3rd Leafy, they're reserved for the Division Leaders. It's not like the NBA.

  29. habsrock99 says:

    Komisarek is one of the top defensive defenceman in the NHL. I seriously have never seen a 2 on 1 goal when he's the 1 defender. I'm not dissing Markov because after years of frustration when he would never shoot on a golden oppurtunity are over. And it turns out, he's actually got a cannon. But as for Komisarek, I hope Gainey locks him up for a good chunk of his career.

  30. MtlHabs09 says:

    Ca sens de la Coupe!!!!
    I do hope that you know I'm joking. I can't stand how people are using last year's stat about 5 on 5 as an argument. Last year we were horrendous, with some ridiculous rating, something like 3rd last in the league.
    Well now I think we're actually at even or a little bit ahead, with a power play clicking at the same level as it was last year.
    Where last year this team depended on the power play, this year it's using the power play as a weapon. Big difference.
    Give it 2-4 years and Stanley will have a great chance of making a 25th stay in Montreal.

  31. 29_other_teams says:

    You got that right! Amen.

  32. rojoke says:

    Actually, it was around mid-December when the team hit the skids (almost literally) and they got into a funk that took them 'til February to get out of.  Aebischer collapsed and Huet couldn't handle the worklaod.  Halak bailed them out for a good deal of the last half of the season.  Watching Price play so far, he's much more refined and steady than you would expect from a raw rookie.  At the very least, if he remains on this level, he'll not only push Huet to keep his performance level up where it is, but it will take some of the pressure off Huet as well and allow Carbonneau to give him enough rest, prevent another injury down the stretch and have him available for what will hopefully be a long playoff run.

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