Saturday, March 31, 2012

Habs/Rangers post game, Draft Lottery, Stretch Drive, Jets, Leafs, and more

Wow, that was ugly.

I know the season is lost, that everyone in management has been fired, and that some of the players in the current roster won't be here next year. But the lack of effort by the Habs last night, losing 4-1 to the Rangers, was brutal.

Disinterested is probably the best way to describe their play.

Then again, with all that has happened this season can you really blame them?

Habs News

HabsAddict - Canadiens - Rangers: New York Drops Habs 4-1, Grab Top Spot in NHL

Hockey Inside/Out - Did the Canadiens play in New York Friday night?

RDS - Victoire sans opposition

TSN - RANGERS TOP HABS, MOVE CLOSER TO SECURING TOP SEED IN EAST

Habsworld.net - Where to Focus on Drafting in 2012?

Hockey News

TSN - THE STRETCH DRIVE

TSN - THE DRAFT LOTTERY

TSN - BEYAK: JETS RALLY PAST CANES ON THE ROAD, LOSE GLASS

THN - Tom Thompson: Becoming an NHL scout

THN - Proteau: With Gauthier out as GM, Canadiens need new image

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America)

Canadiens - Rangers: New York Drops Habs 4-1, Grab Top Spot in NHL

So the Habs played, and lost, in brutally disinterested fashion, to the New York Rangers last night.

Say it with me now folks, "Who cares?"

At this point, most fans don't. The players? Well, watching last night it was pretty clear that many, if not most, have checked out already. Disinterested in what happens on the ice, eying an early tee-time in a few weeks and possibly a beach vacation, most were content to go through the motions.

But can you really blame them?

This is a year in which everyone in management has been fired. Everyone. The coach, the GM, the special advisor to the president. Everyone.

So, with the team floundering in last place in the East, most probably realize that there will likely be on-ice personnel changes this summer too. So will they even be around come September?

With four, merciless, games left to play, the Habs are in 28th overall in the league. They currently have a top-three pick locked up, however the Leafs level of suck-a-tude is rivaling Montreal. As such, there is a chance they could dislodge the Habs from the bottom-three if they keep sliding.

Still, there is a silver lining.

And that is that the Habs will pick, at a minimum in the top-5 and possibly as high as first overall. Plus, there will be a new management team running this team come draft time in June, and probably sooner.

Epic Fail

There is one last word I'd like to say about the outgoing management team, that was highlighted by the Rangers 4-1 drubbing of Montreal last night. The trade for Scott Gomez in the summer of 2009, is what sent both teams on their respective courses to their current positions.

The Rangers? First overall in the East, first overall in the league and a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

The Habs? 15th and last in the East, everyone in management fired, the lustre on the CH never being less sparkly, and a major effort required to get everything back on the rails.

Ya, I think it's fair to say that the Gomez deal scuttled the Habs the same way the Patrick Roy trade did in 1995.

Is there any wonder this team hasn't had a sniff of the Cup for the last 19 years?

That aside, this is a time for optimism because, so far, Geoff Molson is doing and saying the right things.

So if you're watching the remaining games, just take them for what they are but keep in mind that things will be different come September.

As for me, well, I've been out of the loop for the last month or so and am headed on vacation tomorrow. I'll be back just in time for the Habs season to have already ended. But that's when the real fun starts, with the GM search likely in full swing, the draft not too far away and the prospect of better things next season on the horizon.

Enjoy the remaining games, folks, I'll catch you all on the flip side!

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and featured columnist on PowerScoutHockey.com. Kamal is also a regular contributor to the Sunday Shinny segment of The Franchise weekend morning show, 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 Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Habs Fire Gauthier, Fallout, Candidates and More

Pierre Gauthier... (Photo: André Pichette, La Presse)
Good morning Hab fans!

It finally happened.

General Manager Pierre Gauthier was fired yesterday.

Although the man has made some good hockey moves, a point which I have argued before, he also proved to be an utterly inept communicator and leaves the team behind with a dubious salary structure.

Perhaps more importantly, Bob Gainey was also released from his role as special advisor. As you will recall, Gainey was the main architect of the 2009 rebuild that saw high-priced contracts such as Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and, of course, Scott Gomez brought in.

In his stead, Serge Savard has been brought in to consult on the hiring of the next GM.

Its a first step. What do you think will happen next?

Habs News


HabsAddict.com - Patrick Roy's Return?

HabsAddict.com - Geoff Molson Comments Pierre Gauthier Firing - Press Conference Notes

ESPN - Debate: What now for Habs?

ESPN - 5 Things: Habs are a mess Patrick Roy?

ESPN - Rumblings: Who will be next Habs' GM?

La Presse - Sondage CROP - La Presse: les Québécois réclament Patrick Roy

La Presse - Qui sera le prochain DG du CH?

RDS - On a payé pour une reconstruction ratée

Sports Illustrated - Handicapping the candidates for next Canadiens GM

The Hockey News - Proteau: With Gauthier out as GM, Canadiens need new image

TSN - TSN scout Button looks back at Gauthier's draft record

TSN - Canadiens' Cunneyworth on thin ice after GM Gauthier fired

USA Today - Roundup: Devils, Caps stay in playoff hunt with wins


(Photo by Andre Pichette/La Presse)

Patrick Roy's Return?

Patrick Roy won four Stanley Cups during his career. (Canadian Press)
Will Patrick Roy Return to Montreal as Head Coach?

With the Canadiens just five games away from season's end and Randy Cunneyworth's inability to turn this team around since his December 17th promotion, it's time to start taking these Patrick Roy rumors seriously. And, with the recent dismissal of Pierre Gauthier, one can only expects these rumors to intensify.

Speculation about St. Patrick's return have been swirling since Jacques Martin's departure and have picked up steam over the past two weeks, namely thanks to stories in The Globe and Mail and La Presse.

On one hand, there are a number of Montrealers who still feel betrayed by the Hall of Fame goaltender after his refusal to play another game as a Hab following an embarassing 11-1 drubbing at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings in 1995, a game in which Roy was beat nine times on 26 shots.

On the other hand, there are those who believe it would be fitting that Roy be given a chance to bring life to a franchise that has gone downhill since he last spoke to his posts in the Old Forum.

As my colleagues Kamal Panesar and Louis Moustakas discussed earlier this week, the issue is whether Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens can work the second time around.

Roy and the Media

Roy's Francophone background and number in the rafter's — not to mention the 1986 and 1993 Stanley Cup banners obtained in large part due to his stellar goaltending —  seem to qualify him for the job in the eye's of the media.

In addition, I'm sure that the passionate and sometimes irate post game quotes he'll surely provide will be welcomed by the press after years of dealing with the often emotionless Jacques Martin.

Patrick Roy would be somewhat of a French-speaking John Torterella. You know, minus the NHL experience and Stanley Cup ring.

No Experience Coaching in NHL

Roy's lack of experience coaching at the NHL level is a huge turn off in the eyes of many, but he has done an impressive job behind the bench of the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL.

In his seven years as the Remparts' coach, Roy has a 307-138-32 record and, in 2006, became the seventh rookie coach to win the Memorial Cup.

While his lack of professional coaching experience Roy is a negative, there are no doubt a number of positives that St. Patrick could bring to the Canadiens.

For one thing, Roy is passionate. It's been too long since there has been a fiery coach behind the Habs bench willing to make his presence known.

In recent seasons, underachievers have rarely held accountable in Montreal, especially when it comes to ice time.

It would be interesting to see the minutes players like Scott Gomez or former Hab Mike Cammalleri would get under Roy's reign.

Roy, Subban and Price

Although the Canadiens could use some fire behind the bench, it's unsure whether Roy's temper would mesh well with the current roster.

Of particular concern are P.K. Subban and Carey Price.

Part of me worries that Roy's strong and stubborn personality may clash with Subban's outgoing ways.

Conversely, maybe Roy could relate to the cocky demeanor and high expectations that go along with P.K Subban.

Then there is Carey Price. Would he be affected, if at all, by having a Hall of Fame netminder behind the bench?

Would Roy let goalie coach Pierre Groulx have complete control over the Habs backstop or would he contribute his own two cents when it comes to the development of the Habs star goalie?

If Roy were to move in on Groulx's turf, it's unknown as to how Price and his calm, collected demeanor would deal with any outbursts that may come from the Habs legendary goalie.

If you ask me, I wouldn't mind having someone with Roy's success giving someone with Price's skill and maturity some pointers.

When all is said and done I'm torn when it comes to Patrick Roy returning to Montreal as head coach.

While I wouldn't mind having an experienced NHL coach behind the bench next year, I'm not completely opposed to welcoming a Montreal Canadiens alumni who almost single handedly won the team's last two championships.

What are your thoughts? Does experience outweigh history? Would Roy's temper bode well in the locker room? Or did Roy give up his chance to return to this franchise when he walked out on the team in '95?

---
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com. You can follow Sean on Twitter.

(Photo by Richard the Canadian Press)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Geoff Molson Comments Pierre Gauthier Firing - Press Conference Notes

Well, if you didn't hear it, Habs owner, Geoff Molson, just finished his press conference discussing the firing of Pierre Gauthier as GM.

And man did he ever hit it out of the park. Molson said all the right things while truly showing the he cares. This press conference comes full circle from his comments when he took over the team, showing and stating that he is and was a fan.

Here's a quick, point form, break down of what Molson had to say:

-We play in the best hockey market in the world
-Fans want and deserve a winning team.
-Ownership will accept nothing less than a winning culture in the organization.
-Likes core of team
-Injuries decimated team this year, but this is not an excuse
-Over next month will deal with contracts and prep for draft. (Sounds like Price and Subban talks will start before WHC.)
-Molson says in a mutual decision Bob Gainey no longer with the club as an advisor
-Serge Savard will help Molson find a new GM
-Molson: "...this organization must set its sights on competing for the games ultimate prize, every season. And no lesser standard should be accepted. Our fans and our tradition demand nothing less than this."
-Molson thanks fans for suggestions in email, twitter, etc.
-Attention will now be turned to hiring a new GM. "...Until the decision is made, the process and list of candidates will remain confidential."
-Molson: Decision to act now was a) when 100% sure the playoffs were out, the moment was right and b) acting now means they have 10 additional days more to find a new GM
-Molson: "...We'll narrow search down to best candidate, preference is to have someone who speaks French..."
-Molson said, several times, that the preference is for a GM that speaks French but being the best candidate is the priority.
-Molson: ..."when it comes to hockey decisions, I rely on hockey professionals. It is not my area of expertise."
-Molson: "...the last time I spoke to Patrick Roy was when his sweater was retired."
-Molson: Larry Carriere will be assistant GM/interim to search for a New GM, plan for the draft and prepare post-mortems, Pierre Groulx replacing him behind the bench for the next five games.

Here is video of his press conference, in English:


Great, great presser by the Habs owner. He has given Habs fans a reason to smile with only a few games remaining in this dismal season.

Moreover, he has given them something to look forward to.

So what do you think of the move and his presser? Also, who do you think will be the best candidate to take over as GM?

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and featured columnist on PowerScoutHockey.com. Kamal is also a regular contributor to the Sunday Shinny segment of The Franchise weekend morning show, 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 Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Montreal Canadiens Fire GM Pierre Gauthier

This is all we have from the Habs so far:

"Pierre Gauthier relieved from his duties the search for a new General Manager is underway Press Conference with Geoff Molson today at 11: 45 a.m.

MONTREAL (March 29, 2012) – Geoff Molson, Owner, President and CEO of the Montreal Canadiens will hold a press conference, today, March 29, at 11:45 a.m. in the Bell Sports Complex press conference room in Brossard."

More details to come...

UPDATE - 11:30 AM - Darren Dreger, on TSN 990 and Twitter, says that..."Some suggestions Bob Gainey may be stepping away from Canadiens as well."

Kamal's Note: Atta boy Goeff Molson! If this ends up being true, it shows the Molson truly understands what ails this franchise and is ready to part ways will all who had associations with former eras.

I think aside from Larry Carriere and Trevor Timmins, it is time to clean house.


UPDATE - 11:36 AM - Again from TSN's Darren Dreger, this time on Twitter..."Serge Savard will be involved with the Habs in an advisory capacity."

Kamal's Note: Interesting. The plot thickens!

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Habs News, Free Tickets, Coaching Changes, Pateryn and More

Greg Pateryn sous contrat
Good morning Habs fans!

A lot of great reading in our AM roundup, including an excellent piece by our Frank Dumais on this season's coaching changes.

Otherwise, I will just take the opportunity to remind you that today is the last day for our contest

Courtesy of Animalerie Little Bear, we have two free tickets to give away for the Montreal - Tampa Bay contest at the Bell Centre on April 4th.

To have a chance at winning these tickets, all you need to do is 'like' our Facebook page before March 30th 2012. Please note that to obtain your winnings, you will need to pick up the tickets at Animalerie Little Bear.


Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Habs by the Numbers: Have This Year's NHL Coaching Changes Worked?

HabsAddict.com - Press Release - Habs Sign Greg Pateryn

Faceoff.com - Cole upbeat about Canadiens' future

Faceoff.com - The odds on who'll represent Canadiens at NHL Draft Lottery: Pick 'em

Hamilton Spectator - Henry has earned a taste of Montreal

IIHF - Koivu’s drive for five

Journal de Montreal - La progression de Lars Eller

La Presse - Erik Cole: bonnes notes... et frustration

La Presse - Frédéric St-Denis en audition

Hockey News

ESPN - Debate: Key games, key decisions

ESPN - Predators clinch playoff spot

Sports Illustrated - Streaking Sabres closing in on rare accomplishment

The Hockey News - Kennedy: Cody Hodgson due for breakout season in 2012-13

USA Today - Roundup: Columbus' York gets first win in emergency start


(Photo from Agence QMI / TVASports.ca)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Habs by the Numbers: Have This Year's NHL Coaching Changes Worked?

Hello again Habs Addicts!

As we get closer to the end of the season, I was wondering about all of the coaching changes that happened in the NHL this season, and whether they payed off?

So here's a look and some of the details...

Relatively "slow" year in terms of changes

I've taken the time to put together a couple of charts for your statistical enjoyment. I've broken this down into two groups: winners and losers.

In all, seven teams decided to make a coaching change this season, which is a relatively low number.

The first change came on November 30th, when coach Randy Carlyle was removed from Anaheim, after six full seasons at the helm (and .598 winning percentage in 492 games).

And, let's not forget a Stanley Cup Championship!

The last coaching change came on March 2nd, when Brian Burke fired long time accomplice Ron Wilson, replacing him with long time accomplice Randy Carlyle (him again!).

And the winners are ...

Looking at the chart below, four of seven teams that made a change have ended up "winners", and all of them in a big way!

We all know about Ken Hitchcock and the Blues, which were 24th in the league standings (6-7-0) at the time of the change. They've since gone 42-13-9 (.727), and are currently in 1st place in the NHL.

Another interesting note is that three of the four teams are from the Western conference (no Western team in the "losers" chart, if you notice). Also, the only Eastern team, Carolina, is now being coached by ex-Habs assistant, Kirk Muller. He's managed an impressive 23-18-11 (.548) after picking up the 26th ranked team last November 28th.


And the losers are ...

Of course, the first team that jumps to mind is Montreal.

Under coach Cunneyworth, Montreal has regressed by 16%. Also, when Jacques Martin was replaced, the Canadiens were 11th in the Eastern conference, and only two points out of sixth place. Montreal is now 15th and last in the East, as well as 14 points out of a playoff spot, after going 16-22-7 (.433) under their new coach.

Washington has been another disappointment, going .536 under new coach Dale Hunter, while under-performing as a team loaded with talented youths.

Finally, the most shocking of all changes has to be the Toronto Maple Leafs' decision to let go of Ron Wilson after 64 games. A month before being fired, Wilson had the Leafs in 7th place in the East, 4 points behind 5th place Pittsburgh, seriously eyeing a playoff spot for the first time since the lockout.

In February, the Leafs suddenly went 4-9-1 (.321), and slid into the 11th spot, five points out of playoff contention. It was at that point that Burke decided to "pull the plug" on Wilson, and brought in Carlyle.

Since that move, in 13 games, the Leafs have gone 4-7-2 (.385), and have not won once in their last 10 games at home. I think Mr. Burke will have some explaining to do this summer.


Is change really good, Donkey?

I, for one, think that, in general, NHL teams are very quick to replace head coaches.

Yes, it's easier to replace a coach than it is to trade underperforming players in this salary cap crazy era. Granted.

But I still think that, most of the time, teams end up with the same results, since the issue is more often than not "on the ice", and not behind the bench. Yet, they replace the guy behind the bench.

Do you think NHL teams should show more patience/stability with their coaching staff?

---
Frank Dumais is a freelance writer, currently contributing to HabsAddict.com “Habs By the numbers” regular column. He writes on current Habs and NHL topics, but with a “numbers twist”.

Follow Frank on Twitter

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images )

Press Release - Habs Sign Greg Pateryn

CANADIENS SIGN DEFENCEMAN GREG PATERYN TO A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT

MONTREAL (March 28, 2012) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of defenceman Greg Pateryn to a two-year contract (2012-13 and 2013-14). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Pateryn tallied 15 points (2 goals, 13 assists) in 41 games this season with the CCHA’s Michigan Wolverines. The 6’02’’ and 212 lbs defenseman served 65 penalty minutes. He played one game in the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four, presenting a +1 differential and three shots on goal.

A native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, Pateryn, 21, recorded 43 points (6 goals and 37 assists) and 143 penalty minutes in 142 games since his college debut with Michigan in 2008-09. He was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round, 128th overall at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Pateryn was acquired from the Maple Leafs on July 3, 2008 with a second round draft pick in 2010, in return for Mikhail Grabovski.

Habs/Panthers Post-Game, Nordiques, East Race and More

Morning puck fans!

Unsurprisingly, the Montreal Canadiens gave up a late lead to eventually lose 3-2 in a shootout to the Florida Panthers.

And it really is unsurprising, as Montreal owns the fourth worst win percentage when leading after two periods. Overall, when ahead after the middle frame, their record is 22-3-6.

Regardless, with the Leafs plummeting and making serious play for "Fail For Nail", I reckon most fans are not terribly shattered by the loss at this point.

On an unrelated note, Frederic St-Denis' pass to Louis Leblanc, great. Just amazing.

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Habs by the Numbers: P.K Subban's Accuracy

Hockey Inside/Out - About last night …

La Presse - Bec-O-Cam!

TSN - Panthers boost playoff hopes with victory over Canadiens

Hockey News

ESPN - In a battle of will, Sabres trounce Capitals

La Presse - Le retour des Nordiques? Possible!

Sports Illustrated - Flawed playoff format causes inequities

The Hockey News - Boylen: Power plays, not goal scoring, down in NHL

USA Today - Roundup: Isles win in Pittsburgh for first time in 4 years


(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Habs/Panthers, Subban's Shot, Relocation, Roy and More

Brian Campbell - Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers
Morning Hab fans!

The Florida Panthers, who are visiting the Bell Centre tonight, could inch closer to locking up the Southeast division with a win.

It feels a bit odd to write that sentence, as the Panthers have been bottom feeders for much of my hockey-following existence. Say what you will about hockey in South Florida, it is nice to see this squad emerge as a legitimate playoff team for a change.

Meanwhile, Buffalo and Washington face-off at Verizon Centre for what is easily the contest of the evening. Both teams are tied for eighth in the East with 84 points in 76 games.

No offense Habs, but I will be watching that one.

What about you? Where will you tune in tonight?

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Habs by the Numbers: P.K Subban's Accuracy

HabsAddict.com - Panesar and Moustakas: Would Patrick Roy Be a Good Coach for the Habs?

Faceoff.com - Stars shining brighter than Canadiens

Faceoff.com - Hickey: Multiple players misused this season

HabsWorld.net - Your Move, Mr. Gomez

HockeyBuzz.com - Habs Must Change as Expected

IIHF - Montreal claims Clarkson Cup

La Presse - Molson doit congédier Gauthier

La Presse - Pour un Canadien plus robuste?

Hockey News

Sports Illustrated - New Quebec arena heats relocation talk

The Hockey News - Campbell: Rewarding divisional winners hurts NHL

TSN - McKenzie: New Quebec arena doesn't mean NHL team is closer

USA Today - Roundup: Red Wings rout Jackets, clinch playoff bid

USA Today - Surging Sabres to face Capitals in key showdown



(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images North America)

Habs by the Numbers: P.K Subban's Accuracy

Hello again HabsAddicts,

Just a quick few lines today to elaborate a little on PK Subban's shooting accuracy.

Frequent Comments

One of the comments I hear the most about Pernell Karl is that his big "wind up" has become too predictable.

As much as this is true, I believe he's been varying his shots from the blueline lately. Maybe that explains his three goals and 11 points in his last 12 games.

The next comment I hear most often about number 76 is that his shot hits the glass more often than the net. I was curious about how true that was. Let's look at some numbers.

Where Does Subban Fit?

This season, P.K is currently seventh among NHL defensemen in shots on net after 75 games.

The table below shows the number of shots, as well as the number of "missed shots". If we add both, we get the total of unblocked shots towards the net.

 

With this figure, we're able to find out the actual accuracy of the player. Where does Subban fit? Surpringly enough, he comes in second in accuracy (72.0%) among the top ten shooting defensemen of the league this season.

Did Subban Improve This Year?

Dare we compare to last season?

Guess what? Subban even improved this year! He was still among the top ten in the league in shots on net (was actually 8th vs 7th this year), and was 3rd in accuracy (71.6%)!

If you compare the below list, which is for the 2010-11 season, and the one above for this year, you'll notice that Subban and Chara are probably the most consitent top ten d-men in terms of both quantity AND quality.


Are you surprised?

I must admit that I was a little bit. I figured Subban's numbers would be great, but I didn't expect to find him at the top for the last 2 years.


---
Frank Dumais is a freelance writer, currently contributing to HabsAddict.com “Habs By the numbers” weekly column. He writes on current Habs topics, but with a “numbers twist”.

Follow Frank on Twitter

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Habs News, Roy as Coach?, Quebec City and More

Patrick Roy - Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens 
Morning puck fans!

The Canadiens were officially eliminated this weekend, which should really come as a surprise to no one at all.

In fact, Montreal has dipped all the way to 29th overall, as Edmonton wins the tie-breaker there with two more wins.

Meanwhile, speculation about the Canadiens hiring Patrick Roy as their next head coach continues to chug along. In fact, Kamal and myself discuss this a new segment.

Go tell us what you think! Would Roy be a fit?

Contest

Courtesy of Animalerie Little Bear, we have two free tickets to give away for the Montreal - Tampa Bay contest at the Bell Centre on April 4th.

To have a chance at winning these tickets, all you need to do is 'like' our Facebook page before March 30th 2012. Please note that to obtain your winnings, you will need to pick up the tickets at Animalerie Little Bear.

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Panesar and Moustakas: Would Patrick Roy Be a Good Coach for the Habs?

HabsWorld.net - HW Recap: The Inevitable Finally Happens

Hockey Inside/Out - Season winds down for the Canadiens

La Presse - Bulletin du CH: quand seulement six joueurs se présentent...

La Presse - Gorges: «C'est dur à avaler»

Hockey News


NHL.com - Minnesota, BC earn trip to Frozen Four

Sports Illustrated - Talking NHL CBA with two agents

The Hockey News - VIDEO: THN Puck Panel – Early look at 2012 NHL Entry Draft

TSN - Quebec City to break ground on NHL-style arena in September

USA Today - Roundup: Capitals back in 8th thanks to Ovechkin


(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Panesar and Moustakas: Would Patrick Roy Be a Good Coach for the Habs?

Patrick Roy dirige les Remparts depuis cinq ans... (Photothèque Le Soleil, Steve Deschênes) 
Greetings puck addicts!

We have a new treat for you this morning. In the spirit of great debates between such names as Burnside and LeBrun, Marek and Wyshinski, we at HabsAddict.com bring you Panesar and Moustakas.

No, this isn't an Indian/Greek fusion recipe column.

Rather, its two guys who know pretty much the same about hockey as the aforementioned names, but who are not even remotely as well connected or well known!

But fret not, because we have our share of opinion and disagree often enough that we hope this will become another enjoyable part of your regular reading. We will mostly be talking Habs but, with so much going on in the league, will often be tackling other NHL and hockey related issues.

So, without further ado, here’s our first piece in which we take a look at the rumours of Patrick Roy coaching the Montreal Canadiens.

Moustakas: Rumours of Patrick Roy becoming the next head coach of the Montreal Canadiens are nothing new. However, in recent days, the speculation seems to have hit a fevered pitch, especially thanks to a piece in The Globe and Mail.

The veracity of these many reports has been challenged, but as the old saying goes, where there is smoke, there is fire.

Regardless, one question merits to be asked: Is Patrick Roy the right fit to coach the Canadiens?

From this corner, I would say no. While his prestigious reputation and fiery temper may be an effective combination on impressionable teenagers, I somehow doubt that richly paid professionals would be so easily moved.

Further to that, as a coach, Patrick Roy has become known for his antics almost more so than his on-ice success. He has been fined four times in the last 12 months by the QMJHL. And, of course, there is also that infamous goaltender fight involving his son.

All in all, not sure any of that would fly in the big leagues.

Panesar: The Globe and Mail article aside, I think the talk of Patrick Roy joining the Habs, in some capacity, really started when the Habs retired his jersey a few years back.

At the time, it was felt that the now famous rift between Roy and the Habs had been healed. Moreover, the feeling in many circles was that the kissing and making up, as it were, would pave the way for Roy to one day return to the Canadiens in some coaching or managerial capacity.

Fast forward to this season and, with the Canadiens stumbling and bumbling on and off the ice, rumours have been rampant all season about possible replacements for GM Pierre Gauthier and co. And now, with this Globe article, among other reports in La Presse and Radio-Canada, it seems that Roy has already been hired, in secret, to take over as head coach of the team next season.

While I think having the fiery Roy as head coach of the Habs would present it challenges and, as you point out Louis, his schtick many not translate well from Junior to the pros, to me I think this whole situation brings up another important point.

If this story ends up being true and Roy has been hired, does that mean the new general manager is already in place too?

It would be beyond foolish for owner Geoff Molson to arbitrarily hire a head coach without having a GM involved in the decision. So, to me, this means that either Pierre Gauthier will continue to be the man next season—a prospect that I find highly unlikely—or Molson has already hired a general manager.

Perhaps that GM is already working with the team in some other capacity.

Can you say Larry Carriere?

Moustakas: A General Manager would have to be in place if this—or any other—hire were to be made. It is simply unfathomable for Molson to impose such a decision. Imagine a new GM having to deal with an emotional, controlling individual like Roy without having even picked him. Awkward. 

What's that other old expression? A team is successful when the owner owns, the manager manages and the coach coaches.

As for Larry Carriere being the new GM, not sure how well that would play out in the eyes of fans. People are clamoring for significant change and making another internal hire may not quell those desires.

Larry Carriere could prove to be a fine choice, but, ultimately, real change can only happen if a more significant cleanup is made in the front office. The organization is rife with people who have been around for far too long and have links to previous eras of insuccess.

But, back to our initial topic, do you think Roy would be a fit behind the Habs' bench?

Panesar: The potential GM conundrum aside, if we focus just on Roy, I like the guy.

I like that he is a winner and has won at every level he has played or coached at. I like that he is bilingual and will ease and appease those who were crying foul when Randy Cunneyworth, a unilingual Anglophone, was appointed as head coach. I like that Roy has a history with the Canadiens organization. I like that he brings instant respect and credibility to the table, and I actually like that he is a fiery person who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

He’s surely the type of coach who wouldn’t hesitate to bench a Scott Gomez or Andrei Kostitsyn. With Roy, it’s my way or the highway.

The thing I dislike the most about him potentially taking over the coaching reigns, is that it would once again be a situation where the Canadiens are appointing a rookie head coach. Aside from Jacques Martin, the Habs have spent close to 15 years letting rookie NHL coaches cut their teeth in Montreal, ultimately crashing and burning, before moving on to success elsewhere.

Names like Alain Vigneault, Claude Julien, Michel Therrien, and others, come to mind.

While my heart tells me Roy would proudly take on the role, while doing everything in his power to win, my head tells me that I wish he had NHL experience before coming to Montreal. It’s the same situation with Guy Boucher. Everyone was crying over his departure to Tampa, but not me. I recognized that he was a talented coach, but didn’t want to see another rookie running the bench. Let him go get experience in Tampa before coming to Montreal.

For me, the same holds true of Roy.

Moustakas: You make some good points about Roy. He strikes me as the intransigent type, which could certianly be a benefit on a squad that has had far too many passengers this season. 
  
And, given his darling status with the Montreal media and ability to act as a lightning-rod for controversy, perhaps he would even help deflect some of the attention away from the players, who must be rather overwhelmed by the Montreal spotlight at times.

Having said that, I still believe his methods would not necessarly sit well with a bunch of richly paid professional athletes.

As for your feelings on Guy Boucher, I echo your sentiment there. I was more than happy to watch him leave.

Coaches get fired on a seemingly daily basis in pro sports. Montreal will get another chance to hire Guy Boucher down the road. 

In the meantime, I too am sick and tired of watching rookie coaches take their first steps in La Metropole only to go on to greater success elsewhere. Let someone else do the rookie development for a while.

Panesar: One last point on Roy, or any coach, is that to a certain degree they are only as good as the personnel they have available to them.

While the Habs have some nice pieces in place, they have some work to do before becoming a contender.

I'm not sure that Roy's fiery, competitive nature is what's needed to bring an average team to the promised land.

Will he have the patience to see it through, or become frustrated by the lack of horses to get the job done.

I'm leaning towards the latter, but I've been wrong before!

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and featured columnist on PowerScoutHockey.com. Kamal is also a regular contributor to the Sunday Shinny segment of The Franchise weekend morning show, 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

---
Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com. Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval.

His writing has also appeared on HabsWorld.net. He currently resides in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. Find him on twitter @LouisMoustakas


(Photo by Le Soleil/Steve Deschênes) 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Habs/Flyers post game, Canadiens eliminated, Miller, Draft preview, and more

Morning puck addicts!

Another day, another Habs loss. But this time, with the Habs dropping a 4-1 decision to the Flyers, the game had a little more meaning.

For the Flyers, they officially clinched a playoffs spot. For Montreal? They are now officially eliminated.

As HIO's Mike Boone points out, the Habs now have 34 regulation losses this season. Thrown in 13 OT/SO losses, and that total swells to 47.

Yowza! Sounds like it's time for the mercy rule!

This season can't end soon enough for Habs fans. And, they can take solace in the the fact that the Habs will certainly be drafting high. Top-Five for sure with a shot at Top-Three.

That's a pretty good consolation and a well needed shot in the arm for what should be an offseason rebuild.

Habs News

Hockey Inside/Out - About last night …

RDS - Le Canadien est officiellement éliminé

TSN - HABS GREAT BELIVEAU RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL

Hockey News

TSN - BEYAK: JETS BACK-TO-BACK WOES CONTINUE AGAINST PREDATORS

ESPN - Ryan Miller on Sabres' run, preseason hype

THN - VIDEO: THN Puck Panel – Early look at 2012 NHL Entry Draft

THN - VIDEO: One-on-one with New York Islanders winger Matt Moulson

(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Press Release - Habs Recall Frédéric St-Denis

Canadiens recall Frédéric St-Denis from the Hamilton Bulldogs

MONTREAL (March 24, 2012) – The Montreal Canadiens announced today that defenseman Frédéric St-Denis has been recalled from the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. St-Denis will join the team in Philadelphia and will be available for tonight’s game against the Flyers.

The 26-year old defenseman recorded 28 points (3 goals and 25 assists) in 54 games with the Bulldogs thus far this season. St-Denis scored two of his goals on the powerplay and added 105 shots on goal.

Assigned to the Bulldogs on March 17, the 5’11’’ and 182 lbs defenseman played 10 games with the Canadiens in 2011-12, including his first NHL game on November 16 against the Carolina Hurricanes. St-Denis scored his first career NHL goal on December 8 against the Vancouver Canucks. He recorded six shots on goal and four blocked shots, while playing an average of 12 minutes and 39 seconds per game.

A native of Greenfield Park, Quebec, St-Denis signed with the Canadiens as a free agent on July 1, 2010.

Habs/Sens post game, Leafs, Jets, Cole pots 30, NHL discipline and more

Morning puck addicts!

So it seems your Montreal Canadiens still have a few tricks up their sleeves. The cellar-dwelling Habs downed the Sens, last night, in a spirited match that included several fights.

Mostly notably, Ryan White and Chris Neil were after each other all night. That is until Neil was tossed for getting too rowdy too many times.

But the real story of the night was Erik Cole's hattrick in the first six minutes of play.

His trio put his season total at 30. Wow, when was the last time the Habs had two 30-goal scorers on the same team?

If you keep in mind that Brian Gionta had 29 the year before, this team, conceivably, will have three 30-goal scorers in their lineup next season. That alone won't make them winners, but it's certainly a good start!

Habs News

Hockey Inside/Out - Canadiens own Ottawa

RDS - Cole nuit aux Sénateurs

Habsworld.net - Ringing the Bell

Hockey News

TSN - CANUCKS CONFIRM THAT DANIEL SEDIN HAS A CONCUSSION

TSN - SIEGEL: KADRI OFFERS SNAPSHOT OF TALENTS IN LEAFS RETURN

TSN - BEYAK: JETS COME FROM BEHIND IN THIRD TO GAIN GROUND ON CAPS

TSN - FRASER: REFEREES MUST WORK TO KEEP SPORT SAFE AT EVERY LEVEL

THN - Campbell: Five Friday thoughts

THN - Proteau: NHL must send message through supplemental discipline

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Habs/Sens, Playoffs, Draft Record, Keith and More

Ben Bishop - Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators 
Morning puck fans!

With Montreal firmly entrenched at 28th overall, there is increasingly less excitement in watching their contests as the season dwindles.

In Ottawa, however, they are certainly making things interesting. Seemingly guaranteed of a playoff spot, a recent spell of four losses in five games has put that berth in jeopardy - albeit only a little.

The Senators are currently four points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres, who currently own the ninth position in the East.

Another loss to Montreal, against whom Ottawa has somehow struggled this season, would make their grip on a post-season spot even more tenuous.

Interesting times in OTT. Not so much in MTL.

Contest

Courtesy of Animalerie Little Bear, we have two free tickets to give away for the Montreal - Tampa Bay contest at the Bell Centre on April 4th.

To have a chance at winning these tickets, all you need to do is 'like' our Facebook page before March 30th 2012. Please note that to obtain your winnings, you will need to pick up the tickets at Animalerie Little Bear.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Habs/Sabres Post-Game, Races, Gorges and More

 
Morning puck fans!

One has to admire the Buffalo Sabres' resiliency, no?

A few weeks ago, they were left for dead in the Eastern playoff race. Or, as we would say in French, on vendait pas chere la peau des Sabres.

But, after going 7-3-3 in February and 6-2-2 in their last ten games, Buffalo has brought itself back into the post-season conversation.

With last night's 3-0 win over the Habs, they have even moved into a tie with the Washington Capitals for the final playoff berth.

And, to boot, next Tuesday they face those Capitals in a what should be a crucial match-up. Sounds like something worth watching to me.

With the Habs out of contention, what teams or playoff races are you following?

Contest

Courtesy of Animalerie Little Bear, we have two free tickets to give away for the Montreal - Tampa Bay contest at the Bell Centre on April 4th.

To have a chance at winning these tickets, all you need to do is 'like' our Facebook page before March 30th 2012. Please note that to obtain your winnings, you will need to pick up the tickets at Animalerie Little Bear.

Habs News
Hockey Inside/Out - About last night … with audio

La Presse - Canadien 0 Sabres 3: comme une équipe de dernier rang

La Presse - Vite que ça finisse! 


(Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Habs/Sabres, Roy, Gomez, A Question and More

Tyler Myers - Montreal Canadiens v Buffalo Sabres 
Morning Hab fans!

Quick question for you before I let you move on to your daily reading.

If you were down 0-1 with two minutes left in a game and, suddenly, you found yourself with a 30 second 5-on-3 advantage, would you pull your goaltender?

I would.

But, Paul MacLean, coach of the Ottawa Senators, did not think it wise to do so last night. The Sens fell 1-0 to the Devils.

What would you have done?

Contest

Courtesy of Animalerie Little Bear, we have two free tickets to give away for the Montreal - Tampa Bay contest at the Bell Centre on April 4th.

To have a chance at winning these tickets, all you need to do is 'like' our Facebook page before March 30th 2012. Please note that to obtain your winnings, you will need to pick up the tickets at Animalerie Little Bear.

Habs News

HabsWorld.net - Aaron Palushaj: Should he stay or should he go?

La Presse - Un divorce à venir entre Gomez et le CH?

La Presse - Roy avec le CH: le téléphone n'a pas encore sonné

Montreal Gazette - Price wasn't right: he was short two bits

Montreal Gazette - Pat Hickey: Educate U.S. colleges about Quebec players: Sports Akademia founder

RDS - CH : punir les Sabres et non Tyler Myers

Hockey News

SportsNet - Tough to Tolerate

The Hockey News - Campbell: Graham James plaque returned to The Hockey News

TSN - Fraser: Devils-Rangers opening fights within the rules

USA Today - Roundup: Maple Leafs continue spiral, Blackhawks rout


(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Habs News, PA Parenteau, Radulov and More

P.A. Parenteau - Edmonton Oilers v New York Islanders 
Morning Hab fans!

Yesterday, Francois Gagnon of La Presse had an interesting piece on upcoming Unrestricted Free Agent P.A Parenteau.

In short, he argued that the Montreal Canadiens must offer him a contract should the Islanders' forward eventually hit the open market.

I could not agree more.

On pace for 69 points this season, the Hull native also delivered an impressive 53 points last year. While he may not produce as much in Montreal - where no John Tavares-type player resides - he would still be a welcome addition to the offense.

And, as a bonus, he is a homegrown product.

Local talent like David Desharnais and Louis Leblanc cannot be alone on an island. If Quebec players are to have any success in Montreal, they need to be surrounded by others from the province.

Or else, the spotlight shines on only a few and, in rougher times, the pressure can become difficult to manage.

Contest

Courtesy of Animalerie Little Bear, we have two free tickets to give away for the Montreal - Tampa Bay contest at the Bell Centre on April 4th.

To have a chance at winning these tickets, all you need to do is 'like' our Facebook page before March 30th 2012. Please note that to obtain your winnings, you will need to pick up the tickets at Animalerie Little Bear.
Habs News

Montreal Gazette - Gorges turns Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge into black-and-blue

Montreal Gazette - Lars Eller adjusting to the wing

Montreal Gazette - NCAA championships highlight Habs prospects

RDS - Le Canadien s'inspire des Sénateurs

Hockey News

ESPN - Rant answers: Fans have the Blues

Sports Illustrated - Radulov’s return could upset the West’s balance of power

SportsNet - Committed to the Cause?

The Hockey News - Campbell: Mississauga Rebels defeat Connor McDavid's Toronto Marlboros in OHL Cup final

TSN - Report: Agent confirms Radulov's return to Predators

TSN - Fraser: Determining responsibility on the big hits

TSN - Dreger's Mailbag: Will Radulov fit right in with Predators?

USA Today - Roundup: Pouliot scores twice as Bruins blank Maple Leafs


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Habs News, Three Point Games, Radulov and More

Carey Price - Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators 
Morning Hab fans.

The era of the shootout and three-point games has made it increasingly difficult for teams to move in the standings.

Case in point: Your Montreal Canadiens.

Even though the Habs have picked up points in seven of their last ten games - a decent streak for a bottom team like Montreal - they have moved up only one position, to 27th overall in the league.

And even that looks to be temporary, as Montreal has played more games than anyone in the bottom five.

At this point, most fans are probably fine with this since it likely means a top-four pick is in the cards for the Canadiens.

For those embroiled in playoff battles, though, this reality is tough to deal with.

The seventh seeded Colorado Avalanche, for example, has three more wins than any of the teams chasing them, yet own only a one point advantage over ninth place.

What do you think about the impact of the shootout and three point games?


Habs News

HabsWorld.net - HW Recap: Now they start to win?

Hockey Inside/Out - Canadiens back at practice rink

Hockey Inside/Out - About last night … (Saturday night)

RDS - Canadien : la lente agonie tire à sa fin


Hockey News

ESPN - I did not know that

ESPN - Being Brian Campbell

RDS - Radu aurait le champ libre vers la LNH

Sports Illustrated - Snoring down the stretch

The Hockey News - Campbell: Major junior veterans should get shot at pro hockey

USA Today - NHL roundup: Andrew Shaw leads Blackhawks past Capitals


(Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Habs/Sens post game, Gomez, Skinner suspended, Crosby's return, Leafs and more

Morning Habs addicts!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend more than the Habs are. Yes, they've been playing better of late, much to the chagrin of fans wanting them to draft high. But they still tend more to the losing side than anything else.

I know fans are probably blaming their favorite ref since Kerry Fraser (Chris Lee) this morning, but, as Coach Cunneyworth pointed out, the Habs were architects of their own demise against the Sens.

The good news? At least Boston is no longer is first overall in the Northeast!

Habs News

HabsAddict - The Magical Fourth Season: Myth or Reality?

HabsAddict - Habs by the Numbers: Why is Scott Gomez Still Playing? Part deux ...

HabsAddict - Dissecting the Montreal Canadiens: Early March 2012 Edition

Hockey Inside/Out - No rest for weary Canadiens

RDS - Les Sens arrachent deux points au CH

Hockey News

TSN - HURRICANES F SKINNER SUSPENDED TWO GAMES FOR KICKING OPPONENT

TSN - 2.2 MILLION CANADIANS TUNE IN TO CROSBY'S RETURN ON TSN2

TSN - SIEGEL: LEAFS' REIMER STEALS PAGE FROM RED-HOT BRYZGALOV

THN - Campbell: Major junior veterans should get shot at pro hockey

(Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images North America)

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Magical Fourth Season: Myth or Reality?

Max Pacioretty - Montreal Canadiens v Calgary Flames
In the era of in-depth analysis, sabermetrics and advanced statistics, more and more fantasy experts are talking about the magical fourth season for NHL players.

Most of you will ask "what is the magical fourth season exactly?"

Roughly speaking, offensive players make big jumps in their production in years two through six. In the fourth year, a quarter of players see offensive output increase by 25 percent.

For players entering their second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth seasons, increases are of roughly 14%, 17%, 24%, 14% and 9% respectively. The increase is about 5% for the seventh season and beyond.

As you can see, on average, fourth year players see the biggest increase in their offensive production.

However, this only applies to forwards, as defensemen generally take more time to develop, Erik Karlsson being the exception rather than the rule.

Now let's study the offensive production of ten talented NHL players and see how they are doing so far in 2011-12.

1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

After a rough rookie season where he recorded only 23 goals and 46 points in 79 games, mainly because of the failed Barry Melrose experiment, the Lightnings' first overall draft pick in 2008 has developed into the NHL's most lethal goal scorer. After seasons of 95 and 91 points, Stamkos currently has 50 goals and 34 assists for 84 points in 70 games, putting him on pace to score 98 points over a full season. As you can see, his offensive production has been fairly steady over the past three seasons and we can conclude Stamkos had his offensive surge during his sophomore season instead.

Offensive outburst = season 2

2. James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins

After playing two and a half seasons in Dallas, Neal was traded to the Penguins midway through last season. After a rough stretch of only six points in 20 games with to conclude the 2010-11 campaign, one had to wonder if Neal would ever produce surrounded by talented players such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

After seasons of 37, 55 and 45 points, Neal has found his niche alongside Malkin and Chris Kunitz on the Penguins' first line. Through 69 games this season, Neal has scored 31 goals and 36 assists for 67 points for a pace of 80 points in 82 games. This would represent a 25-point increase over his second best season.

Offensive outburst = season 4

3. Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets

Another player traded at the trade deadline last season, Wheeler played two and a half seasons in Boston before heading to Winnipeg via Atlanta. Wheeler, who wasa steady offensive player during his first three campaigns with 45, 38 and 44 points respectively, exploded this season with the Jets recording 17 goals and 41 assists for 58 points in 68 games, having missed two games with an injury.

Wheeler, who's currently on fire with 20 points in his last 12 games, is n track to finish the year with 68 points in 80 games. This total would represent a 23-point increase of his second best campaign.

Offensive outburst = season 4

4. Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens

Another player who has been red-hot lately with 12 points in his last 7 contests, Pacioretty dressed only for 37 games last season after beginning the season in the AHL and ending the year on the disabled list thanks to a debatable hit by Zdeno Chara.

The power forward entered his fourth season looking to rebound and establish himself as one of the Habs best players and he certainly did. After 68 games, he has recorded 30 goals and 28 assists for 58 points, missing three games because of a suspension. The left winger is currently on pace for 67 points in 79 games with Montreal, a 43-point increase of his highest point total of 24 points in 37 games last season.
Offensive outburst = season 4

5. T.J. Oshie, St. Louis Blues

After missing 25, 6 and 33 games in the past three seasons respectively, Oshie has finally been healthy this year for the league-leading Blues. Through 70 games, Oshie has contributed 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points playing on a very balanced offense. He is currently set to produce 56 points over a full season.

The problem with the assessment of Oshie's offensive production has been that he has yet to play a complete season in the NHL, which is why he hasn't been able to fulfil his full potential until now.

Offensive outburst = season 5?

6. Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers

Traded in the off-season with Brayden Schenn by the Kings in exchange for Mike Richards, Simmonds has been a pleasant surprise this season for the Flyers.

The gritty forward has already topped his career bests in goals and points with 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points in 70 games this season. Over a full campaign, this would translate into a 48-point season, an eight-point increase over his career best. While this doesn't seem impressive at first glance, it shows a real progression in the third-liner's offensive output.
Offensive outburst = season 4

7. Jamie McGinn, Colorado Avalanche

Traded at the deadline to the Colorado Avalanche by the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi, McGinn has parlayed his extra playing time into a decent hot streak, scoring 9 points in his last 7 games.

Buried on the depth chart in San Jose, McGinn had never been able to crack their top two lines and get quality power play time. Now on the Avalanche's top line with Paul Stastny and David Jones, McGinn has been able to contribute offensively on a consistent basis. Prior to this campaign, McGinn had never recorded more than 13 points, a feat which he achieved in 59 games during his sophomore year. The winger is currently on pace for 39 points this season, which would represent a 26-point increase over his career best.

Offensive outburst = season 4

8. Nikolai Kulemin, Toronto Maple Leafs

After improving his offensive numbers every year since his arrival with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008-09, Kulemin has hit a wall despite his team's early offensive success. Playing on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur, the Russian winger has been underwhelming this year, recording a dismal 7 goals and 21 assists for 28 points in 70 games.

After a career-season in 2010-11in which he produced 30 goals and 27 assists for 57 points, Kulemin's season appears over after he sustained a broken finger earlier this week. Kulemin is the perfect example of a player who exploded offensively during his third season instead, posting 21 more points than his previous career best of 36 points in 2009-10.

Offensive outburst = season 3

9. Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers

Acquired along with a 1st round draft pick in 2011 (Sean Couturier) in the trade that send Jeff Carter to Columbus last summer, Voracek was expected to partly compensate for Carter's offensive contributio this season. While his acquisition has not been deemed a failure, Voracek has not translated his great offensive talent into solid numbers either.

With the Flyers, the forward has only 13 goals and 24 assists for 37 points in 66 games this season, a 44-point pace over a full year. Not exactly what I call the offensive outburst that many fantasy experts predicted for Voracek who had scored 38, 50 and 46 points respectively during his three campaigns with the Blue Jackets.
Offensive outburst = season 5?

10. Chris Stewart, St. Louis Blues
Acquired midway through last season in a blockbuster deal that sent Eric Johnson to the Avalanche for Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk, Stewart finished the 2010-11 season with 23 points in 26 games with the Blues.

With such a good production and entering his fourth season, everyone expected to see Stewart post career numbers in 2011-12! Inste, Stewart responded with a miserable effort, notching only 15 goals and 12 assists for 27 points in 69 games with the Blues, on pace for a disappointing 31-point campaign. After a 64-point effort during his sophomore season, Stewart continued with 53 points in 62 games in 2010-11, before turning into no more than a depth player this season under Davis Payne and Ken Hitchock.

Offensive outburst = season 2

Conclusion

As you can see, most of the above players are currently having their magical fourth season (5 out of 10) and only Jacub Voracek and T.J. Oshie have yet to see a real offensive explosion during their first four years in the NHL. Stamkos (2nd season), Stewart (2nd season) and Kulemin (3rd season) all experienced their offensive outburst earlier than expected.

There are some other notable fourth-year players in the league,  such as Patrick Hornqvist, Patrik Berglund, Lauri Korpikoski, Artem Anisimov and Zach Smith, that were not discussed at length here.

In short, this theory is not a myth, especially if you exclude the fourth-year players that already had their offensive outburst and exclude them from your analysis.
Next season you should really consider these fourth-year players when trying to determine which players could turn into the best bargains at your fantasy draft.

Stay tuned, as after the season, I will provide you with a list of potential sleepers (fourth-year players) worth watching for your 2012-13 hockey pools.

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Follow me on Twitter for more updates on fantasy hockey and the NHL in general.

(Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images North America)

Habs by the Numbers: Why is Scott Gomez Still Playing? Part deux ...

Why is Gomez still playing...revisted?

Well, sort of again. Have no fear, I will not be going "granular" on you with a ton of Gomez stats.

Many poeple have left very interesting comments in the first article on the subject (and I'd like to thank you all for them!).

A lot of them had to do with the fact that, weather the numbers were there or not, Gomez had simply not produced, and there wasn't much more to analyse or talk about. In my opinion, whoever thinks this way is right. These ARE the cold facts.

Other player's record

Some of you have expressed the wish to see similar stats for other offensive players, as a comparison. After all, our better scorers have to reflect the same kind of numbers, no?

I've pulled the numbers for the Top-8 Montreal point-getters, and have completed the same exercise—which was to look at the Habs win-loss record, in the 20 most recent games in which they're accumulated at least one point.

Here are the results:


It's clear to see that, for some reason, no one comes even close to touching Gomez' numbers. Exactly why are Gomez' numbers so superior to everyone else's, remains a mystery to me. But the facts are the facts.

But what about other teams?

Some readers have mentionned that, surely, the top players of this league would have numbers very similar to Montreal's Mexican-Alaskan centerman. Without further delay, here are the figures for the leagues top 5 centermen:

Again, obviously, logic does not prevail. Malkin, Spezza and Sedin are all playing on very hot teams right now, and are all doing well. Yet, they're not that close to "the Gomer.

What do you make of this?

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Frank Dumais is a freelance writer, currently contributing to HabsAddict.com “Habs By the numbers” weekly column. He writes on current Habs topics, but with a “numbers twist”.

Follow Frank on Twitter

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Dissecting the Montreal Canadiens: Early March 2012 Edition

As the Canadiens enter what is to be their last full month of play, they have displayed some reasonably impressive hockey, posting a 4-2-1 record.

While it's unfortunate that the Canadiens recent play is no doubt too little too late, it is at least an indication that the Habs are in fact better than they've shown thus far.

Lack of Offensive Depth

So far, the Habs have been averaging 3.4 goals a game in March, including four games where they found the back of the net four times or more.

What's worrisome — or impressive,depending on how you view the glass — is that, of the 24 goals scored in the last seven games, Erik Cole, Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais have accounted for 13 of them. That number is inflated to15 if you also count Desharnais's two shootout winners.

Cole has been the least productive member of the Habs top trio with five goals and two assists over his last seven games. A point per game pace being the bottom of the pack shows just how productive the Canadiens top line has been.

David Desharnais has notched eight points (3G,5A) of his own in his six games played while Pacioretty has been leading the way with 12 points (5G,7A).

Lars Eller (3), Tomas Plekanec (1) and Blake Geoffrion (1 ) are the only other forwards to score so far in March.

P.K. Subban (3) and Tomas Kaberle (1) combine for the remaining four goals. That leaves the top line with 73.7% of the Habs goals scored by forwards and 60.9% of the entire team's goals. Those percentages do not include the two aforementioned shootout winners provided by Double D.

Subban Finds His Game

Subban has struggled to find success at times this year but has had no trouble delivering consistent play during the team's recent winning stretch. During the Canadiens' 4-2-1 run, Subban has registered three goals and five assists. What's most promising about his recent point production is that four of them came on the powerplay, including all three of his goals.

Those eight points give Subban a point total of 31, just seven shy of last year's total. Subban is also a plus-3 over the seven game stretch, a big difference from his minus-8 last season.

Markov Provides A Spark

There is no question that the return of Andrei Markov was the highlight of the Canadiens' past week. Who am I kidding? Markov's return is by far the highlight of the entire Canadiens' season.

Since returning to the line up, Markov has seen his team go 2-0-1, earning five out of a possible six points.

Markov hardly seems rusty as he is averaging 17:26 minutes of ice time per game and just under 1:30 minutes of powerplay time per game. He may be minus-2 but it's no coincidence that the Habs have earned points in every game since his return.

Brad Staubitz and Ryan White Provide Sparks of Their Own

Brad Staubitz and Ryan White combined for four fights in the past seven games. Both of White's fights came in the Minnesota game and both were against Stephane Veilleux. Four fights in seven games may not seem like much but when you consider the Canadiens fought only 17 times in their previous 71—White and Staubitz accounting for three of those as well—you can see a significant increase in on ice policing.

Special Teams Clicking and Pacioretty Perseveres

The Habs have buried seven goals on their last 20 powerplay chances for a 35% conversion rate while killing 19 of their last 21 shorthanded situations for a 90.5% survival rate.

On Tuesday, Max Pacioretty was named as the Montreal Canadiens candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy. The award is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverence, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Pacioretty's nomination doesn't come as a shock as he returned from a career threatening—as well as life threatning, honestly—injury after sustaining a serious concussion as well as a broken neck after being pummeled into the Bell Center stanchion by Bruins' behemoth Zdeno Chara last March.

Pacioretty bounced back this season, setting career numbers in goals (30), assists (27) and points (57). Currently, Mighty Max is one of only 13 NHL players this year to reach the 30 goal plateau and with eleven games remaining he will undoubtedly bury a few more.

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Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com

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(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America)