Canadiens In A Celebratory Mood

The 2008-2009 season marks the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens and the team is hoping to make this a banner season culminating with a 25th championship.

A year ago, those thoughts would have been fools gold however the Habs have developed much quicker than expected and are one of the best young teams in the league.


Much thanks can be given to Bob Gainey who has brought stability in the front office not seen for years. The veteran GM, who has already built a winner, has shaped the Canadiens to be a fast, quick team with lots of skill, young depth and a young goalie to build the team around. He has great chemistry with the coaching staff with former teammate and linemate Guy Carbonneau behind the bench.

Carbonneau has done a good job utilizing the team’s assets and implementing a system that requires lots of speed, his defensive smarts and quick transition. He has also created a monster PP that has been one of the best the last couple of seasons.

Here’s what Carbonneau has managed by the numbers:
  • 14 point improvement from 2007 to 2008
  • Best PP in 2008 and 2007
  • 83% PK success rate the last 2 years.
  • Offence went from 15th to 2nd in the league with over 3 goals a game
  • Improved offence 5 on 5
  • Imrpoved GAA from 3.06 to 2.63
There are some things Carbo could improve the team at. They are still under 50% as a faceoff team. Considering he, Doug Jarvis and Kirk Muller were 3 of the better faceoff men around, the team can be better. He needs to continue to make the team better 5 on 5. If the PP goes cold like it did in the playoffs, the team is in trouble. The team could use some improvement in the defensive zone coverage. Part of it could be attributed to inexperience, but the Habs did have trouble with containment and definitely need to be better to reach the next level.

Part of this will be Gainey’s responsibility as well as he will need to find another centre and probably made an addition to his defence.The team’s toughness and grit is always a questionmark. He has already had a busy summer as is adding depth in goal with Marc Denis, adding scoring in Alex Tanguay and toughness with Georges Laraque. But its unlikely Gainey is finished as he has an eye on adding some big names to put the Habs over the top and really make this 100th anniversary season a special one.

Right now though, the Habs are a good team. There are few, if any teams quicker than the Habs, they carry a ton of skill and have one of the best young goalies in the game as the last line of defence. The Habs have nowhere to go but up.

Payroll: $50.1 Million

Lineup

C: Tomas Plekanec, Saku Koivu, Max Lapierre, Steve Begin
RW: Alex Kovalev, Andrei Kostitsyn, Tom Kostopoulos, Mathieu Dandenault, Georges Laraque

LW: Chris Higgins, Alex Tanguay, Sergei Kostitsyn, Guillame Latendresse

Skill and scoring is not an issue. They have a star in Kovalev to build the offence around and have proven performers like Higgins, Plekanec, Koivu and now Tanguay in support. Kovalev has seemingly become a leader and a highly motivated player and has been a good role model for some of the young players on the team. Tanguay is quietly a coup for the Habs. A proven point per game player, he should mesh well with this offensive minded squad. Plekanec and Higgins are only going to get better. Plekanec has meshed well with Kovalev and provides the top line with defensive smarts to go with high offence IQ. Higgins is poised to break out and become a 30 plus goal scorer. He is also one of the team leaders. The Kostitsyn brothers are emerging as highly entertaining forwards who can bring fans out of their seats. Captain Koivu of course is still their leader and when healthy can produce and be a tireless worker.

The Habs are still a smallish squad who can get pushed around some. Players like Lapierre, Latendresse, Begin and Kostopolous are pretty game when it comes to playing a grinding style but the addition of Laraque should give the team a major boost in the toughness department. He will certainly allow the Habs to play much bigger.

As mentioned earlier, a good faceoff man is probably a necessity. The team could probably use another top 9 forward for depth and if they can add size, even better. They dont have a true checking line, but they are hopeful they have enough smart defensive forwards to play any line against the opposing team’s top players.

D: Andrei Markov, Mike Komisarek, Roman Hamrlik, Ryan O’Byrne, Francis Bouillon, Josh Gorges, Alex Henry

In back to back seasons the Habs have lost two key players on defence and by seasons end they should be looking to make an addition here. They are pretty solid in their own end. Komisarek is one of the better defensive defencemen in the league and is among the league leaders in hits. Hamrlik was a steadying influence on defence and really was key in helping the team improve their goals against. He rarely panics and seemingly makes the right play all the time. The player who brings it all is Markov. He is an underrated defender who’s offensive contributions overshadow his steady play in his own zone. But that is not surprising. Markov can consistently put up 50-60 points, seemlessly run a PP and show great ability to move the puck. The team is hopeful young O’Byrne emerges as a 20 plus minute blueliner who can take some of the physical responsibilities from Komisarek. Otherwise, a veteran addition will be necessary. Gorges and Bouillon are a decent 3rd pair but are at best just that.

G: Carey Price, Marc Denis

This is now Carey Price’s team. Despite his young age he took over the number 1 role and performed well. He did have a subpar playoff and made a few rookie mistakes and eventually got benched. After winning the World Juniors, winning the Calder Cup, he finally tasted defeat and with that this should make him an even better player. Hopefully his strong character and ability to shake things off will allow him to learn about this past year and take his game to the next level. Denis was brought in likely to backstop the minor league team but his experience would make him a great backup to Price.

Farm Team

F: Greg Stewart, Brock Trotter, Eric Manlow, Matt D’Agostini, Ryan Flinn, Janne Lahti, Mike Glumac
D: Pavel Valentenko, Jon Gleed, Shawn Belle, Mathieu Carle
G: Cedric Desjardins

Prospects


F: Ben Maxwell, Max Pacioretty, Kyle Chipchura, Ryan White, Danny Kristo

D: Ryan McDonagh, Alexei Emelin, PK Subban, David Fischer

G: Jaroslav Halak


Gone are the days where the
depth chart was filled with major busts like Terry Ryan and Matt Higgins. Up front, Chipchura is poised to be a regular next season and probably will be a key defensive forward for the team. Pacioretty is close and time in the minors will do him some good. He has the size and skill combination the team is in need of for the top lines. The team is high on Maxwell but he has not been able to stay healthy the last couple of years. That is a bit of a concern considering

The team has really targeted US College players, especially on D with McDonagh and Fischer top prospects. McDonagh especially is highly regarded and probably a player many teams ask for in trade. His offensive and skating ability make him quite attractive.

Halak will likely be the team’s backup goalie and is viable trade bait as well. He is definitely caught up in a numbers game.

The team used its first round pick to acquire Tanguay but with this kind of depth, could afford the move. The team picked up yet another US college player in Danny Kristo in the 2nd round and got Greg Pateryn in the Grabovski trade.

Outlook

There is plenty to look forward to in Montreal. The team is back to being among the elite and there is a good chance it will only get better with the team having such a good young crop of players at all positions. However, with it being such a momentus occasion this coming season, the team is out to win now and have the talent and ability to do so. They are maybe one player away from putting themselves over the top. Could the “Swede” taste of victory be in the cards?


75 Responses to Canadiens In A Celebratory Mood

  1. ranger_fan says:

    Don't stereotype fans unless its leaf fans please.

    Jagr was too selfish and a horrible captain. If you watched any of NYs last two seasons he was a shadow of his old self. I have always hated Avery. He is everything in life I hate. He needs to shut his mouth – and if anyone did that thing to me he did to brodeur on the 5-3 – he wouldn't be alive. Sure I would have let one in but that was complete bullshit.

    As far as Redden and Rozsival yeah I'm skeptical. I think Rozsival will  be better without Jagr – and hey the cap with rise next season too…

  2. ranger_fan says:

    Yeah shit happens. Any Ranger fan will tell you they are going to do that if they sit on a lead. But hey the Rangers were 3-0-1 against the Habs. You guys blew a lead the game before that.

    So lets see Lundqvist >>>>>> Price
    Defense can be comprable id give you the edge – and until you get Sundin I wouldn't say you have that much firepower. Kovalev showed this year – he certainly will take the next 3 seasons off.

  3. Plekanec says:

     Nagy's also a LW you waste of sperm. And did Detroit trade Datsiuk and Latendresse isn't on Montreal top 6, once again you showed your limitation when it comes to Hockey knowledge, how much do you know about hockey when you forget a guy like Datsiuk.

      Please quit wasting time of people who actually know a little bit about hockey.

               Kubina LOL ? Is your daddy and mommy first cousins? Cause it seams like you could be the product of years of inbreeding!

     

  4. Plekanec says:

      You got it Boss! I know it's unlikely but even though i preached that Sundin won't come to Montreal but it sure would be nice as Sundin could help all 30 NHL teams.

  5. Plekanec says:

      Your always out topic and you comment are as smart as a Joey Moss reasoning! Do yourself a favor and shut up!

  6. pezzz says:

    LOl if you knew how to read, you would've seen I was talking about top 6 wingers and not top 6 forwards. Datsyuk is a center and yes Latendresse is top 6 winger in the Habs

    and while you're talking about Hockey knowledge, you should no it's DATSYUK and not DATSIUK, you bastard.

    and if you followed a bit hockey, you would also know Nagy played the entire year on RW last year with the Kings. maybe you should start to watch a bit of hockey instead of masturbating and reading nhl.com

    anyway, with a name like Plekanec it's obvious the guy licks Yvon Pednault's ass.

  7. Plekanec says:

      I never once claimed that the habs had a better offense than the Wings, BTW last year was Nagy's 1st year on the RW and also his worst season, he's a natural LW regardless of what your boyfriend told you!

      Kubina couldn't even be a top 4 with the Leafs and now he could be a top 4 with the habs, I think that you might be a little emotionally scared due to the fact that you had to grow up with 2 gay father after being rejected by your tranny mom! But nobody hold it against you ,but you fagot daddy should done this earth a favor and came in the sheets.

     But don't worry it's OK, don't be so frustrated these days people like you are able to leave an almost normal life with help of strong medication.

  8. Plekanec says:

     Are those the top six guys on your daddy's list or just a wet dream?

  9. prospectiv says:

    Conboy and Wyman seems to be decent propects, but they are still far from the big league at this time. 

    I agree Marleau and Schneider arent the best players the Habs can get.  I can recall a very bad highlight on Marleau in the last playoffs were he actually jumped instead of blocking a shot that finally resulted in a goal.  It tells you the kind of player he is…

    I'm wondering if J-Bo was ever considered by Bob.  It would cost a young forward like Pleks or Higgins or AK  plus a D like Hammer or Komisarek and a prospect.  Maybe the price is to high though…  but that's what I thought before Jokinen was traded!

    A Defense relying on Markov AND Bouwmeester is a defense that can win a championship, iike it happened in Anaheim (Niedermaer and Pronger) and Detroit (Lidstrom and Rafalski).

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/17397-Mark-Moores-Blog-Speed-trumps-size.html

  10. Habfan17 says:

    Bowmeister would be a good addition . If they would take Fischer, Emelin and Boullion, I would be happier. Bowmeister hasn't progressed to the point of being an impact player yet. That doesn't mean he won't. He just hasn't reached that status! Getting two excellent prospects and a body that could help right away might do it, but I think they would ask for Higgins. If Pacioretty were ready, I would say yes to Fischer and Higgins, it would be worth the gamble. Not Komisarek though or Hamrlik at this point. Players like Komisarek are few and far between! They are gold!!!! He will probably be captain one day

  11. Habfan17 says:

    Subban is just what the doctor ordered. Did you hear his interview when he was drafted. he said that he wanted to help bring the cup to Mtl and that Mtl was his Dads favorite team and also his! WOW, a guy who really wants to be with MTL. On top of that, he is a character!

    I doubt Mtl will keep him up this year, especially since he will be on the world junior team for the 2nd year and this time he will have an expanded role. There is no need to rush him. He is a go to guy in junior and it would probably be better to have him fill that role in hamilton before they give him a shot in Mtl. Besides, if they bring up too many guys, they will have cap issues in 3 years when they all come due to resign!

  12. Habfan17 says:

    Seems to ne it was Jagr in the 2006-07 playoffs that put the team on his back and fought through injuries to try to get the team going.

    It is funny that scouts and most GM's said that Redden should be in the $4 million range based on his last 2 years, but not more! Why did the rangers pay way over market value for this guy and why didn't Burke in Anahaeim complain that Sather is inflating salaries.

    Sather did well in Edmonton as coach, but someone else drafted the talent he had…Gretzky, Messier, Lowe, Coffey, Fuhr, Anderson, Kurri etc. As a GM, he has been mediocre at best. Sure he got Drury and Gomez, but at a high price and had he signed only one of them, he could have had 2 players for the cost of the other that may have helped more.

    The Rangers are a good team, but I think it has more to do with the coach than the GM. Redden is a standup guy who does a lot for the community, but his last 2 years have been below par for the salary he made. His best years were alongside Chara! Jagr may not have put up as many points this year, but Sather changed the dynamic of the team and that had a direct impact on Jagr since the guys he played with were gone and you now had 3 players who want the puck all the time.

  13. Habfan17 says:

    I will give you that Staal should be better this season and Kalinin is in upgrade over Strudwick, but Redden doesn't bring a physical dimension and had 2 years playing below par. He played best alongside Charra. The rangers overpaid him ( good for him) but if they want him to be a go to guy, they didn't watch video of his last 2 seasons. He is a standup guy and I hope he bounces back, but there are no indications that he will. Tyutin is a very good player and Giradi is okay but it remains to be seen if he will be better this season.

    You are right, all teams have off nights, but when you are down that much that late in the game, it shouldn't happen. This is not a shot at the Rangers, that is directed towards all teams.

  14. careyprice31 says:

    Well Said

  15. prospectiv says:

    Of course giving Fisher or Emelin or Bouillon would be better!  But this is not realistic, considering that other teams would offer much more than a "Higgins + prospect"…  Philly was said to offer Downie, Upshall & Jones but it was not enough…  Even Carter + prospect wasnt enough.  No offense, but I place Carter over Higgins because of his size.

    It's true that Komi shouldnt go anywhere…  but I'd be willing to part with Hamrlik since we got him for free and since he eats a lot of the cap necessary to fit J-Bo in.  This guy is not getting an younger (34) and paying 5,5 m for 26 pts is pretty expensive even if he's pretty steady and mean in the defensive zone.

    I think departing with Plekanek would be another possibility, as I see Sergei K. filling his job at center in a line with his brother and Kovy…  As a playmaker, he would fit in better than Pleks with 2 shooters like AK and Kovy!!  I also think Pleks is very good but benifited a lot satistically from the play of Kovy last year so this would be the best time to trade him…

    Pleks + Hammer for J-Bo !!

    Fits in well for both teams, Florida gets the center they need after trading Jokinen.  They also get a very good D to solidify the defense.  They already have a lot of young czechs, so getting 2 vets with exemplary work ethic is something that would add some plus-value.

  16. pezzz says:

    lol if your only argument is my 2 fathers (lol?), then I think it means i win 🙂

    and by the way, Kubina is a top 2 with the leafs and would be a solid top 4 with the habs. ask Leafy.

    and try to be respectful with gays and quote : *people like you* because if you meet one in the streets, he will kick your ass.

  17. Habfan17 says:

    I didn't say that Florida would go for my deal, just that it is what I feel makes sense. J-Bo may not ever be an impact player so to give up a first rounder in Fischer a player all the scouts and Pierre McGuire say will be a first pair shut down player but won't come over unless he is gauranteed a position in the NHl(Emelin) and Boullion.

    Hamrlik may be 34 but it is more than his points that count. Just ask the folks in Calgary what he did for Phaneuf and the other young d-men.
    Mtl needs that kind of mentor for now with O'Byrne and probably Valentenko this season. If you look at points, it is a saw off!
    Bouwmiester 15G, 22A, 37PTS, -5 for a differential of 32 points.
    Hamrlik         5G, 21A, 26PTS, +7 for a differential of 33 points

    J-Bo would probably do better on a 2nd pairing for now, but based on his achievements to date, he is not worth 3 roster players. If Philly wants to give up that much, bully for them. It doesn't mean he is worth it.! Florida turned them down, has anyone come close to offering a similar package? Florida is trying to hit a home run, which is what they should do. They already have 2 pretty good d-men in the Jokinen trade, it will be interesting to see what they may get if in fact they want to move him.

  18. Habfan17 says:

    I was just thinking. Word out of Chicago is that they would like to move Havlat since they did well while he was injured.

    I would trade Higgins for Havlat plus a conditional pick if he plays at least 70 games. The additional pick could be Fischer or a 2nd rounder.

    Having Tanguay, Koivu, and Havlat on a 2nd line would be pretty good!
    That would still leave S.K on the 3rd line with lapierre and Latendresse

    Begin/Kotsopoulus/Pacioretty, Chipchura, Laraque.

    Pretty good balance and some good energy

  19. DoubleDown says:

    wade redden is the most unmotivated, least intense, softest  and apathetic players i have ever seen. now he has 6 years and $40 million worth of security to fall back on.

    good luck with that.

    there's a reason the sens only wanted him back at $3-4 million short term.

  20. habsrock99 says:

    I too apologize for snapping at you(completely uncalled for). 

    And I have to say, of all the Leaf fans I've met, you are one of the most knowledgeable and realistic. And for the most part you know a lot about what goes on outside your "fan zone"(Something I try to do as well).

  21. habsrock99 says:

    I love PK Subban and I agree he should start in Junior or the AHL. As well as Weber.

    I too saw that interview with PK and I gotta say, he showed more enthusiasm then I've ever seen from a rookie(even 1st overall picks). And I'll admit, all the way up to about the start of the OHL Play-Offs, I didn't hold much hope for him in the NHL. I figured he'd be a 3rd pairing defencemen. But during the Play-Offs and the Memorial Cup, he changed my views of him and I honestly think he could someday be a Top pairing defenceman.

  22. lafleur10 says:

    this is interesting that you propose this but with havlat's health(injured shoulder) he just isn't worth the risk especially not for higgins+ i would ask them for the conditional pick because of havlat's injury problems! plus if you trade higgins now( going into his rfa year) you will alinate komisarek higgins best friend and komi will leave!

  23. Habfan17 says:

    Let's hope he continues to develop. He is a breath of fresh air and one that the Habs could certainly use. His attitutde would certainly rub off on the guys in a positive way!

    I know scouts have written that he is pure offence and little defence, but you can teach defence as all the experts say, but the knack for offence is something you either have, or don't have. Paul Coffey certainly didn't subsribe to defensive defenceman magazine! Subban has speed and skill, he just needs to balance it a bit. Paired with a guy like Komisarek, he would be fine!

  24. Habfan17 says:

    When healthy, Higgins straight up probably wouldn't be enough, but if Chaicago is more interested in dealing Havlat, they may get him. Havlat has been injured but the reason is he never went for the surgery to repair his shoulder. He also went the route of therapy and rest. I read that he finally had the surgery and that may be the end of the problem. You do have to take some risks sometime and Havlat would sure be the offensive catalyst that would help.

    As for Komisarek, he knows it is a business and that he is lucky to have Higgins on the team. If Higgins were traded, it may affect him for a while, but he knows it's a business. Besides, being traded doesn't mean that they won't still be close. There are a lot of players you hear of who played together, one got traded, and they are still close and the one who wasn't traded did not leave the team because of the trade of their friend.

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