Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quick Hits: Canadiens Sign Louis Leblanc to 3-Year Deal

by Kamal Panesar

So Louis Leblanc has finally made a decision about his future and he has chosen to put aside the red of the Harvard Crimson, and sign with the Montreal Canadiens.

Click here to read the full press release.

Leblanc will now join the Junior de Montreal, who own his junior rights, and will likely get a real chance of playing for the Canadian Junior National team, come winter.

While Leblanc could really not make a bad choice between Harvard and the junior ranks, the latter move is perhaps slightly better for him since he will be playing against better competition.

Moreover, playing for the Junior de Montreal means that Leblanc will be residing in the city of Montreal. This move will end up being a boon for that the Canadiens as the proximity to the Habs will mean that they will be able to better ensure he continues to develop as expected.

I think this is a great hockey decision for Leblanc—as playing in Harvard for another year would have been more of an academic decision—and one that will only help him get better quicker.

I expect Leblanc to start adding mass to his 6'1" 184 lbs frame, to play a key role on the 2011 Canadian World Junior team, and to be ready for a possible jump to Hamilton next season.

So what do you think of this move? Should Leblanc have stayed a little longer at Harvard? Is the Junior de Montreal the best fit for him?

Press Release - Louis Leblanc signs with Habs

CANADIENS SIGN FORWARD LOUIS LEBLANC TO A THREE-YEAR CONTRACT

MONTREAL (July 30, 2010) – Montreal Canadiens General Manager, Pierre Gauthier, announced today the signing of forward Louis Leblanc to a three-year contract. As per Club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Leblanc was selected in the first round, 18th overall, by the Canadiens at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

In 2009-10, Leblanc suited up with the Harvard University Crimson in the ECAC. As a freshman with the Ivy League team, the 6’1’’ and 184 lbs centreman led his team in several offensive categories, including goals (11), assists (12), points (23), game-winning goals (3) in 31 games and ranked second for power-play tallies (3) and shots on goal (101). The youngest player on the Crimson team, Leblanc was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year, was a finalist for ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and was named to the ECAC All-Rookie team. Following the 2009-10 season, the Kirkland native was named to Canada’s National Junior Team Camp in preparation of the World Junior Hockey Championship to start on December 26, 2010 in Buffalo, NY.

Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Leblanc, made his mark with the Omaha Lancers in the USHL, leading that team with 59 points in 60 games and earning the Rookie of the Year honour in 2008-09. Before joining the Lancers, Leblanc played for the Lac St.

Louis Lions, leading the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League in goals (54) and points (91) playing 43 games in 2007-08. On the international stage, he was a member of Team Quebec at the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the 2007 Canada Winter Games. The following year he played for Team Canada at the 2008 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament scoring three goals (3-2-5), helping Canada win gold.

Leblanc signs with Habs, Alex Henry re-ups, Koivu picks Markov for captain

Habs Inside/Out - Canadiens sign Leblanc
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36612

Yeah, but they signed Henry
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36610

Louie, Louie
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36611

TGIFF
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36609

RDS - Leblanc choisit le Junior
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/303526.html

CH : Henry reçoit un nouveau contrat
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/303499.html

Captaine: Markov le candidat de Koivu
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/303470.html

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cammalleri, Top-10 offseason moves, Boivin, rumours and more...

Habs Inside/Out - Pretty quiet
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36606

RDS - De bons mots de Toronto pour P. Boivin
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/303330.html

Spector's Hockey - Rumours - July 29, 2010
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1635:nhl-free-agent-a-trade-rumors-july-29-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chris Nilan interview, Hockey News on Habs/Eller, Cunneyworth on Bulldogs, and more...

Habs Inside/Out - if you do nothing esle today...
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36603

RDS - Recrutement: Du sang neuf chez le CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/303266.html

The Hockey News - Fantasy look at Habs
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/34604-Fantasy-Pool-Look-Canadiens-Predators-and-Islanders-offseason-report.html

Spector's Hockey - NHL Rumours - July 28, 2010
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1628:nhl-rumors-wednesday-july-28-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

Hockeybuzz.com - Ten Notes on Habs
http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Eric-Engels/Ten-Habs-Notes/82/29507

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quick Hits: Canadiens Sign Six, But Carey Price is Still Out There

by Kamal Panesar

The Montreal Canadiens announced today that they have made six key signings behind the scenes.

While everyone is waiting for Carey Price to agree to terms with the team, Gauthier went to work today by adding Serge Boisvert and Ryan Jankowski to the Canadiens' amateur scouting group.

In addition, Gauthier has hired Vaughn Karpan as a professional scout, while Christer Rockstrom will become a scout for the European leagues as of September 1, 2010.

On an administrative level, the team also announced the appointment of Ken Morin as hockey information coordinator and officially announced that Pierre Allard is the new strength and conditioning coach

So another day passes and Carey Price still remains unsigned.

How long will it take and will this start to spill over into August? If so, as Mike Boone from the Montreal Gazette pointed out, we might start hearing the dreaded word "Hold-out".

Gulp.

Can you imagine if this actually drags out into late August? Can you imagine the insanity that will ensue if Price actually becomes a holdout?

While I think it is highly unlikely that things will go in that direction, the longer things take the more explosive this situation becomes since the Canadiens have clearly put all of their eggs into the Carey Price basket.

But, with the dog days of summer truly upon us at least it will give us something to talk about!

So what do you think? Will the Canadiens sign Price soon or will he become a holdout? If they sign him, how much longer do you think we'll have to wait?

Press Release - Habs Announce Six Appointments

Habs announce six appointments in club’s hockey department

MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens’ Executive VP Hockey and General Manager Pierre Gauthier announced Tuesday six appointments within the club’s hockey department.

Serge Boisvert and Ryan Jankowski will join the Canadiens’ amateur scouting group. Vaughn Karpan becomes a professional scout, and Christer Rockstrom will assume scouting duties for European leagues as of September 1st.

At the administrative level, the team announced the appointment of Ken Morin as hockey information coordinator.

Finally, Pierre Allard becomes the Canadiens’ new strength and conditioning coach.

SERGE BOISVERT, amateur scout
Serge Boisvert joined the Canadiens in 2009 as a consultant in player development. The former right winger played with the Canadiens from 1984 to 1988, and was a member of the 1986 Stanley Cup Championship team.

RYAN JANKOWSKI, amateur scout
Ryan Jankowski was employed by the New York Islanders as assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting since 2006. He joined the Islanders as amateur scout in 2002, before spending three years in Prague as the team’s Director of European scouting.

VAUGHN KARPAN, professional scout
Vaughn Karpan becomes professional scout following five years as part of the Canadiens’ amateur scouting group. He joined the Canadiens in 2005, after spending several seasons as Chief Scout for the Phoenix Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets.

CHRISTER ROCKSTROM, scout (Europe)
Christer Rockstrom was a member of the New York Rangers organization for the past 21 years, including the past five seasons as Director of Player Personnel - Europe. He previously served as a European scout for the Rangers for 16 years. He also covered part of Europe as a scout for the Detroit Red Wings organization, from 1984 to 1989.

KEN MORIN, hockey information coordinator
Ken Morin is the former captain of the McGill Redmen hockey team, where he earned a degree in Industrial Relations. Last season, he played as a defenseman with the CIS Royal Military College team, and the Bakersfield Condors in the ECHL.

PIERRE ALLARD, strength and conditioning coach
Pierre Allard was a strength and conditioning consultant for the past decade. He spent the 2009 10 season as strength and conditioning coach with Berlin and Hamburg in the German hockey league. He also worked with the QMJHL Rimouski Oceanic, and as a consultant for Hockey Quebec. He works with several NHL players in the offseason.

Price still unsigned, league grieves Kovy contract, Rumours, Who will be Captain?

Habs Inside/Out - How quiet is it?
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36602

NHLPA to greive Kovy II rejection
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36601

Spector's Hockey - Rumours July 26, 2010
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1617:late-monday-nhl-rumor-update-for-july-26-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

Hockeybuzz.com - There will be a captain (by Steven Hindle)
http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Steven-Hindle/There-Will-Be-a-Captain-but-Who--Has-Your-Vote-Changed/139/29467

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Andrei Markov a Hab for Life? Not for me!

By Willey

Let me first start off by saying congratulations to Andrei Markov for officially becoming a Canadian Citizen. Being Canadian is a privilege and honor. Generally speaking Canadians are adored, respected and beloved worldwide and Markov personifies all of these traits to a T. So congrats to you Andrei!

---

After amassing 15 points in 43 games playing center for the Voskresensk Khimik, Markov was drafted 162nd overall in the sixth round of the 1998 entry draft. Despite being drafted as a center, both the Habs management and Moscow Dynamo saw more potential for Markov as a defenseman.

Very few players are able to successfully make this transition however, and Markov not only met this challenge but appeared to thrive netting 21 points in 38 games in his first season with Moscow.

He we are ten years later, and he is the longest serving current Hab and one of the most consistent and productive blue liners the team has ever had.

Since the 2006 campaign, Markov has seen his offensive production steadily increase. He has gone from the 20th most productive D-man in the NHL to 17th in 2007 to 6th in 2008 to 2nd in 2009.

Unfortunately Markov only played 40 games in 2010 otherwise we would have seen him in the top-five once again. Based on his 40 game pace, if healthy he would have finished as the third highest scoring blueliner with 62 points.

This top offensive blueliner is also the catalyst of one of the best power plays in the NHL, helping the Habs to have one of the top-five powerplay units in four of the past five seasons. This includes a stints as the No.1 ranked PP unit in both 2007 to 2008.

With this success comes a hefty price tag, however.

With a cap hit of $5.75 million per season, No.79 is the 11th highest paid d-man in the game, the second highest paid player on the team, and his contract comes to an end at the conclusion of the coming season.

So what does management do with one of the top-five offensive blueliners in the game? A player who is perhaps the best catalyst for any powerplay in the league, who can play 25-plus minutes a game and who can contain pretty much any forward in the game?

Does Pierre Gauthier offer him a contract extension? If so does he offer more money to retain his rights or do we get hometown discount? Or, do we go the unpopular route and consider trading this superstar?

Let’s be honest, there are no easy answers here.

If management decides that he should be re-signed then I, for one, will be happy.

Markov is one of those guys you simply cannot help but cheer for. He is a quiet leader who produces and gives it his all, year in and year out. He has embraced this city and our culture and the fans have reciprocated. That being said, I honestly think that the best thing for the future of the team would be to part with him right now.

Now before I get chastised for this thought process let me explain myself.

For starters, I like Markov and would love to see him retire as a Hab but the NHL is a business and sometimes in business, you have to make tough decisions.

So, with that in mind, here are the reasons I would let him go:


Reason No.1
For at least a year now, if not longer, the NHL rumour boards have been full of banter of Tomas Kaberle being traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Recent rumors have the Leaf headed to Philadelphia along with a mid-level prospect in exchange for James Van Riemsdyk (JVR) and Brayden Coburn.

I’ve even heard rumours that San Jose would be willing to part with Devon Setoguchi and a pick or that Los Angeles would be willing to exchange Jack Johnson.

Really?

Kaberle is a good offensive D-man but he has never led his team to a top ranked powerplay unit, he does not play against the oppositions best and in the past five years, only one time has he finished higher than the ninth ranked offensive D-man.

So I ask you this: If Kaberle could fetch this sort of return, what could Markov get?


Reason No.2
The Habs need cap flexibility.

The team has some major gaps that still need filling but simply do not have the cap space to do so. With the exception of Andrei Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot, our top six forwards are all 5’11 or smaller and our D-core is aging and slowing.

Gauthier has accomplished much this offseason but considering how tight the Habs are against the cap, his limitations are obvious.

Trading Markov could address both the need for size and cap space.

Hmmm...what sounds better? Markov on the blueline or JVR, Coburn and still $2 million in cap space?


Reason No.3
There was fear that this team simply could not win without Mo.79 in the lineup. That fear seems to have disappeared, however.

Somehow when Markov went down to injury in the second round of 2010 Playoffs courtesy of a Matt Cooke, the team pulled together and beat the defending cup champion Penguins in seven games.

They were able to achieve this because of a total group effort. That, coupled with the insertion of the AHL All-rookie team member and President’s Award recipient, PK Subban, was able to put the Habs over the edge.

PK is destined for top minutes with the Habs in the coming season and will surely have an impact as Markov recovers from injuries.

If the Canadiens can win without him in the lineup—and with his contract still counting towards the cap—imagine what they can do with the flexibility that his trade would bring?

Reason No.4
Markov currently makes $5.75 million a season and will be a hot commodity at season's end.

Will he be looking at Phaneuf type of money? Perhaps even using Timonen as a comparable?

Each of these guys make more than $6.0 million per year and it can be argued that neither is as important to their respective team as Markov is to the Habs.

My guess is that he will be looking for an increase.

We have a hard time juggling a $5.75 million per year contract so imagine trying to do the same with a bigger cap hit?

---

Like I said, I know my choice will be unpopular and I know that trading a top 10 D-man in NHL can backfire.

If I'm Gauthier I'm not going out to make a deal simply for the sake of making a deal, because having Markov on the team, injured or not, is a good thing.

If, however, the Kaberle rumours are in fact true then Gauthier would be foolish not to shop No.79 because this team could look a heck of a lot deeper in all positions if we completed a transaction of this magnitude.

Imagine a roster which looked like this:

Forwards:
Cammalleri-Plekanec-Kostitsyn
JVR-Gomez-Gionta
Pouliot-Eller-Lapierre
Moen-Boyd-Pyatt
Darche

Defense:
Spacek-Hamrlik
Coburn-Subban
Gorges-Gill
O’Byrne

Goalies:
Price
Auld

And, we'd still have more than $3 million in cap space available!

So what do you think? Keep Markov or trade him?

---
Willey was the shinning light among the wicked growing up as the lone Habs fan in Toronto. Pray to Holy Ghosts of the old forum and all shall be answered I was told, and just like that my family was transferred back to Montreal and away from the damned. Olé Olé Olé.

More Kovalchuk, Price, Bouillon, Trotter goes to KHL

Habs Inside/Out - Zee parties like its 1899
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36596

Frankie the Bull gives back
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36597

Trotter defects
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36598

Talking $$$ on the Lord's day
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36600

TGIM
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36601

RDS - Trotter quitterait vers l'Europe
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/303154.html

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Lapierre, Bowman, Bissonnette, Rumours, Pavelec a comparison for Price?

Habs Inside/Out - No hockey from Hickey
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36594

Hockey's hottest
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36593

Spector's Hockey - Rumours July 23, 2010
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1607:nhl-trade-and-free-agent-rumors-july-23-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4


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Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Whole Lot of IFs...

by Tyg

I’ve heard a lot of people, both online and in media outlets, point out that Carey Price will be under enormous scrutiny and pressure next season now that Halak has been shipped off to the Blues. To some extent, I can see that being true, but I’d like to submit that he’s not the only one.

Compared to Maxim Lapierre, Benoit Pouliot, and Andrei Kostitsyn, Price is probably the one sitting in the most comfy chair right now. The Habs are still confident in Price, and rightfully so, but what about the other three?


Maxim Lapierre
Max, to his credit, knows he didn’t do so well last year. Regardless of whether he was plagued by a nagging foot injury or not, he flat out underperformed during the regular season.

During the playoffs, however, he became a whole different Max. He skated around like his hair was on fire. He completed his checks, and he and his linemates spent an awful lot of time in the offensive zone, wearing down the opposing defense and even at times contributing with timely goals.

So which Max did the Habs just ink to a one-year deal?

It’s hard to say. Like all players after the season, he’s talking the talk. The nice thing about Max, though, is that he bleeds the bleu, blanc et rouge, something even Scott Gomez has noted and commented on. Max has also said that he didn’t want to get into a dispute with the Habs management which is why he re-signed for a rumoured $900k.

Frankly, it’s a great deal for the Canadiens in that they keep their cap-hit low and they keep Max hungry. He knows he has to prove himself next year—preferably achieving more than the 7G - 7A – 14P of last season. He’ll have to post numbers more in line with those of two years ago (15G – 13A – 28P) to achieve his dream of signing long-term with his home team. He’s facing being cut loose next year if he doesn’t and he knows it.

Fearless prediction: Max will step it up.

He might not be able to skate around like a maniac all the time, but I expect a more solid, consistent effort. If he does that, look for a multi-year deal that he’s been jonesing for, but hopefully not at too big a cap hit.


Benoit Pouliot
I’m not really sure how Pouliot and/or his agent managed to justify a near half mil pay increase to Pierre Gauthier, but regardless, the big winger did manage 15 goals and nine assists in his 39 games as a Hab during the regular season.

Where he disappointed was in the final run to securing the playoff berth, and in the playoffs themselves, where he notched only a couple of assists. Like Max, Pouliot is also planning on achieving more next season and reports indicate that he’s working out regularly, trying to gain some weight.

In game 2 versus Pittsburgh, Pouliot was effective in using his speed and his big body to hammer the Penguins into the boards, and his driving to the net resulted in a beauty secondary assist on Gionta’s goal. He claims to have learned a lot during the playoff run, and since he’s only really logged about a half-season in Montreal, I feel it would be unfair not to give this kid a chance.

He was, afterall, dropped into a team that was still learning to skate together. Hardly a cohesive unit that could simply envelope and nurture him, and we have to remember that at 23 he is still young.

Now that the team itself has defined itself as hard working and gritty, Pouliot will have to subscribe to that mantra in order to earn a new contract again next year. Like Lapierre, he’s on a short lease, albeit a fancier one.

At times Pouliot has proven himself a speedy, effective winger with a big body who is hard to knock off the puck—something the Habs desperately need. Since the organization can’t afford to replace him this year, the coming season will be his shot to prove himself.

Fearless prediction: Pouliot’s young enough that his potential, with continued effort from him and proper mentoring from some of the team leaders and coaching staff, should start to blossom.

If that happens, he can and should be a keeper.


Andrei Kostitsyn
He’s too inconsistent for my liking. He has poor defensive awareness and lacks “hockey smarts”. Remember that soft dump during the playoffs that led directly to a goal? I also remember the hat trick, but that’s the exception with AK, and not the rule.

The fact is that his offensive output has declined since the 2007-2008 season. I know he was injured for part of last season—heck, who wasn’t—and that issues with his brother may have proven detrimental to his game play. But either way I expect this to be the last year that Kostitsyn is a Canadien.

The problem with Andrei is that he’s either red hot or he’s stone cold. There seems to be no middle ground. I’m not sure why his strong potential has failed to pan out. I don’t pretend to be an analyst, just a Habs fan, and I know that when I watched him play during the playoffs, something was missing for me.

He could have used a healthy dose of Cammy’s or Gio’s rah-rah team spirit maybe, but his heart didn’t seem to be in it. Yeah, he had the hat trick, but other than that he seemed invisible to me.

For the output he’s producing as a top six winger, he’s grossly overpaid. If he continues without improvement, and Pouliot and Eller—or any of the other kids—manage to contribute effectively, I expect he’ll likely be moved during the season.

Even if Andrei does get hot, the Habs will not likely want to increase his salary accordingly. It would be much easier to let him walk after next season, or trade him when his value is high, and get a more consistently producing UFA. That or let one of the cheaper kids fight for his spot on the wing.

Fearless prediction: He’ll blow hot and cold, and get traded mid-season.

If I’m wrong, you get to point and laugh at me and say “I told you so!”

---
Tyg used to frequent the old Forum during her early childhood when her father was a corporate season ticket holder, where she fell in love with Larry Robinson, so her lifelong obsession with the Habs is entirely his fault.

Around the League: Ilya Kovalchuk, What's the right Price? The two Randys

by Kamal Panesar

Kovalchuk-Gate
So, Lou Lamoriello is fallible after all!

In what is quickly becoming the Matt Sundin story of this off season, super sniper Ilya Kovalchuk still remains unsigned.

Well, that is not exactly the case since he did have a deal with the Devils which was quickly rejected by the NHL.

This has been discussed ad infinitum but in case you've been hiding under a rock, Lou Lamariello—the Devils' GM—signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a $102 Million, 17-year contract.

The contract was done-in by the last five years of the deal which saw Kovalchuk paid $500K per season taking him from age 39-44.

The combination of salary and age range of the last five years made it pretty clear to the league that neither side had any intention of Kovalchuk actually playing out the term of his deal. As such, the NHL deemed their move was circumventing the CBA and rejected the deal on that basis.

So what now?

Well, there are two well talked about options: The Devils and Kovalchuk can file a grievance with the NHLPA to try an dispute the rejection, or they can try to rewrite the contract.

Speaking with my colleague Michelle Kenneth (@MichelleKenneth)—the Devils beat writer—on Inside Hockey, she tells me that the Devils and Kovalchuk camps have always wanted to make a deal.

Moreover, she believes that they will rewrite the contract to something more palatable for the league.

If I was a betting man, I'd say there should be a new Kovalchuk announcement within the next week.


What is the right Price?
In other news, Habs' goaltender, Carey Price, still remains unsigned. This is puzzling to a lot of people since it is pretty clear that he is the Canadiens No.1 goaltender going forward.

As such, I think people are starting to get impatient and perhaps even a little nervous.

As a restricted free agent, Price could be tabled an offer sheet, but I think that is an unlikely scenario.

No, I think that GM Pierre Gauthier simply wanted to get all his other ducks in a row before really getting down to business with the Price negotiations.

Right now, Price is the only player left for Gauthier to sign before training camp and he has approximately $4.7 million left to sign him. That should be plenty of room.

I think part of the hold up is likely term versus dollars i.e. Price likely wants more term and more dollars, whereas I wouldn't be surprised if the Canadiens want the opposite.

At the end of the day, the deal will get done because it has to. I could very easily see a one to three year deal at around $2-3 million a season.

That being said, Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu), of the Daily Hab-It, makes a great case for Price on a one-year deal.

Hard to argue with his logic.


The Two Randys
This week, Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier announced the hiring of Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur as head and assistant coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs.

For those who don't know these guys, get ready to be surprised. Cunneyworth has been an assistant coach—to the Thrashers—and has spent the last nine seasons coaching in the AHL including seven seasons with Rochester where he put up some impressive numbers and even won AHL coach of the year.

While most were upset with the departure of Guy Boucher form Hamilton, I can tell you that Cunneyworth will be a worthy replacement for him—no pun intended—and should do a good job of developing the Canadiens' prospects.

Cunneyworth knows what it takes to win and has an excellent track record of developing young, raw talent in the AHL. His presence should help the likes of Danny Kristo, Louis Leblanc, Jarred Tinordi, and others.

For people who are still upset about Boucher leaving for Tampa, know this: Cunneyworth is not a step down in coaching, for the Bulldogs.

The other Randy that came on board with Cunneyworth, is Randy Ladouceur. Older Habs addicts will remember him from his playing days with the Hartford Whalers in the 80's.

More recently, however, Ladouceur has spent a truckload of time as an assistant coach in the NHL with Carolina and Toronto, as well as plying his trade in the OHL.

A seasoned assistant, Ladouceur has seen a ton of game situations, both as a player and a coach, and his experience should prove invaluable for the young Habs prospects.

The combination of these two Randys should help the Canadiens player development train to roll in the right direction.

Suivant next! Kovy-gate continues, Bergeron doesn't like Anglo coach, GM must take team approach

Habs Inside/Out - Suivant! Next!
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36591

Has Kovalchuk signed yet?
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36592

Spector's Hockey - News and Rumours - July 22, 2010
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1599:nhl-rumor-news-july-22-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

TSN - A rightful rejection?
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=328127

The Hockey News - NHL GM's must take team approach
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/34565-Top-Shelf-NHL-GMs-must-take-team-approach.html

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kovalchuk deal rejected by NHL, Price talks, what Kovalchuck deal means for NHL, and more...

Habs Inside/Out - Habs Sign Desjardins and Russell
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36585

Price talks!
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36587

Drop the puck, already!
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36588

Not so fast there, Lou!
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36589

Let the lawyerin' begin
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36590

RDS - CH: Desjardins et Russell sous contrat
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/302885.html

The Hockey News - What Kovalchuk's rejected contract means to the NHL
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/34561-Campbells-Cuts-What-Kovalchuks-rejected-contract-means-to-the-NHL.html

TSN - NHL rejects Kovalchuk deal
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=328025

Spector's Hockey - The latest of Kovalchuk's contract
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1593:the-latest-on-kovalchuks-contract-status-july-21-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Official Press Release - Habs name Randy Cunneyworth Head Coach of the Bulldogs

RANDY CUNNEYWORTH NAMED HEAD COACH OF THE HAMILTON BULLDOGS
Randy Ladouceur appointed assistant coach with the Bulldogs

MONTREAL (July 20, 2010) – Montreal Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier announced today that the club has named Randy Cunneyworth Head Coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. The Canadiens also announced the hiring of Randy Ladouceur as the Bulldogs’ assistant coach.

“We were looking for a strong leader to coach our farm team in Hamilton. In Randy Cunneyworth, we get an individual who knows the game inside out and who brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, to the table. Together, Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur combine for over 20 years of coaching experience at the professional level. We are extremely pleased that they have joined the Canadiens’ organization”, said Gauthier.

Randy Cunneyworth was an assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers over the past two seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10). He previously spent nine seasons with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans, including seven seasons as head coach from 2000 to 2008. During his tenure with the Americans, he led his team to three 40-plus win seasons, two 100-plus point seasons and six playoff berths. He left Rochester as the longest serving coach in franchise history and ranks second on the club’s all-time wins list. During the 2004-05 season, Cunneyworth led the Americans to a 51-19-4-6 record (112 points), en route to the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the league’s top team in the regular season standings. That season, Cunneyworth would earn the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Trophy as the AHL’s Coach of the Year. He also reached the AHL’s Calder Cup Finals with Rochester as a player/assistant coach in 1999-00, earning the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award that same season (sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey). He played a total of 273 career AHL games with Rochester and Springfield, recording 270 points (166 goals, 104 assists) and helping Rochester win the Calder Cup in 1983.

A 49-year old native of Etobicoke, ON, Randy Cunneyworth played 15 seasons in the NHL between 1981 and 1999. An eighth round selection, 167th overall, by the Buffalo Sabres in 1980, the left winger played 866 career
regular season games, suiting up with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Hartford, Chicago and Ottawa. He registered 414 points (189 goals, 225 assists) and totaled 1,280 penalty minutes. He served as the Ottawa Senators captain for four seasons (1994 to 1998) and reached the Stanley Cup Finals with the Sabres in 1999.

Randy Ladouceur, 50, served as an assistant coach for 10 seasons in the NHL, including eight with the Carolina Hurricanes (and Hartford Whalers), from 1996 to 2004, and two with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Last season, he was an assistant coach for the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs. He was also Head Coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals in 2005-06.

A native of Brockville, ON, Ladouceur enjoyed an NHL career that spanned over 14 seasons, from 1982 to 1996, with Detroit, Hartford and Anaheim. The defenseman played 931 career NHL games, registering 156 points (30 goals, 126 assists) and 1,322 penalty minutes.

Official Press Release - Habs Sign Cederick Desjardins

CANADIENS SIGN CÉDRICK DESJARDINS TO A ONE-YEAR DEAL

MONTREAL (July 20, 2010) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of goaltender Cédrick Desjardins to a one-year, two-way contract for the 2010-11 season. As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Desjardins, 24, led all AHL goaltenders in 2009-10 with a 2.00 goals- against average in 47 games. He posted a 29-9-4 record, finishing fourth in the league in wins, second in shutouts (6) and sixth with a .919 save percentage.

Desjardins helped the Bulldogs reach the AHL Western Conference Finals, while posting a 6-4-0 record in 10 playoff games. He played in the AHL All-Star Classic in 2010 and was named to the AHL Second All-Star Team. His 29 wins set a franchise record for the most in a season by a Bulldogs goaltender. He also set a franchise record with the longest shutout streak by a Bulldogs goaltender (212:37 mins).

The 6-foot, 194-pound goaltender played 92 career regular season games with the Bulldogs. He posted a 41-26-6 record along with 10 shutouts. Desjardins won the Kelly Cup with the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones in 2007-08 (Playoff MVP), and the Memorial Cup with the Quebec Remparts in 2006.

A native of Edmundston, New Brunswick, Desjardins joined the Canadiens as a free agent on July 3, 2008.

Official Press Release - Habs Sign Ryan Russell

CANADIENS SIGN FORWARD RYAN RUSSELL TO A ONE-YEAR CONTRACT

MONTREAL (July 20, 2010) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of forward Ryan Russell to a one-year, two-way contract for the 2010-11 season. As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Russell, 23, played in 74 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2009-10. He finished sixth on the team with 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists), and led the team with three shorthanded goals. Russell also maintained a plus-16 differential, added 149 shots on goal and served eight penalty minutes. He added 12 points (7-5-12) in 19 playoff games, while posting a plus-5 differential.

The 5-foot-10, 174-pound center has totaled 79 points (41 goals, 38 assists) in 178 career regular season games in the AHL with Hamilton. Russell also played 12 games in 2007-08 with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, collecting 10 points (6-4-10) and contributing to the Cyclones’ Kelly Cup Championship that year.

A native of Caroline, Alberta, Russell was selected in the seventh round, 211th overall by the New York Rangers at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Canadiens in a transaction with the Rangers on May 31, 2007.

Disappointment in Habland as Simon Gagne joins the Tampa Bay Lightning

by Willey

With the acquisition of Andrej Meszaros, Sean O’Donnell and Nikolai Zherdev by the Philadelphia Flyers the writing was on the wall that NHL veteran Simon Gagne’s days were numbered as part of the Flyers organization.

As word circulated that Gagne could be had via trade, fans everywhere began to dream of his return back home to Quebec.

Simply put, Gagne possess’ all the attributes that the Canadiens require:
He is a top 6 forward on any team in the NHL. He is big at 6’1, 200lbs. He is a leader and has experience at both the NHL and International level. He has had success pretty much every year he has played and most importantly, he is a francophone.

Yes, I said it.

We need a French superstar on this team!

Before I continue let me just say that I know. I am sure you are just as fed up of hearing it. This debate has been argued on a near constant basis since I was child, almost to the point that my ears bleed.

The francophone media waging some sort of personal agenda and the anglophone media counterattacking and feeding off the French with the supposed higher moral ground.

Trust me I have heard every argument in the book for both sides and most of the time all I think is, "Give me a break and get over it!"

Does it matter whether a person is from Quebec or the rest of Canada or Finland or Timbuktu?

Unfortunately, for many, the answer is yes.

As a general rule, Quebecers are not hockey fans but rather fans of the Montreal Canadiens. In a country where the majority crave anything hockey, Quebec evolves around anything bleu-blanc-rouge.

Walk through the streets, walk through any shopping complex or simply look at the cars driving through the province and what do you see? Habs, Habs, Habs.

Not only is Quebec a distinct society but we are a province that is almost culturally defined by Le Club de Hockey Canadien.

Even as August approaches, much of the water cooler banter continues to circle around what is or is not happening with our beloved Habs.

Yet despite this obsession and love for all things Habs what you do not see is a francophone superstar to whom the average francophone can look up to.

Maurice Richard, Georges Vezinas, Jean Beliveau, Jacques Plante, Guy Lafleur, Henri Richard, Yvon Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Patrick Roy, Maxime Lapierre.

Hmmm...does something here seem out of place ?

When you combine a winning tradition of dominant francophone players with a management team who repeatedly encourages fans that a superstar francophone is on the way, yet ultimately fails acquire said player, it leads to discontent.

So when a player of Gagne’s ability who has all the attributes that this team requires and craves is made available—and when that player is ultimately had for a No. 6 defenseman and a 4th round pick—you do it.

Will his acquisition ensure Stanley Cup success? No, it won't.
Will his acquisition sell more tickets? No, they're already sold out.

You can even argue that Gagne is injury prone, that we need to give the kids a chance, that his $5.25 million contract puts us over the cap or that Gagne didn’t or wouldn’t waive his NTC to come to Montreal.

There are those who’ll say that he is on the downside of a career and would ultimately only fail under the pressure of playing in front of family and friends.

None of these points matter.

Pierre Boivin and his management team have re-built a brand in this province and have rejuvenated an organization that was in darkness for many years.

The Bell Center is completely sold out and when I last called there was a 3 year waiting list for tickets. Habs merchandise can be seen across the province and you generally cannot walk more than 2 blocks in this city without seeing a Habs sweater.

The fans have responded and they have all done their parts. In return they ask for one simple thing. Bring us a French Superstar!

The stars were aligned and that player was available.

He had an expiring contract coming from a team who could not fit him in their salary structure. He could have been picked up for little more than a fringe player and a late round pick.

He was a perfect fit for either our first or second line and for the fans alike but now he is a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning instead of the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge.

---

Willey was the shinning light among the wicked growing up as the lone Habs fan in Toronto. Pray to Holy Ghosts of the old forum and all shall be answered I was told, and just like that my family was transferred back to Montreal and away from the damned. Olé Olé Olé.

Deal with the Devils, Kovalchuk, Gagne, Price, Markov, Pyatt, Engels, Basu

HabsAddict.com - Top-10 Canadiens Captains of All-Time
http://www.habsaddict.com/2010/07/top-10-montreal-canadiens-captains-of.html

Habs Inside/Out - Deal with the Devils
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36583

All Kovy II, all the time
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36584

The Daily Hab-it - Call me an apologist
http://dailyhab-it.blogspot.com/2010/07/call-me-apologist.html

Spector's Hockey - Trade & Free Agent rumours - July 20, 2010
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1587:nhl-trade-a-free-agent-rumors-july-20-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

Hockeybuzz.com - On Price, Gagne and Frolov, Roster set, Markov and Gionta for Captain
http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Eric-Engels/On-Price-Gagne-and-Frolov-Roster-set-Markov-and8230/82/29419

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The Top-10 Montreal Canadiens Captains of All Time

by Kamal Panesar

The Montreal Canadiens are the oldest and most storied franchise in hockey history. With so much history and tradition behind this great organization, the person who is chosen as captain of the team must take on more responsibility than any other captain in the league.

Not only do they have to lead in the dressing room, but they have to be an ambassador to the city and the community, and must exemplify the kind of character and intestinal fortitude that blends them seamlessly into the fabric of Canadiens lore.

Over the 100 years that this organization has been in existence, there have been 27 different individuals to wear the C, and the captaincy has changed hands on 31 separate occasions—if you include the year that Guy Carbonneau and Chris Chelios shared the captaincy in 1989/90, as one occurrence.

With the announcement that Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin will appoint the team's next captain this fall, I thought it was a good time to take a look at the top 10 Montreal Canadiens captains of all-time.

The following is not my top ten list, however, as I conducted a survey of readers on Hockeybuzz.com and HabsAddict.com to find out who their consensus top 10 picks were.

Once the comments were in, I summed up the number of votes—per first through tenth position—for each player, and assigned a point value to each—ten points for number one overall and one point for number ten overall.

The following is the list of winners in descending order.


10. Saku Koivu - Captain Courageous
Captain from 1999 - 2009
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 13

Regular season:
GP: 792
Points: 641

Playoffs:
GP: 54
Points: 48


The Skinny:
Despite his smallish stature, Koivu was never one to shy away from a battle on or off the ice. The man whose heart was as big as the city lifted the torch and carried to through the dark years of the 90’s and early 2000’s.

Unlike most of the other Canadiens' captains, Koivu did not have the fortune to be working for a team of competent managers and, instead, played for too many squads that were average at best.

Despite the team’s lack of success during his years, Koivu maintained the link to the organization's rich history by playing with a winner’s determination year in and year out. But nothing exemplified his character more than his battle with cancer in 2001.

Known as Captain Courageous, Koivu inspired those around him by his sheer will, determination, and unwillingness to quit.

Koivu won the Masterton trophy–for the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey–in 2002 and the Clancy trophy–for the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice–in 2007.


9. Serge Savard - The Senator
Captain from 1979 - 1981
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 15

Regular season:
GP: 917
Points: 412

Playoffs:
GP: 123
Points: 68


The Skinny:
One of the key members of “The Big Three”–including Guy Lapointe and Larry Robinson–Savard displayed on-ice poise and vision. Known for his spin-o-rama move as much as for his strength of character, Savard was a natural choice to succeed Yvan Cournoyer as the team’s captain in 1979.

Whereas Savard's offensive prowess was on during his first few seasons, a series of leg injuries caused him to become more of a defensive-defenseman only a few years into his playing career.

Savard won eight Stanley Cups, including four-straight from 1976 to 1979, one Conn Smythe trophy in 1969, and the Masterton trophy in 1979.


8. Guy Carbonneau - Guy, Guy, Guy!
Captain from 1989 - 1994
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 13

Regular season:
GP: 912
Points: 547

Playoffs:
GP: 161
Points: 73


The Skinny:
Crafted in the mold of his NHL mentor, Bob Gainey, Carbonneau picked up the mantle of defensive specialist and ran with it. Learning from and winning the Stanley Cup alongside Gainey, Carbonneau learned how to lead while shutting down the opposition's best offensive players.

Much more outspoken than Gainey, Carbo did not hesitate to let a teammate know how he felt and used that fiery style on the ice to help the Canadiens with their 23rd and 24th Stanley Cups in 1986 and 1993, respectively.

Carbonneau has two Stanley Cup rings and three Selke Trophies (1988, 1989, 1992).


7. Henri Richard - The Pocket Rocket
Captain from 1971 – 1975
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 20

Regular season:
GP: 1256
Points: 1046

Playoffs:
GP: 180
Points: 129


The Skinny:
Fearless. That is the best word to describe Henri Richard. Originally known as just Maurice Richard’s younger brother, the diminutive 5'7" “Pocket Rocket” had to fight most of the enforcers around the league to show what he was made of. Even though he was smaller, Richard gave just as good as he got and earned the respect of players around the league.

It was Richard’s fearless attitude that made him a key contributor in his 11 Stanley Cup victories, as he crashed the net and won battles in the corners.

Richard’s 11 Stanley Cup rings give him more championships than any other athlete in North American team sports history.


6. Bob Gainey - The Defensive Specialist
Captain from 1981 – 1989
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 16

Regular season:
GP: 1160
Points: 501

Playoffs:
GP: 182
                                                       Points: 73

The Skinny:
Known as being one of the best defensive forwards to ever play the game, Gainey created a new role within the forward ranks of the NHL. Gainey’s style was so revolutionary that the NHL created a new end-of-season trophy to honor it–the Selke Trophy–that he won the first four years it was awarded (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981).

Gainey’s warrior mentality inspired those around him, and they fed off of his “never quit” attitude exemplified by his insistence on playing through pain and injuries. Gainey delivered an inspirational speech during the 1986 season that teammates credit for turning the team around. The result was the team's 23rd Stanley Cup victory at season’s end.


5. Yvan Cournoyer - The Roadrunner
Captain from 1975 – 1979
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 16

Regular season:
GP: 968
Points: 863

Playoffs:
GP: 147
Points: 127


The Skinny:
Speed, speed, speed: That is what Yvan Cournoyer was all about.

Nicknamed “The Roadrunner”, Cournoyer played a mostly limited role in his first few years with the Canadiens as they were winning the cup in ’65 and ’66.
However, “The Roadrunner” would become a key cog in the Canadiens lineup, as he won 10 Stanley Cups in 16 seasons.

Named as captain of the Canadiens in 1975-76, Cournoyer led the team to four straight Stanley Cup victories from 1976 through 1979.

Cournoyer also won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP, in 1973.


4. Maurice Richard - The Rocket
Captain from 1956 – 1960
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 18

Regular season:
GP: 978
Points: 965

Playoffs:
GP: 133
Points: 126


The Skinny:
Known as much for the fiery look in his eyes as his prolific goal-scoring abilities, Richard’s career with the Canadiens anchored a period where the team won eight Stanley Cups spanning three decades.

Elected as captain of the Habs in 1956, Richard used his considerable abilities to lead the team to four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1956 to 1960.

Richard won a total of eight Stanley Cups over the course of his playing career (1944, 1946, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960), as well as the Hart Trophy in 1947.


3. Émile Bouchard - Butch
Captain from 1948 – 1956
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 15

Regular season:
GP: 785
Points: 193

Playoffs:
GP: 113
                                                       Points: 32

The Skinny:
One of the best defensive defensemen to play the game during the 40’s and 50’s, Bouchard was as imposing on the ice–he was 6'2" and 205 lbs–as he was calm and jovial off of it.

Bouchard wore the ‘C’ for eight seasons and helped lead the Canadiens four Stanley cup wins (1944, 1946, 1953, and 1956) over 12 years.


2. Hector Blake - Toe
Captain from 1940 - 1948
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 13

Regular season:
GP: 569
Points: 527

Playoffs:
GP: 57
Points: 62


The Skinny:
While many know Blake as the coach who led the Canadiens to eight Stanley cups in 13 years, Hector “Toe” Blake was a key component of “The Punch Line” with Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard, and helped lead the Canadiens to Stanley Cup wins in 1944 and 1946.

Blake was known for his gritty character and fiery determination and always led by example on the ice scoring the Stanley Cup winning goals in both ’44 and ’46. Blake won the 1939 Hart Trophy and the 1946 Lady Bing Trophy.


1. Jean Beliveau - Le Gros Bill
Captain from 1961 - 1971
Number of seasons with the Canadiens: 20

Regular season:
GP: 1125
Points: 1219

Playoffs:
GP: 162
Points: 176

The Skinny:
Winner of the Art Ross Trophy (1956), two Hart Memorial Trophies (1956, 1964), one Conn Smythe Trophy (1965), and ten Stanley Cups, “Le Gros Bill” embodies the class and character that has always graced the Montreal Canadiens organization.

A true gentlemen, Beliveau always carried himself with dignity on and off the ice and has become the standard that all captains since him are held to.


So tell me what you think about this consensus list. Do you agree? Who would you add/remove from this list? Who are your top-10?

Monday, July 19, 2010

How much for Price? New strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard, Rumours

Habs Inside/Out - Honey, I shrank the assistant GM!
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36578

Price at what price?
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36581

Pierre Allard new strength and conditioning coach
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36582

Perspective on Price
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36583

RDS - CH : Pierre Allard succède à Goldenberg
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/302757.html

Spector's Hockey - NHL rumours - Monday July 19, 2010
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1583:nhl-rumors-monday-july-19-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Who are the Top 10 Canadiens Captains of all time?

I hope you're all enjoying your weekends folks! I myself am running out the door to a bachelor party and will be in radio silence till tomorrow evening.

That being said, I need your help:

I was just given an assigment by the Bleacher Report to make a slideshow, for NHL.com, of the top 10 Canadiens Captains of all time.

So, what I wanted to do was get YOUR thoughts. You tell me what YOUR top 10 list is of Canadiens Captains, in order, and tell me what for each.

What I wil do is put together a consensus top ten list based on your feedback. So fire away!

Enjoy your weekend folks! I'll check back in on Sunday eve...if I survive! ;-)

Citizen Markov, Carriere as AGM, Cammalleri, Price, a captain this season?

Habs Inside/Out - Markov's a Canadian, Lightning Strikes Brisebois
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36573

Carriere joins Canadiens
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36574

Desjardins, Russell sign
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36576

Cammalleri likes Price
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36577

RDS - Le CH Aura Un Captain en 2010-2011
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/302675.html

Larry Carrière succède à J. Brisebois
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/302686.html

TSN - Cammalleri Backs Price
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=327639

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Official Press Release - Larry Carriere Becomes Assistant GM

MONTREAL CANADIENS ANNOUNCE THE APPOINTMENT OF LARRY CARRIÈRE AS ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER/PLAYER PERSONNEL

MONTREAL (July 16, 2010) – Montreal Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the appointment of Larry Carrière as Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel. His nomination is effective immediately.

“We are extremely happy to announce the appointment of Larry Carrière as Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel. Larry brings with him an important background in the NHL in several key areas such as recruitment, player evaluation and player development. He will be a key contributor to our hockey management team”, said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Larry Carrière was a member of the Washington Capitals organization since 2004 as pro scout. He spent the previous two decades with the Buffalo Sabres, handling the duties of Assistant General Manager from 1995 to 2004 (including a brief stint as General Manager in 1997). With the Sabres, he also worked as Director of Player Evaluation (1993 to 1995), as well as amateur scout (1983 to 1993).

“I am very pleased to join the Montreal Canadiens organization. Having grown up in the Montreal boroughs of Parc-Extension and Ville St-Laurent, I am grateful for this opportunity to bring my experience to the Canadiens. I have a great deal of respect for the tradition of the organization, and the passion of its fan base. I look forward to this new challenge, and will do my best to contribute to the success of the Canadiens for many years to come ", said Larry Carrière.

During his tenure with the Capitals, the team won the President’s Cup in 2010, and the AHL affiliate team, the Hershey Bears, captured the Calder Cup on three separate occasions (2010, 2009 and 2006). While with the Sabres organization in the position of Assistant General Manager, the Rochester Americans also won the Calder Cup in 1996.

A native of Montreal, Larry Carrière played seven seasons in the NHL between 1972 and 1980. Selected in the second round, 25th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 1972, he played 367 career regular season games with Buffalo, Atlanta, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Toronto. He registered 90 points (16 goals, 74 assists) and totaled 462 penalty minutes. He reached the Stanley Cup Finals with the Sabres in 1975.

Larry Carrière, 58, holds a Bachelor of Commerce and earned a Major in Business Administration from Loyola College in Montreal (1972). He also attended Michigan University in Business Management (1981).

Mikko Koivu, Basu on Koivu contract, free agent rumous, how much for Price?

Habs Inside/Out - The other Kaptain K strikes it rich
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36571

Friday roundup
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36572

Daily Hab-It - Gauthier vindicated by Koivu deal?
http://dailyhab-it.blogspot.com/2010/07/gauthier-vindicated-by-koivu-deal.html

RDS - Le CH s'entend avec Alexander Avtsin
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/302614.html

Spector's Hockey - NHL free agent news - July 16, 2010
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1574:nhl-free-agent-news-july-16-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

The Hockey News - How much should Habs pay Carey Price?
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/34508-THNcom-Blog-How-much-should-Habs-Carey-Price-earn.html

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quick Hit: Habs Sign David Desharnais and Alexander Avtsin

In two more moves intended to boost the Canadiens farm system, the Habs have come to terms with diminutive forward David Desharnais and offensive powerhouse, Alexander Avtsin.

Avtsin was signed to a three-year deal while Desharnais agreed to a one-year two-way contract.

While Avtsin is expected to make the jump to the NHL this season or next, Desharnais remains a bit of a long shot because the Canadiens ranks are already filled with small, quick, skilled forwards.

Look for Desharnais to get a chance when injuries befall the team this year.

For the Desharnais press release click here.

For the Avtsin press release click here.

So what do you think about these signings? What are the chances Desharnais gets a shot on the team? Will Avtsin be the offensive force that people are expecting him to be and if so will he make the team this year or next year?

Official Press Release - Habs Sign Alexander Avtsin

CANADIENS SIGN FORWARD ALEXANDER AVTSIN TO A THREE-YEAR CONTRACT

MONTREAL (July 15, 2010) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of forward Alexander Avtsin to a three-year contract (2010-11 to 2012-13). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Avtsin, 19, played 30 games in 2009-10 with the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo. The 6’2’’, 188 lbs right winger registered 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists), with 10 penalty minutes.

In 2008-09, Avtsin recorded 110 points (56 goals, 54 assists) in 76 regular season games with the Moscow Dynamo-2 (Russia-3), while also serving 130 penalty minutes.

A native of Moscow, Avtsin was selected in the fourth round, 109th overall by the Canadiens at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Avtsin participated in the Canadiens’ development camp in July 2009 and this past camp in July 2010.

Official Press Release - Canadiens sign David Desharnais to 1-year Deal

CANADIENS SIGN FORWARD DAVID DESHARNAIS TO A ONE-YEAR CONTRACT

MONTREAL (July 15, 2010) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of forward David Desharnais to a one-year, two-way contract for the 2010-11 season. As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Desharnais, 23, played in six games with the Canadiens in 2009-10, including his first career NHL game on November 25 against the Penguins, in Pittsburgh. He registered one assist and had two shots on goal. The Quebec City native led the Bulldogs in scoring last season (tied for 4th overall in the AHL) with 78 points (27 goals, 51 assists) in only 60 games. He also led the team with 11 powerplay goals, maintained a +30 plus/minus differential, added 155 shots on goal and served 34 penalty minutes.

Desharnais has totaled 139 points (52 goals, 87 assists) in 148 career regular season games in the AHL with Hamilton (141 games) and Bridgeport (7 games).

In his first full season at the professional hockey level in 2007-2008, Desharnais led the Cincinnati Cyclones to their first ECHL championship. The centreman led the ECHL in points (9-24-33) and assists (24). During the regular season, the Quebec City native registered a league-leading 106 points in 68 games (29 goals, 77 helpers) while posting a +38 plus/minus differential. Desharnais was named the ECHL Rookie of the Year and voted to the league’s All-Star Team in 2008.

Fehr, Price's comparables, Markov a citizen, Desharnais contract, rumours

Habs Inside/Out - Donald Fehr to head NHLPA?
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36566

Carey's comparables
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36567

Markov becoming a Canadian citizen
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/36568

RDS - Markov deviendra citoyen Canadien
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/302596.html

Nouveau Pacte pout David Desharnais
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/302570.html

Spector's Hockey - Kovalchuk and Gagne July 15
http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1565:latest-on-kovalchuk-a-gagne-july-15-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

Hockeybuzz.com - Canadiens in year-2 of massive transition (by Eric Engels)
http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Eric-Engels/Canadiens-in-Year-2-of-Massive-Transition/82/29308

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We're Still Waiting on Carey Price, but Pierre Gauthier isn’t.

by Willey

If anyone has been more critical towards Canadiens management in recent years than me, I'd like to meet them.

After years of disappointment and of poor decision making both in amateur and pro scouting alike, I saw very little light at the end of the tunnel.

This frustration was even further compounded when it was announced that Bob Gainey would be stepping down as GM and Vice-President and replaced with Pierre Gauthier (PG).

Gauthier has a track record of poor decision making and a stigma of the inability to engineer a Stanley Cup contender. Knowing the keys to the building were being handed over to him without a search for perhaps a more qualified individual was not only mind boggling but outright foolish.

Yes, the team showed the fans a glimmer of hope with their playoff performance but the holes of the team still needed to be addressed. As a whole the Habs needed to get bigger, stronger, faster, younger and eliminate some of the remaining bad apples all while facing some harsh cap restrictions.

Was PG the right man for this after being molded by Bob Gainey for 7 years?

The first order of business was in deciding the future of the organization by siding with one of our young goaltenders. Despite the negative backlash which has been expressed by both the media and fans alike, PG stood his ground, made his decision, and we all see the final outcome.

Whether you agree or not with the decision to part ways with Halak instead of Price is no longer the issue. The problem—which has been the same issue this team has faced for many years—still remains: we need to get bigger.

Gone are the likes of Dominic Moore, Glen Metropolit, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Sergei Kostitsyn, Paul Mara and obviously our playoff hero, Jaroslav Halak.

PG has parted ways with six players. Together they averaged 29.2 years of age, were 5’11 ½ and weight in at 193 lbs.

In their place our line-up should now feature the likes of Lars Eller, Dustin Boyd, Alex Auld, Pernell Karl Subban, and Ryan White. A group of kids who will insert energy, youthful exuberance, a high skill set and best of all an average of 23.4 years of age, 6’1 ½ and 202 lbs.

The Canadiens now have 13 forwards, 7 D-men and a goalie under contract and are now simply waiting for Carey to sign on the dotted line.

With pretty much an entire roster set and $4.2 million in cap space remaining, our horrors are not living up to expectation and management is now sitting in a pretty good situation.

Is PG finished? I certainly hope not because there is still some unfinished business.

Just for fun, I want to give you my wish list of what I would do going forward.

Unlike most armchair GM’s I do not see a need to completely overhaul this team because that's already been done.

We simply need some tweaks and the number one issue to address is still size and toughness.

So here goes:

As much as we would all love to see Roman Hamrlik's $5.5 million contract buried in the minors, it just won’t happen. The Habs as an organization take pride in how they do business and won't do something that they see as being a bit subversive. So dealing with Hamrlik is the number one priority.

SO what to do? I know what I am going to suggest is not going to be overly popular, but here it is:

First: You trade Hamrlik to Edmonton for Sheldon Souray (assuming both players agree).

Analysis: This would basically provide us with a $100k cap savings and would leave us with a UFA D-man coming off the books in 2012 instead of 2011 and would basically replace 2 players: Hamrlik and Bergeron (because of his shot).

I will be honest here and say that I have always been a fan of Souray. His $5.4 contract is harsh but he’d provide a booming shot from the point and on the PP and some much needed toughness to clear the front of the net: likely our number one defensive issue.

Second: You sign Evgeny Artyukhin to a 2-year $1.7 million contract ($850k per year).

Analysis: We need a guy with size who hits everything, on the 4th line. He would not cost much and would provide that missing element of size an and meanness.

Your team going into the 2010-11 season would look something like:

Cammalleri-Plekanec-Kostitsyn
Pouliot-Gomez-Gionta
Boyd-Eller-Lapierre
Moen-Pyatt-Artyukhin
White-Darche

Markov-Spacek
Souray-Subban
Gill-Gorges
O’Byrne

Not only would we essentially have the same nucleus of players going forward but we’d be younger, a lot bigger, a lot meaner, and IMO, a lot more competitive. Most importantly, however, we'd still have the cap flexibility going forward.

So let's hear what you think. I'm sure you'll disagree.

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Willey was the shinning light among the wicked growing up as the lone Habs fan in Toronto. Pray to Holy Ghosts of the old forum and all shall be answered I was told, and just like that my family was transferred back to Montreal and away from the damned. Olé Olé Olé.