Smart, passionate and somewhat biased commentary about the Montreal Canadiens (HABS) from a lifelong fan now living in Toronto (LeafLand).
Feb
12
2017
Marc Bergevin

Habs Got the Blues

It's a bit misleading, right!? What's that you ask? I said, it's a bit misleading... the Habs, in first place atop of the Atlantic division. Sure, they have 70 points and a six point lead over the never-say-die Ottawa Senators. But what's that? The Senators have 4 games in hand? Four games...hmm, 2 times 4 equals 8. 8 plus 4 equals 12. Wait a second!? That's right, the Senators could indeed catch us sooner than you think. That's what's misleading. But let's forget about the math -- never my favourite subject anyhow. Let's talk hockey. Like the hockey our beloved…
Jul
08
2016
P.K. Subban

Now What?

Now that Montreal has traded away arguably its most popular player in years, now what? Lots to talk about -- it's been awhile. I'll get to the other stuff over the next few weeks but for now we have to talk Subban. The dust is slowly settling on the big trade GM Bergevin made last week, which left most people shocked, surprised, disgusted even. I'm not one of those people. BIG SURPRISE? I wasn't surprised in the least Subban was traded. Is he a gifted player!? Yes. A potential cornerstone for a championship team. Great skater, big shot, but even…
Nov
21
2015
But really. Why don't the Canadiens have cheer leaders at their home games???

Habs Fan in LeafLand: Self-Interview Part 1

[caption id="attachment_1482" align="aligncenter" width="605"] But really. Why don't the Canadiens have cheer leaders at their home games???[/caption] The popular and ego-inflated piece is back: the Habs Fan in LeafLand self-interview!!! There's been a lot of hockey talk lately (Semin, goalie pads, lack of scoring in the NHL, Duchesne on the trade block, the return of Price, etc.) so time to chime in with some thoughts. --------------------------------------------------- Q: Good to see you again. HFILL: It's good to be here. Q: You look good. HFILL: Thanks, I feel good. Q: Do you find this a bit awkward? HFILL: Yes, it can be…
Oct
31
2015
Smith-Pelly skates off after scoring against the Flames, followed by Mitchell, Paul Byron and Tom Gilbert. All were low-key signings by Habs GM Marc Bergevin and are giving the Canadiens the depth they need to go to the next level as a team. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Master of Low-Key Signings

[caption id="attachment_1471" align="alignleft" width="240"] Low-key signing forward Dale Weise scores one of his three goals to carry the Canadiens to a 6-2 win last night in Calgary. Weise is a shining example of GM Marc Bergevin's under the radar signings. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)[/caption] Hockey fans like when their team makes a big splash in terms of a big free agent signing or blockbuster trade. Since Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has been in charge, the only splash he makes is when he puts on his cologne. It's pretty much common knowledge now that if the team was to…
Mar
01
2015
Carey Price will win some hardware this year, but for him to win the only hardware that counts, GM Bergevin still has some work to do.

Habs at the Trade Deadline: What’s Next?

[caption id="attachment_1204" align="alignleft" width="300"] Carey Price will win some hardware this year, but for him to win the only hardware that counts, GM Bergevin still has some work to do.[/caption] 48 hours to the NHL's 2015 trade deadline. What earth shattering deals will occur if any, and will the Habs be a part of the fun? Last year, GM Marc Bergevin pulled one of the deftest moves right at the buzzer scoring Thomas Vanek. Nobody saw that coming. While Vanek wasn't much set in staying in Montreal, he did help the team down the stretch and provided -- in theory…
Oct
05
2014
Thanks Buds, you're a good man and a real pro. Good luck in the Peg, you are going to need it.

Preseason Done. Are Habs Ready?

[caption id="attachment_1245" align="aligncenter" width="585"] Thanks Buds, you're a good man and a real pro. Good luck in the Peg, you are going to need it.[/caption] The Montreal Canadiens closed out the preseason with two losses to the lowly, and now much maligned Ottawa Senators, the most recent coming in last night's 4-2 loss. Montreal finished the preseason with a 4-2-1 record and it don't mean much of a damn anyhow. But two losses in a row to the Sens, a division rival no less, isn't a good thing. So is this a case of the Canadiens not taking the Sens…
Sep
21
2014
Markov has slowly but surely found his game and served as a mentor to both Alexei Emelin and P.K. Subban. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Et tu Markov

[caption id="attachment_1237" align="aligncenter" width="575"] Andrei Markov is an experienced defenceman with a lot of gas left in the tank and the Canadiens would be hard pressed to replace him. (Icon SMI)[/caption] This week's announcement that the Canadiens will go captainless during the 2014-2015 season, opting instead to go with four Alternate Captains, combining leadership from the old (Markov, Plekanec) with the new (Pacioretty, Subban) only reinforces what Andrei Markov means to this team. Yes, he could have been made Captain outright, but it's not his style. A quiet leader on and off the ice, Markov prefers to lead by example…
Sep
13
2014

P.K. Subban & How Racism Has Changed Its Stripes

As we approach the opening of the 2014 training camp, let's revisit my piece on arguably one of the Montreal Canadiens' flashiest, polarizing and colourful players the team has had in a long time: P.K. Subban. The Ontario native possesses the skill and ability to pull Habs fans right out of their seats, but can also frustrate his coaching staff and teammates alike. Whatever the case may be, Subban has already proven that he's a gamer, raising his game in last year's Stanley Cup playoffs while others (caff, caff Pacioretty) receded into the shadows. Now the highest paid d-man in…
Aug
24
2014
Lars Eller is helping Habs fans forget Jaroslav Halak. (Photo: Andy Martin Jr)

The “Gars” That Is “Lars”

This past July centre Lars Eller and the Montreal Canadiens agreed to a four-year, $14 million contract avoiding arbitration and in the process, further solidified the fact that the acquisition of Lars Eller for Jaroslav Halak back in the summer of 2010 -- though unpopular at the time -- was a win by the Montreal Canadiens and most notably, one of former GM Pierre Gauthier's savviest moves. Eller is now locked in with the Habs as he enters his prime, while Halak is on his fourth team since, after signing with the Brooklyn New York Islanders this summer. Here's my…
Oct
02
2013
Habs Brendan Gallagher scores against Leafs' James Reimer in 4-3 loss to Toronto. AP

Habs Lose Season Opener to Leafs… AGAIN!!!

Canadiens play decent but not good enough to win season opener; fall to opportunistic Leafs 4-3 and lose tough guy Parros in the process [caption id="attachment_1179" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Habs Brendan Gallagher scores against Leafs' James Reimer in 4-3 loss to Toronto. AP[/caption] Yes, yes. Habs Fan in LeafLand is back. Where was he you ask? Well he's been hanging out at The Hockey Writers all summer, where he covers the Montreal Canadiens. But now that real hockey is back, Habs Fan in LeafLand likes to continue the conversation in the more intimate confines of this space to break down the…
Mar
04
2013

Character Wins Hockey Games

Habs take 3 of 4 points on weekend to reclaim top spot in Eastern Conference-----------------------------------If there's one thing we know about freshman GM Marc Bergevin is that he likes hockey players with character.So it was no surprise that his first signing was gritty forward Brendan Prust as a free agent from the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts still seem to be having issues replacing him.It's players like Prust who provide those intangibles that can often swing momentum from one side to the other.Brandon Prust taking one for the team from Milan Lucic in Boston. Lucic should really know better and…
Feb
27
2013

Back to the Future — Again!!

GM Bergevin pulls trigger on deal with Dallas Stars trading Erik Cole for Michael Ryder and 3rd round pick----------------------------------I was just about to get into the shower after a hard "insanity" workout. Then I heard from the television downstairs on RDS saying the Canadiens made a trade today. My immediate thought was "...oh what draft pick and prospect now!?"But then I was shocked to hear the Habs traded big power forward Erik Cole with two more years on his four year 18 million dollar contract to the Dallas Stars for Michael Ryder and a third round pick!Wow! Was I blown…
Feb
02
2013

Closing out the P.K. Subban Affair

Well P.K. Subban finally came back to his team with his tail somewhat between his legs. Now it's up for him to make good with his teammates and put words into action. And I think he will.Throughout this process, there was a lot of emotion involved, some good some bad by fans and writers alike. Some were in favour of the Canadiens signing him to a longer term deal, which was reported that's what Subban wanted. He came out in the press to state he wanted his "fair value" and wasn't looking to break the bank. Using the press like…
Jan
25
2013

HABS TAKE CHARGE IN 4-1 WIN AGAINST CAPS

GAME NUMERO 3: HABS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LISTLESS CAPITALS FOR 1ST ROAD WIN OF 2013It's nice to be wrong every once in awhile. Once in awhile, okay?My Habs vs. Capitals pregame thoughts were this: playing in Washington, Caps are 0-2, Ovechkin has yet to score and with all of that, figured we would should could be in for a long night.Markov is back en force. Habs beat Caps 4-1 in Washington. APThen when the Habs took the early momentum on a power play just over a minute into the game and didn't capitalize, I thought "oh boy, I've seen this before."…
Jan
13
2013

GOMEZ TOLD TO STAY HOME

Scott Gomez Told to Stay Home; CBA Memo of Understanding Signed-Off; Training Camps Open; Classic Habs vs. Soviets '75What was to be the big news Sunday was that the CBA Memo of Understanding was approved by the NHLPA and that training camps would officially begin -- but this morning Habs GM Marc Bergevin informed the media that veteran forward Scott Gomez was told to stay home and that he would be bought out this summer.A surprise move to me at first given I felt the coaching and management staff would at least give the guy a chance. But with the…