Monday, October 31, 2011

New Sunday Shinny, Habs wait for Sens, Leafs to honour Sundin, Rumours and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - The Sunday Shinny - Oct 30, 2011 - Pearn, Ladouceur, Gomez, Markov, Weber, Diaz and more
http://pc.habsaddict.com/2011/10/sunday-shinny-oct-30-2011-pearn.html

Canadiens still chilling
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/canadiens-still-chilling

RDS - Les sourires sont de retour chez le CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/329185.html

CH: Tout un revirement de situation
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/329110.html

HabsWorld.net - HW Recap: Habs rebound with a bang
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2626


NHL News
TSN - OILERS' SUTTON TO FACE SHANAHAN TODAY FOR HIT TO THE HEAD
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379189

MAPLE LEAFS TO HONOUR MATS SUNDIN'S NO. 13 IN FEBRUARY
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379207

THN.com - Trade Talk: Rene Bourque a popular target
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42655-Trade-Talk-Rene-Bourque-a-popular-target.html

Spector's Hockey - Halloween 2011 NHL Rumor Roundup
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/10/31/halloween-2011-nhl-rumor-roundup/

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Sunday Shinny - Oct 30, 2011 - Pearn, Ladouceur, Gomez, Markov, Weber, Diaz and more

In this episode of the Sunday Shinny, Gary Whittaker, Nick Murdocco and Kamal Panesar welcome former NHL defenseman, Bobby Dollas, to the studio.

Topics include:

-The Perry Pearn firing
-was it the right move?
-How are people around the league seeing it?
-is Randy Ladouceur an upgrade?
-Scott Gomez: What happens to the lineup once he comes back?
-Who sits?
-Does Gomez sit?
-Andrei Markov: What happens to the defense when he is back
-Emelin is currently 7th D-man, will he stick around as 8th?
-Weber or Diaz?
-and much more...

Click play below to listen in (listing time 51:05):


(Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images Sport)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Habs/Bruins preview, Markov update, Oilers, Leafs, Flyers, Rumours and more...

Habs News
Hockey Inside/Out - Multimedia from the non-practice
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/multimedia-from-the-non-practice

Round II with the Bs
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/round-ii-with-the-bs

RDS - CH-Bruins: 2e round
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/329110.html

Moins de nuages gris dans le ciel du CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/329070.html

Spacek comprend bien ce que vit Cole
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/329081.html

Perry Pearn est déçu mais pas amer
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/329088.html

TSN - CANADIENS' MARKOV GETTING CLOSER TO PRACTICING WITH TEAM
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379110

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


NHL News
TSN - NUGENT-HOPKINS INFORMED HE'S STAYING WITH OILERS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379116

REPORT: LANDESKOG STAYING UP WITH AVALANCHE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379094

FRASER: WHY NOT LET THE PLAYERS 'GO AT IT' AND FIGHT?
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379122

SIEGEL: LUPUL SHREDDING PAST DOUBTS FOR LEAFS
http://www.tsn.ca/toronto/blogs/jonas_siegel/?id=379140

THN.com - Campbell: Flyers goalie woes return
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42611-Campbell-Flyers-goalie-woes-return.html

Spector's Hockey - Latest Bruins, Senators and Islanders Rumors – October 29, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/10/29/latest-bruins-senators-and-islanders-rumors-october-29-2011/

Friday, October 28, 2011

Canadiens - Bruins: Price Holds the Fort, Habs Drop Boston to Last in East

Don't look now, but your Montreal Canadiens are on a winning streak. Albeit a modest two-game streak, but it is a streak nonetheless.

And isn't it refreshing to have the streak be on the positive side instead of the negative?

After blowing out the Flyers on Wednesday in their first home win of the season, Montreal played an excellent road game to down the Bruins yesterday in Boston.

Neither team had been playing well and they were both tied with six points in the standings.

After the Canadiens win, Montreal moved from 14th to 12th overall in the East while the Bs dropped to last place.

Yes, that's right, the defending Stanley Cup champions are currently last place in the East and 29th overall in the league.

Stanley Cup hangover indeed!

Final score: Habs 2 - Bruins 1

Game Notes

Return of the Patch - The big storyline leading into this match was that Max Pacioretty and Zdeno Chara would be facing each other for the first time since "the incident". There was a lot of emotion leading up the puck drop but, at the end of the day, it turned out to be a non-event.

Both players went about playing hockey and finally (I think), put the incident behind them.

The Price is right - Carey Price was the man of the hour last night, stopping 29 of 30 shots to earn the win.

Moreover, if it wasn't for Plekanec's own-goal marker, Price would have had a shutout.

Montreal played a good game but still gave up too many scoring chances from prime locations. None was more evident than when Nathan Horton was left all alone to shoot on Price from five feet out. Price made the save, and many others, to keep the score low and allow the Habs to comeback and win.

You can tell the team in front of him wanted it badly too, blocking 21 shots for Price en route to the victory.

Owned - On their first shift of the game Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin absolutely dominated their Canadien counterparts.

On the ice for Montreal was Lars Eller, Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen and they were completely overpowered by the Bruins aggressive forecheck. It was a thing of beauty to behold.

And man is Seguin ever good. And fast. Wow.

Dumped - Early in the first period with Erik Cole and Chris Kelly fighting for the puck in the Bruins zone, Cole hit and dumped Kelly on his posterior. It's the type of puck battle the Bruins tend to win far too often against Montreal and, last night, it was nice to see the shoe on the other foot.

Oh, that one hurts - Boston got on the board when Tomas Plekanec won a defensive zone faceoff, shuffling the puck straight at Price. Price didn't look completely set on the play and, as a result, whiffed on it, leading to a 1-0 Boston lead.

Ugly.

That was Plekanec's first goal of the night. The other, thankfully for Montreal, went into the Bruins net and ended up being the game winner.

Now that's a battle! - Milan Lucic and P.K. Subban fighting for the puck in the Habs zone during the second period. Wow, that was awesome!

Subban is one of the few Canadiens who has the strength to actually fight and win a puck battle with Lucic. It was a bit of stalemate, but it was something to see them go shoulder to shoulder and bounce off of each other with no clear winner.

Change up - The Canadiens had a 5-on-3 powerplay early in the second but failed to convert. Strangely, on the first wave of the PP was Michael Cammalleri, Yannick Weber, Brian Gionta, Eric Cole and Tomas Plekanec.

Really? 5-on-3 and that's who you put out there?

It's not that those are bad players or anything, but how about Subban, Cammalleri, Pacioretty, Cole and Plekanec? You figure you want to make sure to capitalize on the 5-on-3 and, at least in my mind, having your two power-forwards swarming the net would help in that department.

No? Is it me?

Be very, very quiet - Did anyone see David Desharnais last night?

The player who has been one of the few revelations of the first few weeks of the season, was a complete non-factor last night. It looked like he wasn't able to handle the big, physical Bruins.

The only time I really noticed him was when he was surrendering the puck in favour of not getting plastered by a Bruins player.

Unfortunate, but to be expected considering his 5'6 frame. Despite him being relatively invisible, he still managed to finish the night with an assist and a plus-1 rating.

Save of the night - With the Bruins on a late second period powerplay, Price went behind the net to play a dump in. Instead of being able to corral the puck, it bounced off of his stick and out front, giving the Bruins player an empty net to shoot at.

With Price scrambling to get back in the net, Raphael Diaz slide across just in time to block the shot. That kept the game tied at one and, ultimately, allowed the Habs to grab the victory.

Fight of the night - Well the only fight actually, was when P.K. Subban and Brad Marchand threw down near the end of the second. They had previous tried to fight two other times before the refs finally let them go.

While I originally thought Subban would get the better of Marchand due to his size and strength advantage, I was totally wrong.

I wouldn't call it a clear victory either way as both players got shots in, but it became clear to me that Subban just has no idea how to fight.

It's probably better that way, since the Habs can have him breaking a hand or something!

If you didn't see it, here it is in all it's sad, sad glory:


That was a bit sad now wasn't it? Especially that see-it-coming-a-mile-away haymaker. It kind of reminds me of his wind up for a slapshot.

Shorten your swing my friend!

Oh, and do you think Marchand was trying to exact revenge for Subban's clean but devastating hit on him from last season?

No pushback - Ok, ok, Subban and Marchand fighting was pretty harmless, except for the risk of a broken hand.

But then, in the third period, every Bruins player—with enforcer Shawn Thornton at the front of the line—decided to take runs at Subban. Thornton, in particular, must have got Subban two or three times with borderline hits on one shift.

The problem is that Subban, as one of the undisputed stars of the team, should not have to deal with that garbage. He should be able to focus on playing hockey and helping the Habs win. Unfortunately there is no one on the Canadiens squad who could or would step up in Subban's defense.

I still maintain that, while I'm not a fan of having a goon on the team, having someone who can "take care of business", when needed, is an absolute must.

Love him or hate him, Georges Laraque kept the opposition honest. You wouldn't have seen any of that with him in the lineup.

Question of the day - Did the Habs just save their season? A two-game winning streak does not necessarily mean that all the Habs troubles are behind them.

But it could.

Especially if that two game streak turns into three with another win over the Bruins on Saturday.

They say that every team has to go through their bit of adversity during the season in order to put together a solid year.

Has Montreal, less than 10 games in, already dealt with and overcome theirs?

Up next - The Canadiens return home for the second of a home-and-away against the Bruins tomorrow night at the Bell Centre.

The two teams renewed their rivalry last night in what seemed a lot like a playoff game. Considering that the plot seems to thicken each time these teams play each other, Saturday night's game should be a doozey!

---

KINDLE USERS: Please subscribe to Habs Buzz; a one-stop feed for all things Canadiens-related on HockeyBuzz. Content is automatically updated whenever a new Habs-related blog is published. Your subscription includes a free 14-day trial and costs just 99 cents per month thereafter. For more information, click here.

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Habs/Bruins post game, Turris demands trade, Reimer on IR, Winter Classic, Rumours and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Canadiens - Bruins: Price Holds the Fort, Habs Drop Boston to Last in East
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/canadiens-bruins-price-holds-fort-habs.html

Hockey Inside/Out - A huge win for the Canadiens
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/a-huge-win-for-the-canadiens

About last night … with audio
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/boone/about-last-night-27

RDS - Le Canadien est inspiré par les défis
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328981.html

La léthargie du Canadien prend fin
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328909.html

TSN - PLEKANEC NETS GAME-WINNER IN CANADIENS WIN OVER BOSTON
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379067


NHL News
TSN - RESTRICTED FREE AGENT TURRIS ASKS COYOTES FOR A TRADE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379029

MAPLE LEAFS PLACE G REIMER ON INJURY RESERVE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379060

CLARKE AND LINDROS TEAM UP FOR WINTER CLASSIC ALUMNI GAME
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379066

BETTMAN CONFIRMS PITTSBURGH AS 2012 NHL ENTRY DRAFT SITE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379054

The first have become last
http://espn.go.com/boston/nhl/story/_/id/7159159/the-bruins-lose-canadiens

THN.com - Proteau: Hockey culture lingers in the past
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42587-Proteau-Hockey-culture-lingers-in-the-past.html

VIDEO: Puck Panel – Early surprises and disappointments
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42593-VIDEO-Puck-Panel-Early-surprises-and-disappointments.html

Spector's Hockey - Latest Bruins and Jets Rumors – October 28, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/10/28/latest-bruins-and-jets-rumors-october-28-2011/

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Canadiens - Flyers: Pacioretty Scores Two, Habs Snap Losing Streak

What a difference a win can make.

In toppling the formidable Philadelphia Flyers, 5-1, last night in Montreal, the Canadiens picked up their first home win of the season.

And this morning, the city is singing like a canary on a sunny day.

I guess people's memories are short because, six-game losing streak now done with, the Habs still have only six points through nine games played. And while they are tied for points with Boston and the Islanders, they still sit in 14th place overall in the East.

So perhaps we can cancel the parade?

Final Score: Habs 5 - Flyers 1

Game Notes

Firing the assistant - A mere 90 minutes before game time, the word came out the the Habs had fired assistant coach Perry Pearn.

Have you ever heard of anything like that before?

I'll have more thoughts on the Pearn firing and potential fallout later, but for now, it really seems like a warning shot fired across Jacques Martin's bow. Otherwise I don't really get it.

I mean yes, Pearn had a huge hand in the special teams, particularly the penalty kill, but it seems awfully suspect for the GM to a) unilaterally fire an assistant coach and b) do so 90 minutes before the game starts.

I say unilateral because, from what Pierre Gauthier said in his presser, Martin was not in agreement with the move.

So is this the start of a rift between Gauthier and Martin?

Max Pacio-ready - What is there to say about Max Pacioretty?

Seriously? This guy is made of teflon.

Not only did "the bionic man" not miss a shift after jamming his wrist last game—at one point there was speculation it was broken or had tendon damage—but he scored two goals, added an assist, had three shots on goal, logged 16:37 of ice time and 5:37 on the power play.

His third and fourth goals of the season yesterday, give him his nine point (4G, 5A) in nine games played, tops among Canadiens and tied for 14th overall in the league.

He also has 39 shots on goal placing him second overall in the league in that category—the Pens' James Neal is first with 44.

Oh, and right now, Patches is on pace for an 82 points season with 36 goals and 48 assists.

Not bad for a guy who had his neck broken seven months ago.

The Jagr Salute - With the Flyers applying pressure early in the game, Scott Hartnell found Jaromir Jagr open on the right side for a one-timer. The puck soared past Price and in the net for a 1-0 Flyers lead.

But, after the goal, Double-J broke out his post-goal celebratory salute-hand-flip-thing.

Blech, really?

I know it was a signature move of his back in the day but come on! You're a superstar, Jagr, you don't need any sad trademark move. Sad is not the word I would accurately use to describe the gesture—nor what I shouted at the TV when he did it—but I want to keep this post G-rated.

:-)

Attack, attack, attack - Part I - Good thing the Habs fired Perry Pearn because everything was much better last night.

Oh wait, it wasn't. Well it was, but not during the first period.

Before Montreal was able to find their legs in the second frame, Philly employed a simple two-man pressure game that hemmed the Canadiens in the own zone the entire period.

Pressure, pressure, pressure then the Habs would take a penalty. And then the boos rained down.

For most of the first period it looked like the Flyers were on a powerplay, with the Habs constantly second on the puck and Philly's tenacious forecheck making it look like men against boys.

Fortunately for Montreal, they tightened things up defensively in the second, found their transition game and turned the tables on the Flyers.

Cole to the rescue - Last night, Erik Cole played his best game in a Habs uniform.

Moreover, I dare say he was the catalyst that turned the Canadiens fortunes around.

While he only finished the night was one assist, it was Cole's net-drive and pure power that got the Canadiens engines running.

Early in the first, when it looked like it would be another loss, Cole drew two interference penalties on very similar plays. In both instances he chipped the puck past the Flyers defender and then used his speed to get around the slower defenseman.

Each time the Philly defender had no choice but to put their hands on Cole to stop/slow him down, sending them to box for interference.

Cole is a big, fast-skating power-forward and until last night, he wasn't really using his skills effectively. Seeing him pressure the opposing defenders and drawing penalties in the process, was a thing of beauty.

The only thing more beautiful was seeing both Cole and Pacioretty barreling into the net on the power play.

Don't look now, but the Habs seem to have themselves two power-forwards!

Attack, attack, attack - Part II - Let's face it, during the first period, Montreal looked like the flat, disorganized team that had lost it's previous six games.

Watching them in the defensive zone, it seemed like there was always a Flyers player in the slot, uncovered. This was the result of excessive gaps between the forwards and the defenseman.

Then all of a sudden in the second period the Habs seemed to adjust. And for the first time all season, the once hermetic defensive zone scheme was back.

With forwards were coming back deeper to help the defensive zone coverage, there were less chances from the inside. Also, the Flyer had more unforced errors, less time in the Canadiens zone while the Habs enjoyed a quicker transition from defense to offense.

That is the Canadiens game, at least under Jacques Martin it is. If they are going to have any success this season they have to continue to play like they did in the second period.

100 Wins - With the Habs first home win of the season, Carey Price picked up his 100th career win.

Price becomes the fifth youngest goaltender to get to the 100-win mark, stopping 5852 pucks en route to the milestone. Moreover, he becomes the 12th winningest goaltender in Habs history.

Not bad for a 24-year-old.

Lost in the shuffle - The often maligned, Andrei Kostitsyn, scored his 90th career goal last night, having potted 20 or more in three of the last four seasons.

Question of the day: Pearn was fired and the Habs snapped their losing streak.

So, is the crisis averted or the inevitable delayed?

Up Next - The Habs play the first of a home-and-away series against the hated Bruins tonight in Boston.

The Bruins haven't exactly been lighting it up so far this season either. They are tied for point (6) with Montreal, with one more win and one fewer game played.

So far, Boston looks like a team suffering a major Stanley Cup hangover. Will the Habs be the tonic they need to cure what ails them? Or, will Montreal use tonight's game to gain a little momentum.

Find out starting tonight in Boston with the grudge match taking place on Saturday
in Montreal.

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Habs/Flyers post game, Pearn fired, Bruins pregame, Leafs, Visors, Jets, Rumours and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Canadiens - Flyers: Pacioretty Scores Two, Habs Snap Losing Streak
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/canadiens-flyers-pacioretty-scores-two.html

Habs Press Release - Assistant Coach Perry Pearn Relieved of Duties
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/habs-press-release-assistant-coach.html

Hockey Inside/Out - Undefeated in the post-Pearn era
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/undefeated-in-the-post-pearn-era

Bruins suffering from ‘hangover’
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/bruins-suffering-from-hangover

Multimedia from the winning room
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/multimedia-from-the-winning-room

Multimedia: Canadiens fire assistant coach Perry Pearn
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/canadiens-fire-perry-pearn

RDS - Mais quelle léthargie?
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328909.html

«Il n’a pas fini de vous impressionner»
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328978.html

TSN - PACIORETTY SCORES TWICE AS CANADIENS BEAT FLYERS AT HOME
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379006

LEGAL CLOUD HANGS OVER CHARA AS HE RETURNS TO MONTREAL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378972

HabsWorld.net - HW 3 Stars: Habs Satisfy the Home Crowd
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2623

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


NHL News
JUNIOR-ELIGIBLE NHL PLAYERS WAIT AS 10-GAME MARK NEARS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378964

SIEGEL: CONNOLLY PRACTICES, APPEARS READY FOR SEASON DEBUT
http://www.tsn.ca/toronto/blogs/jonas_siegel/?id=378987

FRASER: THE REQUIREMENTS OF BEING AN NHL REFEREE
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378978

ESPN.com - Trophy Tracker: Top Jack Adams candidates
http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/11968/trophy-tracker-top-jack-adams-candidates

THN.com - Kennedy: Mandatory visor rule is overdue
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42569-Kennedy-Mandatory-visor-rule-is-overdue.html

Tom Thompson: Winnipeg fans soak in NHL hockey
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42568-Tom-Thompson-Winnipeg-fans-soak-in-NHL-hockey.html

Spector's Hockey - Latest on the Bruins, Jets and Devils – October 27, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/10/27/latest-on-the-bruins-jets-and-devils-october-27-2011/

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Habs Press Release - Assistant Coach Perry Pearn Relieved of Duties

Perry Pearn relieved of his duties

MONTREAL (October 26, 2011) – Montreal Canadiens general manager, Pierre Gauthier, announced today that assistant coach Perry Pearn has been relieved of his duties.

“I want to thank Perry Pearn for his contribution to the Canadiens’ organization over the past three years. He remains a very knowledgeable coach with a strong work ethic and is a true professional. I offered Perry to remain with the organization in a different role,” said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Perry Pearn joined the Canadiens organization as an assistant coach on July 6, 2009. This was his third season with the club. A native of Stettler, Alberta, Pearn made his NHL debut as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets in 1995-96.

Habs/Flyers preview, Palushaj recalled, MaxPac out, Luongo, Landeskog, Rumours and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens Season So Far: This Wasn't the Plan!
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/montreal-canadiens-season-so-far-this.html

Montreal Canadiens Press Release - Habs Recall Aaron Palushaj from Hamilton
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/montreal-canadiens-press-release-habs.html

Hockey Inside/Out - No Max-Pac for Flyers
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/no-max-pac-for-flyers

Habs Future
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/habs-future-8

RDS - Pas de fracture au poignet
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328896.html

L'heure du grand ménage chez le CH?
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328881.html

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

HabsWorld.net - Writers Weigh In: The Trotter Trade
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2621

NHL News
THN.com - Boylen: Roberto Luongo Vancouver's best bet
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42538-Boylen-Roberto-Luongo-Vancouvers-best-bet.html

VIDEO: Colorado Avalanche rookie Gabriel Landeskog lives up to hype
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42542-VIDEO-Colorado-Avalanche-rookie-Gabriel-Landeskog-lives-up-to-hype.html

Spector's Hockey - NHL Trade Rumors – October 26, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/10/26/nhl-trade-rumors-october-26-2011/

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Montreal Canadiens Press Release - Habs Recall Aaron Palushaj from Hamilton

Canadiens recall Aaron Palushaj from the Hamilton Bulldogs

MONTREAL (October 25, 2011) – The Montreal Canadiens announced today that forward Aaron Palushaj has been recalled from the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs.

Assigned to the Bulldogs on October 23, the 22-year old forward registered two assists at his lone game with the Bulldogs this season, on October 8 against Rochester.

In four games with the Canadiens this season, Palushaj recorded two shots on goal and four hits, while averaging 5:47 of ice time per game. The Canadiens will play their next game this Wednesday, October 26 against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre.

Montreal Canadiens Season So Far: This Wasn't the Plan!

So....how's your mantra now?

"It's preseason, relax".

Still comfy with that?

How about this one:

"It's October, there's lots of time!"

Really? Is that what you tell yourself because you're a pie-in-the-sky optimist, or because you haven't yet figured out that the Canadiens need to pick up 88 out of a remaining 154 possible points just to finish with 92?

If that number doesn't shock you in to reality, then stop reading now.

There's nothing else I can say to illustrate the severity of the situation. For those still here, I thank you.

So what's important about 92?

It's the average number of points the 8th place team has needed in order to attain 8th place in the Eastern Conference since the end of the lockout. If there's any good news, it's that the low point for 8th place was 88 points just two seasons ago.

Care to guess who set that low bar? Your Habs!

So if they're lucky...really lucky, perhaps this will be another low year, and their playoff hopes are merely dreary instead of dismal. But averages being what they are, chances are they will need closer to 92 points. That's going to be tough to overcome.

So what exactly went wrong?

Too many things to count, and too much blame to go around. The players can't finish their scoring chances. That's on them, and them alone. No excuses. The ones that aren't doing what they're paid to do should be dealt with.

Benched, demoted (to a lower line, not Hamilton), or failing that, traded to a better situation. The defence has not been great, but it's not the inexperienced ones causing the majority of the pain.

Hal Gill, P.K. Subban (if we can call him experienced), and Josh Gorges have been somewhere between bad to mediocre. Spacek has missed too much time to give a grade to, but Emelin, Diaz and Weber have been, to my eyes, pleasant surprises and should not be wearing the goat horns.

It's easy to trot out "inexperienced defenders" as an excuse, but if you pinned your hopes to an aging Spacek, a huge question mark in Markov, and a scrap heap pick up in Campoli, then you probably deserve to lose. Goaltending has been solid, if not downright good, so where else can we look?

Behind the bench? Upstairs on the 7th floor? Bingo!

Jacques Martin's biggest task as Habs Coach is to put each asset in the best position to deliver, and use his resources in the most advantageous manner. So far, he has not done that:

  • Darche on the powerplay? At the expense of Kostitsyn and Cole? What?
  • Cammalleri on the penalty kill?
  • Hal Gill on the ice in overtime vs Kessel & Grabovski?
  • Not having correct personnel on the ice for key faceoffs?
  • Not using timeouts to get organized when matchups are a clear nightmare?
  • Several more too many men penalties? Figure it out, Jacques!
  • Not communicating roles and in-game changes with players?
  • Josh Gorges as a 6th attacker with the goalie pulled? Twice?
  • Not publicly accepting an ounce of accountability for the Habs worst start in 70 years?

What it boils down to is a gross misuse of resources and talent, a failure to recognize changes in the game and adjust accordingly. A stunning inability to manage matchups and keep a bench organized. Stubbornly sticking with what isn't working, despite all logic and "research".

Above all, it is the Coach's job to get the best out of his players, and to have them in positions to succeed. That isn't happening - as I've said - a defenceman isn't a forward, a 4th liner isn't a powerplay specialist and a 1st liner sniper isn't a penalty killer.

What about the GM?

Pierre Gauthier is another story.

Poor asset management, season-preserving trades, and a roster of mostly nice players that ultimately add up to today's incoherent mix that has no killer instinct, aggression, or ability to win a key faceoff.

That said, I do believe in this group's ability to be a lot better than what the Coach is getting from them. Assuming good health, Gionta, Plekanec, Cammalleri, Pacioretty, Kostitsyn and Cole ought to be locks for at least 20-25 goals each.

How many of those guys will hit those numbers this year?

It's up to the Coach to extract optimal production from them by creating a winning environment. For all their lack of killer instinct, the Coach very much doesn't help his cause. At all.

The Habs have been burning up their margin for error at warp speed, and it started at the break of camp.

The team never took it seriously, choosing instead to keep dozens of kids around while they squeeze bucks out of a bloated preseason schedule. The malaise has indeed carried over to the regular season. In the era of 3-point games, teams simply cannot afford to fall behind as the Habs have. Catching up is simply too hard, and relying on others to falter is a risky gamble at best.

Sure, the team may eventually turn it around somewhat, and maybe even come within a few points of 8th at some point around mid-season. The bandwagon will fill up again, but ultimately the injury bug will bite back and the team will predictably fade.

The apologists will say "See? If they didn't suffer so many injuries, they would have made up the ground". Yet another loser's excuse. The reality is that if they hadn't wasted so many games to start off the year, they wouldn't have to burn the midnight oil just to scrape back to 8th place.

Don't you dare tell me that once you make the playoffs, that anything can happen. In Montreal, the Cup is the goal (at least I thought it was), and if the last 17 consecutive Cup winners have shown us anything, it's that home ice advantage is required.

So what's the solution?

I think it's high time that Molson cleans house.

This management team has been conservative and glacial to the detriment of the on-ice product. They've kept the hamster wheel of mediocrity spinning, and have managed to trick us in to thinking they were close to something.

"Rise Together". So much for that. Replace the antiquated Coach and his obsolete system. With who? That's not my job to figure out. There has to be somebody out there that can create a game plan based on the tenets of speed and skill, not defence and passive counter-attacks.

Get a progressive, aggressive GM that has a better eye for pro scouting.

As for the remaining 74 games? Develop the youngsters and let nature take its course. If it results in a high draft pick for once, so be it. Enough of the big tease year-in, year-out.

It's a harrowing thought, but I never would have thought that the "Rise Together" campaign would be on life support a week before Halloween.

---
Kyle Roussel is the owner of cowhideandrubber.com, a sports blog primarily focused on the Habs. He can be found on twitter: @kyleroussel

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Canadiens - Panthers: Habs Streak of Futility Extends to Six Games

Ho hum, another day, another sunrise and another Montreal Canadiens loss.

The Habs nightmare start to the 2011-2012 NHL season continued last night as they fell 2-1 to the Florida Panthers.

The loss is the Habs sixth in a row—with one shootout and one overtime loss—and gives them a 1-5-2 record, good enough for 15th overall in the East. With the lowly Blue Jackets the only team behind them in league standings, your Montreal Canadiens are officially second to last in the 30-team league.

Say it with me now, "We're No. 29, we're No. 29!"

How's that for a putrid start to the season?

But, with 17 scouts from 15 different teams in attendance at last night's Bell Centre game, the smell of trade winds is in the air. I'm just not sure that Pierre Gauthier—a man who's job is almost as certainly on the line as Jacques Martin's—is the man to be making moves right now.

The only thing worse than a lame duck GM is one who makes panic trades, shipping off prospects and picks in an attempt to save his job.

Final score: Panthers 2 - Canadiens 1

Game Notes

Uh-oh of the night Part I - Max Pacioretty fell awkwardly during the second frame and did not return for the rest of the game. It's no secret that he has been the Habs best and most consistent forward since the beginning of the season. As such, losing him for any extended period of time could be disastrous.

The word this morning is that he has some kind of wrist injury and possible tendon damage.

While nothing is yet confirmed, having Pacioretty out of the lineup for any extended period of time will only decrease the Habs chances of turning this season around.

Uh-oh of the night Part II

The Canadiens loss pushes their dismal record to 1-5-2. In addition, Montreal has now gone six games without registering a win. The noose is certainly tightening around Jacques Martin but GM Pierre Gauthier has to take a large part of the blame too.

After all it's him that brought in a lot of the players on the team.

In addition, he avoids filling seemingly glaring holes, like bringing in big, burly, tough players who can play the game—hello Zenon Konopka—because he does not believe the Canadiens need it.

That might end up being his, Coach Martin and the entire Habs management team's undoing.

Power play wake up - Prior to last night's game, the Habs were 2-for-29 (6.9%) on the power play. But with Jacques Martin's insistence of using players like Mathieu Darche—who has three career PP goals—on the PP, it was perhaps not surprising.

Last night during the Habs first man-advantage, Erik Cole found himself getting some rare PP time and the result was a goal.

With Max Pacioretty deflecting a Raphael Diaz shot from the point, Cole slipped in front of Jacob Markstorm for a last second screen. The result was the puck tipped off of Cole's skate and in, giving him his first in a Habs uniform.

Got the message, Jacques Martin?

Budaj's alright - OK, admit it, you were surprised with how well Budaj played last night.

Sure it was his first game of the season, and sure he is expected to ride the pine more often than not this year, but let's be honest here, the Slovak netminder didn't make a lot of fans during training camp.

That said, training camp is training camp and the season, which is quickly slipping away from the Habs, is what really counts.

The truth is that Budaj has always been a goalie on the cusp of being starter material. Not quite good enough to carry the load but eminently capable of backing up a starter like Carey Price.

Last night, with his teammates' shoulders slumped and the air of defeat permeating throughout the lineup, Budaj did his job stopping 29 of 31 shots for a .935 save percentage.

Special Teams Mashup - The Cats tied the game on a first period powerplay. With that goal, the Canadiens had allowed seven goals on just 17 shots against (shorthanded) at the Bell Centre.

Ouch.

I guess that kind of explains their horrid record so far this season.

The story of the first period, as has been the case most games this season, was special teams. Usually an area of strength for the Habs, they have been floundering in both the PP and PK department this season.

Like they have done far too often this season, Montreal's indiscipline did them in.

With a 1-0 lead, Josh Gorges was sent to the box for roughing. Not only did the Panthers tie the game on the PP, but it zapped the momentum away from the Habs.

As has been the case for years now, Montreal simply cannot score 5-on-5. As such, if their special teams are not clicking it is nearly impossible for them to win. Well, barring a shutout by their goaltender that is.

It's all wrong right now with this team, it's makeup and it management. Methinks that time is nigh approaching for a housecleaning.

Netcrashing - I don't know about you, but I'm loving the Pacioretty, David Desharnais, Erik Cole combination. Or at least I was until Pacioretty got injured.

The line worked because the smaller Desharnais had two big, scoring wingers who crash the net on a regular basis. As such, he had a ton of room to maneuver.

DD had the same kind of line makeup when Andrei Kostitsyn was on his wing, but last night, I had no problem with AK46 playing with Lars Eller on the third line.

Those two had great chemistry last season and will hopefully get it going again this year.

Back to the Desharnais line, Jacques Martin used them amply and they seemed to have a scoring chance every time they were on the ice. Moreover, Cole finally got some powerplay time with Patches and DD and the result was a goal.

What a surprise, Cole on the PP results in a goal. Who woulda thunk it?

Not enough size - If having Patches and Cole on the DD line was producing results, it is taking away from the Tomas Plekanec line.

With Plekanec (5'10) lined up next to Michael Cammalleri (5'9) and Brian Gionta (5'6), there is a marked lack of size on the Habs supposed first line. As such, they seemed to struggle to get much offense going.

Their line was so useless, last night, that I honestly can't remember the last time Plekanec looked so ineffective on the ice.

Is it such a stretch to put AK46, Pacioretty and Erik Cole on three different lines, thereby spreading out the size?

Why Jacques Martin, why?

The Death Knell - Has Jacques Martin coached his last game for the Montreal Canadiens? Not likely yet, but you've got to think that with a 1-5-2 record to start the season GM Pierre Gauthier's finger is perilously close to the panic button.

Moreover, if you watch Jacques Martin he is doing all the things that coaches tend to do before getting the boot.

Juggling line constantly? Check.

Doing irrational things like playing Mathieu Darche on the power play instead of Erik Cole? Check.

Getting angry or snippy with reporters? Check.

On the Darche front, Martin's love of Darche reminds me so much of Michel Therrien's love of Geno Odjick when the latter was coaching the Habs. At the time, Odjick was getting power play time and sometimes filling in on the top-six despite being a career fourth liner.

Sound familiar?

This was, of course, just before Therrien was fired and his insistence on sticking with his plan was part of his downfall.

There is no telling what will happen to Martin, but right now his prospect of surviving the week seems about 50/50.

Aside from Darche on the PP, we saw Michael Cammalleri on the PK again. Why?

Cammalleri is not a defensive specialist. He has never been. What he is, however, is a fully amped offensive weapon who is asked to focus on defense far too often.

Listening to Martin's post-game press conference, he continues to talk like it's preseason. Small steps. Slight improvements. At least the pp was a little better. Focus on the positives.

I think it's time for someone to tell him that the house is on fire.

Up Next - Things don't get any easier for Montreal as they face the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. After that, they have a home and away series against their arch rival Boston Bruins on Thursday (in Boston) and Saturday (in Montreal).

The Bruins aren't exactly off to a riveting start either but perhaps the Habs are the perfect tonic to what ails them.

Or maybe it will be the other way around and Montreal will use the game to build momentum.

Either way, owner Geoff Molson is likely already concocting a plan that could come into action as soon as this Sunday—depending on the results of the next three games.

So stay tuned, because this story is just starting to heat up!

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Habs/Panthers post game, Pacioretty injured, Power rankings, Capitals, Rumours and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Canadiens - Panthers: Habs Streak of Futility Extends to Six Games
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/canadiens-panthers-habs-streak-of.html

Montreal Canadiens Season So Far: This Wasn't the Plan!
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/montreal-canadiens-season-so-far-this.html

Hockey Inside/Out - Chewing over the latest L
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/chewing-over-the-latest-l

Same old song, with audio, video
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/same-old-song-with-audio-video

RDS - Le Canadien pique du nez
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328790.html

«C'est honteux» -Mathieu Darche
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328862.html

THN.com - Campbell: Canadiens problems extend beyond coaching
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42518-Campbell-Canadiens-problems-extend-beyond-coaching.html

HabsWorld.net - HW 3 Stars: Make it Six
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2620

PANTHERS STRETCH CANADIENS' WINLESS RUN TO SIX
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378860


NHL News
TSN - CAPITALS NO. 1 IN NHL POWER RANKINGS
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378844

YOUR CALL: WHAT HAS BEEN THE NHL'S BIGGEST SURPRISE SO FAR?
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378866

NHL DRAFT PROSPECT GALCHENYUK TO HAVE SURGERY ON ACL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378828

ESPN.com - Power Rankings: This week's No. 1 a no-brainer
http://espn.go.com/nhl/powerrankings

THN.com - Rosati and Tkaczuk: Player perspectives
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42469-Rosati-and-Tkaczuk-Player-perspectives.html

Spector's Hockey - NHL Rumors – Tuesday, October 25, 2011
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/10/25/nhl-rumors-tuesday-october-25-2011/

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Canadiens vs. Panthers Notes; Remember Garrett Stafford?

Tonight, as Montreal is set to faceoff against the Panthers, the Canadiens should present a very different, more experienced lineup.

- Jaroslav Spacek is set to return from his injury. He will take Alexei Emelin's place in the lineup and will pair up with Yannick Weber. Josh Gorges will remain with P.K Subban and Hall Gill will form a duo with Rafael Diaz.

- Andreas Engqvist and Aaron Palushaj were sent down yesterday. Michael Blunden and new acquisition Peteri Nokelainen will take their spots on the fourth line.

- Peter Budaj will make his first start of the season. The Slovak netminder was 15-21-4 last year with a .895 save percentage.

Does Garrett Stafford ring a bell?

Yesterday, the Canadiens also made the acquisition of minor-league blueliner Garrett Stafford. Like many, his name rang a bell to me, but gave it no further thought. Then, my colleague over at HabsWorld.net, Brian La Rose, pointed out that it was Stafford who was involved in a pretty ugly incident a few years ago. 

On April 30, 2004, Stafford was playing for the Cleveland Barons against the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Calder Cup playoffs when he got into an altercation with former Hab Alexander Perezhogin. Stafford cross-checked Perezhogin in the face resulting in them both falling to the ice. As they were getting up Stafford took another swing with his stick, this time making contact with the back of Perezhogin's helmet. In retalitation, Perezhogin then swung his stick into Stafford's face, knocking him unconscious resulting and sending him into convulsions. Not the prettiest of hockey memories, but video of it can be found here.


---
Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at l.moustakas@habsworld.net.

Montreal Canadiens: Time for new shoes

Jacques Martin - Buffalo Sabres v Montreal CanadiensAs a letter carrier I have sometimes had the misfortune of stepping in dog poo. I avoid it whenever possible, but sometimes I just don't see it and put my foot down wrong. Then, attempting to tidy up, I scrape it off my shoe, leaving it all over the sidewalk. Even then it usually necessitates a power washing with a borrowed garden hose. Once I actually just gave in and tossed the shoes.

When it comes to the Habs, they too new shoes, or in their case, skates.

I've seen a lot of hockey, and a lot of Canadiens hockey in particular. Even when they were routinely Cup champs they still sometimes stepped in a pile and dragged it all over the ice.

But last night had to be one of the worst starts to a hockey game by the Montreal Canadiens I've ever witnessed, bar none.

I suppose I could just pick it apart, but I did so on twitter along with a bunch of savvier writers and today I'm too tired and jaded to do it.

But here's my five cents worth — really only two cents but adjusted for Quebec taxes.

A lack of communication is mucking everything up

Remember how Kirk Muller used to stand behind the bench with a headset in one ear? The other ear would be tuned towards Jacques Martin, and Muller would usually be nodding, lean over and pat the players on the back and whisper sweet somethings in their ears.

I have yet to see the "Randys", Cunneyworth or Ladouceur, doing any of that.

Why we need four coaches that don't talk to each other or the players is beyond me. Lars Eller said after the game that he was unaware that Jonas Gustavsson had taken over for James Reimer in the Toronto net for the second period.

There's your problem right there.

Linemates are also not talking to each other. All of the Habs vaunted leadership and chemistry has vanished. Likely lost to the same place my socks go whenever I throw them in the dryer.

Even players who tend to survive most of Martin's pureed line combinations seem disjointed. There were times when Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri couldn't find each other on the ice if they were wearing flashing neon signs, using a seeing eye dog and a GPS, let alone the back of a wide open net.

Flopping defense

On the defensive side, the defense corps is young and soft, but the veterans are not helping either. Josh Gorges is routinely making mistakes and P.K Subban is definitely experiencing some sophomore season slump.

As such, I hate seeing them paired up together.

In a couple of years the Habs blueline will be giving the opposition fits, but right now they are still cutting their teeth while I gnash mine.

The Coach

I know Jacques Martin is a favorite whipping boy of mine, but I really do try to be open minded with him. I want to like him and I want him to succeed, because that means my team succeeds and that will always be a good thing. And this regardless of who is wearing the jerseys or standing behind the bench.

Did anyone else notice Martin's demeanor on the Leafs first tying goal, as the Habs went into full panic mode? The usually bland-faced calm and give-nothing-away facade was gone and I saw nervousness, frustration and panic.

You didn't have to be a hockey fan or a Habs fan to notice it.

His nervousness, frustration and panic are not helping the Habs to overcome theirs—which is palpable from this side of the 50" high def.

His use of players in certain roles is head scratching to say the least.

Forget using Erik Cole on the power play anymore. How about anyone but Mathieu Darche—who has a grand total of three power play goals in his entire NHL career?

Darche also sees ice time on a 5-on-3 over proven goal scorers, in Cole.

Martin stated afterwards that Darche does good things on the power play in front of the net. Since he plays for the Canadiens and not the Leafs, I'm pretty sure clearing the puck down the ice does not qualify as a good thing. Though I suspect Ron Wilson would beg to differ.

Meanwhile, the Habs get scored on and they start running around like the Keystone Cops, instead of like a team that went deep into the playoffs two years ago. That same team took the eventual Cup champ, Boston Bruins, to sudden death overtime in Game Seven of their first round series last season.

I'm pretty sure I've seen better composure from QMJ hockey teams.

The Canadiens are two years into playing a puck possession, disciplined and defense oriented system. But right now, they look like they've either tossed their coach's system out the window or developed a severe case of retrograde amnesia.

I really don't know which it is, but if it's the latter then Martin ought to start whacking the players upside the head to see if it will help any. If you want confirmation that this strategy sometimes works, just ask my grandmother or mother.

Either Martin reminds them more forcefully or his players will end up tossing him out the window.

People crying for Martin's removal as Head Coach of the Habs - and yes I'm one of them - might want to take a moment to consider the alternatives. They're out there, but the leading candidates are not likely to thrill any kind of a majority, from what I can gather online or off.

The Habs need a boot in the pants. Another minor deal to augment the fourth line is unlikely to be sufficient.

Ultimately, like Jack Nicholson said: "Something's gotta give".

---
Rosalyn 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.

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Habs/Panthers preview, Canadiens trade, Stafford, Trotter, Leafs, Canucks, Jets, Rumours and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens: Time for new shoes
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/time-for-new-shoes.html

Canadiens acquire Nokelainen, Stafford from Coyotes
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/canadiens-acquire-nokelainen-stafford.html

Hockey Inside/Out - Panthers continue roster makeover
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/panthers-continue-roster-makeover

Canadiens bulk up for Panthers
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/canadiens-bulk-up-for-panthers

The Cup is ours!
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/boone/the-cup-is-ours-3

Canadiens make moves
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/and-on-the-seventh-day-they-had-a-meeting

RDS - Une semaine cruciale
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328790.html

Une grosse semaine en vue pour le CH
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328776.html

HabsWorld.net - HW Recap: Down to the cellar
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2618

EPSN.com - Panthers-Canadiens Preview
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview?gameId=400047505

NHL News
TSN - JETS SEND SCHEIFELE BACK TO BARRIE OF THE OHL
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378766

SIEGEL: PHANEUF PUTTING DEFINITIVE STAMP ON MAPLE LEAFS
http://www.tsn.ca/toronto/blogs/jonas_siegel/?id=378795

NUMBERS GAME: CANUCKS BRING IN BOOTH
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378728

THN.com - Rosati and Tkaczuk: Player perspectives
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42469-Rosati-and-Tkaczuk-Player-perspectives.html

Campbell: Booth to Canucks looks money-motivated
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42488-Campbell-Booth-to-Canucks-looks-moneymotivated.html

Campbell: Hockey Canada residency rules must change
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42467-Campbell-Hockey-Canada-residency-rules-must-change.html

Spector's Hockey - Updates on the Jets, Canadiens and Blue Jackets
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/10/24/updates-on-the-jets-canadiens-and-blue-jackets/

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Canadiens acquire Nokelainen, Stafford from Coyotes

Petteri Nokelainen - Phoenix Coyotes v Anaheim DucksOn the heels of Saturday night's loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens, who presently sit last in the Eastern Conference, have swung a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Montreal has obtained foward Petteri Nokelainen and blueliner Garrett Stafford. In return, Phoenix received Brock Trotter and a seventh round draft pick.

The 25-year old Nokelainen is a fairly versatile forward who can play either wing or center. Although he has only taken 31 draws this season, his 58.1% winning percentage now makes him Montreal's best faceoff-man. At 6'1 and 195 pounds, he also adds some needed size to the Habs' bottom attacking units. In 194 career NHL games between Long Island, Boston, Anaheim and Phoenix, the Finland native has 17 goals and 18 assists.

Garret Stafford is likely destined for a prominent role on the Hamilton Bulldogs roster. The Los Angeles native has over 500 games of AHL experience but has participated in only 7 NHL contests, registering 2 assists in the process.

Brock Trotter, who returned to the Canadiens organization in the off-season, heads to the Desert as the Bulldogs' current leading scorer. In 5 games with Hamilton, he registered 2 goals and 5 assists.

To compensate for Trotter's departure, Aaron Palushaj has also been returned to the Bulldogs today.


---
Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at l.moustakas@habsworld.net.


(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

Habs Fall Again, Grabovski, Booth to Vancouver, From NBA to NHL and More

Habs News
Mikhail Grabovski - Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
Hockey Inside/Out - And on the seventh day... they had a meeting
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/and-on-the-seventh-day-they-had-a-meeting

Montreal Gazette - Grabovksi returns to torment Habs http://www.faceoff.com/Grabovski+returns+torment+Habs/5593373/story.html

RDS - Grabovski gâche l'effort
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328670.html

Cyberpresse.ca - Toujours la faute du coach!
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/chroniqueurs/francois-gagnon/201110/22/01-4459839-toujours-la-faute-du-coach.php

NHL News
The Hockey News - Booth to Vancouver looks money motivated
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42488-Campbell-Booth-to-Canucks-looks-moneymotivated.html

Grantland - Into the arms of the NHL
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7123705/locked-nhl-arms

TSN - Numbers Game: Canucks bring in Booth
http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378728

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Canadiens - Penguins: Depleted Pittsburgh Lineup Dismantles Reeling Habs

Wow, that was sad now wasn't it? At least for Habs fans it was.

The same night Montreal welcomed sniper Michael Cammalleri back into the lineup, they put forth their most disorganized performance of the season.

For a team whose claim to fame is that they play a five-man unit in all three zones, their "system" was nowhere to be found.

Replacing the five-man unit was five islands, not communicating, not working together and always out of position. The only one who looked like they knew what was going on was Carey Price, and he can't do it all by himself.

It it wasn't for Price's phenomenal play, Pittsburgh would have easily scored five or six goals on the night.

It's true that the season is still young because it's only five games in. But with a 1-4-1 record so far, the Habs had better right the ship soon.

As my HabsAddict.com colleague, Louis Moustakas pointed out—quoting Elliotte Freidman—since the lockout, only seven percent of teams that were three or more points out of the playoffs by November 1st, recover to make the postseason dance.

Considering Montreal is currently 14th in the East and November 1st is only 11 days away, the clock is clearly ticking.

PSH Numbers: Pittsburgh dominated 52 percent to Montreal's 48, while posting a 215 momentum rating to Montreal's 201.

Final Score: Pens 3 - Habs 1

Game Notes

Juggling act - What is wrong with Jacques Martin? Seriously? Cammalleri starts the game on the fourth line with Mathieu Darche and Andreas Engqvist?

Really?

I know it was only for a shift or two, but why? To make sure he was ready? If he was in the lineup then he was ready and should have started on the top line with Tomas Plekanec and Erik Cole.

And why was Moen still on a line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta? Wouldn't it make more sense to put Lars Eller on their wing with Cammalleri on the Plekanec line and Moen on the fourth, possibly providing more of an offensive boost?

No? Is it me?

Alas, this is one of many problems with Jacques Martin's style: he goes the safe, cautious and conservative route far too often. Play it safe. Be passive. Prevent, prevent, prevent.

That's why, with Montreal trailing by two goals midway through the game, the Habs continued to play the trap.

Sigh.

It was fun while it lasted - With the Habs scrambling in the defensive zone and firing blanks offensively, Coach Martin spun his roulette wheel of line combinations again.

The result was that Montreal's best line over the last two games—David Desharnais centering Max Pacioretty and Andrei Kostitsyn—was dismantled early.

Once the dismantling started it seemed like it didn't stop until the final buzzer. The result was that we even saw Cammalleri playing a shift or two with Desharnais.

As I stated recently, what made the DD-Patches-AK46 combo so good was that the two big wingers created space for Desharnais to work his magic.

As good as Cammalleri is, his 5'9 frame isn't about to make things easier for DD.

I struggle to understand why I see this and fans see this but, for some reason, the Canadiens coaching staff does not seem to.

Sufferin' Subban - It's no secret that P.K. Subban hasn't had a great start to the season. Part of the problem is that he seems to be trying to do too much. Be too fancy. Overthink things.

The other problem is that, unlike parts of last season, Subban is a known commodity in the league. As such, and as the prime skilled defenseman on the backend, teams are basing their shut down of the Canadiens on shutting down Subban.

As a result, he's seeing a lot more attention this year.

Now don't get me wrong, because Josh Gorges, Yannick Weber, Raphael Diaz and others on the Habs backend have skill. But in the absence of Andrei Markov, Subban is the undeniable No. 1 defenseman on this team.

And right now, he seems to be withering under the pressure that buoyed him to greatness last season.

Not to worry, however, because Subban has the confidence and work ethic to find his way through the forest. That and hopefully for Montreal, Markov will be back in November.

No Crosby, no Malkin, no problem - What a well coached, well rounded team the Penguins are.

Seriously. Wow.

Without superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their lineup, not to mention Kris Letang serving a suspension, the Pens were no worse for wear. So much so, that James Neal potted his seventh goal of the season against the Habs last night.

In case you're counting, that ties him with Phil Kessel for tops in the league in that department.

Unlike the depleted Pens, Montreal does not seem able to overcome their injuries—which became more plentiful when Scott Gomez left the game in the first period last night.

So why is the margin of error so slight for the Habs and not so for the equally injured Pens?

It comes down to coaching and the system each team employs.

The Jacques Martin system is all about prevent, safety, playing not to lose. The Pens, on the other hand, attack and take the play to the opposition—as they did all game last night.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Jacques Martin's system works fantastically when the Canadiens have the lead. But it's a style that does not allow for many victories when the Habs are trailing.

And hey, if you're down by two goals and are still using the one-man forecheck with everyone else sitting back in the neutral zone, that's what's going to happen.

Power outage - Speaking of slim margins of error, the Habs path to glory this season is undoubtedly paved by special teams.

Over the last few seasons, and since Jacques Martin took over the coaching reigns, that Habs have always had top-10 special teams, especially the power play.

With woeful 5-on-5 scoring, it's their power play that has made them a playoff team over the last few years.

So far this season, things are not going according to Hoyle.

Montreal has the 25th ranked PP at eight percent efficiency and the 14th ranked PK at 84 percent.

The PK is respectible but, in absence of any kind of scoring punch, Montreal absolutely needs to average one PP goal per game.

Last night, with the Pens leading by two in the second frame, Pittsburgh handed Montreal three straight power plays. Not only were the Habs unable to score, but they struggled to even gain the offensive zone.

Things got so bad that at one point you saw Gorges on the point on the PP. That smacks of pure desperation to me, and shows that the coaches just didn't know what you do.

Not a good sign.

Up Next - The Habs have the day off before taking on the red-hot Leafs at the Bell Centre Saturday night. Toronto is coming off a 6-2 spanking at the hands of the Bruins, but have otherwise been playing inspired hockey thus far.

It is only five games in and Montreal still has plenty of time to turn things around. But if their skid reaches three straight losses—with a loss to the Leafs—and one regulation win in seven games, look for the panic button to be pushed in earnest.

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Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America)

Habs-Pens post game, Neal shines, Gorges feature, Crosby, Leafs, Bruins, Rumours and more...

Habs News
HabsAddict.com - Canadiens - Penguins: Depleted Pittsburgh Lineup Dismantles Reeling Habs
http://www.habsaddict.com/2011/10/canadiens-penguins-depleted-pittsburgh.html

Hockey Inside/Out - The mourning after
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/the-mourning-after-2

Game 6: Penguins school Canadiens in 3-1 win
http://www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/game-6-canadiens-take-on-penguins

RDS - La glissade se poursuit
http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/328566.html

ESPN.com - James Neal tallies seventh goal, lifts Penguins over Canadiens
http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=400047252

THN.com - VIDEO: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges happy to be healthy
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42438-VIDEO-Montreal-Canadiens-defenseman-Josh-Gorges-happy-to-be-healthy.html

Habsworld.net - HW 3 Stars: Outmatched by undermanned Penguins
http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=2613


NHL News
TSN - FRASER: DRAWING THE LINE ON THE 'BIG BAD BRUINS'
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378544

PENGUINS' CROSBY LOOKING FOR MORE CONTACT BEFORE RETURNING
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=378542

THN.com - Proteau: NHL trade verdicts best left to history
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/42442-Proteau-NHL-trade-verdicts-best-left-to-history.html

Spector's Hockey - Latest on Luongo, Turris and Wolski
http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/2011/10/21/latest-on-luongo-turris-and-wolski/

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Montreal Canadiens Gameday update: Michael Cammalleri returns, New Lineup Awaits

As you've likely heard by now, Habs sniper Michael Cammalleri is poised to make a return to the lineup tonight as Montreal takes on the Penguins.

Despite only missing three games with a cut above his knee, Cammalleri's return is much needed for a team that has too many sputtering parts.

While no lineup has been confirmed, expect Cammalleri to start on the top line with Tomas Plekanec and Erik Cole. This will be a great test for this line that was penciled in to start the season together until Coach Martin had a change of heart and inserted Andrei Kostitsyn into Cole's spot.

Since then, AK46 has found a nice home on the second line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty.

The combo of Pacioretty and AK provides the diminutive Desharnais with two big, strong scoring wingers who can create room for him to work his magic. And so far, the experiment has been a great success.

It kind of reminds me of the Boston Bruins' top line with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton flanking David Krejci.

If the Plekanec line can get rolling tonight and the Desharnais keeps doing their thing, the Habs will have a formidable one-two punch.

Take Lars Eller and put him on the third line wing with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta (yes, that is the third line now) and the Habs might have three solid lines to roll out.

Eller, who has looked great since coming back from offseason shoulder surgery, should provide that spark of life and skill that the Gomez/Gionta combo is badly missing. No disrespect meant to Travis Moen on that one, but he doesn't have anything on the skill and speed of Eller.

Game time is 7 pm with the puck dropping about ten minutes after that.

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Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images North America)

Michael Cammalleri to Return and The Importance of Good Starts

Michael Cammalleri emphatically declared himself ready to play tonight, and in French no less. "Allons-y" were his exact words.

His return will hopefully spark an inconsistent Habs offense. In between five goal outburts against both Winnipeg and Colorado, Montreal has only managed two goals in its other three contests.

Pittsburgh will certainly be weary of his return. The Richmond Hill native has four goals and four assists in his last ten contests versus the Penguins.

The Importance of Scoring Early

One of the main reasons for Montreal's lack of success so far has to do with their inability to capitalize on their early chances. They could have rapidly built significant leads against both Toronto and Buffalo, but failed to do so.

As a result, both teams eventually found a way to fight their way into the game and take two points away from the Canadiens. This trend will need to change in a hurry or else Montreal may quickly find itself out of playoff contention.

- Last year, teams who scored first were 844-233-149.

- Teams leading after the first period also combined for a 604-123-79 record last season.

- Beyond the rather damning statistics above, failing to score early affords the opposition goaltender the chance to build his confidence and gives time for the rest of the opposition team to find its legs.

- Failing to score on early, high-quality chances also dents the confidence of Montreal's shooters. Tomas Plekanec must have been rather frustrated after missing that gaping net against Buffalo.

- How often do we see a team come out flat in the first period and then, after their coach rips them in the intermission, come out blazing in the middle frame? I'm sure Ron Wilson and Lindy Ruff were happy campers.

- Speaking of the importance of early starts, according to Eklund, only 15% of teams out of the playoffs on Halloween make it to the big dance. And, perhaps even more worthy of note, Elliotte Friedman pointed out that, since the lockout, only 7% of teams who were more than three points out of the playoffs on November 1st recovered to make the playoffs. 

Montreal sit 13th right now.

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Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at l.moustakas@habsworld.net.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images North America)