Habs: Best Team in Northeast

There has been lots of talk about Ottawa being so strong, Boston being better than last year, and Toronto (at least their die hard / unrealistic fans) making a legitamate shot despite the loss of depth and veteran leadership. The truth is that many sports writters and hockey fans are writting off Montreal or not taking them seriously.

The Montreal Canadiens will win the Northeast division this year. This is not just a Montreal fan dreaming, but rather a very realistic situation.

1) – Goaltending: Montreal is solid in nets. It doesn’t matter wether or not you think Theodore is a top 5 NHL goalie, or if he’s better than Luongo etc, etc. Fact is he is a Vezina winner and an NHL MVP. He played last year (unlike Hasek & Belfour) and he had a strong season. Now he’s coming to camp after signing a nice long-term deal and he has something to prove. This guy is as competative as an goalie in the NHL and with a more solid Defense in front of him, he should face less shots and have a very strong campaign. Montreal doesn’t need him to be an MVP, they just need solid & steady play from him which they should be able to get.

2) – Defense – Montreal by no means has the best D in the league, what they have is a SOLID group which includes a little mix of offense, speed, hitting, leadership, and heart. These guys have slowly been gelling together over the past few years and should do a great job. They’ve lost the uncertaity of Brisebois, Dykhuis & traverse (just to name a few lame-o’s who’ve suited up over the past few years). These top 6 can play. Rivet & Souray can play lots of minutes. They are hard hitting defensmen who forwards have to be aware of before standing in front of the net. Dandenault (although not fenominal) will be MUCH better and more solid than Patrice Brisebois. Markov could be a great sleeper pick for your pool. This young talent has tons of upside potential here, and could make some noise on the PP. Komisarek is one to watch. This young guy can trow his weight around (remember the hit on Thornton in the opening round?). He plays a very steady game and already looks like a veteran back there. Hainsey will need to prove that he belongs in the big leagues and Bouiliion is as tough as they come…all heart and ready to play whatever role the coach needs.

3) – Offense – The top line of Koivu, Kovalev & Zednik will be a force to watch out for. They were one of the most dominant lines of the last playoffs and all 3 can have break out years in 05-06. The second line is just as good with ribeiro (who will have 80 pts +). He has as much skill as almost any player in the leagu, and now that he’s broken through the ice & earned a spot, watch him explode. Ryder & Dagenais add toughness & natural scoring to his wings which make them a very dangerous #2 line. Then you have radek Bonk as your 3rd center. He’s no superstar, but he’ll be counted on as a 3rd liner NOT a 1rst liner. expectations are low, and he’ll still be able to overachieve. Bulis (who’s still very young) is having an impressive camp and will play well on a 3rd line. Montreal’s 3rd line will be able to shut down the opposition, as well as contribute on the scoresheet night in and night out. The fourth line will be centered by Begin (this guy is awesome and comes to play hard). Higgins will also make a 4th line. These 2 should be solid together.

Now if all that depth isn’t enough, Montreal has one of the finest artilaries of young talent just waiting to get a chance on the NHL roster. Latendresse already looks like he could play on a 2nd line. Plakenac who led Hamilton in scoring may earn a spot. Yan Danis & CArey Price could both back up Theo. Perezhoan & Costitsyn have the natural talent to fill in on one of the top 2 lines. Then there is Hossa, who’s haveing a strong camp and could play on a 3rd line with Bonk & Bulis. Once he realizes how good he really is, he’ll make the jump to the NHL permanantly 9like Ribeiro did).

4) – Coaching & management – What more can I say about Gainey. He is smart & patient. He likes the talent he has, he didn’t want to upset chemistry and he got everyone signed with cap-room to spare. If a couple of injuries arise or if he needs to fine tune the team, he’ll be in a position to do so. He may still make a move or 2 (there is rumours of Sundstrom being shopped – I didn’t mention him above, but on a 4th line gives extra depth). Julien will excel as head coach. The team has a large portion of youngsters who he’s coached in the minors. The veterans seem to like & respect him, and I think they truely want to play for this guy.

These are my opinions, I’d love to hear yours. The truth is that you can’t argue with fact.

With the exception of Boston, most teams can’t brag about their talent & depth & defense & scoring potential & leadership & youngsters & coaching 7 management & goaltending the way the Montreal can. I expect them to “surprisingly” win their division & make some serious noise in the post-season.

Thanks for reading

176 Responses to Habs: Best Team in Northeast

  1. skidragoon says:

    The habs are a joke they will be with buffalo and washington lmao you guys arent the type of team that can outplay ottawa philly and even toronto. theodore was a 1hit wonder for a allstar he is a solid goalie no better then hasek and belfour and we will see about esche this year…

  2. robinson19 says:

    I love it. Underrate all you want. You’ll just be that much more shocked when the habs very average D is eclipsed by their singly most underrated offense in the league; the habs are the team best served by the new rules and will win alot of games 5-3 and 6-4. Mark my words.

    Especially if the Bonk-Bulis line includes Latendresse, who could be the first straight-outta junior kid with the habs since Petr Svoboda.

    And we all know about the #’s Koivu-Kovalev-Zednik and Ribeiro-Ryder-Dagenais/Hossa are capable of. Add to that Begin, their most hardworking guy, will be flanked by Higgins, a similar type and an AHL stand-out, and Vandermeer, a tough cookie who has scored 19 goals in the AHL a big improvement on Langdon.

    Average D could go a long way for a team that could explode offensively every night.

    And Theo bashers just don’t watch Habs games, that’s the only explanation.


  3. ethan says:

    Most pur laine Quebecois are as Caucasian as I am. Different ethnic/language group but same race.

    I was trying to give you a break by excusing the sheer stupidity of your post to language difficulties.

    You butcher the English language but probably no worse than I would butcher Quebecois French.

    But some Canadians are illiterate in both official languages, and I suspect that may be the case here.

  4. Montrealsdogg says:

    i think their team balance is what keeps them competitive, that and facing the Rangers and Islanders so often should help too đŸ˜‰

  5. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    and colorado cant contend with edmonton calgary minnesota and vancouver. heres how i rate them

    edmonton is questionable in goaltending.

    minnesota needs offence and there goalies cant do it all

    vancouver needs a goalie

    calgary is good overall but it will be interesting to see if kipprusoff is a 1 hit wonder.

    colorado has offence defence and there goaltending is fine it the most underrated goaltending in the league

  6. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    chicago only got aucoin and khabibulin and thats going to get them to the playoffs. remember when khabibulin was on tampa he had solid d and solid o. Can you say that about chicago. and LA will not I REPEAT WILL NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. NO GOALIE

  7. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    i must say an unbiased opinion for once. someone who i can agree with on almost every pick.

  8. Mullet says:

    Dear Hockey Trade Rumors




  9. skidragoon says:

    caps lock is considered yelling, you just don’t yell at random do you now?

  10. Bubbaboo says:

    This is a rather silly article; and obviously written by a Habs fan who has no clue as to what is going on around the league.

    Then again; he has no clue as to the Habs either; if one reads his statement that Koivu is playing with Kovalev.

    It was fun reading that certain statements were going to be banned from this website.

    But if it ever happens I would suggest that emails like the one I am responding to be eliminated due to lack of knowledge and silliness!

  11. Bubbaboo says:

    Stop wasting your breath reading and responding to an article like that! He is not well!

  12. G_Money says:

    Okay, want to play that game?

    The Leafs could win the Northeast, but it’s unlikely they will.

    Should I be writing an article about that?

  13. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    He reminds me of Steve Carrell’s character in Anchorman. The guy who’s totally clueless about what’s going on…

    I love… lamp. I love…chair. I love… desk.

  14. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    I can name teams with better third lines than Montreal’s first line.. enough said?

    Koivu’s best season was 56 points or so, and he’s scored 20 goals twice. There are teams who have former 30-40 goal scorers on their 2nd and 3rd lines.

    Come on now. You’re dreaming.

    Montreal will be a good team, but hardly the best.

    The truth is your PREDICTIONS which are based on a lot of over-optimism are nowhere near any FACTS.

    Facts are what I listed. Very overly-optimistic predictions are what you made. Write that down…

  15. burnz30 says:

    I know more about hockey than you. I know that Stats don’t lie. I know that you can’t improve as much as you say they will without bringing in new players. Same players=same result. Simple math.

    Please explain to me how the Habs have greatly improved? who have they brought in since the last Season?? Kovalev had 17 goal in 03/04, big deal. He hasn’t done anything in like 3 years. Big improvement there. How do you think that Montreal has improved more then anyone in their division?

    Yeah, stats don’t stay the same, but they don’t drasticly jump all over the place either. Obviously you know nothing about hockey! If Montreal has roughly the same line-up as last season how can you expect them to dramaticly jump from 16th to a top offensive team. It just doesn’t happen.

    How does Montreal stack up in all those catagories(PP, PK, gorls for and against) bet that they are in the middle of the pack for all of those stats, which is exactly where they will finish.

  16. The_Cramp says:

    The habs need muscles…Maybe they should ask this «mullet» guy he seems to be a real pest and an arrogant one at that…Mullet , I like your guts , come play for the habs!

  17. hockeyhead says:

    he MUST be THEhead.

    i wish they wouldnt ban people…..some are like looking at car wrecks and freaks at the fair.

    HELP ME>>>>MY MEDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  18. SoBaZzZz says:

    Ok, first of all I am a Habs fan, so for those who want to give me crap about my opinions go ahead. But does that make yours better than mine? Think about it.

    Look for Kovalev to be in the top-5 scoring leaders this year. He has unbelievable talent and if the referees stay stiff on hooking, he is greatly advantaged. Let’s not forget that he is in the best shape of his career, he gained over 20 pounds since ’04. Best hands in the league? I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Zednik can put it in, but not regularly enough.

    Koivu can feed them no problem. He’s the heart of this team.

    This will be a dominant line in the league this year.

    Forget Dagenais on the second line, I d’ont think he’ll be playing. Ribeiro, Ryder and a prospect will be forming the second line, i’m thinking Perezhogin or Bulis. Ribeiro is soft, true. But the new NHL will go in favor of these kind of guys. He has unbelievable hands and is a fantastic playmaker. D’ont look for him to go hard on the boards, but open up a man for him and it’s a sure shot.

    The third line show signs of encouragement. Latendresse, Bonk and Hossa could be big. They shared 11 points on the 6-1 win over TB (Preseason but still I can see potential there. Perezhogin or Bulis could be a great fit for Bonk as well.

    Best prospect futur in the league? I think so.

    Theodore, what can I say. He did great in Europe and is the fastest goalie in the league. Not my favourite but he’s certainly the must looked upon player for the Habs.

    The D is huge question mark. Seriously I can’t really give an honest opinion, I don’t know what it’ll look like. Souray is way overrated, Dandenault is way underrated. Markov will have a good if not great year. Komisarek is a monster when it comes to checking. The two other D’s are still unknown, they say Streit is the fastest D they’ve seen in a while. Hainsey, Bouillon? we’ll have to wait and see. But I don’t think Montreal have a bad defense. It all depends on what you expect from your defensive lines. I’d rather have a solid defense at his position than Gonchar.

    Keep the comments coming, I can take’em, hopefully.

    Montreal second in Northeast, but first isn’t a wild guess.

  19. rojoke says:

    The biggest question the Habs have is on defence. They were never very physical as a group, and when your hardest working player on a regular basis is on 5′ 8″, that tells you a lot. And while the powerplay has been fair to decent of late, their penalty killing has been very disappointing. No matter what way the calls go, special teams is going to be the biggest factor on most nights.

    As far as the other teams go, I think Ottawa’s biggest “weakness” is in net. If any goalie is going to be positively affected by smaller pads, it’s Hasek. He’s always been a reaction goalie, so smaller pads will just allow him to move better. But he hasn’t played a game in almost two calendar years, he’s got a long history of groin problems, and he’s 40 years old. If the groin goes south on him again, can Ray Emery carry the load? If not, do the Sens have the cap room to get a bona fide starter? They have the offense, they have the depth amongst the skaters, they have the defense. But goaltending wins Cups. Ask Patrick Lalime.

    Boston has managed to replace, more or less, the players that they have lost. But they lost to a team they were supposed to beat handily twice in the last three years. And if the rumours of the Bruins dealing Hal Gill to get under the cap are true, that’s a pretty big defenceman to lose without replacing him. They have gotten a little bit older with their big free agent additions. At best, they’re probably as good as they were two years ago.

    Toronto has done what they’ve done for the last few seasons, relied heavily on veterans. Why is up for debate. Their farm depth isn’t there anymore, and they, or he, often chooses not to use it when he probably could or should. But the farm hands are now in the main house instead of on the back forty, so that puts more pressure on the Leafs to use their younger players. If the injury bug hits like it has for other teams in the past, you can cancel the parade down Yonge St.

    Buffalo is doing one of two things. They’re either waiting in the weeds to see what the impact of the CBA is, which I doubt, or they’re building from within. Based on Rochester’s success of last season, I’m picking the latter. I have seen some stroies which claim management is going the cheap route for this season, gets some money from revenue sharing, then try and get some big free agents next summer. The problem with that plan is that all the GMs were looking to next season as well, but they aren’t anymore. With the exception of one or two guys, most of next year’s bumper crop of UFAs will not be UFA at all. They played pretty good the last month or two of 04, so they could take some people by surprise.

    So here’s how I see the Northeast






    At most, the difference between 1st and 4th will be 8 points. In 04, it was 11 points. And it will be the toughest division in the league again.

  20. burnz30 says:

    What does that have to do with where Montreal will finish this year. None of the crap you wrote about has anything to do with what was being discussed.

    But just to prove you wrong, how about:







    I think that’s more than 5 chump!!!

    If you knew anything you would know that the Leafs and Habs prospects are basically rated the same by The Hockey News(C & C+ respectively) What have you got to brag about. You would also know that Toronto’s Farm team finished ahed of the Canadiens’ last year.

    Well buddy, our backup should be pretty solid (either Tellqvist or Aubin). How is your backup coming? Nice move trading Garon for Huet, looks like that worked out well.

  21. burnz30 says:

    It’s unfortunate that the only way you can defend your insane comments is to say that I know nothing about hockey. You know nothing about me. If the only way you can rebutt someone’s comments is to call them stupid, then you are lame. I pointed out that Montreal has had a mediocre offense for several years, and all you can say is you’re stupid. Facts are facts, if you can’t face them then too bad.

    Bottom line is that Montreal, over the last 5 years or so been a middle of the pack team offensively. In your article you make this years team out to be some offensive juggernaught. You have yet to explain how you think that an average offensive team for several years will magically transform into elite offensive machine, while not making any major additions!!!!

    Next time you try to defend your article, try to use facts and figures instead of reverting to imature behavior!! If there are no facts or figures to defend your coments, as in this case, then maybe your coments aren’t as accurate as you would like to believe.

  22. 93champs says:

    Buddy, I hope your not reffering to me..who do you think you are? your on a Hockey Site, I repeat Hockey site and you keep talking about languages…go find a little chat site and waste someone elses time, you think your the top dog cause you use big words…man I’m probably more english then you, but people like you are the ones that cause beef between French and English in Montreal….your a loser buddy, i bet you got picked on in High School, you get knocked out with your smart ass coments, don’t think because your behind your computer screen that your all cool and tough now….your not I’ll put in your place Ethan!!! Heres my address 118 Woodland, Beaconsfield…come see me Ethan I’ll put you where you belong…now you can tell me.., “oh you don’t know who your messing with!!” Actually yes I do…Ethan the computer Nerd…second I don’t care if your 6’5 or 5’5 I’m still going to hand you your ass boy! So now that it’s all out….I want you to tell me why it’s so stupid….what Toronto is going to end their38 year drought with their senior citizen team, theres guys on that team that watch the leafs win the cup in black&white in 1967!!!! What the Bruins…is Raycroft really that good…wow they have Brian Leetch…he should have retired with Messier! Who Alexie Zhamnov, come on man this guy has been overrated since his days in Winnipeg…ya Murray, Thornton and Bergereon are great Hockey players…but I didn’t see them do anything both years when the Canadians eliminated them from the playoffs….The whole Bruins team is overrated…Ok so Ottawa is a very good team and would have to say that the Canadians will have a hard time beating them out for first place, but who knows about Dominic Hasek, he’s played 35 games in the last 3 years…if he’s hurt, they go with an good goalie with zero experience in Ray emery…will he be good enough…I’m not even going to speak about Buffalo, even though they have the ability to maybe take Toronto in the standings….the last thing is check how many teams had players that didn;t play any hockey the whole lockout, the Canadians are one of the only teams where every player played hockey competitivly during the lockout….so Ethan boy I’ve made my point, now I want to make my point with you, you have my address, just let me know when your coming, so I can be ready to give you a nice greeting!!!

  23. 92-93 says:

    As for the Western Conference, my predictions may be more off because I am not a huge follower of that conference.

    To me it looks like the big improvements were made by teams like Columbus, Nashville, Chicago, Anaheim (with Nidermeyer), Phoenix, Calgary, and Edmonton

    the teams like stayed the same or lost some good players but will be competitive are Detroit, Colorado, LA, Dallas, and Vancouver. In my opinion, the Sharks are the favourites to win the conference and I think they’ll win the cup too. They lost Rathje but they are just too good of a young team that are ready to take the next step.

    The teams that I just don’t have a good feeling about or who don’t look too good going into the season are St. Louis and Minnesota – which tells you about how strong and wide open this conference is.

    In the Central division it will come down to a close race for first between Detroit and Nashville. The Wings’ glory days are over but they are still a good team and the Preds are an improved team with Kariya but will have to adjust to the new NHL. I give the Preds the edge in net with Vokun but this could be the year that Legace finally emerges as a solid #1 guy – I just don’t have that much confidence in Osgoode. Despite the improvements made to their teams, Columbus and Chicago will battle for third in the division but will be battling out for a playoff spot in a very tough and wide open conference. One of the most brilliant moves was made by Columbus to acquire Berard and Foote on D and get Prusek to be a reliable backup to the workhorse Denis. St. Louis will suck.

    The best team in the conference will be the Sharks but they will finish 2nd behind the Canucks but first in their division. Phoenix, LA, Dallas and Anaheim will all battle for 2nd in their division – the toughest division in the conference. They will also be battling for the final 4 spots in the conference. Anaheim can roll out 2 very strong forward lines and have 2 D-guys in Niedermeyer and Ozolinsh that can really move the puck. They also have an advantage in net over a team like LA who only have Garon. That is their major weak point but their forward lines will be fun to watch. Besides Norstrom, Miller, and Dempsey, their D will suffer at times. Phoenix is hit-or-miss but i think they will be a hit this year. Admist all the stars on their team, a D-guy like Gautier will be a solid performer day-in and day-out. Dallas is always strong with guys like Turco, Zubov, and Modano, and their acquisition of Hedberg was a smart move. but I think this is the year that they’ll miss the playoffs because of the tough schedule in front of them (32 games against divisional opponents that are always going to be tough to beat, no weak teams here).

    The Northwest will be fun to watch too with Colorado, and the 3 Canadian teams battling itout . I think Vancouver will seperate themselves from the pack this year and will finish first overall. Their top line is the best top line in the league (despite my opposition towards Bertuzzi’s oh-so-quick return). Carter was an awesome, underrated pick up that i wish the Leafs would have done, and Linden is an amazing leader. Johnson might be a huge pick up but its hard to say and Cloutier will be, once again, the major weak point in a team that wants to go deep into the playoffs. Colorado lost some key players and will finish a distant second but only by a little bit by Edmonton and Calgary. Calgary is a so-so regular season team with an amazingly mobile D and will go far in the playoffs again this year. Ryan Smith is one of my fav NHL players but there is no depth down the middle for the Oilers. Robbie Schremp will make a case for the Calder either this year or next and Syvret will turn out to be THE best post-2nd round pick from this year’s draft. The oilers have an amazing farm club and will be a contender for a long time because of it yet their goaltending is a question mark like Vancouver.

    It will be a 5-team race for the final 2 spots in the conference and the 3 that don’t make it will all finish with .500 records or better. This is just not Edmonton’s year but they have an awesome young club. Dallas will need to retool and LA needs to get a solid #1 goalie although Garon might develop as the year goes on.


    1. Vancouver

    2. San Jose

    3. Detroit

    4. Nashville

    5. Colorado

    6. Calgary

    7. Phoenix

    8. Anaheim

    9. Dallas

    10. LA

    11. Edmonton

  24. 92-93 says:

    Again, these are just some fun, far-fetched predictions, take ‘er easy:

    So: Final standings_______1st round_______2nd round__________3rd round

    1. Vancouver

    2. San Jose____________def Phoenix in 6___def Ducks in 6)_____def Flames in 7

    3. Detroit

    4. Nashville____________def Avs in 5

    5. Colorado

    6. Calgary_____________def Wings in 6____def Preds in 7

    7. Phoenix

    8. Anaheim____________def Canucks in 6

    the 2 best series both involve the Flames (vs Preds with Vokun vs Kirpusoff and vs Sharks for a rematch). Vancouver just cannot get out of the first round (again) thanks to the Lalime-esque antics of Johnson/Cloutier (they are turning into the Sens of the Western conference). Detroit just cannot handle the Flames in the first round and Stevie Y retires. The old guard in the West is beginning to fall just like it is going to in the East in the next couple of years. The Avs are a shell of their former selves and lose to the Preds in the first round. The Sharks handle the Gretzky-led Coyotes because they have better chemistry. They defeat the Ducks and Flames for the same reason. The Ducks, like the Oilers, Sharks, Flames (and soon, Bluejackets) have an amazing young squad (with the likes of Perry and Lupul) and will soon become part of the new order in the west.

  25. 93champs says:

    Yo Ethan where you at boy….I’m waiting…your just a little punk

  26. SensfanVone says:

    Why does everyone not include Spezza in the top lines????

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