For most of the 2007-2008 season, the Habs had one problem with the team: DID NOT HAVE AN IDENTITY…
1. Were they simply a skilled team with little toughness?
2. One dimensional (depend heavily on their powerplay)?
3. Defensive experts?
4. Etc.

Some will argue all of the above… I think that they finally found their I.D.: SPEED! I think the call up of Gravboski cemented that identity with the Habs. If you are a coach on the opposite team these days, it is somewhat overwhelming to see these names:
-Sergei & Andrei Kostitsyn
Even Lapierre is finally showing some speed the past few games.

I think that the coaching staff finally realized that they won’t beat teams with their touhness or their skill and cannot depend on the PP to win every game or have the starting goalie be the first star of each game. Effectively using the team speed is creating numerous scoring chances and they are finally seeing the fruits of their labour! In the past few weeks, Ryder got a 3 points game (vs Rangers); Higgins 3 points game (vs Atlanta); Plekanec 3 goals game & Kovalev 4 assists (vs Buffalo).

Granted, Pleky scored his goals on the PP. However, Streit scored an awsome goal against Buffalo on a great back-handed feed by Grabovski, whom had outskated his defender(s) to make the play.

I must admit, earlier in the season (Oct.-Nov) I was a Grabovski basher… I stated that he reminded me of Perezhogin! However, Grabs seems to be an even faster skater (sometimes too fast) and a much better passer.

If the Habs stay healthy the rest of the season, not only will they make the playoffs, I strongly believe they can make some serious damage and go all the way! As most “experts” have concluded, the East is wide open. Ottawa’s play has gone south the past few weeks (1 goal in 3 games!); NJ is an enigma; Pittsburgh gave up too much for Hossa (which should hurt them in the long run); etc. Montreal can very well be the hottest, most consistent team heading into the playoffs and have an excellent chance of facing off against Boston in the first round, a team we haven’t lost to all year (not to mention we have their # in the playoffs).

Here are my bold predictions for the playoffs:





Since the East is wide open, I think that Big-Name teams such as NJ, Pittsburgh, Ottawa will all fall in the first two rounds. Consequently, Montreal will have a relatively easy ride into the finals, similar to 1993. As for Dallas, they are in a much tougher conference, defending against powerhouse teams like Anaheim, Detroit, San Jose, Calgary. By the time they reach the finals against the Habs, they won’t have much juice left in the tank.

Who do you think will be the final four teams? Does Montreal have a chance this year?

Thanks for reading,


164 Responses to BUILT FOR SPEED

  1. lafleur10 says:

    ever here of guy lafleur?i guess he wasn't a star?ever here of maurice the rocket richard or jean beliveau,or larry robinson,or ken dryden i guess you wouldn't classify these guys as stars!the penguins will be lucky and i repeat lucky if they get out of the first round!!if they do nobody is going to anaheim!!if anybody has a crappy history it's the penguins!what are you smoking?the habs have the best and most storied history out of all the teams combined!!

  2. lafleur10 says:

    what are you smoking bru? we've only played 1 game on this trip so far!

  3. lafleur10 says:

    the way your talking is it looks like you've had one too many whiskeys!!and that explains your dillusional thinking!it's over for you guys again no playoffs!!

  4. vesa29 says:

    first off i am a leafs fan so you guys will prolly not listen to a word of what i write, but i think yes the habs have a shot at winning it all this year…so does whatever teams slip into the 2 8th spots in the east and west. every team in has a chance, and to put montreal over the ducks, dallas, wings, pens and devils is a little pre mature dont you think?

    The habs are a very well constructed team, even without a true super star. they will go deep in the playoffs but i dont see them beating pretty much any team from the west. You dont have any gritty players….or a proven tough guy to battle with the likes of say….the ducks, and goaltending isnt solid either. sure price will be a super star in this leauge for years to come….i jsut dont see him winning it all for the habs this year. …halak either.

    On one final note….a congrats is in order to a team that was really a nothing team in the early 2000's. you have waited and kept your cool habs fans and now it is paying off…good for you.

    Go Leafs Go!  😛

  5. Kramer says:

    A friend of mine told me that Ovetckin wants out of Washington and wants to play with the Leafs.

  6. LeafsNation91 says:

    Al Strachan says alot of things…

  7. habsrock99 says:

    To anyone who thinks last night's showing was at all Price's fault, you didn't watch the game. The refs took control of the game through most of the 2nd and half of the 1st. It was a good game overall but it was incredibly frustating that the refs decided to take control.

    To say Price is a "poor goalie" and that "Montreal's in trouble with him in net" is plain ludicris. HAS ANYONE EVER THOUGHT THAT GAINEY WAS NOT AIMING FOR A LONG RUN THIS YEAR BUT NEXT YEAR INSTEAD? Any round we win this year is a bonus as we were expected to finish in the bottom 5 of the NHL.

    Carey Price is just fine, he's a ROOKIE and last I checked rookies make mistakes and have bad games. Even the "almighty" Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin made mistakes their rookie years. As did Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux.

    Also, Ty Conklin is having a lucky season much like Vincent Riendeau, Jim Carey, Steve Penney, Johan Hedberg, Brent Johnson, Brian Boucher, Doug Keans, Dwayne Roloson, Stephane Fiset, Dan Cloutier, Michel Laraque, Tim Cheveldae, etc. etc. To think he can possibly carry a team to the Finals is a joke. Now if M-A Fleury can manage to get over the fact he's choked in past important games, maybe then the Pens will.

    Also, I keep hearing people say Montreal's too soft, not physical enough, don't have a physical force, well if that's the case, explain why Montreal's in the Top 5 in team bodychecks. I agree Montreal could use a tough guy however they are far from being a soft team as everyone deals out hits and at frequent pace.

  8. Habroller says:

    You truly are a troll.

    Anyways, get used to disliking the Habs, because they will haunt you for years to come…

  9. Habroller says:

    Get out of our threads, troll!

    OBV*****IOUSLY he didn't watch him against SJ if he posted his comment BEFORE the game!!!

    It's like I was saying: "What a bad trade the Pens did! They gave up a part of their future for an injured pending UFA!"

  10. Cake says:

    See comments like that make no sense….crap-ass goaltender. It's ok not to like him but he is the Crosby of goaltending. So much hype around him. Let's not forget he is only 20 years old

  11. BroMagnus says:

    You do realize the canadiens gave up any chance they had this year by dealing Huet to the caps! You do realize that? right?

    Penguins clearly won the deadline by gettign Marian Hossa, arguably the best player in the NHL after crosby and Malkin! Now we have the top 3 players. and all we gave up was a few no namers to get him.
    The Penguins Dynasty is here.  DEAL WITH IT!!
  12. Habroller says:

    Bru, I think you're the only one worrying about Price, and uncounsciously, you're right to worry about him because he will haunt you for years to come!

    I don't care about his stats, because he's been horrid for a handful of games (allowing lots of goals) and TRULY spectacular for most of his starts, which is nothing short of amazing for a 20-year-old rookie netminder…

    Ask Shero if would trade Fleury for Price 1 on 1, you'd be surprised, but definitely not me!

  13. Habroller says:

    Yesterday's game was nice from an entertainment point of view, but truly HORRID hockey-wise!

    The sloppy ice & officiating killed the game.

    Nabokov was as bad if not worse than Price, so I don't think the game was in any way decided by the netminders.

  14. Habroller says:

    Only BruMagnus is referring to our "bad" goaltending.

    Any true hockey connaisseur is confident about the Habs' netminding…

  15. prospectiv says:

    The Flyers might be a gritty team, but they arent big enough to sustain that kind of play without being plagued by injuries.

    By the way, my point wasnt to say that Briere is not a good player, it was that having 6.5 millions cap hit for this guy until he's 36 (next 7 years) is overpaying.  Just remember this guy had ONE 95 pts season, while his best effort before that was 65 pts.

    So…good luck signing your ''future'' stud goalie…

  16. Habroller says:

    I personally would be fine with 4 or 5pts and said this PRIOR to yesterday's game. The only true moron is you Bru, and you probably know it anyway, so no need to remind you…

    Stop loosing your time on the Habs' case, it only shows you're worried about us haunting your beloved Pens for years to come, and you're damn right! I personnally am not worried about the Pens and, if it weren't of the early 2000's tanking (and therefore getting the highest picks), you'd still be in the League's bottom-10! No true depth, no true D, no true G.

    Maybe the Pens will move in the Tampa area instead of Canada, it would then make a great bottom-feeders' battle of Florida for years to come…

  17. Duecey says:

    I wouldn't count out the Canadiens at all, I mean Price IS a playoff goalie.

  18. UsedandAbused says:

    The way the cap goes up every year and Briere will be a Bargain in a year or two. Besides there are always  options. You can simply buy out his contract if you wanted. You could trade him ect… Also who is to say that when Gagne returns Briere's numbers don't jump back up. Just because he is not having a great year doesn't mean he isn't a great player. No I think he will be just fine. Your argument is lacking.

    "The Flyers might be a gritty team, but they arent big enough to sustain that kind of play without being plagued by injuries."

    lol.. No they just have had some bad luck with injuries. Also when some of their younger players hit their mid 20's they will naturally bulk up and hopefully will remain more healthy. To remain healthy a team must get lucky. The Flyers have had tough luck as far as injuries go, but in the end it will even out.

    "So…good luck signing your ''future'' stud goalie…"

    lol.. Well hopefully we can draft one and develop him. I don't know of any free agent stud goaltenders, but if there was one the Flyers would find a way to sign him.

  19. BruMagnus says:

    If I'm not mistaken it's the Crosby-less and Fleury-less Pittsburgh Penguins with the best record in the NHL since December (now that Detroit has lost so many)… the Penguins also had an atrocious start and were sitting near the bottom come December, something like 8-11-2 to start the season before they took off on a  29-12-5 record since then…

    I'm not afraid of the Caps, especially not now that SIDNEY CROSBY has returned!! Yes, it's 0-0 as I write this against the Lightning, but for some reason TB has owned us in the past 5 years. They are 14-1 against us in the past 15, the best winning percentage heads up against any team since 2003-04, as was shown on the board. I dunno what it is about them, but anyways… even if the Caps somehow manage to win on Sunday, which is possible cause anything can happen, I'm not the least bit worried about them in the playoffs, IF they make it. In fact, I'd really like to see them first round rather than Buffalo or Boston or NYR.

  20. BruMagnus says:

    The comments about Price were meant to be ironic and sarcastic given all the bashing on Conklin and Fleury.

    If you give it, take it like a man too. Otherwise, kindly keep to yourself.

  21. morrissey says:

    No, unlike an idiot like you, I don't base my assessment on one game, especially when it's the 3rd in 4 nights including travel to the west coast. 39 shots against, defense was as brutal as the goaltending – that's an out lier not a trend. Pittsburgh has no D and are relying on Ty Conklin in goal – they won't win anything with that

  22. BruMagnus says:


    And The Flower gets a SHUTOUT!!! The Pens improve to 2-14 in their last 16 vs the Lightning, lol.

    And Crosby gets his first assist since his injury, and Malkin gets an empty net goal.

    That side, the refs were atrocious. There were 3 straight BRUTAL hooks and interferences against the Pens that went uncalled, followed by 4 straight obvious trips and interferences against the Lightning (one in the last 30 seconds that should have been called but instead resulted in Geno's empty net goal)…. simply atrocious. I'm sure we'll here a lot about the last two non-calls (one against Gonchar and one against Malone)…

    but, the Pens won!! and Fleury has now won 6 straight games, including his first shutout of 2008!!

    Despite the Devils' win, the Pens remain FIRST IN THE EAST!!!
    Can't wait until Hossa gets back!

  23. BruMagnus says:

    I was being sarcastic given all the smack talk the Pens' goalies always get. Which makes no sense given Conklin's LEAGUE LEADING SV% and Fleury's 40 wins last year, not to mention SHUTOUT today!

    I could say the same about Habs fans who were quiet when Conklin was kicking ass but super vocal all of a sudden when he had two bad games.

    Give it and take it. Be a man!

  24. BruMagnus says:

    You're talking to BroMagnus, not BruMagnus there.

  25. BruMagnus says:

    Don't worry about BroMagnus (not me, I'm BruMagnus, I have a stalker).

    But lucky to get out of the first round?? Seriously dude… don't be stupid. Since when has the team that's won their Conference been considered lucky to win the first round and not the overwhelming favorite?

    Give your head a shake! Usually you and I have good debates, don't let BroMagnus get under your skin, please.

  26. LeafsNation91 says:

    Fleury was amazing, stopping 35 shots.

    Now , they seem to have the goaltending, offence and defence to win. Even when the offence is off, they still won.

  27. BruMagnus says:

    Oh you mean like speaking smack about Conklin because of his two bad games?? Or talking smack about the 40-win, today's shutout, Fleury??!


  28. BruMagnus says:

    I like the Habs.

    and would you kindly answer my question?

  29. BruMagnus says:

    Fair enough. I'm sorry.

    To reciprocate, keep your Habs fans away from smack talking Conklin and Fleury (who got a great shutout today, and stopped Lecavalier on a breakaway, the turning point and game-saver of the game).

  30. BruMagnus says:

    see… YOU say he's played WAY above his head, which may be true, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he HAS been one of the top 5 goalies in the League this year. Statistically, that's a fact. People kept saying he'd let up after he was 4-0 and 8-1, etc. but he kept going… and going… and going… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL the way to First Place in the East!!

    But really it's a moot point because Fleury just showed today with his SHUTOUT why they will stick with him. Conklin may get 4-5 more games tops.

    I agree If they make the playoffs they'd have to play a much better team game and not try to outscore everyone. However, I will say the Pens are 4th best defensively in the East… something most people overlook.

    This just proves how good Malkin is and how under Crosby's shadow he's been. You could see it again today with Crosby's return. I fear Ovechkin will win the Art Ross and likely the Hart now, but really it's moot if the Pens come 1st in the East due to their TEAM game.

  31. BruMagnus says:

    I'm not sure he would, simply because Fleury is comfortable with the team and has had great success in the last 2 years. In 3 years' time if Price becomes who all you Habs say he will be, and if Fleury doesn't keep improving (which he will), then he'd probably do that trade. But right now, no way, not until Price proves himself at the NHL level, say by getting 40 wins.

  32. BruMagnus says:

    Interesting how no one responded to this post.

  33. BruMagnus says:

    cmon lafleur10, I respect you and your comments. read my post again.
    someone (I cant remember who) said the Habs would easily take 6 of 8 points on their 4 game Western trip… and with a loss in game 1, it'll take 3 straight wins against the superior West to accomplish that. I'm not saying it won't happen, but it sure is a bad start and I'd be surprised if that person wouldn't want to rephrase his prediction.

  34. BruMagnus says:

    This post just shows me that you are afraid of the #1 team in the East: The Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Personally, I hope the Habs become good in the future. There's no other Eastern team I'd like to see win aside from the Pens. I also welcome healthy competition and still maintain a 1st round matchup between us would be the best series of the 1st round and come down to home ice (as I said a month ago).

  35. BruMagnus says:

    They would say the same about Fleury.

  36. BruMagnus says:

    Good post habsrock99. I wasn't actually being too serious, I was trying to be ironic given all the Habs bashing of the Pens recently.

    You are right that it would be scary to have Conklin as the go to guy, but nothing this year has suggested he wouldn't be fantastic.

    But you bring up the best point, which is how much it depends on how fast Fleury can get back into top form. He looked damn good today saving 35 of 35 shots for the shutout to push the Pens lead in the East even further.

  37. BruMagnus says:


    Even the offense was off, waaay off with Crosby's return even, but I still wasn't worried.

    Did you see Fleury's save on Lecavalier late in the game? Wow! What a game saver!

    BTW, Smith played ridiculously. I feel bad for him. He saved all of Crosby, Malkin and Sykora (PK) on breakaways… only to have a rough goal go, assisted by Crosby on Talbot's hard-fought goal.

  38. LeafsNation91 says:

    Nah, I could not watche the game. But I heard the game was badly reffereed. Just like the Montreal game apparentley was yesterday as said bad Hab fans, except, Fleury did not let in 6 goals!

  39. LeafsNation91 says:

    Nah, I could not watche the game. But I heard the game was badly reffereed. Just like the Montreal game apparentley was yesterday as said bad Hab fans, except, Fleury did not let in 6 goals!

  40. LeafsNation91 says:

    Nah, I could not watche the game. But I heard the game was badly reffereed. Just like the Montreal game apparentley was yesterday as said bad Hab fans, except, Fleury did not let in 6 goals!

  41. LeafsNation91 says:

    It's just like saying that the Habs are relying on a 20 year old in goal to win them the championship? Their is no need to talk smalk about Conklin because the man has a 2.35 GAA and a 92 save percentage in like 30 games, WHICH IS AMAZING. Fleury has also been hot as of late which makes them also have a deadly duo in goal for the playoffs. The D is not bad, Gonchar is one of the best in the game, Whitney is good, Gill can handle top offensive players, Letang is a young promising player, and their winning without two great D in Mark Eaton and Rob Scuderi. No need to talk smalk about the Penguins till tou beat them easily.

  42. morrissey says:

    No I'd speak smack about Conklin because of his entire mediocre 6 year career as a minor league and occasional NHL backup goalie. Players do not suddenly develop into superstars at age 31 when they have that kind of track record – doesn't happen. He's 31 year's old, the book was written on him ages ago, the bubble will burst.

  43. BruMagnus says:

    Exactly. And I doubt the Hans will ever easily beat the Pens… and surely not in the playoffs with an untested inexperienced squad.

  44. morrissey says:

    I'd take Price's experience of leading his team to Calder Cup and World Junior championships over Ty Conklin's experience of 1 NHL playoff game (a loss) and Fleury's 5 NHL playoff games (1 win) in a heart beat. He's played in and won many more important hockey games than Pittsburgh's 2 goalies combined despite being years younger.

  45. Cake says:

    Yes because Crosby, Malkin, Kennedy, Malone, Ruutu, Talbot, Fleury, Staal, etc etc etc have sooo much playoff experience. I'm not saying they aren't good but you seem to be going off the deep end a little Bru. Really the Pens don't have much more experience then the Habs.

  46. LeafsNation91 says:

    BroMagnus is deffinetley Habs_Cup08/RoenickTheGreat

    What a loser

  47. 24_cups_and_counting says:

    WOW! U must so so proud Brufagnus! The Pens just beat the 2nd WORST TEAM in the league, and a team that just traded away 2 of there superstars last week. Get the engraver on standby, because the cup is coming to Pissburgh!

  48. BroMagnus says:


  49. LeafsNation91 says:

    That is not the point, Pittsburg won a game that they played horribly and should of lost. Only elite teams can have that quality, which possibly seperates Pittsburg from other teams.

  50. leafy says:

    But playing horribly is a bad sign.  It's almost impossible to go through 4 playoff rounds by playing horrible hockey in today's NHL with so much parity.  If they don't smarten up, it's going to catch up with them.

    Furthermore, I could be wrong here, but I'm getting a sense that the Penguins aren't playing as well as last year.  Maybe it's because Crosby was hurt, who knows?

    But it's like Buffalo last year….they just couldn't play as well as 2 years ago despite their great record.  It finally caught up with them in the semi-finals, as they got demolished by Ottawa in 5 games.

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