Thursday, October 10, 2013

Carbonneau vs. Subban

One of the long-running problems with the Montreal Canadiens is the franchise's impossible association with its past. 24 championships from a time where championships were easier to come by has come again and again to haunt the organization throughout.

Not least among the component problems there is that players once part of such championships take on the belief that championships are easy, and if everyone would just take their advice, they'd tell the team how to get back at multi-year runs. I'm not sure if that comes from honest belief or verbal diarrhea, but whatever it is, RDS's fatal requirement for 12 daily hours of hockey commentary leads the conversation to places that are not useful for the current group of players trying to deal with games every other day.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Case Against Fighting

The case against fighting is made masterfully by the eloquent JT of The H Does Not Stand for Habs. Give it a read if you have a serious stake in one side or the other of this debate.

I have nothing to add to the complete argument she made on the topic. If you prefer to comment here on the debate, we have our views too. I'll engage.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Proposed Forward Lines

With the foregone conclusions of camp playing out in real time, we have now had a chance to read about line combinations and see them in action. Therrien hasn't changed much, but a couple of additions and action on late season feedback has led to at least three lines that seem set in stone. There are things to like and dislike about each:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Making Your NHL Club

There was probably a time in the not too distant past where training camp really was a legitimate opportunity for a young prospect to take a run at a roster place. Years of accumulated commitments, collective bargaining agreements and roster regulations have changed that for the young hopefuls. Nowadays, a young player being invited to an NHL camp only needs to take a quick browse of the CapGeek website before lacing the skates to know how the Vegas odds makers are handicapping his chances of success.

After Game 5 of the preseason, in which Therrien iced an almost identical lineup to last year's edition of the Habs, we can reflect on how training camp has gone and why at the end of it we won't see the slowing veterans turfed by energetic youngsters by whom they were significantly outperformed.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The First Cut Is The Deepest:

The Reaction To Leblanc's Demotion

Louis Leblanc was cut from Canadiens camp yesterday. You may have heard.

Tempest in a teapot  is what comes to mind as descriptor for what came from the announcement that a player with a marginal chance at helping the Canadiens on the 4th line after an abysmal season would be given some time in Hamilton before getting another NHL minute. But, putting aside the irrational and oddly broadcasted feelings of his girlfriend (tennis star Aleksandra Wozniak), the reaction to cut across all quarters is much more interesting than the real implications for Leblanc.

To understand why this might be interesting at all, one has to put back some of the context.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A View Into the Mind of Trevor Timmins

Many thanks to Habs Eyes on the Prize for linking up the video of Trevor Timmins discussing the recent NHL draft. To read a transcript, this interview is as dull and uninformative as they come. but that's hardly the point. In the way he answers questions and to watch his body language, this Timmins interview is interesting and revealing.

Friday, July 05, 2013

All For Nill

July 4th, the day before the free agent window was supposed to open will likely overshadow the 5th in the fullness of time.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Canadiens Best 2013 Draftees May Be Small Again

The Canadiens took the biggest forward of consensus quality to be selected in the NHL draft this past Sunday. This is the story.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Good Week

No the Canadiens didn't win the Stanley Cup, but considering their team has been on the links for weeks, this has been a pretty good week for Habs fans.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Old Thoughts For New Draft

Coming up to an important draft for the Habs, I have been looking back through what's been written in the past for inspiration. In this case, I found not just inspiration but something I thought should see the light of day again in its entirety. This is something I wrote before the organization's illustrious 2009 draft. The old advice still applies, I think.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No Xmas Card From Groulx:

Roland Melanson Isn't Bashful in Assessment of Price

It's a rare thing to see a full on media attack on a colleague of the extent that Roland Melanson unleashed today. According to RDS and other sources, Carey Price has done nothing but decline since the goaltending coach was let go. He blames the goaltending coach, and seems to think he is totally familiar with all his methods.

Perhaps he thought his comments to a New Brunswick paper would be contained to the province. He can't sure;y be as naive as the hockey playing population of Belarus, can he?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ottawa-Montreal Game #5:

Possession Statistics

For completeness: the stats from the final Canadiens game of 20(12)-13:

Ottawa Montreal Game #5:

Montreal Canadiens Bounced Badly


Date: 09/05/2013
Opponent: Senators
Location: Montreal

Loss: 1-6

Habs Goalie: Budaj (L)
Opposition Goalie: Anderson (W)

Habs goalscorers: Subban
Opposition goalscorers: Smith, Conacher (2), Turris, Alfredsson, Condra

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Videos To Remember

Reasons to Believe

What kind of fans would we be if we didn't dust ourselves off, laugh about the state of the NHL and how it really isn't geared to a team built to skate and get ready to celebrate victory in the next game.

In this case, with the 5th game against an opponent that has so far won 3 of 4, it might be helpful to have a few positive ideas to focus the mind and spirit:

Zinedine Zidanejad

Something found from round and about. This is a genius take on our most recent talking point.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Ottawa-Montreal Game #4:

Possession Statistics

Here they are, the possession stats for last night's debacle. All the goals happened at ES, so this pretty much tells the whole story.

Ottawa-Montreal Game #4:

A Real Kick in the Nets


Date: 07/05/2013
Opponent: Senators
Location: Ottawa

Loss: 2-3 (OT)

Habs Goalie:Price, Budaj (L)
Opposition Goalie: Anderson (W)

Habs goalscorers: Subban, Galchenyuk
Opposition goalscorers:Toronto Goal Judge, Conacher, Turris

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Ottawa-Montreal Game #3:

Possession Statistics

Apologies for the delay on this one. Had some responsibilities.

Have a look at this though, it's amusing, you'd never know it was from that one-sided disaster we just saw. Goes once again to show that these stats must always be used with other measures to provide proper context and balance. 

Monday, May 06, 2013

Ottawa-Montreal Game #3:

Habs Have Trouble Scoring on Innocuous Shots, Sens Do Not


Date: 05/05/2013
Opponent: Senators
Location: Ottawa

Loss: 1-6

Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Anderson (W)

Habs goalscorers: Bourque
Opposition goalscorers:Alfredsson, Pageau (3), Silfverberg, Turris

Friday, May 03, 2013

Ottawa-Montreal Game #2:

Habs Reach Deep For Victory


Date: 03/05/2013
Opponent: Senators
Location: Montreal

Win: 3-1

Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Anderson (L)

Habs goalscorers:White, Gallagher, Ryder
Opposition goalscorers:Michaelk

Carey Price After Game 1

I must confess, I went back and forth on Price in the dome last night. If I was choosing again, I'd have all the stats I went through this morning to sway me further.

Ottawa-Montreal Game #1:

Possession Statistics

You've all seen the standard boxscore for the game. So you now know who scored (in case you forgot) and who got the penalties. But what beyond that?

Well you know how all the geeky fans are referencing things like possession stats, scoring chances and all that? We decided it was high time that a boxscore illuminated us on this information on a game by game basis. Below you'll find the first prototype. The stats included (all for 5-on-5 play) include:

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Ottawa-Montreal Game #1:

Anderson, Karlsson-led Senators Are For Real, Habs Need to Adjust


Date: 02/05/2013
Opponent: Senators
Location: Montreal

Loss: 2-4

Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Anderson (W)

Habs goalscorers: Bourque, Gallagher
Opposition goalscorers: Karlsson, Silfverberg, Methot, Latendresse

Limited Time Offer:

LIW Game Reports Back for the Playoffs

After considering the many appeals I get through email and comments, I have decided that LIW will be coming out of Game Report retirement and pitching in with our thoughts on the upcoming playoff games.

In addition, we have a few ideas about how to provide greater statisfaction for those who love the deeper analysis that the NHL game summary just can't provide. So stay tuned...

Habs Fans Getting Worked Up

OK, we do all need to chill out just a bit. 16 teams want to win the Cup, and none of them had a top 3 draft pick last year. But because they did the Ole, Ole, Ole choir...

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Can the Candiens Win Without Price Heroics?

At the beginning of the season, more prognosticators than just myself suggested that the Canadiens would only better their 2012 result if Carey Price were able to turn in a better and more dominant performance.

And from the start it seemed like this may be the case. Carey was more prepared than we'd ever seen him for a season and started the year off with the cool confidence that told his teammates: "you go for goals, I'll take care of the rest."

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Senators vs. Canadiens:

The LIW Analysis

The playoffs are upon us. Before settling into your playoff chair adorned by items of superstition, let's take a moment to assess this series coolly and calmly.
We know the Habs handled the Senators to a 2-1-1 record this year. Oh wait, what's that you say? The Sens were 2-1-1 too? Oh dear, this could be close. let's look:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ottawa Does Everyone Favours

By winning the last game of the season, the Senators have done everyone some favours going into this post-season:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Patrick Roy for a Play?

You might forgive Pierre Houde, the last time this many people considered 0.904 to be a solid save percentage, it was the Patrick Roy era in Montreal. Whatever was going through his mind, this was a funny monent:

I don't want to say too much more about it. Price will obviously need to do better for his team, like it or not, if they have any hope of making the second season more memorable than the first. He won't be the first goalie to shake off some iffy stats (see Roy himself, 0.894 1993; Ward 0.882 2006,; other non-Cup winners), it's all very possible to streak the other way.

Yet, whatever happens, I tend to agree that it is fair to say (as the CJAD piece that pointed me to this did) that Carey Price is no Patrick Roy. And it would take a lot more than a few slips of the tongue from Pierre Houde to change my mind on that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Awkward Much?

Carey Price made his play of the night yesterday when he used his eyes to signal his awareness in the awkward moment that was the Question Dodge

If that isn't incentive to learn French, i don't know what is. Trust RDS to be so bold as to pick apart the pulled goalies recent weakness two feet to his left...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Teams: How They All Did On DD13

As we sit here as Habs fans watching teams around us improve and bail out of a season, let's consider how each outfit did and how it might affect our team.

Trade 2013 Winners So Far

The Montreal Canadiens are still in the running for the biggest impact trade of 2013.

It wasn't the one yesterday, though if you'd told me in mid-slumber that they got that guy Drew-something from LA for picks, I might have thought otherwise. The trade that still stands is the one that brought in Michael Ryder for a second go-around with his goal every other game and 14 points in 15.

And it shouldn't surprise that a classic player for player trade be in the running for such a nod. One has to give a lot to get a lot. And Erik Cole was a lot.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Bruins Show True Selves in Loss

Seems as though if you have a bag of skin for a neck, there's a lot of room for sour grapes.

Claude Julien last night, after the hard fought loss was quick to lay blame as so many a puzzled coach has done before at the foot of the referees. Oh, but it wasn't really their fault, because how are they really to deal with all the diving?

Friday, March 01, 2013

Gotta Love Quebec

Can you imagine this ever happening on English TV in Canada.

Andre Roy singing about the Habs on February 28th.

And the uptight producers would keep us from a good laugh, a debate or a sing-along, depending on your take.

Thought I'd share.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Insert Headline:

The Spin and the Motive for the Erik Cole Trade

Canadiens unload Cole to the Stars.

Erik Cole has been traded to the Stars.

Erik Cole's contract traded to the Stars for UFA Michael Ryder.

Canadiens acquire Michael Ryder from Dallas.

Stars and Canadiens swap scorers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Better Than Expected:

10 Reasons For Habs Quick Start

I don't think I'd be alone in saying these Canadiens are a fair bit better than I expected them to be. With a serious face, I repeatedly called for this team to be a basement dweller, a team with negligible (if any) improvement) from a 15th-place finisher.

If you want surprises, this is the way to go, let me tell you. The team greatly surpassing an out-of-whack evaluation is more fun to follow than the 2012 edition where the team similarly surprised, but in the opposite direction.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A New Header For LiW

We've heard it before and we're hearing it again, the readers are speaking and telling us that our "classic" PPT made header from the mid part of last decade is starting to look out of date.

On the suggestion of the readers, we are beginning a redesign. On the suggestion of Tobalev, we are opening the floor to creative parties among the readership who have better talents than us for this sort of design.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


The Name Unspoken

[Prior to the beginning of the season, a broad assumption was made by many a fan that the career of Tomas Kaberle was at an end, a mere 6 month wait away from a buyout.

But then a funny thing happened, a rookie GM went over his own deadline in signing his RFA and Kaberle saw the light of day. He played in 5 of the 6 games before the erstwhile defender returned and then stood in as a spare part for the game of the return itself.

Habs Week 3 in Review: Precipice

Wow, all that positivity must have caught up with us. This week (beginning with the game identified as a litmus test) really gave fans, players and management a lot to think about.

I think the question one has to ask (as before, though more people are open to the suggestion now) is: which team is the 2013 Habs? Weeks 1 and 2 had us all thinking that our faded memories of Markov were mollified by time and that maybe all the off-season griping over moves made and not was for naught. I think a week later, we find all that right back on the doorstep.

I wish there were a lesson other than anything can happen, but there may not be. Here then is a more downbeat weekly review of the Habs play than we've become accustomed to.

Friday, February 08, 2013

You Win Some, You Lose Some

It has long been a major complaint of mine that referees who make no pittance of a salary for officiating the games we watch (and number far too many on the ice and off) are so inconsistent at their application of NHL rules.

Last night, we had to watch an overtime and a shootout, and a loss, because the pair of referees and goodness knows how many people in Toronto missed Thomas Vanek sweeping our goaltender into the net for a goal (an interference call if there ever was one).

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Get Subban Off My #1 PP

Seems like a bit of a funny headline on a morning after Subban scores the only Habs goal on a PP. Hear me out.

This is not a new thought. It is something I have been harbouring for a good long time. That Markov and Subban together are not a good mix.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Bring on the Bruins:

These Habs Need a Test

The next game on the Canadiens slate is the Boston Bruins, recent Cup champs and current conference leaders.

Although, I'd love for the easier games to keep coming down the pipe, this most imminent test of the Canadiens current team, strategy and form couldn't come soon enough.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Habs Week 2 in Review

One good week is nice, a couple in a row in this shortened season is a serious head start for the playoffs.

I have to own up to being more negative than positive about this season, but factors which I could not understand (Bourque morphing into a player to be held as an example to all, Gallagher and Galchenyuk outmatching some serious competition by such a wide margin, Markov not only reviving the PP, but making it better than ever before) have conspired to make the team I was analyzing into another proposition altogether.

This is the review of the second week in which more players had multiple goals games, the PP kept ticking and the start goalie didn't lose.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Have the Canadiens Learned a New System?

Oh, it's so tempting to jump on the immediate wagon of "told you sos". This is a favourite sport of Habs fans and bloggers. After years of being told we'd need a career to compare two players, the issue is now resolved for the majority that they have seen a few results go their way.

Gomez's New Gig

When you pay a guy league minimum, you can get creative with the ways in which he can find use for your team. (Thanks for the tip Ian Vitro)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Subban Cleverly Retained

Great news right? Subban is signed.

That really is the beginning and end of it. Signed now, for two years. Good.

Habs Week 1 in Review

After allowing the inauspicious start of first goal allowed on first shot to national rival on the big return to hockey on national TV, the Habs have really rebounded. Barring the rest of that mostly unwatchable game, the team has been an exciting combination of speed and efficiency, of system and flair.

For posterity, I am going to provide a short review of the week and what traces it left in the subjective and objective records.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Just Stop

The Habs are 2-1, not 22-10.

If you want to hold Therrien's corontation. Stop.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Subban Accomplished Nothing?

Let's See

I understand the emotions of a new hockey season, and I can relate to those that are upset about a certain 23 year-old turning down perfectly good money to play a game on ice.

But in the past day, the rhetoric has taken a turn for the worse. The reaction to Subban's verbose response to Stubbs' question: "why aren't you signed yet?" Some of the media and talking heads on RDS in particular have come out in force to detract from PK Subban and make the claim that the little guy hasn't accomplished anything yet.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pick the Dome for Game #2

The dome is now in your hands. pick the players that you thought would best represent the Canadiens for their efforts in the game. Results will be shared in the upcoming days.

Thanks for the votes. Polling now closed.

Game 1 in Review: Low Quality Hockey On The NHL's Return

Thanks to everyone who responded by picking players for the dome. I think it went very well. It's not the dome I would have chosen, but I think we knew that would be the case after 5 years of arguing about these picks.

I won't be doing recaps after every game (sometimes, I'll group them in a weekly recap), but this being the first game, I'm making the exception.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lions in Winter Game Coverage

After running this site for nearly 6 years, the time has come to make some choices.

I've recently told you about decisions I've taken to continue the site, and alluded to the changes this would require. Because we're all grown up now, the posters at this site have responsibilities that weren't a problem in other seasons. But we adapt.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How To Pay Subban

You know, working out what one has to pay a player really isn't as complicated as some make it seem. While I''m sure PK Subban may have rolled the dice with comparisons to Karlsson, he and his agent are smart enough to give up that trick early.

But PK knows his range well. It's a range that has clearly been set by the salaries given to players in the current team make up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Last Remnant of the Gomez Trade

OK, so we don't need to shed another tear for Scott Gomez, the league and players' association that were stubborn and stupid enough to squander a whole half season, have grasped their rush of common sense to make a very common sense fix to the Gomez problem (and for others like him: Redden).

Instead of having to sit for this season, they have made a scheme whereby a player can be bought out now and released from all the clauses that tie the buyout to health, etc. For the team and the salary cap, the effects are the same. The sole purpose of this new move is to be kinder to players like Gomez.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What To Make of Gomez

My first reaction to the news of Gomez's early morning meeting with the principal was one of slight disgust.

Told to stay home? This was not the way to treat a player under contract. This was not the team that we tout as being class of all known teams.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Montreal Press Get It Right

I give the Montreal press corps a hard ride sometimes, so it's in my mind that I should pay them compliments when I see their good work.

I am not all that enamoured by the tempest they have created by making Markov's last game in the KHL a big issue. But compared to how it could have gone, they did some positively textbook journalism.

Canadiens Lockout Grades

Usually about this time of year, Lions in Winter takes a look at the first 41 games of the season and tries to assign some relative grades to the team members to express how we think they are doing.

Obviously, we have been without NHL hockey, but that doesn't mean we don't have opinions about how the Habs have done in this unusual circumstance. In the spirit of the season, we plan to keep the tradition going and hand out grades to each member of the big club for their lockout activities.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Lockout: Part 2:

Will Paying Fans Play Their Cards Now?

In this lockout of owners vs. players, or most often owners vs. other owners, the silent (even disenfranchised) party has been the fans.

Yet when all is said and done, all that money they were arguing over is 100% dependent on fans forking it over for the greedy buggers to share out.

Friday, January 04, 2013

The Buyout Two:

The Case of Scott Gomez

Yesterday's big hoopla from the NHL-NHLPA marathon stare down was the suggestion that each team in the league will now be permitted to buy out two contracts with amnesty against the usual buyout conditions.

Sure, there are lots of questions, and we know not of the strings attached, but let's ignore that for a second and assume this will be as easy as it could be. Which player(s) would/should/could the Canadiens use this privilege to strike from the books in 2013 and beyond?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Happy New Year

Hello readers and friends. I wanted to wish you all a very Happy 2013.

With a fiscal cliff averted, the year may get a little better for us hockey fans if a deal can be reached between the two sides in the NHL labour dispute. As Habs fans, i think we have to hope for play, as a random draw might rob the team of their solid chance at another high pick this year.