Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Andrei Markov is now the highest-paid Canadien in franchise history. Andrei will now be making $23 million over the next 4 years, in case you were visiting your Amish friends and missed the announcement yesterday. I think this is a good deal for the Habs. Markov's price would have skyrocketed on the open market. Better to get him locked up now rather than risk getting in a bidding war for him after July 1.

Gainey did not really seem to get into the specifics of the deal...it might be $5.75 million per year, but I would imagine that it is more likely to be back-weighted the last year or two years. Doing such would allow us to sign Souray to a 2-year deal. I also found it curious as to how Gainey made it blatantly clear that Markov was his first priority, even over Souray. I wonder how Souray's camp feels about such statements? I wish Gainey would have chosen his words a little more carefully.

I recall reading a quote from Souray a couple of weeks ago where he said that he would be willing to give the Habs a discount, so long as they made a fair offer. I also believe he said something about how $6 million a season would be too much. It will be interesting to see if we can land Shelly.

As it stands now, our defensemen next year are:


My issue with our defense is how undersized they are. Komisarek and Bouillon are the only two physical guys. Frankie is not the most intimidating player, either. If we can't re-sign Shelly, we will need to find a big, physical defenseman.

Ryan O'Byrne also seems to be waiting in the wings. He has had a very steady year in the AHL this year. He is big and physical, although he is not known for his shot. Maybe the Habs will promote him as the 6th/7th defenseman? I think the odds are that he will not be promoted next year.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Great Day for Habs' Brass

Today has two pieces of good news if you're a Habs fan.

1) The Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the Chicago Wolves to advance to the Calder Cup finals. Carey Price was stellar in net once again. Kyle Chipchura sealed the deal with a big faceoff win in his own zone with a minute left. Outmanned 6-4, Chips won the draw and fired the puck into the 4x6 170 feet away. The fact that Don Lever has him out there killing a penalty with 60 seconds left in the game really speaks volumes about the former first round pick.

2) Bob Gainey inked Sergei Kostitsyn to a 3-year deal today. He will be a Bulldog next year, hopefully replacing his brother in Hamilton.

I hope all of my American readers are having a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2007

RDS Report?

RDS is reporting that the Habs have offered Andrei Markov a 4-year deal worth a little more than $5 million per season. They are also reporting that he will not need surgery on his injured knee.

I am not a fan of the French media, as they tend to be rumor-mongering fools. So take this with an absolute grain of salt. RDS is a pretty big outfit that is tied to TSN and ESPN, so I find this bit of news mildly more credible than any other French media outlet.

In case you've forgotten, the Hamilton Bulldogs will be playing tonight at 7:30 EST. They are up 3-0 in the series over Chicago and are looking to return to the Calder Cup Finals for the first time since losing to the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild affiliate) a couple of years ago. I am sure the game will be broadcasted over the internet. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs announcers are biased idiots, so you'd be better off listening to the Chicago feed, if available.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Ok, so I've been busy on holiday and now that I have returned, I am busy as hell at work and have been too lazy to update this thing. I am currently sitting on my porch in sunny California having a Marin Hefe Doppel Weizen enjoying the 80 degree weather and sun. Birds are chirping left and right and the I can hear the attractive female sun bathers at the pool talking about life.

Anyway, since the last time I posted, the Bulldogs have won a few hockey games. They are now up 3-0 in the conference finals against the Chicago Wolves. Barring a couple of catastrophes, the Bulldogs will face the Bears of Hershey, PA. Hershey is the defending Calder Cup Champions. I admit that I doubted management selecting Carey Price over Gilbert Brule in the draft a few years ago, but right now it seems like it wasn't an unreasonable pick. Price just stopped 35 of 36 shots in the latest victory.

Anyway, unrestricted free agency will be upon us in about 5-6 weeks. There are lots of Habs fans who want us to sign a UFA. Here is my response to that:

Ottawa is in the Cup Finals. They made 2 UFA acquisitions last year in Martin Gerber and Joe Corvo. We all know how well Gerber turned out.

Anaheim is also in the Cup finals. They signed Scott Neidermayer as a UFA a few years ago. They also re-signed Selanne at a "home-town" discount. Basically their entire team is home-grown.

Buffalo got a ton of slack for only signing Teppo Numinen a few years ago. They also signed Jaro Spacek in this past off-season. Spacek was benched in the playoffs. The rest of their team was basically home-grown or acquired in trades.

Detroit has the best GM in the league, so they will always be good. Many of the teams that have made the big free agent splashes the past couple of years have faltered. Look at Boston and Philly. St. Louis also spent a lot as did Pittsburgh.

Signing big name, high pirced UFAs is not necessarily the way to build a successful franchise. We need to let our highly rated prospects get some NHL ice time. $th line ice-time is no good. Komisarek struggled a lot when he first started, but we kept giving him ice time and he eventually gained confidence. He is now one of our stalwarts. We need to do the same with Kostitsyn and Grabovski.

We need to figure out our center situation. We have too many. Koivu, Plekanec, Lapierre, Grabovski, and Chipchura. One of them has to go or change positions. Lapierre is a good 4th liner. Chipchura seems like a good 3rd liner. If I'm Saku Koivu, I've seen the writing on the wall. This also explains his discontent with management that the team is perpetually rebuilding. As unpopular of a move it would be and as much as I love him, I think trading Koivu to a contender would probably be the best for him and this organization. He is coming off his best season yet, and I think he will fetch more value now than he will in the future.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dogs take 3-2 Series Lead

Carey Price stopped 36 out of 37 shots to help propel the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 3-1 victory over the Manitoba Moose today in game 5. Now the series goes back to Winnipeg, where Hamilton will need to win one more game.

Markov's Knee Injury

It looks as though Unrestricted Free Agent to-be, Andre Markov, injured his knee at the IIHF tournament. Despite the injury, Markov was named to the All-Tournament Team and was also named the tournament's Best Defenseman. He was replaced in the lineup by Konstantin Korneev, who was drafted 275th overall by the Habs in 2002.

Why an NHL'er who will be a UFA in line for a HUGE raise would play in this relatively meaningless tournament is beyond my comprehesion. It's not like it's the former Olympian's first opportunity to represent Russia in an international tournament. The guy just completed a gruelling 82-game season with the Habs. Take a break.

While I encouraged Komisarek and Higgins to play in this tournament in an earlier blog, I think they have a totally different situation than the Markov one. Neither of those guys have worn the Stars and Stripes before. Unlike Markov, they are only Restricted Free Agents, who are scheduled to get modest raises. Markov had a chance to get two NHL teams in a huge bidding-war for his services, while neither Komisarek or Higgins have a chance for that.

This injury could have numerous ramifications:

1) He has only a minor injury that will not require surgery. Contract negotiations continue without a hitch.

2) He has a serious injury, which will require surgery.

a) Assuming other teams will not be interested in signing him, he signs with the Habs for less than he would have if he did not get hurt. (This could actually be a blessing in disguise in terms of the Habs salary cap. The injury may also justify the Habs signing him to a 1-year deal, if Markov's agent would be agreeable to that. A 1-year deal would obviously be advantageous to the Habs. It would theoretically increase Markov's production this upcoming year and it would also help us determine if he is the same player post-injury. It would also buy us some time in terms of the salary cap. Huet's salary will be off the books at year's end, which should free up more money to sign Markov if we want to at year's end.)

b) Gainey is gun-shy because of the injury and does not sign Markov before July 1. Some other team throws a ton of cash his way despite the injury, and Markov signs with someone else.

c) Same scenario as 2b), except the Habs get in a bidding war and "win" it.

Which option sounds the best to you? More details to follow...

Obscure Hab of the Day: Mario Roberge

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hamilton loses again

The series is now tied at 2 games a piece. Now the Bulldogs will need to go all the way back to Winnipeg because of their inability to win 2 out of 3 consecutive home games. This is turning into a collapse similar to Montreal's collapses against Carolina in 2002 and 2006. The Bulldogs really could use Andrei Kostitsyn.

Other news this week is that the IIHF is targeting Montreal to compete in their "Champions League". Montreal would be crazy to do this. They have nothing to gain (other than $822,000) by going over to Europe and beating up on 2nd-rate teams in the pre-season. There is a reason why NFL teams don't go over to Europe to play NFL Europe teams in the pre-season...

Obscure Hab of the Day: Sebastien Bordeleau

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Home Ice Advantage?

Well, it looks as though playing on home ice is not an advantage for the Hamilton Bulldogs and Manitoba Moose. So far, the road squad has won each of the first three games in the series.

I must admit, that I CANNOT STAND listening to the radio announcers for the Bulldogs. I listened to some of the games over the internet and these guys are "homers". I HATE biased home team announcers. It is the same reason why I cannot stand CBC and they morons that do the Sabres games. Other teams with atrotious TV announcers include: Florida Panthers (Denis Potvin), Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks.

Oh yeah, I saw Sydney Crosby in the store buying himself a new pacifier yesterday.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

12 and 25

So that confirms it. After San Jose's exit from the playoffs last night, we now have the 25th overall pick. I find it rather ironic that the same day we find out we get the 25th overall pick, a former 25th overall pick has departed us for the greener pastures of Russia.

Alexander Perezhogin has signed in Russia for significantly more money than he would have gotten here. It's a shame, too. Perezhogin was a solid player, but was one of Carbo's whipping boys. Despite being one of our better two-way players, he was benched often. The situation with him kind of reminds me of the one with Jan Bulis last year.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how we use these two picks:

1) Pick 2 players with them and wait the 3-4 years it take those players to develop into something useful.

2) Trade the two picks for a higher pick this year. I am not sure how far we could move up, but I doubt we could get into the top 5. I imagine we could probably move up to 7 or 8.

3) Trade picks for an established NHL player. I really do not think this is likely. The only player we would receive in this trade is one who makes more money than he is worth on a team that does not contend. The pick + Samsonov for Aucoin rumors just won't go away.

4) Trade the picks for someone's 1st round pick NEXT year. It's a a hell of a gamble, but it would be pretty fun to trade these picks to say...Phoenix and hope for the Coyotes get a lottery pick next year.

Finally, here is a rundown of the players who were chosen 12th and 25th overall in the drafts since our last Stanley Cup:

2006 - Bryan Little (12th Atl) and Patrik Berglund (25th Stl)
2005 - Marc Staal (12th NYR) and Andrew Cogliano (25th Edm)
2004 - AJ Thelen (12th Min) and Rob Schremp (25th Edm)
2003 - Hugh Jessiman (12th NYR) and Anthony Stewart (25th Fla)
2002 - Steve Eminger (12th Was) and Cam Ward (25th Car)
2001 - Dan Hamhuis (12th Nas) and Perezhogin
2000 - Alexei Smirnov (12th Ana) and Steve Ott (25th Dal)
1999 - Denis Shvidki (12th Fla) and Mikhail Kuleshov (25th Col)
1998 - Alex Tanguay (12th Col) and Jiri Fischer (25th Det)
1997 - Marian Hossa (12th Ott) and Brenden Morrow (25th Dal)
1996 - Josh Holden (12th Van) and Peter Ratchuk (25th Col)
1995 - Teemu Riihijarvi (12th SJ) and Marc Denis (25th Col)
1994 - Wade Belak (12th Que/Col) and Vadim Sharifijanov (25th NJ)
1993 - Kenny Jonsson (12th Tor) and Kevyn Adams (25th Bos)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Dogs are our last hope...

Well, the Cincinnati Cyclones were defeated 5-3 in their game 7 against Dayton. This leaves the Hamilton Bulldogs as te only affiliate of the Habs playing hockey. Hamilton scored a big road win last night to take the series lead over Manitoba 1-0.

I got thinking about if Hamilton won the Calder Cup and how much it would mean. Last year, Hershey won it all. They are the Capitals' affiliate. A couple of years ago, the Philadelphia Phantoms won it and we all know how bad the Flyers were this year. We have to keep telling ourselves that AHL talent doesn't always equate to NHL talent.

With that being said, I can't wait to see all of our young guys flying around the ice during pre-season in September...

Obscure Hab of the day: Patrik Carnback

Friday, May 4, 2007

Ryder revisited

Oh yeah, while I was surfing around the NHL.com site and family of sites, I noticed some pull-down menus at the top. One of the menus is "NHL Player Sites". There were only about 10 of these total, but one of them is Michael Ryder's.

Team USA

As an American, the only positive thing about the Habs narrowly missing the playoffs was that I'd get to see Chris Higgins and Mike Komisarek don the American Sweater at the World Championships. A few weeks back, there was an article in the Gazette saying how both players were hoping to get an invite.

Unfortunately, neither of them are currently on the roster. I do not exactly know for sure if they were invited or not, but if they were not invited then I must say that some of the American coaches and GMs are on some heavy meth.

Instead of having Higgins there as a forward, the mighty Team USA has the following greats:

Nate Davis - Miami University is an average at best NCAA program.
Tobias Petersen - A 28 year-old career minor leaguer.
Adam Hall - an overhyped, underachieving 4th liner.

Instead of having Komisarek there as a defenseman, the mighty Team USA has the following greats:

Matt Greene - Notice the stellar -22 he put up this year.
Andrew Alberts
Andrew Hutchinson

Like I said, there is probably a fair chance that Higgins and Komisarek were invited and they probably both would have accepted the invite if not for their agents advising them against it. Both players are restricted free agents this summer and if they get hurt playing in this tournament, they will cost themselves, and more importantly, their agents a lot of money.

Agents suck.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Game 7 for Cyclones

There was a link to this article on the front page of NHL.com today. Montreal's ECHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones are competing in the Kelly Cup playoffs.

After moving out to Davis, California 6 months ago, I was quite fortunate to see that the Cyclones would be visiting the local teams (Stockton Thunder and Fresno Falcons). The Cyclones were the only team from east of the Mississippi River to visit this area this year, so I HAD to go see them play in Stockton (about 45 minutes away). It was a pretty good game, but Gregory Stewart was the only Montreal prospect that played in the game. Montreal and Hamilton were both riddled with injuries at the time, which created a trickle-down effect with the prospects being called up.

Stewart was pretty big, but seemed a little slow and unmotivated. He did get in a fight, which was pretty much a draw.

I have already blogged about my trip to Stockton, CA to see the game. It is located on myspace, but I will copy and paste it for you here:

"Sunday, March 04, 2007

My trip to Stockton

Yesterday, I hopped in my truck and took a road trip to Lodi and Stockton, CA. I stopped in Lodi for lunch at a brewpub that I wanted to check out. Lodi is um, an interesting place. Seems quaint enough in the downtown area, but just outside of there were several dingy, run down homes. It was kind of like a trailer park in a city, except there weren't any trailers. Either way, I felt safe. The food was decent and the beer was something to be deisred. There was a bartender there who had a reall nice ass, but was kinda soft elsewhere. She saw my Cincy jersey on and she asked me if I actually played for them. I should have fucked with her and said "yes", but the question caught me off guard. When I told her I didn't play for them, she was like "oh, I was going to get your autograph". Then she walked away and didn't even look at me again. Stupid cuntwagon. Like 1 guy from a hockey team visiting from Cincy is going to rent a car and go out by himself 12 miles up the road to Lodi? Oh well.

Onwards to Stockton! My initial plan was to go to Stockton to watch a minor-league ECHL game between Stockton and Cincy. Apparently, this game was almost sold out, so I went to the box office and managed to buy myself a ticket. It really is a nice, new arena. Unfortunately, it is not in the nicest of neighborhoods.

I get back into my truck and decide to drive 3 miles up the road to the BevMo to see if they have any interesting beers that I can't find around here. Nothing special. A couple of interesting beers, but that's about it.

In the meantime, I was going to spend the extra 3-4 hours at a highly regarded brewpub called Valley Brewing. Unfortunately, this place is like a mile from the arena. I decide I should park equidistant from the arena in order to avoid an overly long walk as well as the traffic when the game is finished. Well, the first 1000 feet or so in the viscinity of the brewpub isn't too bad. As a matter of fact, it is dubbed the "Miracle Mile". No lie. It's probably a miracle if you don't have a crime committed against you in this mile. After that 1000 feet, the other 4000 feet is really fucking shady. I see a couple of nice homes and figure it is a nice side street to park on. So I park in front of this really nice home, and I realize it has a high wrought iron fence around with with big locks on the doors. I look across the street and there are a couple of shit hole houses with the same iron bars over all the windows and over all the doors. The car in front of me has "The Club" attatched to the steering wheel. I restart my car and search for another area to park. I couldnt find any. I end up parking in the lot directly across from the arena, which seemed safe enough. What this meant, though, is that I had to walk from my car the mile up the road to the brewpub. No problem at 3pm. Unfortunately, this also meant that I had to walk back from the brewpub to the arena at 7pm when it was dark and with a few beers in my system. Needless to say, I make it back ok after passing several ghetto marts.

The game was pretty good. I was seated next to this pretty hot blonde puck bunny. She was kind of annoying in a way because she was saying how well she knew all these hockey players. That's cool and all, but these guys are minor minor league players. They make maybe $30,000-$40,000 a year. It's not like they are overly special. Oh well, that seems to be the attitude in the area. She also seemed to be text messaging people for the entire duration of the game. Cincy wins, people yell at me. Blah. I leave and have absolutely no trouble with traffic and my car isn't broken into, so I'm pretty happy. On the way home, I realize that the speed limit on route 5 is 70mph. Cool! I make good time.


In retrospect, I was really retarded to walk in that town and to leave my car unattended. It seriously would have been safer for me to drink and drive. Crime is so bad in that town that I'm sure the last thing the cops have to worry about is some white kid drinking and driving. I looked at some stats today online and it's pretty scary.

-Stockton is #2 in the nation per capita when it comes to car theft. In 2004, 22.2 cars were stolen PER DAY. Yea, that's about 1 an hour.

-Stockton has the highest per capita rate of violent crime in the entire state of California. Yes, even worse than Compton or any other LA ghetto.

-Stockton is the "Asparagus Capital of the World"

-Murder rate is 1.82 times the national average

-Rape is 1.61 times the national average

-Robbery is 2.08 times the national average

-Aggravated Assault is 2.31 times the national average

-All Violent Crimes are 2.28 times the national average

-Car Theft is 2.42 times the national average."

Today's obscure Habs player of the day is Johan Witehall.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Ryder a first-line NHL'er?

I want to make it clear that I like Michael Ryder. He is the best goal-scorer that this team has had since Stephane Richer in the mid-late 1980s. With that being said, he should not be a first-line player. The man is a power-play specialist, but is highly deficient during 5 on 5 situations. Here's some food for thought:

Ryder had 30 goals, 28 assists and was -25 in 82 games played this season.

Of his 30 goals, 17 of them were on the power play, 2 were short handed, and 11 were even-strength

Of his 28 assists, 17 were on the power play and 11 were even-strength

Our first-liner had 11 even-strength goals and 11 even-strength assists this year in 82 games. 22 points, that's it.

Hell, Sergei Samsonov scored 9 even-strength goals and had 13 even strength assists totalling 22 points as well. More shockingly, he did this in 20 fewer games and averaged nearly 4 minutes less of ice time a game than Ryder.

If the Habs are ever going to succeed, they need to upgrade their first line. Ryder is not the man to get the job done. He is a nice 4th line player who can be on the roster to score goals on the power play. Other than that, he is a huge liability and is taking up valuable ice time to a prospect that has more upside and skill. Re-signing him would be a great mistake for us. We should trade him for prospects or trade him and some picks for a legit first-line player.

I still believe that a line with Kovalev-Koivu-Samsonov could work. They need time together to develop some chemistry. Sammy will be bought out, so we will never get to see it. If we deal Ryder, that would open a spot on the first line for a legit first-liner or a younger guy like S. Kostitsyn or Perezhogin.

I like Higgins-Plekanec-A.Kostitsyn as a 2nd line.

As for the checking line, I would like to see Begin-Lapierre-Perezhogin/Murray

4th line should have Latendresse-Grabovski-S. Kostitsyn

My obscure Hab of the day: Francois Groleau

Sunday, April 29, 2007

ESPN Insider

Ok, so I don't pay ESPN money for access to their "Insider". Unfortunately, my buddy Russell does pay them money for their bullshit "Insider" coverage. Yesterday, when he was over to my place for the NFL Draft, he logged in on my laptop and has continued to stay logged in. Out of curiosity, I perused the Hockey Rumors section that is only available to people who have purchased their ESPN "Insider" coverage. In this section, they basically say that the Canadiens are going to trade their 2 1st round picks this year for established NHL talent.

Obviously, they read Pat Hickey's article and assume that his opinion is gospel. No offense, but Pat Hickey is one of the most anti-American, (google Excited States and Pat Hickey) error-riddled journalists that the Gazette has. After Jack Todd, he is the bottom of the barrel. In case you missed Hickey's article, I will post a link for you here. While I'm on the Pat Hickey hating, I'll also inform you that he was overly quick to ASSUME that Perezhogin is on his way out and that Hickey erroneously reported that #42 has signed with his old Russian squad, Omsk. After a little further investigation, it is obvious that Perezhogin was only offered a contract by Omsk and did not actually SIGN with them. It's this kind of bullshit "journalism" that makes NHLers hate Montreal. No wonder we can't sign any free agents...

Apparently, Pat Hickey believes that he is a good scout when it comes to NHL talent, especially after watching 1 (ONE) game. If this year's draft is as weak as Hickey thinks it is, then how are we going to get established NHL talent for 2 first round picks in such a weak draft?

ESPN should be ashamed that they make people pay money for this sort of useless rumor-mongering bullshit.

I'd like to congratulate the Hamilton Bulldogs for defeating the Rochester Americans in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Props go out to Ryan O'Byrne for scoring his first career AHL goal, which happened to be the game winner and series clincher.

Lastly, I would like to wish Hamilton's Mathieu Biron a happy 27th birthday today.

Oh yea, the answer to yesterday's trivia question is:

Steve Begin of the 2000-2001 St. John Flames
Aaron Downey of the 1998-1999 Providence Bruins

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Proverbial First Post

So I figured I would jump on this whole blogging bandwagon thing just like all of the Buffalo Sabre "fans" out there. This whole idea is kind of funny if you think about it. We spend all this time writing these things, thinking that other people actually give a damn about our opinions. Clearly, this is not the case.

Anyway, this space will be generally about the softest, most mediocre NHL team today, the Montreal Canadiens.

I am sick of all the goddamn Kovalev talk right now and I am not about to comment on it tonight.

In the meantime, I will start with a little trivia. Which two members of the Habs during the 2006-07 season have their name on the AHL's Calder Cup?