Smart, passionate and somewhat biased commentary about the Montreal Canadiens (HABS) from a lifelong fan now living in Toronto (LeafLand).
Dec
03
2016
I don't think Max Pacioretty will start the season as a Montreal Canadien.

So What if Habs Are First!?

[caption id="attachment_1623" align="aligncenter" width="570"] Max Pacioretty is off to the worst offensive start to a season of his career.[/caption] The Montreal Canadiens are tops in the Atlantic division. Great right? And, they've been tops in the NHL for most of the season (as of writing, the Rangers and Blackhawks lead them by two points, but the Habs have two games in hand on both). So far so good right? But so what!? We remember all too well what happened last year once Carey Price went down, so we know it's MUCH too early to get ahead of ourselves. And it's…
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…
Oct
03
2015
He shoots, he scores?

Scoring Woes Already?

Last year's edition of the Montreal Canadiens struggled to put the puck in the net. [caption id="attachment_1433" align="alignright" width="300"] This dynamic duo can't do it alone.[/caption] A woeful powerplay didn't help. The Habs were 20th in the league with 214 goals scored and their power play ranked 23rd at a measly 16.5 per cent. This summer, GM Marc Bergevin stayed pat, opting to keep his team relatively intact. He shipped Brandon Prust out to Vancouver for under performing forward Zach Kassian; then signed the enigmatic and Kovalev-ian forward Alexander Semin to a relatively no-risk contract. Kassian seems to be embracing the…
Sep
20
2015
Pacioretty was named Captain of the Canadiens this year and it's up to him to lead this team, on and off the scoresheet.

Captain Max Pac

[caption id="attachment_1344" align="aligncenter" width="547"] The torch has now been passed to Max Pacioretty, as voted by the players.[/caption] Max Pacioretty was named the 29th captain of the Montreal Canadiens this week. As voted by the players -- the way it should be -- the Habs put this ongoing story to rest so the team can focus on more important tasks at hand. He was my choice as well. The story just seems be getting better and better for Max Pacioretty: coming back from a career-threatening, let alone life threatening injury at the hands of Zdeno Chara in 2011, Pacioretty has…
Apr
04
2015
Pacioretty was named Captain of the Canadiens this year and it's up to him to lead this team, on and off the scoresheet.

Stumbling To The Finish?

[caption id="attachment_1344" align="aligncenter" width="539"] Max Pacioretty leads the Habs once again in goals, but will he lead the Habs towards a deeper playoff run than in 2014?[/caption] Just as I was about to publish this post the death of Montreal Canadiens legend Elmer Lach, at the age of 97, was made public. RIP. ------------------------------------------- "Our love is a flame / Burnin' within / Now and then / Fire light will catch us / Stumblin' in." -- Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman (1978) It's come to that time of year for our Montreal Canadiens to ready themselves for hopefully, a deep playoff run,…
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…
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…
Nov
09
2014
"The Big Three" reunited once again.

Pointu Points the Way

Habs beat Wild 4-1 to make it two wins in a row; Guy Lapointe's number 5 is raised to the rafters in an emotional pre-game ceremony; and my fantasy team gets thumped and thumped good. [caption id="attachment_1292" align="aligncenter" width="620"] "The Big Three" reunited once again.[/caption] It's been an up and down last couple of weeks for the Montreal Canadiens. After returning home from a 1-1-1 roadtrip out west -- which is far from a disaster to say the least -- the Canadiens got their you-know-whats handed to them by both the Flames and then the Blackhawks. But what's been even…
Oct
26
2014
Depth scoring helped the Canadiens early, and it can help them again.

Habby Times in Montreal

[caption id="attachment_1283" align="aligncenter" width="586"] "Hmm, it's true what they say about Montreal." Dale Weise showed that his input in last year's playoffs was no fluke, potting two assists against his former squad in last night's 3-1 win against the Rangers. Montreal is undefeated at home so far this year.[/caption] It was a relatively slow week for the Montreal Canadiens. They had a solid outing against Patrick Roy's Colorado Avalanche squad, beating them 3-2. Then they beat the Red Wings in comeback fashion, tying it late and winning in OT 2-1. So they could have brought their 6-1, 3-0 home record…
Oct
18
2014
He shoots, he scores?

Still Not Their Best Game

[caption id="attachment_1273" align="aligncenter" width="577"] Habs are off to a strong 4-1 start, but we've still yet to see their best game.[/caption] Kinda hard to complain, or kvetch, whine -- whatever, about a 4-1 record to start the NHL season. But I do, I shall, I will. Your Montreal Canadiens: the team that shook up its leadership over the summer; the team that gets under Milan Lucic's boorish skin; the team that should have made the cup finals last year; yes that team, has started off the season with 8 points of a possible 10. Pretty good, right? You'd then naturally…
Oct
10
2014
Tomas Plekanec

Turtleneck Time

[caption id="attachment_1253" align="aligncenter" width="504"] Tomas Plekanec's time has arrived. The veteran forward is poised to take his game and the Canadiens to the next level.[/caption] The crunch of the leaves. The crisp, fall air with a hint of burnt wood. Pumpkins beginning to pop up on porches. Yes, it can only mean one thing: the start of a new NHL season. The cooler air also means it's turtleneck time. But this year it's even more appropriate. The 2014-15 edition of the Montreal Canadiens is now very much perennial turtleneck-toting Tomas Plekanec's team. The jettisoning of former team captain Brian Gionta…
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…