Gainey's Mid-Season Evaluation

Bob Gainey had a meeting with the media today to discuss the teams season so far. There are positives and negatives like usual but he spoke very frank and sent a message to the players.

Bob Gainey says:

“If the players here can’t solve it, I’ll look at adding or replacing a player here with one who can win….”

Center Position:

In that quote Gainey was talking about Montreal’s poor performance when it comes to face-offs. That is obviously one area Montreal has been very weak in. Saku Koivu is the only legitimate face-off center Montreal has, Plekanec was a winger who was molded into a center man and Chipchura isn’t good enough yet to compete with a #1 or #2 center man. Smolinski was brought in for that job….but he hasn’t been their savior either, especially after being injured for over a month.

Balanced Scoring:

Yup, Montreal is actually scoring 5 on 5 & the Power play is still on top so the offence is there. Lets hope they keep it up because it is something that killed them last season and probably why they didn’t make the Playoffs.


I think the PK has been Montreal’s Achilles’ heal. They are 25th in the league. Winning face-offs is the first step at a good penalty kill. They were doing pretty good last season but this season it has been the opposite. People can’t say it is because Begin is out and he is a good killer but they were still doing just as bad before the injuries. Smolinski will add something to the PK when he returns.


Currently 12th best in the league Montreal is still getting good goaltending from Huet and Price. After Price’s worst game of the season against Washington it looks as if his confidence sunk big time. The boo-birds came after him and I don’t know why, He’s only 20 years old and a rookie. I’d say he is doing above average so people should lay off the kid. Gainey mentioned that Halak has been playing very well and they could make a switch since they both have 2-way contracts and Carey Price can get about 10-15 games under his belt as well as a confidence booster.

Young Talent:

Steve Begin, Brian Smolinski and Patrice Brisebois have been out with injury so there have been a few call ups from Hamilton. Gainey said he is to have a meeting with Carboneau to see who should stay and who shouldn’t. Hopefully they will let the younger guys stay and Montreal could cut the dead weight. Carbo stated very frankly whoever plays hard and plays good will keep their spot with the team then mentioned it put him and management in a fun position.

Alex Kovalev:

Gainey said he is carrying the team on his shoulders and showing people the player he can be. He is leading the team in points.

Well there you have it. Montreal is looking good and if Gainey can improve the club though trades and bring in a scoring center man I think Montreal is on the right track especially with the youth movement.

42 Responses to Gainey's Mid-Season Evaluation

  1. Inmate4 says:

    Key points for the Habs 2nd half:

    1) DO NOT re-insert Brisebois or Smolinski back into the lineup. Jorges is getting better and gaining more confidence and gives the puck away a lot less than Breezer. Lapierre >>>> Smolinski. Period.

    2) Carey Price should spend the month of January in Hamilton, racking up serious playing time and working on the small things that have given him trouble. Bottom line is Huet is still #1 and Price needs to play so send him down.

    3) As Gainey mentioned, face-offs are really hurting the Habs. Surely that crew behind the bench can mentor Chippy, Pleks, Laps to become better face-off men! If that doesn't happen soon, as Gainey mentioned he may need to go outside to find one. NOT PERREAULT! Is he even playing???
    Maybe a Patrick Marleau? Not producing offensively much, but still great in the circle. But is 6.3 million for each of the next 2 years worth winning a few more faceoffs? I'd say no. Now if the Bluejackets are willing trade partners, I'd rather go after a Fedorov. Free agent at the end of the year, so no commitments and he has a 54% winning percentage in the circle. I'm convinced that Ryder has no desire to play in Montreal next year, so some sort of deal with these 2 players as the main cogs.

    Besides that, keep relying on the mix of youth and experience. Trust in Huet and some work on the PK and a 4th or 5th seed is definitely a possibility.


  2. careyprice31 says:

    hmmmgoing after federov maybe would be a smart move if they wanna make a decent push in the playoffs or actualy to make the playoffs,but evrything u said makes sense good points.

    Perreault plays with chicago

  3. AntropovGoodIToldUSo says:

    Habs suck


  4. Habs_pm says:

    Whats a matter? A little sour that the Leafs have been loosing?


  5. morrissey says:

    Youth: Keep S.Kostisyn, Lapierre, Gorges and O'Byrne in the Lineup – they have been far more impressive and exciting to watch than Brisebois, Smoliski and Begin plus they've got the upside that they will continue to improve.

    Price: Time to go to Hamilton, he's got play. That has to be the first and foremost consideration. He's looked good as a 20 year old rookie goalie and he'll be fantastic in the future but at this stage he's got to be playing more games. He won't beat out Huet for the starting job this year or maybe even next year, not with the great way Huet has been playing, and with Halak in the system too, there's just no reason for Price to be warming the bench for a weak at a time before getting dropped into games cold and getting hammered by  the likes of Kovalchuk and Ovechkin. He's had a taste of the crazy Montreal hockey scene and I'd bring him back come playoff time and let him see how nuts it is here then, but for now it's got to be about playing period.

    Gainey needs to concentrate on 3 things from now till the end of the year:
     – Trade pending UFA Michael Ryder
     – Resign pending UFA's Huet and Streit
     – Acquire a quality centreman

    All in all a great first half, the team has been sitting around 4-5th most of the time, occasionally with better records than the other 2 divisional leaders even. It isn't a perfect team by any means but then short of Detroit and Ottawa who is? A little worry set in when the team went through a 6-7 game mini slump but  it looks like every team seems to be having one of those sooner or later. The parity in the league this year is phenomenal and few teams are really distancing themselves, but the Habs are hanging in there, still in the playoff picture, which is better than out of it for now!

  6. habsoverserver says:

    the team is well positioned to make the playoffs but the shortcoming is in puck possession.  they are losing faceoffs and getting outshot.  on the faceoff side, koivu is excellent, plekenec is still learning.  maybe they could pry peca or malhotra from the blue jackets. 

    gainey will find an affordable faceoff man.

  7. lafleur10 says:

    do i sense a little bit of jealousy setting in!!because that's the exact grade your make me laffs deserve!a collasal failure!!

                         LAFFS F!!!!!

  8. lafleur10 says:

    you should change your name from AntropovGoodIToldUSoTO ANTROPOVSUCKSANDSTILLDOES!!!

  9. AntropovGoodIToldUSo says:

    Antropov would be leading scorer on the Habs. LOLOLOLOLOL

  10. AntropovGoodIToldUSo says:

    Ride the high. While it lasts…

  11. AntropovGoodIToldUSo says:

    You sense the cream in your pants from being a premie…bad Habs fan!

  12. lafleur10 says:

    you'd better look at that kovalev is leading us in scoring and has more points than antropov!!!

  13. lafleur10 says:

    does the truth hurt?

  14. lafleur10 says:

    does the truth hurt?

  15. lafleur10 says:

    does the truth hurt?


  16. lafleur10 says:

    does the truth hurt?

    this team

  17. lafleur10 says:

    does the truth hurt?

    this team (the

  18. lafleur10 says:

    does the truth hurt?

    this team (the laffs)what a*****ing joke they're always failures!!!

  19. ferron says:

       The PK has been very good lately, only 1 goal allowed in the past 6 games. Ever since Lapierre was brought up the PK is one of NHL's best.

       One thing 99.9% of all habs fans agree on is, do not bring back Smolinski and Breezer, as for Begin, it's a toss up between him a Kostopoulos. If only we kept Bonk, we wouldn't be in the situation we are in now! Bonk was big, excelent at face off and was getting along very well with the rest of the team. Was it worth signing Smolinski for 1/2 million less than Bonk?

       I would try these line.

    Streit- Chipchura-Kostopoulos/Begin/Dandenault

      After this Ask Smolinski to wave is NTC and if not buy him out or on the waivers you go! Smolinski hasen't done sh-t for us and I rather watch a rookie make a honest mistake than watch Smolinski drag his lazy Ass around. It looks like Halak will come up  since Gainey and Carbo wants Price to play more often in the AHL.

      I think that Gainey's only trying to show Halak to other GM throughout the NHL,. Gainey will be force to make a trade soon with all the injured players coming back next week, it is obvious that we CAN'T send Lapierre, Kostitsyn, O'Byrne and Chipchura back in Hamilton, since they are doing much better than our 3/4th line veterans.

  20. arigold says:

    Get ready to slide right out of the picture guys, just like last year.  I'm sickof hearing people speak highly of players because they play for the Habs, most of the are shite.Latendresse, chipchura, begin, get seriuos.

  21. ferron says:

      What we need is a big center, who is a good face off man and with experience. I heard that the Leafs are trying to trade Sundin, couldn't we trade for him? Sundin would make us instent contender and would solve most of the problems in Montreal!

      A lot of UFAs didn't want to sign with Montreal last year, fearing that the team would rely on them but now the habs are being carried by a group of talented rookies, after seeing this year habs, UFAs will be attracted to sign in Montreal unlike the previous years!

      Gainey find us a centerman!

  22. habsrock99 says:

    I like the idea of sending Price to Hamilton, take it it'll screw me over in my hockey pools because we all know Halak won't be getting equal starts to Huet.

    Now, I've been saying since early November Montreal needs to get a good face-off man. I'd seriously think about Yanic Perreault because he is the best. Other affordable options include Mike Peca, Manny Malhotra, Scott Nichol and Mike Sillinger. Now it's a different question as to who we can get. I'd set my sights on either Peca or Sillinger and if neither can be obtained, maybe look at Nichol or Malhotra and if neither one of them can be had, go for Perreault because he can be had for a low Draft Pick.

    As for the PK, it's been great as of late and the Habs have finally gotten over 80%.

    Personally, what I would do is keep Price in Hamilton for around a month, Trade Deadline the latest, and I'd ride Huet til then and if I felt Price was ready, I'd maybe look to shopping Huet around and see what interest he'd generate. If I didn't like what I'd see, I would have no problem with keeping Huet. But come Play-Off time, I'd ride Price because he's 1) The Future and 2) We aren't going to win the Cup anyways so mind as well give the youngster some experience, he may surprise us.

    I'd try and trade Ryder at the Deadline, particularly to a team like San Jose, Dallas, Calgary, Vancouver or to another Western team looking for more secondary scoring. I'd ask for at least a 3rd Rounder but if Ryder continues to produce like he has been, I'd look for a 2nd Rounder but if he goes cold, I'd settle for a 3rd or 4th.

    Come the Summer, I'd look to trade Huet's rights to a team that is looking for a solid #1 goalie (Tampa in particular but other options could include Colorado, Detroit, Washington). I'd try to get a 1st Rounder and if not, I'd look for a 2nd and/or 3rd Rounder, which is a more likely scenario.  

    I'd then try to sign an impact player such as Marian Hossa, Daymond Langkow, Brian Rolston or Pavol Demitra then I'd look to sign a player like Georges Laraques, Sean Avery or Eric Godard. I'd offer Dion Phaneuf a monster offer sheet if he isn't signed by then(who wouldn't though?). I'd do the same to Alexander Ovechkin (again, who wouldn't?). Then, to finish off the Off-Season, I'd sign a back-up goalie like Cujo to split the duties with Price(It worked with Roy-Hayward why can't it work now?)

  23. habsalicious says:

    It seems WE all agree that Brisebois and Smolinski should stay out of the lineup BUT:

    In other news: Brisebois will play tonight against Chicago. What a bunch of crap. I'm actually glad I'll miss the first two periods of the game tonight ; ) Luckily, I'll be home just in time to see him cough up the puck, leading to Chicago's winning goal with three minutes left to play.

    ARGH! Just when I thought Carbo had FINALLY understood… and he strikes me down with Brokenwood.

  24. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    Keep riding that 41-year low.  It looks good on you.

  25. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    Hey kid, was your dad even born the last time the leafs won the Cup?  Take your ball and run along now, the adults are talking.

  26. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    Good points, all.

    Huet should be signed to a 2-year extension so that he can tutor Price once he comes back from the "A".  He has lost his confidence and the shooters have figured him out.  Same thing happened to Cam Ward (even if Ward is by far more mature) earlier this year and he's come back strong.

    I'm also very happy with how the first 1/2 of the season has developed.  We saw what a strong farm club and a long-term plan can do for an organization.  We still have a long way to go, but we're moving in the right direction and that's all a fan can ask for.

  27. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    Take a hike!  No one cares what you think.

  28. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    I agree with pretty much everything you said with the exception of Huet.  We CAN'T have 2 rookies tending goal for us!  It's never been done and for good reason.  As long as we're doing well in the nets, leave it alone. 

    Also, if we don't sign Huet to an extension or a new contract, he'll walk at the end of the season.  I was worried seeing Souray go last year but it all worked out for the best because our PP hasn't missed a beat and Hamrlik is SO much better defensively, but Huet's a different story.
    For all the crap people write about him and his poor showing in the shootouts, he's got a stellar save% and we'd be that much worse off without him on this team.

  29. lafleur10 says:

    go play in traffic and get the ***** off of this site and leave it for us habs fans!!!!

  30. ferron says:

      Huet will be looking for a long term contract(3-5year) for at least 4+ mil/year or someone else will give him that much! If they gave Volkcoon, Biron,  Fernandez, I think Huet will get  4 millions a year, easy! But he won't play backup  to Price or anybody else, next year Huet will walk on us, Guaranty!!!!

      Imagine what we could of gotten for Souray last year, lets not let another one like this happen again, we must trade Huet cause we can't afford him! Imagine that in two years from now Carey Price becomes RFA, some other team makes him an offer "Vanek/Penner style" but we can't match it cause Huet is in 3rd year of is contract an making 4.5 millions?

      The only UFA we shouldn't trade is Streit, Gainey should even try to sign him to an extantion as we speek!

  31. ferron says:

       Out of 650 NHL players, you've made Antropov your favorite?

  32. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    I disagree.  I don't believe Huet will be getting large coin in the 4+ mil/yr range, especially not for a long-term contract.  He will get somewhere in the 3.5 mil for 1 yr and hope that he has another good yr where he can cash in for a long-term deal in the range you mentioned earlier.  I don't think that he's getting the respect he deserves based on his age and the fact that he has played so few games in his career so far.  Teams would be leery of offering him that much money and all those years for that reason alone.

    Having said that, I think that he's a perfect fit for Montreal until Price is ready to be called #1.  For now, Cris is without a doubt our #1.  I think he likes it in Montreal, what with him being from France (my hometown of St.Martin d'Heres i might add) he's comfortable in Quebec and that's an important factor for a player.

  33. habsrock99 says:

    You must have over-looked the part where I said "I'd then finish off the off-season by signing a back-up goalie like Cujo to split with Price(It worked with Roy-Hayward in the 80's, why can't it work now?).

    No offence to Huet but I just can't see him being able to help mentor Price after this year. He's not going to be able to help ease him during a Play-Off run seeing as he's been apart of just one or two and he's only got 6 games of Play-Off experience. With such a valuable commodity in Price, you have to give him the best and someone like Cujo or hell (can't believe I'm saying this) an Ed Belfour would be a much better mentor/teacher then Huet. Undoubtedly, he's the #1 no but Price has shown he is almost ready. We need to have someone who isn't tied up long-term as Huet most surely will want. 

  34. Habs_pm says:

    Bob Gainey…..Get Brad Richards!

    – Doing Tampa a Favor
    – He wins Face-offs
    – Kills Penalties
    – Power Play Point man
    – Can play over 25 minutes a game
    – Leadership + Experience + while still being very young in his career
    – He is doing horrible in T-Bay and deserves to be a #1 Center!!

    The only negative is his price tag.

    Exactly the player Montreal needs…..I wish it could happen!

    I think Higgins would play spectacular on his wing.

  35. habsrock99 says:

    Well, it looks like your little prediction on Brisebois didn't come true lol Played an overall good game and even got a PPG 🙂

  36. MTL_HABS_24 says:

    Cujo will be 41 in April.  Do you think that might be a factor as to why no one else has taken a chance on him?  He's no Hasek (and even he's slowed down some) and his skills have deteriorated and will continue to do so at an even faster pace.

    "It worked with Roy-Hayward in the 80's, why can't it work now?"

    We don't have a defense that included the likes of Robinson, Chelios, Lalor, Svoboda and Green, not to mention forwards that included players like Naslund, Smith, Richer, Carbonneau, Keane, Walter, Gainey, etc…

  37. Habsman1991 says:

    Those are the worst possible combination i have ever heard/seen/ dreamed of ever. Are you stupid why would you break up kovalevs line when he is obviously meshing so well with the other two. Give your head a shake. I would rather have lats on my second line than ryder there. and why are you putting chippy on the fourth probably getting 8 minutes a game as a rookie that doesnt make sense he might as well be in hamilton for that playing time.

  38. Habsman1991 says:

    If sundin came to montreal he would probably be embarrassed by his former team for treating him like that and would kill himself because he has been programmed for years to hate the habs and play his best against them by MLSE lol

  39. Habsman1991 says:

    Lets see why it can't work……uhmmmmmm theres something missing between the tandem of Roy and Hayward and Price and Cujo……uhhmmmmm o ya Patrick is a bit better than Price but only by a smidge lol cant wait for Price to get his 500th win and a stanley cup in his rookie year lol

  40. Habsman1991 says:

    problem is who do you send the other way and how much do they need to clear up

  41. ferron says:

       Who look stupid now , Chipchura is now in Hamilton! You rather play Higgins on the third with Lapierre and Chip? You are a moron and BTW quit using the phrase "Give your head a shake" this sh-t is getting old, try coming up with some new reply you dumb douche bag!!!!!

  42. ferron says:

      Could you come up with something better next time!!!

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