Smart, passionate and somewhat biased commentary about the Montreal Canadiens (HABS) from a lifelong fan now living in Toronto (LeafLand).
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…
Mar
15
2015
Nevermind the naysayers, the Montreal Canadiens have improved year after year with Michel Therrien behind the bench.

Michel Therrien: Therrific or Therrible?

[caption id="attachment_1206" align="aligncenter" width="420"] Nevermind the naysayers, the Montreal Canadiens have improved year after year with Michel Therrien behind the bench.[/caption] Last time in this space I discussed and speculated the moves that Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin might make at the trade deadline. Picking up a defenseman in Jeff Petry was no surprise, but perhaps the pickups of gritty 3rd and 4th line players Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn were. With the lack of real high impact scorers out there, Bergevin picked up character performers who could play a central role in the team's push this playoff season. And Bergevin…
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…
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…
Apr
21
2013
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Some Funny Habs Quotes From the Room

After a disappointing 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals to end their home season, I thought I'd give you some funny Habs quotes from the room:   Carey Price: "Hey, I spoke to my daddy and he says I just have to work harder to get through this." Max Pacioretty: "Well at least I scored tonight." Brandon Prust: "Look. I'm playing with a separated shoulder, a sore back and a funny rash on my leg. I can't speak for the others." Raphael Diaz: "It's not my fault. I haven't played since February." Brendan Gallagher: "I'm just a rook!" David Desharnais:…
Mar
28
2013
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That’s Two for Character!!

Canadiens sweat it out for two of a possible four points in back to back road games against Pens and Bruins Wow the last two nights have been pretty tense. Playoff tense, even. Back to back road games for the Canadiens against the other two top teams of the Eastern Conference: the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins. Coming into it, a split would have been more than acceptable. And that's what the Habs got, a split. Acceptable. [caption id="attachment_1086" align="alignright" width="300"] Sidney Crosby scored the only goal in the Habs 1-0 loss to the Penguins Tuesday night. AP[/caption] Things…
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
28
2013

Pacioretty Bites Back

Ryder returns, Pacioretty scores two as Habs down Leafs in LeafLand 5-2---------------------------What did that crime dog MacGruff used to say?Take a bite outta crime!?Well luckily there wasn't any biting going on, but there was a dose of revenge for the Canadiens as they marched in to Toronto and dominated the Leafs 5-2 at the ACC.Max Pacioretty continued his tear of late with his first goal of two on the night helping the Habs to a 5-2 win against the Leafs in Toronto. AP Newly acquired Michael Ryder was not a factor, but newly minted #11 was: Brendan Gallagher gave the…
Feb
19
2013

Backup Budaj Earns Shutout for Fourth Straight Win

Canadiens outlast Hurricanes scoring three in third to win 3-0 in Montreal---------------------------Captain Kirk was in Montreal Monday night.Captain Kirk Muller that is -- Head Coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.Peter Budaj earns his first shutout as a Canadien and picked up his second win in a row as the Habs beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 in Montreal. API like him. I always have. But I don't care much for his team. And goaltender Cam Ward, I'd take him on my team any day. But he always seems to burn the Habs.Fortunately, not on this night.On this night, it was Peter Budaj…
Feb
13
2013

Pinch Me, I’m Dreaming!!

Habs blow 3-0 lead with less than 6 minutes left in Tampa but hang on to win in shootout----------------------------------------You know that feeling when you experience something like you've already experienced?What's that called? Deja-vu?Uh-huh, that's what it's called.Though tonight's performance by the Canadiens against the Tampa Bay Lightning could be defined by some as a nightmare.I happen to be one of those people.Game well in hand, up 3-0 in the third period, less than six minutes left in the game -- you win!!The Canadiens almost found a way to lose. Two points yes! A win, yes! But it doesn't feel good.It…
Feb
04
2013

SUPERBOWL WEEKEND JUST SUPER FOR HABS

Canadiens Collect Four Points in Back-To-Back This WeekendCoach Michel Therrien went on the record saying he wanted his team to send a message after losing 5-1 this past week in Ottawa.Well I think the team received the memo.Two strong team wins against divisional rivals the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators put your Montreal Canadiens in fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. And if you want to get technical about it, the Habs with 12 points are tied with the Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning -- and the Pens have played one more game but get the nod because they lead…
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…