Saturday, January 30, 2010

Daily Habs Links - Cammy injured, Sens win, Lecavalier to Habs blocked

Other Habs News:
Habs Inside/Out - Habs Recall D'Agostini
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28536

Bleacher Report - Montreal Canadiens 10 Ten Most Tradeable Assets
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/336848-montreal-canadiens-10-most-tradeable-assests

The Hockey News - Bettman blocked Lecavalier to Montreal deal
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/31155-Sources-Lightning-sale-could-be-complete-by-end-of-weekend-Bettman-blocked-Lecavalier-trade.html

Post Game: Habs 2 - Sens 3 (OT)
RDS - Another tile falls (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291766.html

TSN - Sens top Habs for record 9th consecutive win
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=308297


Habs Inside/Out - Canadiens lose game, Cammalleri
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28418

One year less two days ago
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28514

ESPN.com - Fisher leads Sens to win
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=300130014

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Montreal-Ottawa: Habs rally but fall short in 3-2 OT loss

Well, that was a much better effort, don't you think?

After stinking up the joint in back-to-back games last weekend, the Habs finally showed up for their Saturday afternoon tilt against the Senators. Unfortunately for the Habs, they ended up losing the game, 3-2, in overtime. Despite the loss, this was a heck of a good game. The speed and skill of both teams shone yesterday, and it made for an excellent spectacle.

Plekanec’s line in particular, with Sergei Kostitsyn on his wing, looked great right out of the gate. SK74 played probably his best game of the season by using his speed and skill, taking shots, making passes and even throwing his weight around. His best hit came in the third period when he leveled Jason Spezza with an open ice hit in the Sens zone.

Halak too looked his same cool confident self making great saves and looking like he wasn't breaking a sweat.

Kovalev, who was dancing last night, opened the scoring at 17:21 of the first, as he was left open on the side of the net to sweep in a Filip Kuba pass from the point.
While that was the only goal of the first, it certainly wasn't the only excitement as Ryan O'Byrne—who is quickly helping fans forget about a certain Mike Komisarek—lowered the boom on Milan Michalek in the Senators zone. The hit drew a crowd and resulted in offsetting minors.

The second period took on a different look as the Senators took the play to the Canadiens. At around the midpoint of the period, Gill was called for high sticking allowing Spezza to tip in his ninth of the season off a Filip Kuba shot, with Michalek screening Halak, to make it 2-0.

While the Habs weakness 5-on-5 was evident all night, their special teams continued to be special. After the second Sens goal, the Habs responded by ratcheting things up themselves. With their third line on the ice and causing havoc in the Sens zone, Matt Carkner hooked Travis Moen for the Habs first powerplay of the game, and they capitalized. Benoit Pouliot, who was parked in front of the crease, finished off a nice criss-crossing passing sequence from Cammy to Pleks to Pouliot and in. The goal was Pouliot's 13th of the season and it made it a one goal hockey game.

There was a brief intermission in the third as the glass was knocked off of the boards on a solid Pouliot hit. Speaking of big hits, there was a scary moment for the Habs as Anton Volchenkov nailed a streaking Cammalleri about three feet away from the boards. Cammy went flying into the boards and his leg seemed to buckle under him. He left the ice in considerable pain and was not able to put any weight on his leg.

Here is the clip of the hit:


Cammalleri was in a leg brace after the game with suspected knee/MCL problems. He was scheduled to have an MRI ,and we should know more on the injury today or tomorrow. Suffice it to say that if he is out for anything more than a game or so, it will turn out to be a huge loss for the team.

While the shots were pretty even through the first two periods, it was clear that the Sens had dominated the game to that point.
Things changed in the third when Chris Kelly took a high-sticking penalty on Maxim Lapierre allowing the Habs powerplay to go to work again. With less than three minutes to go in the game, Markov made a cross-ice pass to Plekanec who shuttled the puck to Gionta in the slot who tapped the puck in for his fourteenth goal of the season. The goal tied that game at two and swung the momentum back into the Canadiens hands.

The Habs had a bunch of shots but couldn't score, ultimately sending the game into OT. After Hall Gill had hauled down Jason Spezza to give the Sens an overtime powerplay and after Spezza had pushed Hamrlik's fallen stick away from him, negating the man-advantage, Mike Fisher finished the Habs off with a beautiful play.

Picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone, Mike Fisher drove hard to the net swinging to the outside of Markov, swept from left to right on Halak and jammed it past him for the OT winner. Senators 3, Canadiens 2.

The win was a franchise record ninth consecutive for the Senators, while the loss was a third in a row for Montreal. But at least the Habs got one point out of it and can say that they played a strong road game. They came close, but as the saying goes, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.


Game Notes:
1. Halak is the Habs' No. 1 goalie. If it wasn't apparent up till now, Halak has grabbed the reigns of the No. 1 goalie seat and is running with it. Game after game after game after game, Halak is calm, cool and collected. He makes excellent saves to keep his team in the game, is outstanding positionally in the net, and overall looks like he is a first string goaltender.

If there is one fault to Halak's game, it is that his rebound control is not the best. He often puts the puck right back into the slot, often resulting in additional scoring chances or goals against. That is one aspect where Price is better than Halak, as he is always steering the rebounds into the corner or smothering the puck.

2. Pouliot continues to impress. With his goal last night, Pouliot now has 12 points (11G, 1A) in 18 games with the Canadiens. The thing I like the most about him is that he is always around the net. He is using his considerable 6'3" frame to make room for himself and his teammates on the ice. Last night he continued to get involved physically, throwing his weight around and driving to the net whenever he could. He was rewarded for his hard work by scoring the Habs first goal of the game from the crease. It's good to finally have a pseudo power forward on this team.

3. Sergei Kostitsyn likely played his best game of the season. From the start of the game, SK74 looked like a great compliment to Plekanec and Cammalleri. As such, the Habs had two attacking lines for the first time in a long time. Sergei was moving his feet and using his head, a combination that usually results in good things for the youngster. While he has looked lazy at certain points this year, he certainly seems to have turned it up on the first line, and not a moment too soon.

4. Will Gainey be forced to make a deal if Cammalleri's injury is long term? With 26 games left in the season and with so many tough games to go, the Habs season could very well be decided over the next few weeks. If the Habs have to play the next month with Andrei Kostitsyn (injured, out six weeks) AND without Cammalleri, they will be dead in the water. So, will Gainey be forced to make a deal? Will it be before the Olympic break? Will it be after? You'd have to think that he needs to make a deal sooner rather than later, but with Gainey, you never know what he has planned.

5. Mike who? With every game that passes, Ryan O'Byrne is asserting himself more and more on the ice. He has taken the role of mean, intimidating defenseman over from Komisarek as his throws he weight around and isn't afraid to drop the gloves. In addition, he is quietly becoming much more reliable with his defensive responsibilities. Being paired with Andrei Markov can't hurt either. I mean look what it did for Komisarek!


Standings and Next Game:
The Habs, after yesterday's game, are in the eighth overall spot in the East with 56 points. With 26 games left in the season, the Habs likely need 90-plus points to make the playoffs. That means they need 34 points over their final 26 games, or approximately 1.3 points per game. This, for a team that is averaging 1.0 points per game. This feat is not impossible, but if the Habs have any chance of making it, they must ride Halak as much as possible. The time for playing favorites has long passed as each game from here to the end of the season is a playoff game.

The Habs hold on eighth place is tenuous with Boston, Tampa, Florida and the Rangers all having 54 points and holding three, three, two and one game in hand, respectively. Just ahead of the Habs is Atlanta, also with 56 points but holding two games in hand, and Philly with 57 points and three games in hand. It doesn't take a math whiz to see that the Habs could easily fall far down the standings if their competition capitalizes on their games in hand.

The Habs have two days off before taking on the Canucks, in Montreal, on Tuesday night.

Miffed with Twitter...

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Well if you haven't noticed by now, HabsAddict.com's Twitter account has been suspended 'due to suspicious activity'. When I first realized that the account was suspended, my thought was "why?"

I am a syndicated hockey writer who uses Twitter as part of the dissemination plan of the HabsAddict.com content. In addition to pushing links to content from HabsAddict.com through Twitter, I also use the service to send in-game Tweets - and there is a game in three hours!

That being said, I was naturally surprised when they account was suspended so I looked into the reasons for it. Apparently, the suspension was due to 'excessive following or follower churning'. This immediately made a light bulb go off in my head.

For the last week or so, I have been laid out in bed with an incredibly bad back. Without getting into all of the details, I have a compressed disc and a stress fracture on one of my vertebrae. As a result, I can't walk, sit or put any load on my spine. As such, I have had a tremendous amount of time on my hands and decided to put that time to good use.

Seeing as I am using Twitter solely for the purposes of talking about the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, I decided I would go out and try to follow as many Habs fans as I could find. So naturally, the first place I started was with the most popular Habs blogger who's name will be left unsaid - for obvious publicity reasons! What I did was follow almost all of HIS followers (approx 2K people) so that I could start to get a feel for the pulse of Habs fans out there. The problem, that I soon learned, was that not all of them Tweet and not all of them Tweet about the Habs. As such, many of them were not users that I felt I should be following.

So, after a few days, I went into my account and began to unfollow a bunch of them. The net result was that I went from following around 2K people to following around 500 people.

My next step was to check out the followers of the #1 Montreal-based newspaper's Twitter account - The Montreal Gazette. The Gazette has its own Montreal Canadiens specific site called Habs Inside/Out - and a Twitter account to go along with it. So I followed the same protocol and started following as many of the Habs Inside/Out followers. When I got to around 1600 followers, I had reached my limit for the day so I stopped. Little did I know, that this behaviour is "suspicious" and/or suspension worthy. This is what is known, in the Twitterverse, as 'excessive following or follower churning'.

What I believe happened, is that there was an overlap between the users following the Habs Blogger and the users following the newspaper. I believe that following, then unfollowing, then refollowing these users is what triggered the suspension of my Twitter account.

I had NO idea and honesty didn't even think about it at the time but now that my account is suspended, I understand their logic. Excessive user following/churning probably puts a huge amount of unnecessary load on their servers, which they likely frown upon.

Make sense to me. Mea Culpa. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Anyway, I filled in their "please unsuspend my account" form and got an automated email response back tell me that "...We will do our best to get back to you within 30 days..."

Ummm, what?

30 days? Are you freakin' kidding me?

Twitter is an essential part of the HabsAddict.com and helps me stay in touch with Habs fans, see what they are talking about and push new content out. It is a corner stone to the social networking web that has made HabsAddict.com successful. So yes, I understand the reasons for suspending the account but I now have to wait up to 30 days before they do anything? Does this not seem completely unacceptable to anyone else?

I am not a spammer, I am not an abusive user and I actually have a pretty decent following right now. HabsAddict.com deos not exist without its fans and Twitter is telling me that I might be cut off from that fan base for up to 30 days.

Ridiculous, in my opinion. But there is nothing that I can seemingly do as I tried, in vain, to find a phone number or email address ANYWHERE on the Twitter site but found that none exist.

So now, with less than three hours till the Montreal Canadiens play the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa, I have no way of reaching out to the fan base. I have no way to provide them with the in-game Tweets that they have become used to and I feel completly cut off.

Sucks, but I'm just one guy who is trying to provide content to people who want it while Twitter is 'the man'. They have me bent over a barrel, lube in hand, and are choosing not to use it.

Sigh. Not much to do, I guess, except wait for Godot.

Blech.

K.

Daily Habs Links - Sens Rolling, Pregame, Habs leadership

Pre-Game: Habs @ Sens
Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28418

RDS - Tall order for Habs in Ottawa (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291697.html


TSN:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/scores/gameday/?hubname=nhl-senators

ESPN.com:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=300130014

Other News:
RDS - Habs a question of leadership?
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291719.html

RDS - The Trent McCleary incident 10 years later
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291651.html

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Habs/Bulldogs fan is crazy for pucks!

11 year old Ross Vender, is a Habs Addict and Hamilton Bulldogs fan who has a special passion. Not only is Ross, who lives near Hamilton, a huge Habs and Bulldogs fan, but he also loves to collect Bulldogs and Habs pucks.

Ross currently has over 250 Montreal Canadiens pucks and more than three dozen Bulldogs pucks. His first Habs puck was an official 2004 game puck. Take a look at this article on the Bulldogs' website about Ross:

http://www.hamiltonbulldogs.com/article/bulldogs-puck-collecting-a-tough-goal

Also, check out Ross' website:
http://www.wix.com/habspuck13/Habs-Puck-Collection

Good for you Ross! Keep up the puck collecting! If I ever come across any good pucks, I'll be sure to let you know!

If anyone out there has any great Habs or Bulldogs pucks that they would like to donate to Ross, you can contact him through his website or contact me at Habs Addict.com.

Daily Habs Links - Halak trade in 2 weeks? Markov, Price

Habs News:
Montreal Canadiens.com - Habs Recall Webber
http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=515449&navid=DL|MTL|home

Habs Inside/Out - Spacek out vs. Ottawa, Callup coming
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28416

Le Journal de Quebec - Habs President Says Halak on Borrowed Time (French)
http://lejournaldequebec.canoe.ca/sports/hockey/archives/2010/01/20100129-091959.html

RDS - Markov tries to calm things (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291624.html

Habs Inside/Out - Habs world is better with a hug
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28411


Habs Inside/Out - Price still has his sense of humour
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28415

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Daily Habs Links - Tampa, Price, Post Game, Price

Post Game:
RDS - Two feet in the sand
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291525.html

Habs Inside/Out - Habs Fall Flat vs. Lightning
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28312

TSN - Power Outage
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307892

ESPN.com
http://espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=300127020

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Montreal-Tampa Bay - Habs Lay Another Egg in 3-0 Loss

Montreal Canadiens  (Canadiens de Montréal)Image via Wikipedia

The state of Florida was not kind to the Habs over the last two days. Despite the sunny weather there is a grey cloud that has formed over the Habs' heads and they are struggling to shake it. After a dismal performance against the Panthers on Tuesday, the Habs were in Tampa yesterday, to play the Lightning. They did so through whispers of locker room dissent and rumours of a Markov vs. Price yelling match last week.

Despite the distractions, you would figure that the Habs would come out like lions, ready to avenge their pathetic effort versus the Panthers only 24 hours earlier. But alas. While they were marginally better in the first period than the previous night, the Habs looked essentially just as flat and the result was the same: Another day, another weak effort and another loss by the Montreal Canadiens.

Despite outshooting the Lightning 12-8 in the first - and 33-30 overall - the Habs went into the first intermission down by a goal. The goal came on a nice play by Downie to get the puck cross crease to St. Louis who popped it in. Team Quebec South 1, Habs 0.

After St. Louis' goal, you could see the Habs were deflated and none more the Price. This malaise carried over into the second period that would see the Lightning score twice in the first six minutes of the period and the game was over.

Final result Team Quebec South 3, Habs 0 with Lecavalier picking up one goal and one assist, St. Louis getting one goal and Alex Tanguay also chipping in with one assist.

The Lightning were simply the better team last night from start to finish. They were quicker, won more battles, capitalized on more turnovers and won more faceoffs. The Habs had their chances, mind you, but were shutout on all three powerplays and were, generally speaking, limited to shots from the outside.

With Price in nets, you were kind of hoping that the Habs would put up a good effort, for a change, but their pattern of playing poorly in front of him continued and his fragile confidence took yet another hit. I am not sure how much more he can take before he is becomes a completely shattered man.

Game Notes:
1 - It's not Price's fault. While Price didn't look that great in the net, he certainly cannot be blamed for the loss. As has become customary, the team plays terrible hockey when Price is in the net. I imagine that it stems from a lack of confidence in the goalie or from wanting to help him out more defensively. Whatever the reason, it is a vicious cycle. Price, before a game, is surely aware that his teammates don't play well in front of him so he wants to make sure not to get scored on first. His teammates are also aware of his fragility and become more defensive on the ice as a result. As soon as the first goal goes in and the Habs are trailing, everyone’s psychology shifts to a "...here we go again" attitude.

Last night was no different as you could see the whole team deflate after the first Tampa goal. And while Price was pretty weak to start the game, he did settle down in the latter half of the second and played a solid third. The problem, as usual, is that he got no support from his teammates.

Bad turnovers, missed defensive assignments and a general lack of cohesion meant that Price was left to his own devices on too many occasions. I know that many people in the city of Montreal want to trade Price at this point. Ship him out of town and give the reigns over to Halak. That's one option. But what is it that is lacking in the Habs organization that prevents them from properly developing prospects? Why is it that every time a young, talented player starts going off the rails, the only solution is to get rid of him? Surely the Habs are not the only team that has to deal with young kids with huge paychecks and even bigger egos? Surely they are not the only ones who have to guide their prospects in the right direction? So why then, is the answer always to trade the player?

I feel that Price still can be the franchise goaltender that everyone hoped he would become. But we have to remember that he is only 22 years old, firstly. And secondly, Price needs a guide as he seems to be floating right now. I still firmly believe that Price needs a mentor, a veteran backup who has been there and who Price can look up to. Good, bad or ugly, Huet provided that influence to Price during his first year with the team. Since Huet was traded, however, Price has been adrift and I don't understand why the Canadiens, as an organization, do not see that and are not taking steps to correct the situation.

If your organization is not able to properly develop players, then it is lacking at some fundamental level. All signs, right now, point to the Gainey-run operation as having gaping holes in it. It remains to be seen if Gainey will retain his job after the season is over, but the more I see the more I become convinced that Gainey's philosophy on how to run a team is dated. That the game has changed and that managers must change with the times. Gainey is employing an antiquated management style and, as of yet, has not taken steps to correct it.

2 - This team is a patchwork. When Gainey blew up his team, this past summer, and quickly reconstructed another, you have to wonder what he was thinking. Looking at the team as it is, it doesn't look like he had a plan. By that I mean that there are simply too many players on the team playing out of their element.

MAB, a defenseman, is playing as a forward. Spacek, who has played for nine of his ten years as a left defenseman, is playing on the right side - and is clearly uncomfortable doing so. Lapierre, a center, has been shifted to the wing many times. Maxwell, a center, is recalled from Hamilton and plays on the wing in Montreal. All of these decisions mean that there are players on the team who are not entirely comfortable. While this is not the only thing that ails the Habs, it definitely does not help their cause.

I still don't understand the discrepancy between the players Gainey signed in the summer and the coach/system that is being employed. Gainey signed a bunch of offensive, attacking style players and hired a coach who employs a defensive style. Am I the only one who finds that a bit goofy?

3 - Is Jacques Martin delusional? During his post-game press conference, a relatively upbeat Jacques Martin said that he thought the Habs played a good game and that they were beaten by good goals. The goals part I'll agree with but a good game? Really? What game was he watching? I also can't help but notice that he is always talking about the team like the season has just started and there are a few things they have to work on.

Last night, in particular, Martin said that the team just has to work on going to the net more. Sorry, Jacques, but we are 55 games into the season. Shouldn't your team have learned your system and what they have to do by now? Shouldn't they already know to go to the net? If they don't, then that, to me, is evidence of a serious disconnect between the coach and his players.


Standings and Next Game:
The Habs did themselves no favours by losing these two games in Florida. With a golden opportunity to pull away from the pack, the Habs came up empty. As such, they are stalled at 55 points in 55 games and are on pace for an 82 point season. With Philly, Florida and the Rangers ahead and holding four, two and one game in hand, respectively the climb ahead could be treacherous.

However, with Boston, Atlanta, Tampa and the Isles all tied with 54 points and four, three, three and two games in hand, the Habs now have to look in their rear view mirror. With so many teams just ahead or behind the Habs in the standings, with so many games in hand, the Habs seem poised to take a tumble. They could, conceivably find themselves very quickly in 13th overall in the East and 26th overall in the league. Now that's parity!

The Habs now have two days off before taking on the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday. Despite their two-game losing streak I wouldn't write this team off just yet because they have shown that they can be very deceptive. Just when you think they are going to go on a roll, they lose a bunch of games. Just when you think they are going to lose a bunch of games they pull out an outstanding win.

All that is left is to see which team shows up on Saturday: Jekyll or Hyde.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Daily Habs Links - Panthers, Post-game, Habs in 9th, Price, Markov

Post Game:
Habs Inside/Out - Canadiens give two points to Panthers
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28195

RDS - Jacques Martin not happy (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291430.html

TSN - Matthias scores twice in Panthers win
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307780

ESPN.com - Matthias shines
http://espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=300126026

Gameday: Habs @ Lightning
Habs Inside/Out - Preview
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28312

Habs Inside/Out - Price gets the start
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28315

RDS - The debat is renewed (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291525.html

TSN - Fun in the Sun
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307824

ESPN.com
http://espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=300127020

Other News:
RDS - Markov and Price dust up?
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291542.html

TSN - Markov calls out Price
http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307852

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Post Game Quick Hits: Habs 1 - Panthers 2

Wow, that was ugly.

After a glorious weekend that saw the Habs down the Devils in Jersey and obliterate the Rangers in Montreal, the Habs have come back down to Earth with a terrible effort in Florida. In losing 2-1 to the Nathan Horton-less and David Booth-less Panthers last night, the Habs show that they are truly a Jekyll and Hyde team. One day they are handily beating teams that have no business beating and the next they are losing to bottom feeders.

Last night was the classic recipe for a Habs loss. They were badly outshout (29-17), didn't score 5 on 5, and only managed 1 powerplay goal. As usual, if the Habs don't have outstanding goaltending and their special teams don't produce multiple points they lose. Halak was solid in goals, but one goal for is just not going to do it in this league.

No matter how much I try, I still can't make heads or tails of this team. Just when you think they are turning a corner, they throw a curveball. A couple of outstanding victories followed by a stinker of two and it is difficult to figure out why.

Last night, the Habs came out flat and carried a lack of effort and intensity from the first to the third period. While Halak held the Habs in the game long enough for Plekanec to score on the PP to give the Habs the lead, everything fell apart in the third. Defensive zone breakdowns and missed assignments were plentiful for the Habs and one in particular led to a Shawn Matthias breakaway early in the third. Gorges had no choice but to hall him down, earning the Panthers player a penalty shot and the tying goal. After that, the Habs went limp.

10 minutes after his tying goal, Matthias would score his second of the night off of a goal mouth scramble, and that was all she wrote. The Habs did, however, start to press a little with less than three minutes to go in the game. However with Halak on the bench for the extra attacker Spacek failed to keep the puck in the offensive zone on two separate occasions, and that sealed the loss for the Habs. Sad, pathetic and disheartening for Habs fans.

Game Notes:
1 - Halak is the Habs #1 goalie. With 54 games in the books, it is now clear that Halak is ahead of Price as far as development go. While I am sure that Jacques Martin will still put Price in the nets on a semi-regular basis, I believe that the time for that has past. The Habs desperately needs points right now, and for whatever reason the team just seems to play better with Halak in nets. Halak, for his part, did what he had to do. It was because of Halak that the Panthers only scored 2 goals. But, as a team, a one goal performance will not win you games in this league.

Bottom line? Halak has wrestled control of the number one spot away from Price and should play the bulk of the games until the end of the season. That will give the Habs their best shot at making the playoffs.

2 - The second line was the only line that was going last night. The Panthers played a stifling neutral-zone trap last night, and the Habs just couldn't counter. In order to counter the trap, you need to dump the puck in and chase. The problem is that if you are not first to the puck and if you don't win your battles in the offensive zone, you fail to maintain puck possession. Aside from the Gomez line, the Habs mostly failed to mount any kind of pressure in the Panthers zone.

3 - If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Martin, for some reason, had Travis Moen on the first line with Plek and Cammy, last night. Why? In the two games over the weekend (vs. NJ and Rangers) Mathieu Darche filled that first line winger role. While Darche is not a permanent solution to what ails line number one, he did get three points over the two weekend wins and the first line was a factor. Just like with his boss - Gainey - Jacques Martin sometimes leaves fans guessing as to what he is doing and why.

4 - Habs fans should learn to expect the worst, this way we'll never be disappointed. Every time, this season, we think the Habs are turning the corner, they lay a stink bomb, hence the .500 record. They are playing an antiquated system (passive-resistance) with an inflexible coach who sticks to line matching and systems, rather than trying to play a more attacking style which is better suited to his quick, skilled forwards such as Gomez, Cammalleri, Gionta, SK74, AK46, Plekanec, etc. Until the system, personnel or coach changes, this will continue to be a win one lose one season.

5 - Markov has slowed a bit since his fiery return. While he was a monster, scoring 13 points (3G, 10A) over his first 11 games back from injury, Markov has slowed a step over the last 8 games, potting only 3 assists. In addition, he is making uncharacteristic turnovers and bad plays.

This was to be expected as players returning from injury often have an adrenaline boost for a few weeks. But the reality of having missed so much time usually catches up from a conditioning perspective. Not to worry though, as this is a temporary lull. Markov is an elite defenseman among elite defensemen and will rediscover his game soon enough.

Oh and one more thing in regards to Markov...when is Gainey going to go out and get a true #2 defenseman to play as his partner. Don't get me wrong because Josh Gorges is a very hardworking committed player who gives every ounce he has, night in and night out. But let's be honest here. Josh is a fourth to sixth defenseman at best.

6 - During his first game with the Habs, Ben Maxwell was invisible. Maybe it was just me, but for most of the night I didn't even know which line he was playing on. It was only when he was switched to Plekanec's line for a few shifts that I first noticed him. That being said, you've got to give the kid a free pass for his 1st game as the whole team lacked effort. Additionally, it will take him a few games to acclimate. When he does, however, I am anxious to see what he can do!

Standings and Next Game:
The loss last night leaves the Habs in ninth place with 55 points. If they had even lost in overtime or shootout, they would be in 6th with 57 points, but alas. The Habs are tied, in points, with Philly, the Rangers and the Panthers who have three games, one game and one game in hand, respectively. Behind the Habs are Boston, Atlanta and the Islanders each with 54 points and three games, two games and one game in hand, respectively.

The Habs get right back on the horse tonight as they go into Tampa Bay and try to beat Team Quebec South.

Daily Habs Links - Pre-game, Halak gets the start

Daily Habs Links - Halak #1? MaxPac, Maxwell, Dags, Beliveau

NEWS:
Habs Inside/Out: Habs more confident with Halak in nets
http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/better/2480388/story.html

Habs Inside/Out - Beliveau continues to make progress
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28193

PLAYER MOVEMENT:
RDS - D'Agostini and Pacorietty sent to Hamilton (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291315.html

Habs Inside/Out: 'Travel Day' for several Habs
http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Travel+several+Habs/2480072/story.html

FROM PRACTICE:
Habs Inside/Out: Maxwell finds spot on third line
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28194


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Daily Habs Links - Habs beat Devils, Halak, Darche, Rangers

POST-GAME:
RDS - Mathieu Darche Is Key (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291151.html

TSN - Devils Shored Up
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307267

Habs Inside/Out - No Joke, Habs Beat Devils
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27993

ESPN.com:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=300122011

GAMEDAY: Habs vs. Rangers
RDS - Another Challenge for Halak (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291225.html

TSN:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/scores/gameday/?hubname=nhl-canadiens

Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28101

ESPN.com:
http://espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=300123010

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Daily Habs Links - Cammalleri, Rangers, Halak, Post Game, Carbonneau, Laraque

POST GAME:
Habs Inside/Out - Habs, Cammy Pound Rangers
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28101

RDS - A Good Revenge (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291225.html


TSN - Habs hand Rangers 2nd Straight Loss
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307440

ESPN.com - Cammalleri Leads Way
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=300123010

OTHER HABS NEWS:
Carbonneau, Cherry agree that Laraque was a distraction
http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2010/01/23/sp-laraque-hnic.html

Boston Herald - Between a Georges Laraque and a Hard Place
http://news.bostonherald.com/sports/hockey/other_nhl/view/20100124between_a_georges_laraque_and_a_hard_place/srvc=home&position=also

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Daily Habs Links - Beliveau, Jersey, Laraque...

Habs News:
Beliveau stable after suffering stroke (Habs Inside/Out):
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27988

A game to be played in Jersey (Habs Inside/Out):
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27989

Gameday Habs @ Devils
RDS - Mission Impossible? (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291151.html

TSN:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/scores/gameday/?hubname=nhl-devils

ESPN.com:
http://espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=300122011

Habs Inside/out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27993

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Daily Habs Links - Blues, Laraque bought out, Price, Post-game

BREAKING NEWS:
The Habs Buy Out Georges Laraque's Contract. Habs will pay his salary until the end of the year and then pay 2/3 of his salary, over two years, next year. Laraque tells TSN's Darren Dreger that the move is "classless". Ouch.

RDS - The end for Laraque (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291074.html

Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27984

TSN - Canadiens Part Ways With Laraque
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307080

POST-GAME:
RDS - Habs Avoid The Worst Against Blues (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/290804.html

TSN - McDonald's Goal Lifts Blues
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=307009

ESPN.com - McDonald Saves Blues In OT
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=300120010

Habs Inside/Out - Habs Rally But Fall To Blues in OT
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27881


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Daily Habs Links - Rangers, Halak, Playoff picture, post-game

Post Game:
Habs Inside/Out - Habs Awful Against Rangers
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27768

RDS - Working is too hard (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/290222.html

TSN - Broadway Blues
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=306634

ESPN.com
http://espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=300117013

Other Habs News:
Globe and Mail - The Playoff Push: 90+ points or bust
(Shows that Habs need to go 19-12-1 the rest of the way to make playoffs!!!)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/globe-on-hockey/the-playoff-push-90-points-or-bust/article1430513/

The Montreal Gazette:
Pat Hickey - Habs Come Out Hot Against Rangers, Then Sputter
http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Habs+come+against+Rangers+then+sputter/2453164/story.html

Pat Hickey - Habs Refuse To Blame Halak
http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Habs+refuse+blame+Halak+loss/2453625/story.html

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Daily Habs Links - Blues, Darche recalled, Price...

Gameday:
Darche playing with Cammy and Pleks, Price in Nets, Laraque + Dags sit (Habs inside/out):
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27887

Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27881

24 Cups on the Blues (via Habs Inside/Out):
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27882

RDS - Darche to the rescue (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/290641.html

TSN:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/scores/gameday/?hubname=nhl-canadiens

ESPN.com
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=300120010


Other news:
Darche recalled from Bulldogs (Habs Inside/Out):
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27878


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Daily Habs Links - Stars, Laraque, Price, Gionta's 500th Game

Post-Game:

Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27574

RDS - Laraque dedicates goal to the Haitians
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/289963.html

TSN - Gionta celebrates 500th career game
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=306180

ESPN.com:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=300114010


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Daily Habs Links - Sabres, Post-game, Caps, Kostitsyns

Post-Game:
Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27110

RDS:
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/289151.html

TSN:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=304622


Kostitsyn Brothers won't play against Caps:
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/289221.html

On a personal note I'm going out of town until the 12th. Going to soak up some rays in Mexico. All you Habs fans out there, hold down the fort while I'm gone. See you in a week!

K.

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Daily Habs Links - Stars, Subban #3, Price gets the call, Pouliot thriving and much more

We're baaaaaack! Fresh off a nice warm week in Mexico, Habs To The Top is back in action and ready to roll for the second half of the season. Hope you all had a great holiday season and a fab new years. Ok, on with it then...

Gameday - Stars @ Habs:
Habs Inside/Out Preview:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27574

24 Cups looks at the Stars (from Habs Inside/Out):
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27572

Price gets the call - Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27575

RDS:
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/289963.html

TSN - Gameday:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/scores/gameday/?hubname=nhl-canadiens

ESPN.com:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=300114010

Other Habs News:
The Hockey News rates PK Subban as the 3rd best prospect in the AHL:
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/30733-THNcom-Top-10-AHL-rookie-prospects.html

TSN - Pouliot thriving in a fresh start with Habs:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=305960


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Daily Habs Links - Post-game, Plekanec, Panthers Game Day

POST GAME:

Habs Inside/Out - Plekanec gives Habs the win
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26850

RDS - Plekanec ends the debate (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288962.html

TSN - Plekanec OT hero for Habs
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=304125

ESPN.com - Plekanec backs Price's 34 saves for win
http://espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=291230020


Game Day Preview:
RDS:
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/289015.html

TSN:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/scores/gameday/?hubname=nhl-panthers

Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/27007

ESPN.com
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=291231026


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Daily Habs Links - Gionta AND Hamrlik back? Sens, Halak 1st star of week...

Halak is NHL's 1st Star of the Week:
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=511314

Halak gets fifth straight start:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26709

RDS - Good timing for facing the Sens
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288866.html

Gionta and Hamrlik could both be back in the lineup vs. Sens:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26706

RDS - Halak getting close to Theo's .931 SV% (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288841.html

ESPN.com - Habs @ Sens preview
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=291228014

Habs could score 20,000th goal tonight:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26709

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Daily Habs Links - Gionta's comeback, Leafs...

Post Game:
Habs Inside/Out - Canadiens can thank Halak, again
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26587

Pat Hickey Game Story - Halak saves Habs again
http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Jaroslav+Halak+saves+Habs+again/2383052/story.html

RDS - Another road steal (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288793.html

ESPN.com
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=291226021

Gionta could be back vs. Sens
RDS - Gionta could play with Gomez and Pouliot
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288841.html


Habs Inside/Out: Gionta could face Sens
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26705

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Daily Habs Links - Canes, Post Game, Halak, Metro...

Post game:

RDS - The curse is broken (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288679.html

TSN - Metropolit scores twice in Habs win
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=303486

Habs Inside/Out - Canes can't touch Habs
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26449

The Gazette - Habs defeat Dec. 23 Curse
http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Canadiens+Hurricanes/2375811/story.html

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Daily Habs Links - Olympics, Markov, Kostitsyn Brothers...

Markov named to Russian Olympic team:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26583






Puck Daddy Analysis of Russian Olympic team:
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Olympic-Analysis-Russia-deadly-offensively-in-q?urn=nhl,210812

Kostitsyn brothers named to Belarussian Olympic team:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26448 (footnote)

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Daily Habs Links - Game preview, Pouliot, Gionta, Mara...

Gameday:
Gionta, Mara return home, Hamrlik still out
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26445

No gameday skate before Canes game
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26446

Pouliot new winger with Gomez and Kostitsyn
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288661.html

Previews:
Halak gets the start and Pouliot will lineup as a 2nd line winger.

RDS preview - Habs vs. Canes
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288679.html

TSN preview - Habs vs. Canes
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/scores/gameday/?hubname=nhl-hurricanes

ESPN.com - Habs vs. Canes
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=291223007

Features:
Christmas Curse Haunts Habs:
http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/hockey/montreal-canadiens/Bruised+Bergeron+expects+play/2372786/Christmas+curse+haunts+Canadiens/2372788/story.html


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Daily Habs Links - Snow storm, game preview, AK46 Fantasy

Gameday:
ESPN Preview - Habs @ Thrashers
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=291221028

RDS:
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288572.html

TSN - Gameday - Habs @ Atlanta
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/scores/gameday/?hubname=nhl-thrashers

Interesting fantasy hockey look at AK46:
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/30184-Fantasy-Pool-Look-AK46-back-and-on-the-attack.html


Other news:
RDS - Habs recall Benoit Pouliot from Hamilton
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288590.html

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Daily Habs Links - Atlanta win, Hamrlik, Pouliot, Halak...

Daily Habs Links - Markov, Isles...

The Return of the King: Markov is back
Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26190

RDS: The General is back (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288460.html

TSN: Markov back vs. Isles
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=302814

Dave Stubbs - Gazette - Markov to return vs. Isles
http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Andrei+Markov+return+Habs+Isles+game/2359748/story.html



Gameday Preview - Habs vs. Isles:
ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=291219012

NHL.com: http://www.nhl.com/ice/preview.htm?id=2009020523

Don't forget to vote in the poll in the top right. Who should be the next captain of the Habs?


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Daily Habs Links - Markov, Halak, Isles, snow...

Post Game Reports:

RDS - Win by Markov and Halak
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288460.html

TSN - Markov leads Habs over Isles
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=303006

ESPN.com:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=291219012

Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26192

The Gazette - Habs snowed in on Long Island
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26321


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Daily Habs Links - 5 losses and counting, Markov is back!

December 18, 2008

UPDATE:
Markov is BACK!!!! He will play Saturday night VS. Isles:
RDS: http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288410.html

Habs Inside/Out: http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26190

TSN - Holiday Miracle:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=302814

RDS - Pyatt and Weber returned to Hamilton:
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288420.html


Post Game:
RDS - Disappointing Loss (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288326.html

TSN - That Sinking feeling
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=302743

ESPN:
http://espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=291217010

Habs Inside/Out:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26087


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Daily Habs Links - Gionta, Hamrlik, Weber, Devils...

Dec. 17, 2009

Post Game Stuff:
RDS: Habs lose boring game (French)
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288237.html

TSN: Brodeur ties record, Devils beat Habs
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=302600

Interesting fantasy piece that talks about potential Halak trade:
http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/hockey/fhl/story?page=inthecrease091217





Gameday Updates:
Gionta back on skates, Weber recalled, Hamrlik is injured and won't play tonight vs. Wild
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26088







Wild @ Habs Preview (Gazette) - the return of Gui!
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/26088

ESPN Preview:
http://espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=291217010

RDS Preview:
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288326.html

TSN preview:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=302676

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Daily Habs Links - Dec. 16, 2009 - Leblanc, Brodeur, Halak....

As a new feature on Habs To The Top, I compile all of the links and news stories that I read, about the Habs, in one easy to find location....Habs To The Top! So, if you are looking for Habs news just bookmark http://www.HabsAddict.com, to get your daily Habs news!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Habs still without a captain but Cammalleri seems like front runner:
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=510150

Gameday update: Price in nets tonight vs. the Devils, Martin expects bigger role from Lapierre who is back as the third line center. Metropolit is starting at the 4th line center. Martin expects Benoit Pouliot to play for the Bulldogs this week.
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/25980


Habs Prospect Louis Leblanc is one of the final cuts from the Canadian World Junior Training camp:
http://tsn.ca/world_jrs/story/?id=302528





Martin Brodeur LOVES playing against the Habs. Of course he does.
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288237.html And I'm sure he'd love to get a shutout and break Sawchuk's record tonight in Montreal.



The Halak situation...trade, no trade...what to do?
CKAC report:
http://corussports.com/hockey/nouvelles/halak-veut-jouer-a-montreal-ou-ailleurs-1882893.html
TSN story:
http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=302443
RDS story:
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/288206.html


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Georges Laraque to play for AIK Stockholm in Sweden?

BREAKING NEWS:
UPDATE: Jan 28, 2010 - 12:38 pm
A bizarre twist in the Laraque to AIK story as a Swedish source, who admits that they are not an expert of NHL-contracts, says that it is Laraque who is not waiving his no trade clause because of concern for the following year. The source was not exactly clear on the details of Laraque's concerns but explained that since he is not waiving his NMC the NHL will not allow him to play overseas.

Seems pretty straight forward but strange. I imagine that this is about financial security for next year but who knows. I'll post more as I hear it.

UPDATE: Jan 28, 2010 - 10:30 pm

Montreal Canadiens forward Georges Laraque dur...Image via Wikipedia

Swedish sources indicate that the NHL head office is holding up the Laraque to AIK transfer. AIK sports director, Anders Gozzi, was hoping to make an announcement last night.

So far AIK and the Montreal Canadiens have agreed to the transfer but NHL offices are not giving the ok to nullify Laraque's contract and let him go to Europe. According to an article in AftonBladet, Gozzi is saying that it is a complicated situation and they still hope to work out a deal.

AftonBladet story:
http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/hockeybladet/internationellt/nhl/article6503667.ab

UPDATE: Jan 27, 2010 - 4:27 pm
Reached for comment by telephone, Canadiens VP Communications and Community Relations, explained that he does not have any further information. When told that AIK has reportedly agreed to a deal with Laraque and is just waiting for approval from the Habs, Mr. Beauchamps again indicated that he has no further information on the subject.

UPDATE: Jan 27, 2010 - 3:27 pm
A message left for Candiens Director of Media Relations, Dominik Saillant, was not immediately returned.

Swedish source explains that AIK brass are currently in meetings to determine whether they will join the KHL or not. According to the scource, the team will provide an update on Laraque situation once their meeting is over.

UPDATE: Jan 27, 2010 - 10:00 am
Swedish sources explain that the offer for Laraque will likey be finalized today. There could be an announcement as early as this afternoon. The only thing holding up the signing/transfer is that the Habs are working out details involving insurance.

AIK captain and former Edmonton Oiler, Dick Tarnstrom, says that Laraque should be lauded for saying he would play for free.

Here is the AftonBladet article which you can translate, to get the gist, using Bing Translator.
http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/hockeybladet/sverige/allsvenskan/article6494421.ab

Swedish Article Explaining how deal could be announced today:
http://webbsporten.se/laraque-forstarker-aik/

UPDATE: Jan 26, 2010 - 3:30 pm
RDS confirms that Laraque is interested in AIK
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/291462.html

Habs Inside/Out explains further:
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/28201

UPDATE: Jan 26, 2010 - 2:00 pm
During email correspondance with a Swedish source they said that they have been in touch with Laraque during the weekend and he has confirmed that he is interested in coming back to Stockholm. They also confirmed that he is willing to play for free.

The source continued that AIK and sports director Anders Gozzi have confirmed that they are in contact with Laraque, and are trying to work out an agreement this week.

UPDATE: Jan 26, 2010 - 12:12 pm
Here is an interview of Laraque talking about how much he loves AIK Stockholm and would love to play there again before he retires:


Here is a link to a letter that BGL wrote to the fans of AIK:
http://www.svenskafans.com/hockeyzon/aik/artikel.asp?id=90545

UPDATE: Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 - 11:40 am
Reached by telephone for comment, Canadiens Director of Media Relations, Dominik Saillant said that he had no comment at this time. He also explained that the first he heard about this story was this morning and that Laraque needs the Habs permission to play for any team.

UDPATE: Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010 - 10:40 am
Habs GM Bob Gainey, Laraque and AIK will sit down for a meeting today and the transfer may be completed as early as this afternoon.

Laraque to Play in Sweden?
As first reported by HabsAddict.com, a Swedish article says that Georges Laraque wants to play for AIK Stockholm. This is the team he played for during the lockout. The NHL rules are unclear as to player transfers with Sweden when still under contract to an NHL team so lawyers from both sides are discussing. Here is the article (in Swedish). Use Bing Translator to get the gist of the article:

http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/hockeybladet/sverige/allsvenskan/article6482575.ab