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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Enjoy It!!

Montreal, Quebec. Was that your 2012 Canadiens or the 1977 flying Frenchmen??
A resounding 7-2 victory over the NHL-tops Detroit Red Wings does the Habs body good.

This really was a classic Original Six matchup. The Habs clobbered the Wings just like dem old times!

Bourque opened the scoring with a good ol' dirty goal, driving the net hard while the rejuvenated but still goal-less Scotty Gomez showed some speed and fed the puck into the crease before bouncing off of Bourque's leg.

Alexei Emelin congratulated by his teammates after scoring his first NHL goal against the Detroit Red Wings. Habs won the game 7-2.

And just in case you weren't paying attention, because you know I am:

Rene Bourque:
5 GP; 2 G; 1 A; +1; 5 PIM (for fighting)

Michael Cammalleri
5 GP; 1 G; 0 A; -4; 4 PIM

So who got the player in that recent deal, Mr. PuckDaddy???

Desharnais scored two nice goals while Cole and Pacioretty each had one for the line that just keeps on clicking. Tommy Plekanec got one, and Alexei Emelin scored his first in the NHL. Well deserved Alexei. Both Lars Eller and Andrei Kostitsyn also had strong outings.

Desharnais and Pacioretty have serious chemistry together -- something they've put on display since playing together in Hamilton.

Habs now enter the All-Star break on a high and feeling a bit better about themselves, 8 points out of the last playoff spot in the East. At least we can have something to talk about other than P.K. Subban. 3-0-2 in their last five games is good with the clock ticking this team needs all the points it can get.

Two wins in a row is nice. Ten would be better.

Your Habs need to get on a roll. A serious roll, if they want to make the playoffs. It's still not impossible. Nobody is giving up... yet.

Et tu, Markov?

PS: Love Mike Babcock and love his loyalty and allegiance to McGill University -- my alma mater too. Always sports the McGill club tie when he coaches against the Habs. Now wouldn't he look good wearing that behind the Habs bench someday!? What would it take to get the man to coach the Canadiens????

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Familiar Refrain

Everyone all together now:

One-two-three, Habs take the lead.

Four-five-six, their opponents tie it late.

Seven-eight-nine, nothing in overtime.

Ten-eleven-twelve, Habs in shootout hell.

Scotty Gomez getting rubbed out along the boards. He's good at that.

Peter Budaj made the start in Pittsburgh last night and even with two separate two goal leads, the result was the same. The Penguins tied the game with less than 3 minutes left and we could all predict the final result from there.

I for one was hoping the team would press hard in the five minute OT period to do anything to avoid going to a shootout.

Another shorthanded goal allowed, another lead in a game the team should have won, another shootout loss. Another lost opportunity.

In a week of games where the Habs couldn't afford to end with less than four points out of a possible six, the Habs have one point in four as they prepare for their game against the Leafs here in Toronto tonight.

I'm not sure if I understand Coach Cunneyworth's shootout lineup which is seemingly adding to the problem. Just go with our strongest players: Pacioretty-Cole-Plekanec. Done. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Fine substitute with Desharnais or Kostitsyn, but don't deviate. We're going to win with our best players. The Canadiens just can't seem to score on the shootout. Desharnais made a nice move a la Mats Naslund but Fleury made the save. Kostitsyn broke his stick as he was about to shoot -- pretty much sums up the season so far. And Scott Gomez? A guy who hasn't scored in almost a year? He couldn't touch the twine. Websites are even popping up waiting to celebrate the anniversary of his last goal on February 5, 2011. Yippee! The countdown is on.

The Canadiens got goals from Lars Eller, Cole, Pacioretty and Kostitsyn on the powerplay. Earlier that day, I told two different people how I thought the Canadiens needed to station someone in the high slot on the powerplay -- a spot that was often manned by Andrei K. in the past. And where did he score his goal from? The high slot.

Coach Cunneyworth, call me. No excuses because you're in town -- it won't even be long-distance.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Caps, Flaps & Rickety

CAPS AT BELL CENTRE FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT TILT: Ovechkin et al in Montreal tonight. Should be interesting since the Capitals got blanked 3-0 last night by the lowly Isles and the Habs are desperate to get on some sort of roll. The game marks the return of the much-maligned Dale Hunter, now Washington's head coach, a guy who is, let's say... somewhat disliked in Montreal. With the recent comparisons of Boston's Brad Marchand to Ken "the rat" Linseman and Brian Burke's "rats" rant of the other week, who was a better representation of the NHL's league of rats than Dale Hunter!? I hated him as a kid when he played for the Nordiques. But he was an effective player, no doubt about that.

And the other main storyline for tonight's game centres around Rene Bourque, who faces the Caps for the first time since his elbow to Nicklas Backstrom's head. Looking forward to seeing what comes of that.

FLAPS: Did you see what happened to poor Taylor Hall last night??? Helmet-less, he falls in the warmup, takes out two of his teammates, crashes his head into the boards, and gets cut in the face by his teammate's skate. Now that could've been real bad. Thankfully he's alright and just needed stitches, but as GM Steve Tambellini said after the game, moving forward "Taylor will probably wear a helmet walking around Edmonton's streets, just in case".

RICKETY: In my ongoing mission to improve this blog and provide you with interesting, pertinent hockey reads, I'm preparing a bunch of story outlines, with one focused on current, injury-prone players. Through my research, I found a great Sports Illustrated photo essay on Rick "Rickety" DiPietro who literally cannot deal with the weight and expectations of his crazy, 15 year contract. He's out for the season, again. Let's hope that Taylor Hall doesn't end up making the list.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Three Out of Four Not Bad

The Canadiens surprised the New York Rangers last night and were able to come out of this weekend's action with three of a possible four points. Not bad. But they still didn't gain any ground in the standings.
Too bad they couldn't squeeze out a full four after losing in a shootout to the Sens on Saturday. But on a positive note, the team was good to even get that single point by scoring late to tie the game and send it to OT.

Camma who? Rene Bourque made his Habs debut on Sunday night. He actually has Kovalev's old number 27. Pic: Habs Fan in HabsLand, Gary Rothstein.

It's starting to get kind of tiring, this losing in a shootout thing. If only the team had a winning record in the shootout this year. Currently after 45 games played the team has 17 wins, 20 losses and 8 losses in OT/SO. They're 1-6 in shootouts after losing to Ottawa on Saturday.

If they were 4-3 instead, their record would be 20 wins, 20 losses and 5 OT/SO losses for a total of 45 points. Marginally better, true. But psychology factors into this and being at least even in wins/regulation losses can give a struggling team a bit more jump. In any case, they're leaving a lot of points on the table.

Unfortunately, the Habs remain in 12th place, still 8 points out of 8th. This week however could be an opportunity for the proverbial glimmer of hope, as the Habs play three of the teams they're chasing if they want to even think about the playoffs: Washington, Pittsburgh and Toronto. Good luck:
"We can't be satisfied when we're sitting in the 12th seed. Ask me again in a month and a half when we're fighting for a playoff spot."—Montreal right winger Erik Cole on whether he was satisfied with taking three of a possible four points in weekend games against Ottawa and the New York Rangers.  
Rene Bourque played his first game as a Hab last night and came as advertised: he hit, he was hard along the boards and he got a few good shots on net. He has some good speed for a man his size and is reminiscent of Erik Cole in that way. Bourque had a nice rush early in the game when he used his speed to barge into the Rangers' zone, only to have his backhand shot stopped by King Lundqvist who, by the way, is more of a pauper when he comes to Montreal. The Rangers have now lost 6 straight at the Bell Centre and Lundqvist now has a  4-5-1 record at the Bell Centre, including a goals-against average of 3.86 and a .887 save percentage entering the game.

Well at least we play good against one team at home.

It was also positive for the Habs to score first and win the game. And goaltender Peter Budaj -- who got the start -- finally got his first win in front of the Bell Centre faithful.

The weekend also saw the return of Scott Gomez to the Canadiens' lineup. Pretty much absent against Ottawa, the Alaskan-born forward always seems to play well against his former team the Rangers. He made a nice pass on Blunden's goal in the second period and made his presence known much more than on the previous night.

Michael Cammalleri scored the only goal in Calgary's 4-1 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday. How about that "losing mentality" in Calgary, eh Mike!?


Friday, January 13, 2012

Deal Done

Well that didn't take long, did it?

Leave it to the Montreal Canadiens to make last night's 2-1 loss to the Bruins an afterthought to what was going on off the ice last night.

Mike Cammalleri back in the days when he showed some emotion. Let's see if he's able to reignite that flame again in Calgary reloaded. Pic: Calgary Herald.

Of course if you believe Mr. Gauthier, it was in the works for over a month. Which I certainly hope is true because if he is a GM of any worth, he should have been shopping Mr. Cammalleri around the league for some time now.

The only thing about last night's trade of Michael Cammalleri to Calgary for Rene Bourque that strikes me as odd is its timing. Why the team didn't sit him if this trade was in the works is a mystery to me!? I can understand removing him from the game once the trade was made to avoid injury, but it still is a bit shocking and somewhat unprofessional.

Then again, so were Cammy's previous comments about the team -- in my view at least. Other pundits, like Yahoo's PuckDaddy, seem to think otherwise:
Cammalleri's frustration is expected. This isn't some ham-and-egger whining about a demotion from the third or the fourth line. This is a guy who has stepped up offensively when others have disappeared in the postseason, a player who worked his ass off to overcome physical limitations to succeed in the NHL.

If he wants out, fine; he wouldn't be the first to trade in his Habs sweater. But if he's being crucified for candor, it's an injustice.
Today, PuckDaddy even had the audacity to call the trade mid-game a calamity on the same scale as Patrick Roy's shipping to Colorado back in the '90's. Now that really is funny.

What Mr. PuckDaddy doesn't seem to realize is that Rene Bourque has more goals in the last 2 seasons than the supposedly "clutch" Cammalleri and frees up another 3 million bucks in cap space for the Habs to sign their more important -- and more professional -- players like Carey Price. Okay Pricey still has a lot of growing up to do but at least he takes responsibility for his play. Cammalleri returns to Iginla and hopes to reignite that flame. Good luck and enjoy the rodeo Mike.

Rene Bourque gives the Habs puck battling ability along the boards and the ability to score some dirty goals. Pic: Getty Images.

The Habs get a big, gritty forward who will win puck battles along the boards and give us additional net presence. He'll also take some pressure off of Max Pacioretty to perform in that way.

Sure it's not a blockbuster deal, but I'll come out and say it: I like this deal. We gave up Karri Ramo who was never going to play nets for the Habs anyway and a fifth rounder in return for the prospect Patrick Holland and Calgary's 2013 2nd round pick. And if Calgary tanks next year, that pick could be mighty high.

So we lose out by giving up a clutch playoff performer??? Well Jay Feaster's Flames will need to make the playoffs first to find out.

And you can bet that's not going to happen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cammalackey!!?? Buh bye.

Professional athletes make a lot of money. Crazy money. They also get privileges most of us never get to experience: meeting the great people; tables at restaurants; women; fame; women; did I say women? -- and other assorted perks.
You know. The good life. Ahh... it's good to be the King.

Pro hockey players get to play a game which I suppose they love. Why else put your body's through that punishment!? Oh yeah, the money, right.

Hockey is a game that I pay to play. And watch. Because I love it.

Pro hockey players also for all intent and purpose get paid handsomely to stay in peak form -- another perk. Getting paid to be healthy. Hmm... must be nice. I'd love to find a gig like that.

In the NHL you have all sorts. There's the Alex Ovechkin types who want to win, put their foots in their mouths and ultimately take the money and run. Then there's the Sidney Crosby types who, although a bit bland and sterile even, say a lot of the right things when all is well.

When a team is winning, it's easy to say what needs to be said. It's easy to act like you're a class act.

Michael Cammallari has been a huge disappointment in a season where he should be leading the team in goals. Pic: Getty Images.

But when the Pens were busy getting beat by the upstart Habs in the 2010 playoffs, methinks me remembers how one Mr. Crosby came off a bit like a sore loser at how the Canadiens were able to beat his team.

You know where I'm going with this, right?

So far, the 2011-2012 season has been a total disappointment for the Montreal Canadiens and its fans. You all know about my prediction back in the summer -- no need to restate. So far we've seen an assistant and head coach fired, an experienced dman traded, a string of injuries including a 3rd knee injury to our best dman, and a possible future captain signed to a 6 year contract. We've also seen the underwhelming performances of many of the team's scorers along with a few pleasant surprises. And of course a language debate that needs no introduction.

But you also all know that I've been calling out Mr. Michael Cammalleri since November for his lack of production. And because he makes 6 million a year, and the fact that the Canadiens need money to lock up my man between the pipes Carey Price, I think numero 13 should be traded.

Now let's look at the facts. This is M.C.'s 3rd (and not his last) team in his career. His highest goals production was 39 with Calgary. Why didn't Calgary re-sign him if he had all this supposed chemistry with Jarome Iginla??

He's shown he can be a playoff performer, especially on that fun run the Habs had in 2010. And he's also shown to be someone who says all the right things, especially about the team as a whole. Of course, if we don't make the playoffs and he can't perform during the regular season, what's it good for?

But that was then. This is now.

A true measure of a professional is not how he/she performs when all is well. It's how they perform and act when things aren't going well. Tiger Woods may or may not have learned this lesson. Keeping with golf, the great Jack Nicklaus is and always will be a class act in my mind, always one who applauded those who beat him, and one who always came out with his best when the chips were down. And when everyone wrote him off, he won the '86 Masters at age 46.

Michael Cammallari has been off right from the get-go this season. Don't ask me why. The problem is, he's bringing others down with him. I already wrote in a previous post that he implied (read between the lines, right? I did!) he didn't like playing with Plekanec anymore. And guess what? Plekanec also doesn't look happy. And he's not playing up to snuff either. But I'm not going to knock Plekanec, still our best 2-way forward.

Sure, the Bell Centre crowd can be fickle. They'll back you a la Kovalev and show you love like no other. But they'll also nail you to the cross if you don't deliver. Scott Gomez knows this. Now so does Cammy. The boos, they were deserved this time.

9 goals is just not enough for a guy who's paid to be a sniper and only a sniper; and when he fails to compete, he's even more of a liability.

Andrei Kostitsyn may not be having his best offensive season, but you can't knock the guy's compete level this year. Plus he's doing a lot of other things on the ice. Sign him now! Then maybe trade him. But sign him!!!

Michael Cammalleri is a one-dimensional player. He's paid to score. Point finale. And scoring, he ain't!!!

So after everything else that's gone down this season, do we really need to hear how the team is preparing to lose and has a "losing mentality"??? Is that so?

Well maybe if you put the puck in the net like you're getting paid to do, the team wouldn't be losing!?

Maybe you can take some responsibility for your game, like Plekanec, Price or Subban have, suck it up and work hard at getting better!? Remember Erik Cole earlier this year!? Slow start, only 10 minutes of playing time, no powerplay!? The guy didn't say a word. Instead, he sucked it up, put his nose to the grindstone and worked, worked, worked and now, he's proven to be our most valuable player this year.

So rather than blaming your team or your coach, how about looking in the mirror and taking some stock? Because it's been known for awhile you aren't the greatest guy in the room and now, way to go at making it worse for the team and organization as a whole.

You're upset about having your ice time reduced?? A move that former coach Martin should've done a long, long time ago? Start performing, see your time go up. Your arrogant and selfish comment about how for the Blues' first goal of the other night's 3-0 loss, your lack of backcheck was due to having had only your 5th shift instead of your 15th as per the past is completely embarassing!!

I knew this guy was off and has been for awhile now. His voice sounds as if he's hurting. Doesn't sound confident. The game back in November against the Penguins, he was interviewed pregame by RDS's Chantal Machabee and he had the same cracking voice. Guess what? First shift, soft forecheck, Penguins rush and goal less than a minute in!!!

So are we to believe those first shifts don't count for you, M.C.???? Who needs primadonnas like this on the Canadiens!? And with Brendan Gallagher waiting in the wings no less.

Hopefully GM Gauthier will just man the phones and wait for the calls for Cammalleri's services instead of shopping him around because he's just lessened our bargaining position. Now the guy is saying he's being misquoted. Well I understood him full well.

Don't want to get misquoted!? Zip it and let your playing do the talking.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Midseason Ramblings

It's amazing what one decisive win can do.

But one win does not make a season. And as the 2011-2012 Montreal Canadiens reach the halfway mark tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Habs sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference.

Yet many of the Montreal Canadiens media and pundits are now beginning to laud the work of interim Head Coach Randy Cunneyworth as they begin to see his stamp on this team, a stamp that many seem to be onside with. If only Canada Post could get into the action, eh?

Geoff Molson didn't help things with his statement about Cunneyworth. But there's no doubt the Owner/President will want to start putting his stamp on the team in the offseason if not before. Photo: Allen McInnis, The Gazette. 

Although he only has 2 wins as Head Coach, Cunneyworth pummels his players over and over with key messages and they seem to be responding:

* Go hard to the net, and good things will happen;
* Forecheck hard;
* Keep working at it, and don't give up;
* Play sound defensively;
* Put pucks at the net, wherever you are.

Let's be honest. For whatever reason -- and only the players and management know why -- this team was not a cohesive group coming into the season. Whither happened between last year and this year is a bit of a mystery but maybe the sum of all parts points to a possible answer:

1) James Wisniewski is not re-signed and our power play suffers for it;
2) Roman Hamrlik is offered a one year deal -- but signs with the Capitals instead;
3) Power forward Erik Cole is signed to a four year deal -- and the signing is panned by critics;
4) Josh Gorges avoids arbitration -- but is only offered a paltry one year deal;
5) Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitsyn are both signed to one year deals, leaving their futures uncertain;
6) Mr. Markov is signed to a three year deal -- but has yet to play a game this season -- and probably WON'T.

The team has a poor pre-season. Newly signed Chris Campoli, brought in to fill the void of Markov, is injured in the first game against the Leafs. Newcomers Raphael Diaz and Alexei Emelin, both highly touted, need time to ramp up to the pace of NHL hockey. Yannick Weber starts slow, finds his groove, but then loses it and is now the odd-man out. Gorges has a terrible start, possibly because his head wasn't in the right place given the non-confidence vote Gauthier gave him over the summer.

That would be enough, wouldn't it? But it doesn't end there.

Scott Gomez, looking to bounce back after the worst year of his career, is twice-injured and when he is in the lineup, is ineffective. Captain Brian Gionta doesn't look quite himself and also starts slow. Tomas Plekanec doesn't look happy. Michael Cammalleri hurts himself early and becomes a whipping boy for his lack of production. He also implies he doesn't like playing with Plekanec. Darling P.K. Subban is afflicted by the sophomore slump -- one of the mysteries of NHL hockey.

Powerforward Erik Cole has been the team's most consistent player. Photo: Dave Sidaway, The Gazette.

The team stumbles out of the gate, can't win at home, can't score on the power play, gives up leads and... trade rumours swirl. Something needs to be done. Fans call for Jacques Martin's firing, namely because his style of play no longer seems to suit this team. A once smiling Erik Cole looks downtrodden, having been left out of the power play and plays a paltry 12-15 minutes a game. Instead of Martin, Gauthier fires Assistant Coach Perry Pearn but after a brief winning streak the team finds itself mired in mediocrity. Even Carey Price begins to look ordinary.

Markov teases Habs fans when he finally practices with the team, only to then undergo another knee surgery. Gauthier signs Tomas Kaberle, another underachiever with a big contract, and that signing is also panned by the media and critics alike. But I like it because it burns diehard Leaf fans :)

Finally, the axe falls onto Jacques Martin's head and he is relieved of his duties as Head Coach, while former player and unilingual Randy Cunneyworth takes the helm and is blasted in the Francophone media. Owner and President Geoff Molson issues a statement and essentially cuts Cunneyworth down, making him a lame duck. All reports indicate Pierre Gauthier is a goner at season's end (and before the draft).

This is, my friends -- a heck of a lot of BAD. So why the sudden optimism???

I'll tell you why. It's because it's been so bad that we're desperate for anything good. Who wouldn't want to see the Habs go on a roll like the New Jersey Devils did last year after Jacques Lemaire took over for that team!? But I have to say, I'm a bit torn, because deep down, I wouldn't mind seeing them get a top-five draft pick in this year's draft.

It hasn't been fun to watch this team. It's one thing to lose, but there is losing the right way and losing the wrong way. And this team has just been brutal on too many nights this year.

But ultimately, the optimism springs from the changes that Coach Cunneyworth has made to this year's team that are now becoming apparent:

1) He reunites Desharnais with Pacioretty and Cole;
2) He reunites Eller with Kostitsyn and Moen -- and Eller scores 4 in a game;
3) He double shifts Erik Cole, by far the team's best and most consistent player, who plays a season-high 27 minutes in this week's game against the Jets;
4) He puts Gill and Kaberle on the ice more sparingly, putting each in a better position to excel;
5) He sits Weber for Emelin, and Emelin continue to emerge as a bruising, hitting defenseman who puts second thoughts into opposing forwards;
6) He actively coaches the team on the bench -- which pundits like Michel Bergeron loves;
7) He uses Tomas Plekanec less, who will only benefit from this down the line and into the playoffs -- if we can make it.

Streaky scorer Cammalleri has shown life of late and Captain Gionta is back tonight, healthy and hungry. Things are looking up. But there have been some positives this year:

1) Max Pacioretty starts strong and though he's now in a bit of a slump, we must remember -- this is only his FIRST FULL SEASON;
2) Erik Cole, after the Martin-induced slow start, is and has been everything we could have asked for game after game. He drives to the net, uses his speed and body and has become a leader in the dressing room;
3) David Desharnais is a terrific player who although small in stature, is big in heart and skill;
4) Andrei Kostitsyn, even if it's a contract year, is one of our most dangerous offensive threats and uses his body more and more and often does the little things right;
5) Lars Eller, though inconsistent at times, shows us why he was a first round pick and that he's going to be a terrific player for this team, if we don't give up on him. And the kid is first class;

Raphy Diaz could be our next Mark Streit. 
Photo: Francois Lacasse/Getty Images.

6) Louis Leblanc, though sent back to Hamilton this week, is a great kid with a great head on his shoulders and performs admirably during his stint with the big club. He doesn't look out of place and he's going to be another Plekanec-type, two-way player for this team -- and who doesn't like that?
7) Diaz and Emelin complete their NHL internships and now assert themselves in the areas of the game in which they excel. Diaz puts points up and plays well defensively, while Emelin throws Craig Ludwig-style bodycheck after Craig Ludwig-style bodycheck and we love it. How long has it been since we've heard that crashing sound against the boards of the Bell Centre?? About time, I say;
8) And finally, against all odds, his team's record and the soft support from management -- Randy Cunneyworth acts like a true professional and carries on with his work.

Things are looking up. The Bell Centre crowd did the wave for the first time this season in the last game against the Jets. Took awhile, hope to see it again tonight.

So let's see if the 2011-2012 Montreal Canadiens can go on a second-half roll and eke out a playoff spot. Will they? Who knows with this team? It's a steep climb. I'd rather them tank it and get a high first round pick then come up short by 2 points a la Maple Leafs.

But whatever happens, you know it'll be entertaining. Let's just hope the entertainment comes from the ice and not from the media as has been the case so far this year. Valleri. Vallera.

PS: I read Terry Dimonte is coming home to Montreal radio after four years in Calgary. That's great for Terry and anglo-Montreal. Maybe it's time for me to do the same!?? If you have a job offer, I"m listening...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Finally a fun game to watch!!

Four goals for Lars "do you want me to sign your jersey" Eller!!!

You have to read my posts from last year to get that one...

Eller's first career hat trick was the result of being reunited with Moen and Kostitsyn and the line had 10 points!!!

Lars Eller is congratulated by his permanent linemate Travis Moen after scoring in the Canadiens' 7-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell Centre. 

Which makes me wonder: why the hell was this line broken up in the first place!?

We first saw the threesome play together last year with strong results. Injuries forced them apart. Together again, and loving it.

Keep 'em together Randy!!

Travis Moen was probably the best player on the ice on the night... but as is often the case, he was left out of the three stars. No matter, he knows what he needs to do to succeed.

And he did it en masse tonight against the upstart Jets. Win puck battles. Throw pucks at the net. Hit everything that moves.

Mr. Moen made all the right moves in the 2nd period when he fought off 2 Jet players to muscle out a 2-on-1 with Tomas Kaberle, who scored his first goal as a Hab (and of the season). Kaberle hadn't scored for over 40 games going back to last season.

Andrei Kostitsyn? Now that the Habs have turned their backs on their no-negotiating player contracts during the season with the much-needed signing of Josh Gorges to a six year contract (which should have come over the summer), why not sign Andrei Kostitsyn!? The guy is big, he's got a great shot and he's an amazing passer.

As you all should know, I love the guy. He's still young, and how many players do we have on this team who consistently pot 20 goals per season??? Who else on this team pulls poutine-ladened bums out of their seats like Brother Andrei!? His play on Eller's 3rd goal of the game was unbelievable. It was like he had the puck on a string. I'd kiss the guy if he weren't so ugly.

Last Hab to score 4 in a game? Jan Bulis (remember him?) in 2006. Seems a lot longer than that.

Eller's fourth tally was the result of a questionable penalty shot call by the referee. I say questionable only because the Habs rarely get this sort of call (is it because Martin is no longer behind the bench?). In fact, it was the right call if you take the rule to the letter, because Eller was in alone and was hooked to the point he couldn't get a shot off.

The big, gangly Dane knew exactly what he was doing when he pulled a spin-a-rama and deked Mason out of his pants, sliding the puck into the open net on the backhand. What a night for Mr. Eller!! And good for you Lars, you're slowly making us forget Jaro. Speaking of which, the Blues are coming to town next week. But chances are Halak won't play, since Brian Elliott has been playing so well.

The Habs needed this win and winning big at home could go a long way on this homestand. Good for the team to score some goals for a change, especially on a night where Carey Price seemed a bit shaky.

2011 couldn't end fast enough for the Habs.

2012? Hopefully it only gets better. And after the highly publicized rough stuff between PK Subban and Plekanec this week, maybe it's time for this team to start making headlines with some wins instead.

The team has a few days off for some more good practices and Captain Gionta looks to make his return on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.