Tag Archives: Marc Bergevin

Wharmsby’s Habs Lowdown

As we head into tonight’s game between the Habs and Leafs, I thought that instead of only just providing the link, I’d paste this very important Habs info provided by Tim Wharmsby in CBC Sports – Hockey Night in Canada.

The situation: The Canadians have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, but they haven’t won a series since they advanced to East final in 2010 … Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin needs to add offence up front and some defensive depth, but in 2013,  his first year at the helm of the Habs, he didn’t make any major moves at the trade deadline. After Bergevin re-acquired Michael Ryder and picked up Jeff Halpern off waivers earlier in the season, the only deadline move the Canadiens made was to trade for defenceman Davis Drewiske for a fifth-round draft choice … Most of the trade talk in Montreal has centred around what to do with looming unrestricted free agents Brian Gionta and Andrei Markov. There was a report earlier this week that Bergevin has offered Markov a one-year contract extension, but that the 35-year-old defenceman seeks a three-year deal … Since the Olympic break, the Habs have plucked three of four points in two games without their gold-medal-winning goalie Carey Price, who returned home with a lower-body injury.

Playoff hopes: 3rd in the East, six points behind second-place Boston and eight points clear of ninth-place Washington.

Schedule: 21 games remaining (nine home, 12 road)

At home: Toronto, Boston, Ottawa, Colorado, Columbus, Buffalo, Detroit, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers.

On the road: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Buffalo, Toronto, Boston, Detroit, Florida, Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Chicago.

Restricted free agents: Lars Eller, P.K. Subban, Dale Weise, Ryan White.

Unrestricted free agents: Francis Bouillon, Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Douglas Murray, George Parros.

No-trade clauses: Daniel Briere (no movement), Josh Gorges (limited), Brian Gionta (no-trade), Rene Bourque (modified), Andrei Markov (modified), Travis Moen (modified), Tomas Plekanec (modified).

Cap space: $6.9 million US.

On the farm: The Habs have made good use of the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs, shuttling back-and-forth players like Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, Louis Leblanc, Mike Blunden and Patrick Holland. Right wing Sven Andrighetto, 20, may be the next to get a shot. The Swiss forward is coming off his most productive month, with three goals and nine points in 10 games in February.

Again, a 2-1Loss At Home

Two goals for the Habs in their two games played this weekend is a bit on the feeble side, wouldn’t you say?

A 2-1 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, and a 2-1 regulation time loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

And at the risk of stretching it a bit, before Montreal’s previous two games in beating Boston and Carolina, they had lost games by the scores of 5-0, 4-1, 5-1, and 5-3.

Yes, a bit on the feeble side. But that’s what this season is and will probably remain. Some fine games and a whack of lousy ones.

The problem is, they’re slowly inching closer to being out of the playoffs. So the whack of lousy ones needs to be less than a whack.

It’s imperative that they get their asses in gear.

We need to be patient, says Marc Bergevin. But Bergevin’s only been the GM for a short while. General managers before him told us in different ways that we needed to be patient too.

I hate the patient thing. I don’t know how to fix it quickly but I hate it anyway. Patience and bad moves isn’t supposed to mean two decades.

Being patient is for disciples of the Dali Lama. Bad moves is me on the dance floor.

And speaking of bad moves….. there was Bob Gainey, who once said “”We are extremely pleased to have acquired a player of the caliber of Scott Gomez.  Scott is an elite player who will certainly contribute to the success of our team for years to come.”

The beat goes on, on and off the ice. Don’t worry, front office. We fully expect to see a powerhouse in the next few years. Until we don’t, because we need to wait just a little bit longer than a few years.

And when a few years come and go, we’ll wait a few more.

The Canadiens started slow in the first period on Sunday, which not only happens often, but just seems to me to be inexcusable.

Start slow? How come? I prefer the rarely tested “starting fast” idea.

But they did pick up steam, and in the second period, after the Jets had made it 1-0, Brian Gionta first rang one off the post and shortly after, bulged the twine to give us all hope.

But lo and behold, in the third frame, Carey Price misplayed a puck near the crease and the Winnipeggers grabbed the lead and that was that.

PK scored on his own net yesterday, and Price fumbled the ball today.

Two days, two miscues, two 2-1 losses.

Just not a good time. And now is a chance to use a tremendously creative cliche I’ve just made up and one you’ve never heard before – “we’ll take it one game at a time”.

Because on Tuesday when it’s the Flames in town, the gang might be sensational.

In fact, they might be so good, they could even score three goals.

How great would that be?

Random Notes:

Brendan Gallagher played his heart out, worked like nobody’s business, and tussled often with Mark Stuart, who’s listed at 6’2, 213 lbs.

Some players have an abundance of heart like Gally. Others, like…….., don’t.

Flames on Tuesday, Canucks on Thursday, Carolina Saturday. Then it’s the Olympic break.

 

Bummer in Pittsburgh

Part One

Habs lose 5-1 in Pittsburgh, and Marc-Andre Fleury and Peter Budaj, who was in relief of Carey Price, almost came to blows for some reason, and which was one of the more interesting parts of the night I suppose, along with, if you’re a Pens fan, Evgeny Malkin doing the quick step.

An even more interesting thing would’ve been a Ned Flanders goalie mask stuffed into Fleury’s smiling mouth.

Part Two:

It was a blowout and it’s sad. I was hoping for a bigger blowout. Something so huge, so shocking, that it might even force Marc Bergevin to panic.

Although he’s probably been trying for months to make moves but teams just aren’t all that interested in the moveable objects.

Douglas Murray, Francis Bouillon, Rene Bourque, Daniel Briere, Andre Markov, Raphael Diaz, Brian Gionta, Travis Moen, and George Parros just aren’t that popular with other teams for some reason.

It’s a head scratcher.

The team’s been ill since the beginning of December, back when it was only sort of freezing outside instead of feeling like we’re living on a friggin’ iceberg. Stores were gearing up for the big Christmas rush. The EGG line had been on fire up until then. The team had been fighting for first place in the east.

Life had been good. Then they started winning while sucking. And sucking when losing.

It’s been a walk on the mediocre side mostly since, except for that stunning and miraculous night when the team put it all together against a great Chicago team and thrilled us to no end.

It was a night to love. Brought back to another time, to years ago when the team was great, the joint was rockin’, and on a personal note, I had more hair.

But the Chicago game was then. A one time deal. We’ve cleared our eyes and heads and have come to the realization that the team needs serious fixing and management hasn’t done a thing in the fixing department.

No trades. Guys rarely brought up from Hamilton and when they are, they’re on the ice less than the anthem singer. The defence, aside from P.K., is slow and full of holes, like a pin cushion rolling along a table.

The coach can’t decide on set lines except for ones with guys who don’t deserve to be on set lines. Some play like they’re on morphine. Others have energy and take bad penalties and can’t hit the net. And the captain is shorter than Danny DeVito.

The team is sick right now, and instead of management giving it first aid, they stand nearby while the patient coughs up blood and prepares to meet its maker.

Everyone knows the Habs are in trouble. And now they play on Friday (against Detroit) which conflicts with my beer night at St. Hubert’s Chicken.

But I’ll watch it, hoping they put it all together and trick me once again into thinking they’re going good. Because the night after that, when the Caps show up, they’ll almost certainly stink again.

It’s been tough being a Habs fan for the past couple of decades.

Moving On, Sort Of

Not all that thrilled with Michel Therrien right now, not that it matters I guess. Of course he could care less what me or anyone else thinks, aside from Marc Bergevin.

The Canadiens played like a frightened, hesitant, overwhelmed team against Philadelphia, and the one time one of them showed some fire and passion, PK Subban, who took a penalty for smacking a guy, the coach sat him on the bench for parts of the third period as punishment.

The one guy who was was actually awake and who may have helped in any sort of comeback attempt. Guys can sleepwalk, not score for fifteen games, and play like they’re hungover, but when PK shows some fire, not long after being named to the Olympic squad which means he’s one of the best of the best, he’s punished like a kid in school.

And Danno brought up a good point about Therrien not pulling Budaj for an extra attacker in the last minute. Therrien said he saw no reason, because the boys weren’t in it anyway. What kind of reasoning is that?

Mike also suggests that maybe those who thought it was wrong to bring in a coach who’d been canned once before by the team might be right after all.

Anyway, moving on. It can’t be healthy to stew for so long like this.

From the CJAD website – a backyard rink in St-Lazare, near Montreal.

rink 1

rink 2

rink 3

rink 4

 

 

 

C’mon Tuesday

Just can’t wait for Tuesday when the Habs kick off their 2013-14 campaign. I fully expect them to do well. But that’s just me. I expect it every year.

And it sucks when it doesn’t end up that way.

Of course it all stems on injuries and whether some guys have lousy years, like the goalie for example. If everything is fine in all areas, if the power play and penalty kill are in the top half of the conference, if the stick boy gets the sticks out in time, if we can finally get someone in the top ten or twenty in league point-getting, who knows, maybe the boys can surprise.

But right now, I think most pundits don’t give them much of a chance unless Carey Price is outstanding. I’d say Price is under some serious pressure whether he feels it or not.

As it stands, Brandon Prust doesn’t belong to any set line, which is a bonus. Prust will move from line to line and get his minutes. He’s an all-liner and a key guy. He’ll go where needed, and do the job well. And he has a beautiful girlfriend.

If Michael Bournival can score in the regular season the way he did in preseason, it would be such a boost to the fourth line and to overall team depth. Travis Moen seems to have slowed down somewhat, so we have that to stew over, and Ryan White got a haircut, which might help in some cosmic way.

George Parros has his own job to do, and we’re expecting him to change the dynamics and flatten a few noses.

I don’t mind the look of this lineup. Everyone says they’re still too small and generally don’t have enough to make a dent the way Boston or Chicago or a few others can. And there’s Ottawa and Detroit and so many other strong teams to contend with. But if all the Habs planets are aligned properly, who knows. I’ve always loved magic.

Pacioretty-Desharnais-Briere
Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta
Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher
Bournival-White Moen-Prust-Parros

I miss the days when we steamrolled through everyone and we were a contented bunch of Habs fans. Habs haters say we were smug. I like the word “contented” better.

We can only wait and see how it all works out. And hope and go to church and walk little old ladies across the street.

Max looks like he’s rarin’ to go. Briere seems to fitting in and might help Desharnais. Gionta’s back. Gallagher and Galchenyuk have half a season under their belts and need more steps forward and none backward. Eller is stronger with two and a half seasons completed. Pleks is only 31, a nice younger-type veteran, and I’m sure is still flying.

Pacioretty-Desharnais-Briere
Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta
Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher
Bournival-White Moen-Prust-Parros

Defence, with Alexei Emelin still to come, which, when he does, will move things around slightly. Markov and Emelin have had previous chemistry. PK needs to be a Norris winner again or in serious contention. Jarred Tinordi could be a beauty. Can Gorges, Diaz, and Bouillon clear traffic in front of Price?

What about Drew Drewiske? Will he sit in the press box most nights?

Gorges-Subban
Bouillon-Tinordi
Markov-Diaz
Murray

Nathan Beaulieu, Greg Pateryn, Christian Thomas and others wait in the wings if any of the regulars aren’t earning their paycheques. And if some players need to be moved, we have some nice prospects who can be part of a package in a big trade Marc Bergevin can concoct to upgrade things.

Just can’t wait for things to start. C’mon Tuesday.

No To Jagr Please

Danno passes along this story about Jaromir Jagr being interested in playing with the Habs because he’s always wanted to play for them and as a bonus he’d get to play with fellow countryman Tomas Plekanec – Jagr Interested.

Gimme a break. He says he’s always wanted to play for the Habs only because he’s a free agent and he’s hoping to earn a couple more million before he rides off into the sunset.

Ain’t it funny how all of a sudden old guys looking for work have always loved the Habs and would so much love to play for them. What a bunch of baloney. And he’s 41 years old.

Please Mr. Bergevin, don’t do this.

 

Parros

Just when I was about to do nothing, I get word from Danno that the Habs have signed big and tough George Parros, who happens to stand 6’5″ and weighs 228.

Okay other teams, try screwing around with our small guys now.

This is a signing I like. We’ve got ourselves a mean machine.

Just when I was feeling down, I’m up again. Kind of like the elevators in Toronto when elevator tech Mike Williamson was on strike.

If Parros does thing properly, in other words, the opposite of Georges Laraque, the Habs could be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.

Hip hip hooray! Bring on the season!

george-parros-vs-donald-brashear

 

 

Briere A Hab

5’10″, 181 pound free agent Daniel Briere has signed a two-year deal with the Habs and I suppose it’s possible this could be fine as he’s been a bit of thorn in the Habs’ side over the years. Scored the odd big goal against my team. Made me curse at my T.V. screen several times.

Now he’s on our side. I hope I won’t be cursing him for completely different reasons.

He had a chance to become a Canadien a few years back but wasn’t interested, even though he’s a good Quebec boy. And since he was recently unemployed and hoping a team would have him, now he’s happy to be coming to Montreal. It kinds of burns my ass slightly.

Does he have much of a downside? Not really, other than he’s a shrimp and the team needs to get bigger, not smaller. And he’s almost 36 years old. And he’s not the player he once was.

But other than these few things, it’s all upside.

Prime Time Sports talk show host Bob McCown wrote in his book “100 Greatest Hockey Arguments” that hockey is probably the only sport where three fans can watch the same game at the same time and all three can disagree with what they saw. And the same holds true for speculation involving players coming to teams.

You can disagree with me completely on this, but I don’t like this signing. The same as I wasn’t crazy about the prospect of Vincent Lecavalier coming to Montreal. I don’t want guys on their way out, even if they did burn the Habs in a big way over the years. Because much of their former burning has been snuffed out with a wet blanket owned by Mother Nature’s old man, Father Time.

Of course I hope I’m wrong and you call me on it seven or eight months from now when Briere shows he’s the perfect fit and Marc Bergevin once again looks like Sam Pollock. But for now, I feel the Canadiens already have their quota of small forwards, and adding another, who happens to be almost 36 years old, isn’t going to make me run down the streets of St. Hubert whooping and hollering.

It’s Ontario!

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It took more than eight hours, but we went from Moose Jaw, Sask., to Kenora, Ont, (about 850 kms), and now it’s time to rest our weary bones. After several beer.

Kenora seems to be a great place. A nice little town on the shores of Lake of the Woods. A fellow who has commented on here off and on for years, Dishonest John, lives here. Maybe I’ll accidentally run into him in the pub.

We also drove by a school with a big Mike Richards mural painted on the side. Kenora native Richards was once a Philadelphia Flyer and is now with the L.A.Kings, and I would’ve stopped to take a picture, but after weighing the importance of Richards and beer, beer won by a country mile.

If he was a Hab, I would’ve made the effort.

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Gas in Powell River was $1.39 a litre. In Vancouver it was $1.41. In Nelson, $1.44. Most everywhere else has been in the $1.30 to $1.40 range.

Calgary was $1.14.

All in all, when you see that Calgarians not only have cheap gas but also don’t pay provincial sales tax, it doesn’t seem right. In fact, it almost seems crooked.

But Calgary summers aren’t anything to write home about, I’ve seen it snow in June and August there, so maybe it evens out in different ways. I had my car pounded by golf-sized hail one summer and had an insurance claim, along with thousands of others who weren’t happy about the hundred or so dents in their roofs.

They also have Mike Cammalleri so maybe it’s good they get a break on gas and taxes.

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Marc Bergevin lost out to Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero for the GM of the Year Award, and I don’t understand this at all. Pittsburgh had a stacked club, added Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and Douglas Murray, and finished first in the east. Montreal didn’t have a stacked club, added no one, and finished second in the east.

What was it exactly that Shero did to deserve the honour, other than finishing first with a star-studded lineup?

And I know post-regular season doesn’t enter into the voting picture, but the Pens were swept four straight, Iginla, Morrow, and Murray were mediocre at best, and following all that, Shero gave Evgeni Malkin $9.5 million a year for the next eight years which could come back and bite him in the ass.

All Bergevin did was turn the worst team in the east into one of the best. And he got rid of Scott Gomez. So I feel he was ripped off.

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Coming this far, from B.C.’s Sunshine Coast to Kenora, only reminds me of how much I love my country. It’s been nothing but friendly people, well-kept highways, and jaw-dropping scenery. I’m really proud to be a Canadian, and I’m proud to show it to Luci, who’s only been a Canadian for seven years.

She’s a trooper. Never complains. Always in a good mood. Just like me! :-)

Tomorrow we should be way past Thunder Bay. I’ll let you know.

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