Jack Todd: Habs need to get bigger, tougher

One of the oddities of the league is how certain organizations can face the same endemic problems for decades without finding a solution. The Canadiens have been too small since John LeClair was traded away and Mario Tremblay put the Smurf Line together in Hartford, with Saku Koivu between Oleg Petrov and Valeri Bure. The Flyers have spent two decades trying to find a fix for a big, lumbering defence and porous goaltending. Neither team has found a real solution.

When the Canadiens made their remarkable playoff run in 2010, they did so thanks to 1) Jaro Halak; 2) industrial-strength shot-blocking from Josh Gorges, Hal Gill and Jaroslav Spacek; and 3) Michael Cammalleri’s timely scoring.

That served them well against the skill teams from Washington and Pittsburgh, but when the Habs had to get down and dirty against the Flyers, they were swept aside like so many pesky gnats.

Anyone trying to chart a course to the Stanley Cup final will note that the conference is dotted with big, menacing lineups: the Bruins, the Flyers, the Leafs, the Rangers. (The New Jersey Devils, it should be noted, always manage to get it done with overall team toughness, without needing to resort to the garbage that now rules in Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto.)

I would agree with Ken Campbell, who wrote in The Hockey News this week that Don Cherry’s contention that the fighters have turned the Leafs around is simply not true. Campbell traced the number of fights the Leafs have engaged in during their years of futility to reach an irrefutable conclusion: there is no connection between the number of fights and success on the ice.

15 Responses to Jack Todd: Habs need to get bigger, tougher

  1. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    No sh*t. The Canadiens need to get bigger and tougher. Who knew?LOL

    As for the fights…Cherry is right in this case. No there will not be a relation between sucees and the NUMBER of fights, but there is between the number of fights and for what reason.
    The Leafs used to fight to survive against teams trying to, and succeeding at bullying them. Now, they fight to defend the skilled players and send a message that we will not be bullied anymore. The fight totals don’t need to rise, they may even drop a bit as other teams do not want to fight our guys…and that leads to succeess.
    Funny, the other teams he mentioned…Bruins, Rangers and Flyers…are they not some of the most successful teams in the east? How do you start an article saying one team needs to get tougher and then knock the teams who have success with that already in their line-up(I am more referring to Bos, Philly, NYR, so relax habs fans.lol)
    Or is it only the Leafs he knocks I guess. LOL

    • doorman says:

      That the guys we have who can fight aren’t hurting us on the ice is a big help, IMO. It is one thing to have a deterent on the bench, it is another to have an answer on the ice consistently. It has allowed our team as an example to play with less fear and more as a team. they are fighting for each other not someone fighting for them, BIG difference.

      • realistic_leafs_fan says:

        BIG difference for sure. Now, we are team tough as every Leaf knows that another player has their back. Orr, McLaren, Fraser have all helped everyone be a little “bigger” on the ice. “garbage that now rules in Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto.”lol One cup winner, one cup finalist and a team playing there best hockey in a few years. Garbage I tell you, Garbage!!!LMAO

        • doorman says:

          I guess the question becomes what happens to Orr after the season? I would think to stay in the league he may take a paycut? But the fact of the matter is size and skill have always been a good combo. it isn’t garbage, lol, it’s recycled!!!

          • I loved Orr. I couldn’t believe NYR let him walk. He fit perfect on our 4th line perfect. It’s good to see he got another chance to get his game back and stay in the NHL.

            • doorman says:

              It is good to see him back and better to see a guy go down and do what needed to be done to get back to the NHL. I am sure he coulda just sat on his a$$ and collected a paycheck.

              • nordiques100 says:

                its not necessarily the fighting but more the willingness to do it, the willingness to do it to stick up for someone, the willingness to do it to stick up for yourself.

                the fights so far this year were not to put up numbers or help the team win, but to establish that they can fight, will fight and will fight for eachother. I think that was an important thing for the team to do.

                I mean the last couple years, Brown really racked up the fight numbers. But really the fights weren’t really meaningful.

                Orr’s fight and win over John Scott was big. The roughing up of the Habs was an important step.

                I mean all that sort of led to the Flyers not really wanting to engage in a blowout type of fight fest with the Leafs. The sort of message one sends when losing the war.

                As mentioned above, its important that those players contribute in other areas. We saw McLaren win a couple draws, block a shot in a blowout game. Orr has a 2 game point streak. Fraser is +10. they have to be able to play too, not just drop the gloves.

                if they continue to maximize their limited minutes, they can keep making the team play bigger than it is.

                Kessel can go dig into corners or actually try once in a while to battle on the side boards to get the puck out and get slammed by a pinching D. He knows someone has his back.

                Reimer can go and challenge knowing he has physical D to push people out of the way or in fact hurt them should they breath wrongly.

                Kadri can throw big hits knowing he can probably take care of himself against those his size, or be protected if picked on by bigger guys.

                There is definitely value but like i said, those guys have to keep earning their limited minutes and making those 5 minutes or so count.

  2. lafleur10 says:

    we need to aadd one of either george parros(the current heavyweight champion and toughest guy in the league0 or another really ,really toght guy that could be the heavyweight champion and a fighter that is feared by alot of the tough guys in the league steve macintyre…….. we need one of these guys as a deterent to the tough guys on boston,toronto and philadelphia ..much like we did when we had georges laraque nobody would fight him and you’ll have that with parros or macintyre we can’t continue to have small skilled guys it’s not working! last year when we finally got brad staubitz that stuff almost didn’t happen because he would make a guy like orr pay for that ! much like parros and macintyre would! if bergevin does get one of these guys and i had to chose i guess i’d go with the 6’5 275 pound macintyre ………..but parros would be awesome as well! and either one of those guys would even the score in the fight department pretty fast!

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      Just like 6’8 270 lb Scott made Orr pay right? 😉


      I’m a big Parros fan though, and he would be a good pick up for the Habs for sure.

      • lafleur10 says:

        parros definately would …………like i said parros is the current heavyweight champion in the league ,however like i said steve macintyre is one tough customer and alot of guys fear him so i’d be happy with either guy if we could pick one of them up

        • blaze says:

          Parros is not the current heavyweight champ. However he is a top contender. Parros shouldn’t hurt you in limited minutes so he would be a decent pickup.

          Big Steve Mac I would say is an even better fighter than Parros but would be a waste. He is a god awful player and dumb as post. Parros atleast is a well liked team guy.

  3. reinjosh says:

    hey trademan, is there anyway to maybe slow down the amount of articles? The flow currently just wipes out threads with a lot of comments. It’s…frustrating. It stifles good convo’s.

  4. HABSSTAR says:

    I’m pretty sure you could at the top 5 “toughest” guys in the League to the Habs and they wouldn’t win the cup. Why? Simple, they need more talent. We’re finally headed in the right direction on that front but we’re still a long ways off.

  5. TimTheBone says:

    Jack todd is a tool, if you read the montreal gazette youd knowthis….he makes his career slandering the habs at every turn, and usually looks like a fool trying. He rarely sys anything that makes sense about any thing hockey… He’s a horrible read and the Montreal gazette should fire him if they haven’t already…

    And ryan white needs to be in the gosh damn line up.. ESPECIALLY against bigger teams.. He would have made a big difference in that blow out game vs Toronto… Outside of white and prust… A couple middleweights at best… No one has a semblance of fighting ability…. White needs to be there… Hurry up bergevin and flip ellar and diaz for oreilly already… Play galchenyuk on the wing this year with oreilly and gallagher…. Then either trade plekanec or desharnais in some sort of package for a winger … then going forward with oreilly galchenyuk white and desharnais/plekanec down the middle doesnt look too bad for the future… Mix of size and skill … I like it…. Cole patches bourque gallagher prust looks a,little weaker… Hence the flip of a center for scoing winger deal….

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