Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Got An E-mail From Jim Ballsillie

Dear Gillis,

I am writing to thank you again for your support and update you on the latest in our "full speed ahead" drive to bring a seventh NHL franchise to Canada. Yesterday, Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes filed documents in court confirming his receipt of our offer to purchase the team for US$212.5 million, that the offer expires June 30, 2009 and that it is conditional upon moving the team to southern Ontario. We learned that the court has moved up its date to hear arguments on the question of relocation to June 9th and Judge Baum has said he will rule on this issue shortly after. If he rules the team can be relocated, the Judge has also indicated he will move the date of the auction we have asked for up to June 22nd. We have maintained from the beginning that we need to be in control of the team by then to know if we can move it this year, or if we have to keep it in Glendale for another year and then move it to its new home, Copps Coliseum, where we have secured the rights to a long-term lease. We are moving ahead. In the days ahead, I will have more exciting details to share with you about bringing this team to Canada.

Jim

Jim Balsillie

Monday, May 25, 2009

Seems Like it Has Always Been a Problem...

Reffing that is.


Here's a couple of french newspaper clips from 1960:


Page 1

Page 2

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Restricted Zone

This good post by Robert L. over at Eye's on the Prize explains not the Habs' RFA situation but other team's RFA's (particularly Boston's) combined with Montreal's UFA situation.

Also, here's another post (in french) from the Journal de Montréal by Yvon Pedneault on the same subject.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Montreal Canadiens of 2008/2009 Analysis Part II

Well, the pain and suffering of watching the Habs lose game after game is gone, now it is just time accept the fact that the Habs will not win the cup this year (well we already knew that), and that I won't be able to sit down and watch a Habs game till October.

I had thought of simply looking forward, and looking at the future and sharing my opinion on it without having to look back at the 2008/2009 season. I then realized that to back every one of my opinions on this post, I will need to flashback to the 2008/2009 season, and evaluate the suck. I hope that management reviews this season over and over again so that history doesn't repeat itself.




Anyways, as most people already know, Bob Gainey placed himself (or Montreal's next GM) in a very strange position. He will be dealing with 10 unrestricted free agents and 3 restricted free agents. Here's what I think will happen this summer:


1. Alex Kovalev: Kovy is not made to play in Montreal. Everybody in Montreal has witnessed his skill at a consistent rate last season, and this season, he did the complete opposite. In a very high pressure and critical hockey city like Montreal, it becomes pretty difficult to let things like that slide. As most people know, Montreal isn't a very forgiving hockey city. I'd like to see Kovy come back for 3.5 million or less (which is unlikely to happen). The GM will know how much the media's focus on Kovy will become a distraction to the team and will most likely low-ball Kovy. I highly doubt that Kovalev wants to play in Montreal after this years terrible season


2. Saku Koivu: I really like Koivu as a player and as a captain. I know many people may object to both things that I just wrote. Koivu is the type of player that works hard every night. He rarely has off nights, but honestly, who doesn't. I like what he does on the ice and in my opinion he is valuable to the team. Koivu has been the captain for ten years. He was originally voted by his fellow teammates as captain. Since becoming captain, he has played for five different coaches. None of those coaches have taken the "C" off of his chest since he first got it. I don't know exactly what goes on in the locker room or who exactly takes leadership role on the team but I am convinced that Koivu must be doing both of the above very well to be the captain pf one of the most high pressure hockey franchise to ever exist. I think Koivu wants to stay in Montreal till the end so I'd like to see him in a Habs uniform next season and many seasons after that for no more than 4 million.


3. Alex Tanguay: It's tough to judge Tanguay on this subject since we only saw him in 50 games this season (which is the least amount of GP in an NHL season for him). In those 50 games he had 41 points. He is obviously a very skilled player and seems to put in a good effort every night. So I think it's just up to how much he is asking. I would offer him a three-year 15 million dollar contract.


4. Mathieu Dandenault: I expect Dandenault to announce his retirement in the next few weeks. I watched him skate of the ice last night and it was obvious he was trying to take in the atmosphere from ice-level while he can. He was definitely trying to get the most out of that moment and was the last one off the ice, skating as slowly as he could. I'm speculating that he has already made his decision.


5. Patrice Brisebois: Dear Breezer, you may think that you still have another few years in you, but you are no Chelios. Please retire. Thank you.


6. Mike Komisarek: If Komisarek is exposed to the free-agent market, I have the feeling some big offers will be sent his way. Gainey should have locked him at the beginning of the season. The Habs can't afford to lose him, especially since one of the Habs' top defensive prospects, Alexei Emelin is thinking of signing another contract overseas. Maybe his RFA friend Chris Higgins could talk him into staying for cheap. I believe that the Habs actually really need him and he is still pretty young and has mostly likely not yet reached his prime. I'd give him 3.75 million.


7. Robert Lang: He was the leading scorer for the Habs until he got injured. He played well almost every game but sometimes had some defensive struggles. It was too bad he didn't have the chance to show Habs fans all he's got. He was a key part to the Habs' success at the beginning of the season and I think he is worth the money. The habs are running short on solid centres with the recent struggles of Tomas Plekanec (RFA). Then again, John Madden of the NJ Devils will become a free agent this off-season and would look great in a Habs uniform.


8. Mathieu Schneider: I think he's going to attempt to pull a Chelios. This off-season, I think it's either he retires or he signs a small contract with the Canadiens. I definitely wouldn't mind to see him playing for the Habs next season, and he proved to be the key to the Habs powerplay success near the end of the year along with Markov at the blueline. I think he wants to end his season in Montreal and won't need big bucks to want to pull it off.


9. Tom Kostopoulos: I must admit he put a lot of effort into this season along with Maxim Lapierre but I think he would be very easily to replace if he were to leave. I wouldn't mind if he stayed but it's no biggie if he leaves, as long as he gets replaced.


10. Francis Bouillon: You can see it in the way that he plays that he is proud of being a Montreal Canadien. He has a lot of heart, but in his case, his size is a matter of concern. He shouldn't be asking for over 2 million and I think he is well worth the investment although his recent injuries are a bit concerning.



Other UFA's include Marc Denis, Shawn Belle, Alex Henry, Doug Janik, Ryan Flinn, Mike Glumac, T.J. Kemp and Yanick Lehoux.

I don't know about a lot of those guys except Marc Denis, who came to good use this season while one of the other goalies were injured.


RFA's include Kyle Chipchura, Matt D'Agostini, Chris Higgins, Guillaume Latendresse, Tomas Plekanec and Gregory Stewart. I won't get into this topic today.


As for the coaching position to be filled, as explain in "Part I"'s comment section, I'd like to see Don Lever take the job as head coach. I don't know a lot about him but he did great work back in Hamilton and players come out of Hamilton looking better then ever (Sergei Kostitsyn not included).




UPDATE: Bob Gainey announced today that he intends on being the GM throughout next season.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kovalev announced that he would like to stay in Montreal, so whatever I said about him not wanting to play in Montreal anymore is bullshit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Montreal Canadiens of 2008/2009 Analysis Part I



The first time I ever doubted Bob was after the Huet trade. I assumed it was going to lead up to something bigger (as in, Hossa). Anyway, people started hassling him for not landing Hossa. After looking at what the Pens gave away for him, I knew it was good of him not to. Take a look at the Pens now, they lost Armstrong, Christensen and Esposito and a draft pick for Hossa and Dupuis. Good thing Bob didn't pull the trigger on a deal like that or this team would be destroyed (not that they aren't already). The Pens were screwed. Once the season went to waste after they got eliminated, they had basically traded away three solid, young players, for Pascal Dupuis. Once I found out that Huet was gone for sure and the Habs weren't getting Hossa, I had confidence in Price to play well and get far in the playoffs. He led the Habs to first place in the conference but the playoffs proved to all of us that Price still needs a lot of experience and more support from a veteran goalie, like Huet. Bob definetly should have worked on that during the summer, maybe signing a goalie like Olaf Kolzig or even signing Curtis Joseph would have done the trick in my opinion.





Bob's work to land Lang was great. I was so happy when he pulled it off. Imagine how much better this team would be with a solid centre.




As for Laraque, the thing about BGL is that he can do some damage, but nobody knows how to use him, and let me tell you, putting him on the first line is not the way to use him, especially when you split up the best trio of the season to do so. In my opinion, BGL should be getting 15 minutes a game but with players like Kostopolous and Stewart, not Kovalev and Koivu.



Losing Streit must be Bob's second biggest mistake, after the Huet trade. Too bad he only realized that Streit was the key to the Habs' powerplay after half the season was done. He and I included beleived that it was a team effort on the powerplay, and not simply because of one player, just like what we saw when Souray left. Now we have Schneider who is doing a decent job, but it seems that it was too little too late.





Metropolit is great. He must have the best hands on the team (after kovy, obviously, but kovy only likes to use his skills half of the time). Every time Subway gets the puck around the boards, I feel very comfortable that he will come out with the puck. I'm very gald Bob claimed him off waivers, the Habs needed him desperately.





Now for the Kostitsyn brothers, I blame the media. From the get-go they did not like them because they are Russian brothers and the media assumes that they plot against the team (because thats what Russians do in there spare time, apparently). Then there is the gangster friend incident, involving booze, women and cars. The incident basically gave permission to the media to personally attack the two young brothers.


As for Plekanec, I have nothign to say about him. I'm confused. I have the feeling that Carbo didn't like him but I have nothing to back up my opinion so I'll just leave it at that.




Koivu on the other hand, I have something to say about. How can people not love this guy? He has been one of the most consistent players this year. His injury slowed him down quite a bit but he got back up and it seemed that every line he played on always had good chemistry. I love Saku. The french media keeps creating issues that have never existed about Koivu's captaincy, and his leadership in the locker room. And about the whole booing saku thing, I beleive the booing wasnt because he cant speak french, obviously. I think the only people that cares about the french thing, is the media because they think that people care. Sure it would be nice to see a quebecois comme capitaine but no one in their right mind would take it off Koivu's chest to put it on a french 23 year old, third liner, except for the french media of course (most notably Rejean Tremblay) . They were booing because they dont beleive that there was enough leadership from him in the dressing room and that it is because of him that Carbo got fired. I've never understood how people know what happens in the dressing room. How do they know who's taking a leadership role? Someone please explain that to me.





As for Carbo, I'm glad he got fired, in fact, I believe it should have happened much earlier. Carbonneau did not like the most skilled player on the team and evidently, that creates a problem. I can somewhat prove that theory:

-Carbo hates Kovy
-Carbo ask Bob to bench Kovy because he thinks that its his fault that the team isnt playing well.
-Bob benches Kovy
-Team continues to play badly
-Carbo gets fired because it's obviously not Kovy's fault that the team is performing poorly

And I'm guessing I'm not the only one that noticed that Kovy started playing ridiculously well a few games after Carbo was fired.



And Carbo also got fired for chasing away players like Perezhogin, Grabovski, Rivet and eventually the Kostitsyn brothers and Plekanec. In Perezhogin and Grabovski's case, he took these young talented players and brought them into a line-up that was already filled with good players. Carbo figures that since they're so good he'll squish them onto the fourth line. Now Perezhogin is playing on the fourth line with some no name guy that can't receive a pass and whose main objective is to hit. He gets 7 minutes a game playing along players that can't play at his level. Since he doesn't produce, Carbo benches him. Those players should have stayed in Hamilton longer instead of being squished into the line-up. Now Perezhogin is a top 3 scorer in the KHL and Grabovki is playing fairly well on Toronto's top two lines. Carbo did the same with Plekanec this season. He had a couple of bad games so he puts him on a line with greek lightning who can't get his passes and BGL or Dandy. How is he supposed to get out of his slump while playing with those players? Its ridiculous! The only reason Tom plays well with Mad Max and Gui the Tender Bear is because they dont pass, they cycle along the boards then crash the net. I've never seen Kostopolous receive a pass cleanly.

And as for Carbo spreading fourth liners through out the line-up, he must have lost his mind. Its the most ridiculous strategy I have ever heard of. The worst was when the habs were playing poorly defensively and werent winning games, so he took Gorges and put him on the fourth line. Now someone please explain to me how taking a solid third defenseman and putting him on a foward line to have 7 minutes of playing time help your defense. How idiotic.


Anyway, back to Bob, this season was filled with injuries, way more then last year, and that was the biggest problem. I dont expect Bob to be able to predict injuries.

Thats all for now.


Please comment.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Habs Lose Game Two




So their now done 2-0 in the series. They had a pretty strong start until Sergei Kostitsyn took A DUMB PENALTY. The bruins scored to burst the habs' bubble. Price should made the saved that one. The bruins scored another goal but I honestly think that there should have been an goalie interference call on the play. A Boston player skated through prices crease and hooked the butt-end of Price's stick. Price didnt let go of the stick so it dropped his shoulder. Price only let go once another Boston player shot and he didnt have enough time to get back into his regular position. Early in the game, Francis Bouillon reinjured himself and had to leave. Thankfully, Gainey had Weber in the line-up and used him as a seventh defenceman. Late in the first period, three habs collapsed around the Bruins net, which they should do all the time. The bruins have been doing it all series and the Habs do it once, and the Bruins started throwing punches. Phil Kessel randomly punched Kostopolous in the face then runs and hides. Tim Thomas tried to protect poor Kessel with his ass, seriously. According to Thomas, Kostopolous fights like a cat. I suppose that's how Thomas scares away his cats. A bit later that period Bergeron did a nice little dive to give Schneider an interference penalty. Thankfully the refs were smart enough to realize that and gave Bergeron a penalty as well. Early in the first Kovy scored to give the habs somee hope, but then the habs kept getting penalties and the bruins scored again, and again, and again. Halak replaced Price for the third period. With around five minutes left in the game, Lucic crosschecked Lapierre right in the jaw. He got two minutes for crosschecking and a match penalty (5 & game).
The habs don't even get a moral victory out of this one. They're back in Montreal this morning, getting ready for tomorrow nights game. Markov is skating and shooting and Lang is just skating.
Bob's got to go back to the Big KAK line. I can't stand watching BGL attempt to skate around on the first line, then attempt to pick a fight, then smile, then attempt to skate away. This what the lines should look like:

13-11-27
84-40-6
21-15-36
67-14-25

44-24
26-8
71-70

and the D with Markov and Bouillon should be:
26-79
44-8
24-51


I miss Lang
But there is still hope. In 2004 they pulled of the impossible against the Bruins. In 2006 the Canes did it to the Habs. Its the habs' turn again, I hope.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Habs Lose Game One

So the habs lost game one. That didn't surprise many people. The upside is that they played a strong game and all the players have come to realize that it is possible to beat the Bruins, they just need to play smart, very physically and not take stupid penalties. The downside is that they now are behind in the series 1-0. The habs ended the game with a bit of rough stuff after Kessel apparently taunted Lapierre after he scored on the open net. In that scrum, some idiotic Bruins fan decided that it would be a good idea to grab Kovalev's stick through the camera hole along the boards. During one of the scraps, Komisarek was giving Hunwick a face wash and Hunwick started bleeding around the eye. The media and idiotic Bruins fans like to call an attempted eye gouge, which is completly ridiculous. Thankfully, Hunwick understands that it's hockey and that it was no big deal, it was simply a facewash. Meanwhile, Thomas has plenty to say which he should just keep his mouth shut about, for example: "I don't understand why Lapierre went after a guy who just scored into an empty net. He did nothing to deserve getting elbowed in the head like that." Time Thomas was watching this from around 180 feet away, how would he know what happened at the other end of the ice. Shutup Timmy.

This morning, Hunwick, the only Bruins player I don't hate, was taken to the hospital after apparently experiencing problems with his spleen. Hopefully he'll be okay as soon as the habs kick them out of the playoffs.

Same lines as the other night.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Its Almost Time

Only half an hour until puck drop.


No point in making a "Habstars" and "Habnots" because this is the playoffs and it's a whole new season.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009