Monday, April 30, 2012

Molson's 12 Steps, McGuire Interviewed, Bergevin, Coyotes, Flyers and More

Pierre Mcguire - Stanley Cup Finals - Practice Sessions
Good morning Hab fans!

After weeks of speculation, it seems that Pierre McGuire indeed a contender for the vacant General Manager position. Reports surfaced yesterday that the NBC analyst was interviewed by Serge Savard over the last few days.

It remains unclear if that interview was by phone or in person.

Even more interestingly, Rick Moffat reported via Twitter that Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber confirmed that both Marc Bergevin and Pierre McGuire have had follow-up interviews.

In fact, they may even be two of the organization's final candidates.

If they truly are the final two, how do you feel about that?

Habs News

HabsAddict - Geoff Molson: 12 Steps to Recovery

La Presse - Subban: «On aurait pu causer la surprise...»

La Presse - David Desharnais ou le doute des autres

TSN - Report: Canadiens interview McGuire for vacant GM job

TSN - Subban injured in pre-Worlds game; not expected to be serious

Hockey News

HabsAddict - Quick Picks: NHL Conference Semifinals

ESPN - Melrose: Flyers just too much

Sports Illustrated - Unpredictable playoffs a concussion lottery

Sports Illustrated - The keys to each series of the conference semifinals

The Hockey News - NHL's most clutch player gives Flyers Game 1 win; Phoenix forwards figure out Nashville

TSN - Cullen: Briere leads Flyers, Coyotes go up 2-0

USA Today - Coyotes beat Predators to go up 2-0 in series

USA Today - Briere nets winner, Flyers edge Devils in OT


(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Geoff Molson: 12 Steps to Recovery

Hello fellow Hab addicts, my name is Bryan Willey and it has been almost 2 months since my last confession... errrrr blog.

I apologize for the delay. Quite frankly though, this season has been a complete write-off for me.

I am fan through and through just like the rest of you. But my complete and utter lack of confidence in Pierre Gauthier — and especially Bob Gainey — made me nauseous to the point where I found myself hating the game and the team that I grew up loving.

100 years of class and pride was almost completely erased because of a complete mismanagement of assets, a complete lack of respect for the fan base and, especially, a complete lack of respect for the CH itself.

I, like many of you out there, have been preaching for change for many, many years but those wishes often went by the wayside. Ownership simply did not want to hear, nor admit, that there was a problem.

As such, the organization continued to spiral out of control, seeing only occasional periods of success — namely the 2010 playoff run. The arena was full, sweaters were selling and the coffers were full of the hard earned money of the average fan. But then it happened. President and owner Geoff Molson stepped from the shadows and did the unthinkable.

A confession was made. A confession of guilt and wrong doing. A confession that something was in fact wrong with the management of the team and that change was needed.

Shhhhhhhh, be quiet for a second and listen hard. Can you hear that?

“My name is Geoff Molson, and I have a problem.”

And, just like that, Molson begun his much needed 12 step journey to recovery.

I apologize if I offend anyone because addiction is no laughing matter. Frankly, I have nothing but respect towards anyone who takes the leap to battle their demons. However, if you know me well enough, then you certainly know that I try to find humour in everything.

It's my coping mechanism for an otherwise sheltered and difficult life. O.K, not really.

Think about this for a second though. Do you not see the correlation between the 12 steps of enlightenment for AA and the path to enlightenment that Geoff Molson now embarks on?

Right off the top, before one can even begin the journey to recovery one must find a mentor.  A person to serve as a guide through the difficult times. A person who has been there and has succeeded.

Enter Serge Savard.

Once that mentor has been found, it is time to cleanse.

Step 1: Admit to being powerless over the situation. Essentially admitting there is a problem.

Mr. Molson not only acknowledged there was a problem but sought immediate means to part with that problem by firing Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey.

Step 2: Come to belief that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Remember the words of Mr. Molson himself who publicly cited that he is not a hockey man and, as such, will leave the hockey decisions in the hands of someone more qualified.

Step 3: Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of someone who understands.

Although that person has not yet been determined, Mr. Molson vows to have someone in place in the very near future. This person will be a qualified hockey mind who’ll reform the current image of the Bleu Blanc Rouge. I've recently heard that the search has been narrowed to Marc Bergevin, Claude Loiselle, Julien Brisebois and Pierre McGuire.

Step 4: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of the situation.

Although the moral inventory started with Pierre Gauthier, it is widely admitted that this team is small, the coaching is questionable, the farm team lacks the depth to compete and the organization has gone more than 10 years in search of the proverbial big powerful center. Now it is a matter of ending the discussion and acting.

Step 5: Admit to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.

Exact nature of our wrongs? Are you kidding me? The nature of our wrongs became the entire Gainey Era. If it was not for the superb work of Trevor Timmins to fill this roster with NHL calibre players then we would be a heck of a lot worse off. This organization has continued to be set back by poor personnel and pro scouting errors.

Step 6: We are entirely ready to remove all these defects of character.

Straight from the horses mouth, Mr. Molson is prepared to do whatever it takes. Whether that means burying a $7.4 million per season mistake in the AHL or hiring the most expensive Manager-Coach tandem in the NHL. All errors will be remedied in order to achieve betterment.

Step 7: Humbly asked to remove our shortcomings.

Do you not remember the year in review press conference? A public apology and a formal printed apology in the newspaper for the 2011-12 fiasco ensued.

Step 8: Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

To the 21,273 fans in the Bell Centre every game and the millions at home watching. To Mike Cammalleri for parting ways with like a piece of yesterdays trash. Without having the testicular fortitude to treat him with respect when he was traded from this organization. To Saku Koivu who gave all that he could to a city and to a franchise but who in reciprocation did not even get a phone call to tell him his services were no longer required.

Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

What can be done to remedy all the wrongs that have been made. We have been stripped of Blue Chip prospects like Ryan McDonaugh and of strong players like Matt D’Agostini, Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder, Sheldon Souray, Jaroslav Halak, Matt Carkner, Sergei Kostitsyn, Mikhail Grabovski, Mark Streit, Maxim Lapierre, Chris Higgins and Ron Hainsey.

So much wrong. So much pain.

Step 10: Continued to take inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

Yes, Mr. Gainey and Mr. Gauthier, you were wrong in trading for Scott Gomez and Tomas Kaberle. Yes you were wrong signing Mike Cammalleri and a bunch of other “more durable” players. Yes you were wrong in drafting David Fischer ahead of, say, Claude Giroux. You were wrong in letting Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu and the remainder of that team depart via Free Agency without getting any assets in return.

Step 11: Sought through a long withstanding search under every rock and cranny to improve our conscious contact with the hockey world, praying only for knowledge of whom to hire with the power and ability to make us succeed.

No, a replacement to Gauthier has not been found, but there have been close to ten phone interviews and at least four face-to-face interviews to date. Geoff Molson and Serge Savard, at least in the public forum, appear to be searching for the most qualified individual to fill the void. Every rock and cranny — you know, with French speaking ability — will be analysed.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to Habs fans, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The wheels are in motion, the promises have been made. It is now time to turn all Habs fans into believers.

---
Bryan is a Marketer by day, writer for HabsAddict.com by night and full time fan of the game. Follow me on twitter @BryanWilley78 but don't bother looking for me on Facebook, I'm just too old for that now!

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kings down Blues, Jagr, Brodeur, Luongo, Top prospects and more

The second round of the playoffs continued to roll, last night, with the L.A. Kings taking the first decision against the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues have been highly touted all year long and looked to be serious Cup aspirants. That hasn't necessarily changed with one loss to the Kings. But what is clear to any who may have doubted it, is that the Kings too are clearly Cup contenders.

Yesterday, on the back of yet another excellent goaltending performance by Kings' netminder, Jonathan Quick, the Kings drew first blood.

And man do they ever look like the real deal. Forward depth and scoring, solid defense, and some of the best goaltending in the league.

I know it's early, but Quick's name has to be among the early Conn Smythe favorites.

Hockey News

Hockey Inside/Out - Kings, Rangers score 3-1 Game 1 victories

TSN - KINGS HOLD OFF BLUES TO CAPTURE GAME 1 OF SERIES

TSN - CULLEN: RANGERS, KINGS, COYOTES OPEN WITH WINS

TSN - MCKENZIE: QUICK COMES THROUGH ONCE AGAIN FOR KINGS

TSN - BURROWS, HACKETT ADDED TO TEAM CANADA FOR WORLDS

TSN - NHL ON TSN: EARLY GUESSES ON WHERE LUONGO END UP NEXT YEAR

TSN - JAGR, BRODEUR RENEW OLD RIVALRY IN SECOND ROUND OF PLAYOFFS

THN - Line-matching key in frustrating Rangers-Capitals series; Kings serious Cup contenders

Hockey's Future - Top 50: Islanders' prospects bookend next group of prospects

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quick Picks: NHL Conference Semifinals

Round one is now well behind us, with only eight teams remaining in contention for Lord Stanley's cup.

Notwithstanding the fact that Round Two got into full swing last night and that I had a miserable 3-5 record for predictions in the opening round, I will nonetheless deliver picks for the Conference Semifinals.

Take them for their worth.

East: New York Rangers (1) vs. Washington Capitals (7)

My pick: Washington Capitals in seven games

Why? The Washington Capitals recently pulled a stunning upset of the defending Stanley Cup champions and they have the ability to pull off another such upset against the top-seeded New York Rangers.

Both teams have received stellar goaltending and put up fantastic defensive performances. Both squads have also seen a lot of their scoring come from their depth players as opposed to their stars.

But the Rangers stars have been far quieter, and that is worrisome. While Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan are one-two in team scoring, other offensively minded players have been silent. Namely, Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky have been absent from the scoresheet, each contributing only one point thus far.

Conversely, in Washington, Alex Ovechkin leads his squad with five points. Brooks Laich and Nicklas Backstrom are right behind with four points. Even the enigmatic Alex Semin has looked involved these playoffs and has a decent three goal output, including one game winner.

None of the above statistics are especially impressive, but neither team had an opportunity to pad their stats due to the very defensive nature of their previous series.

If Washington continues to receive contributions throughout its lineup, that should tip the scales in their favor.

Assuming, of course, that Braden Holtby continues his strong play.

East:`Philadelphia Flyers (5) vs. New Jersey Devils (6)

My pick: New Jersey Devils in seven games.

Why? The Devils can keep pucks out of their net. Martin Brodeur regained some of his form of old, posting a .922 save percentage and miniscule 2.06 goals against average in his series against the Florida Panthers.

Mind you, the Panthers are not as offensively potent as the Philadelphia Flyers, but the above numbers remain impressive. And those numbers become even more impressive when contrasted with Ilya Bryzgalov's monstrous 3.89 goals against average and pedestrian .871 save percentage.

Even should this series turn into a more offensively focused one, the Devils possess the tools to compete in such a context. Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique own the ability to trade blows with the likes of Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and Daniel Briere.

In the end, New Jersey's ability to defend should help them prevail.

West: St. Louis Blues (2) vs. Los Angeles Kings (8)

My pick: Los Angeles Kings in seven games

Why?  Maybe because the Kings have the best goaltender in the NHL in Jonathan Quick.

Or maybe because Dustin Brown has been a force.

Or maybe because I am not predisposed to picking the Blues for some reason.

Or maybe because I am in an upset-picking mood.

West: Phoenix Coyotes (3) vs. Nashville Predators (4)

My pick: Phoenix Coyotes in seven games

Why? In the spirit of full disclosure, it should be said that these lines were written following Phoenix's 4-3 overtime triumph in Game 1.

Given that extra information, it should be evident that the Phoenix Coyotes are more than able to bend without breaking. Going to overtime a stunning six times already this post-season, Dave Tippet's squad is on an extra-time run reminiscent of the 1993 Montreal Canadiens.

The Nashville Predators are undoubtedly a mighty, physical foe. But their top-scorers, namely Martin Erat, Patrick Hornqvist and the Kostitsyn brothers, are sporadic playoff performers.

In contrast, the Coyotes have received important contributions throughout their lineup, with both their depth players and defense stepping up with important points. While they may be devoid of top-flight talent, the Coyotes offer up almost four full lines of individuals capable of scoring. That is quite difficult to compose with, even for a talented coach like Barry Trotz.

Oh yeah, and they have some dude named Mike Smith in net. No disrespect to the excellent Pekka Rinne, but advantage Phoenix.  


What are your thoughts on Round Two?

---
Louis is an Associate Editor and Senior Writer at HabsAddict.com. Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. Find him on twitter @LouisMoustakas

(Photo by Getty Images North America)

Yotes top Preds, Bergevin and the Habs, Forsberg, Draft and more

That's it folks, the second round of the 2012 NHL playoffs have officially begun.

And just like in the first round, last night's premiere between the Coyotes and Nashville was exciting, tight, and went into overtime.

And who woulda thunk it, the 'Yotes came out with the victory. And that despite taking their foot off the gas and letting the Preds back into that game.

This Phoenix team continues to impress and suprise, pulling out Game One versus a Predators group who many feel are the odds on favorite to win the Cup.

Man, I love playoff hockey!

Habs News

Hockey Inside/Out - Coyotes take Game 1 over Nashville in OT

Cyberpresse - Marc Bergevin a discuté avec le Canadien

Cyberpresse - Filip Forsberg: «J'adorerais jouer pour le Canadien»

Hockey News

TSN - WHITNEY SCORES IN OT AS COYOTES EDGE PREDATORS IN GAME 1

TSN - HODGEMAIL: CANADA'S TEAMS HEAD INTO THE OFF-SEASON

TSN - CULLEN: SHOTS AND SAVE PCT. INTO RD. 2 OF NHL PLAYOFFS

THN - Coyotes get away with letting off the gas in Game 1 win

(Photo - Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Canadiens Moving Forward, Seventh Heaven, Round 2 and More

Good morning Hockey fans!

After two Game Sevens and a double overtime, the dust has finally settled on a very exciting first round.

Ottawa could not pull off the upset as the New York Rangers hung on for the win.

Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers rallied from an 0-2 deficit only to see Adam Henrique score the game winner in the second overtime period.

And, after not winning a playoff series since 1996, I was a bit heartbroken for the Panthers and their fans — who stood for the better part of the final 40 minutes.

Now, eight teams remain, including five who have never hoisted the Cup.

Will we see a new champion this year? It begins anew tonight with the Coyotes facing the Predators in Glendale.

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens Moving Forward - Part 2 - The Draft

La Presse - Canadien: pour un nouveau départ

La Presse - Filip Forsberg: «J'adorerais jouer pour le Canadien»

RDS - Carey Price est remis de sa commotion

Hockey News

ESPN - Rangers Rewind: Game 7

ESPN - Looking back at Devils' Game 7s

The Hockey News - Series win over Senators provides lessons for Rangers; Panthers-Devils close out Round 1 beautifully

The Hockey News - Adam Proteau: Has Tim Thomas played his last game for the Bruins?

TSN - McKenzie: Senators can trace series loss to Game 6

TSN - Cullen: Rangers, Devils advance to second round

TSN - Dreger: Leafs, Hawks, Florida teams in running for Luongo

USA Today - Devils oust Panthers in double-overtime Game 7 win

USA Today - Rangers win 2-1, face Capitals next


(Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Moving Forward - Part 2 - The Draft

The Habs on ice re-tooling starts at this June's draft

After finishing the season in 28th place, the Canadiens find themselves with the third overall pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft.

While there are many holes that need to be filled before the Habs can compete with the league's top teams, a number one center has been at the top of their list for years.

With the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets picking ahead of the Canadiens it is pretty much guaranteed that selecting top ranked Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting is out of the question.

With Yakupov out of the equation, here is a look at a few of the possible picks for the Montreal Canadiens.

Mikhail Grigorenko, Quebec Remparts, QMJHL

Grigorenko was in the running with Yakupov throughout the season as this year's top prospect before Yakupov played his way to being the unanimous number one.

Grigorenko finished the season in the Q with 85 points — 40 goals and 45 helpers — in 59 games. However, the consensus on him seems to be that he plays one game on and three games off. Another knock on Grigorenko is that he is said to rack up a majority of his points against weaker teams.

If Grigorenko does indeed have a tendency of taking nights off then the the Habs should take a pass on him despite his numbers and alluring 6'2" 191 pound frame.

Nonetheless, it is a popular belief in Montreal that the Canadiens have all but decided to pick the Russian prospect in June. The fact that he played under head coach Patrick Roy meshes well with rumors that St. Patrick has already accepted the coaching job in Montreal.

In fact, a few weeks back a Twitter account believed to be Grigorenko's posted a tweet announcing his eagerness to be drafted and to possibly play under Roy again. The tweet was deleted roughly five minutes later but not before creating a storm of rumors in Montreal.

Tempest in a teapot or something more? Time will tell.

Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia Sting, OHL

Galchenyuk is poised to go high in the draft despite missing all but two games this past season due to surgery performed on his ACL.

In 2010-11 Galchenyuk scored 31 goals and added 52 assists in 68 games.

The Wisconsin bred Galchenyuk is said to be a fantastic two0way player and has even been favorably compared to Marian Hossa by former NHLer Igor Larionov.

Filip Forsberg, Leksands IF, Swedish Allsvenskan (Second Division) 

While Forsberg — no relation to former NHL great Peter Forsberg — is a winger and not a center, it would be tough for the Canadiens to pass on if he remains available when the TBA GM of the Habs takes to the podium.

Forsberg earned 20 points, including ten goals, in 53 contests with Leksands of the Swedish Second Division. Off hand, the numbers may not appear excessively gaudy, but it is worth remembering that the Sweden owns some of the top professional leagues outside of North America.

Forsberg also turned more heads during the recent IIHF Under-18 World Championship, notching five goals and two assists in six games en route to a silver medal finish. In addition, the winger was named named the tournament's top forward.

Unfortunately, size is an asset that the Habs would be sacrificing if they were to go with Forsberg.

At 6'1" and 176 lbs, Forsberg relies on his speed and impressive on-ice maneuvering more than on his frame. Along with his speed, Forsberg is said to have a quick shot and soft hands that deliver crisp passes.

Radek Faksa, Kitchener Rangers, OHL

Faksa would definitely bring more size up the middle. He is 6'3" 203 lbs and only going to get bigger with time.

Faksa plays a well rounded game as he is effective at both ends of the ice. The Habs could use his size along with his hard shot, smooth playmaking abilities and strong work ethic.

His ability to protect the puck and his overall game should make him attractive to any team looking to add a centerman to their roster.

Faksa racked up 67 points, including 29 goals, in 62 games for Kitchener in 2011-12.

There Can Be Only One

Although the Habs brass may be enjoying the amount of talent they have to choose from, the fact remains that they will have to decide on one of the above mentioned players.

Each prospect shows promise but the Canadiens will be under tons of pressure to draft someone who can help them reclaim the respect that used to be associated with the CH logo.

While it would be ideal to get instant help, Yakupov is probably the only NHL ready player named on my list and unfortunately the Canadiens do not stand much of a chance at landing him.

Personally, I would have my list shortened to either Forsberg or Faksa.

If you were calling the shots who would you pick?

---
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 Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Habs News, Nill, Roy, Bruins Out and More

Good morning hockey fans!

I assume most of us in these parts were pretty pleased to see the Boston Bruins ousted by the Washington Capitals.

And what a surprise, at least to a degree.

In the offseason, many, including myself, felt that George McPhee made tremendous moves to make the Captials a playoff contender.

However, at the end of a tumultuous campaign that saw them fire their coach, lose their top two netminders to injury and then barely squeak into the playoffs, expectations were quite low entering this post-season.

Now, the Capitals might just be the Cinderella team of the playoffs.

Of the remaining teams, who do you think is most likely to be this year's belle of the ball?


Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Detroit's Jim Nill Says 'No' to Montreal Canadiens GM Position

HabsAddict.com - Habs Roundup: Pacioretty, Nill and Kristo

La Presse - Les défis du futur DG du CH

La Presse - Serge Savard: «Patrick Roy est un candidat intéressant»

RDS - C'est à n'y rien comprendre

Louis' Note: Another Bertrand Raymond rant about the Habs not picking a Francophone. You have been warned.

TSN - Savard talks to Roy as Habs' GM search continues

Hockey News

ESPN - Eastern Conference matchup scenarios

The Hockey News - Lack of B's 'O' gives Capitals the upset win

TSN - McKenzie: Capitals used Dale Hunter hockey to upset Bruins

TSN - Lundqvist, Quick, Rinne nominated for Vezina Trophy

USA Today - Joel Ward's game-winner for Capitals unleashes racist tweets

USA Today - Capitals dismiss Stanley Cup champ Bruins from playoffs


(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Detroit's Jim Nill Says 'No' to Montreal Canadiens GM Position

According to an article posted on RDS this morning, it appears that Detroit Red Wings Assistant GM, Jim Nill, has said 'No' to taking over the reigns as the Habs GM.

Here's the article.

If you read the piece, it states that both Nill and the Habs were interested but an illness in the family is preventing Nill from making the move at this point in time.
Wow, is that ever sad for the Habs.

When all of the talk about a possible GM replacement for Pierre Gauthier surfaced, many, myself included, felt that the best Assistant GM in the league was Detroit's Jim Nill. Moreover, given how abusively over qualified he is as an assistant, not to mention his 14 year tenure at Detroit GM Ken Holland's side, Nill was the best qualified candidate.

Nill's experience as right-hand man to Holland, the architect of the perennially contending Red Wings, easily made Nill the number one choice, but I thought that there was no chance he would come to Montreal—given how well paid he was in Detroit.

So to read that he was interested and that the Habs reached out to him says two things to me.

First, it shows that no matter how well paid you are, as an NHL executive, and no matter how successful the program is that you work under, everyone worth their weight in gold would love a chance to run, or be a part of, the management team in Montreal.

Secondly, it says that the Habs really are leaving no stone unturned in their search for a new GM. Moreover, it says that they will not hesitate to hire a uni-lingual, Anglophone General Manager if that person is the best for the job.

And good for them, if that is the case.

The only way this team and this organization will once again rise to the elite level in the league is by hiring the best. Period.

That said, it is surely easier to hire an Anglo GM than it would be to hire an Anglo coach. I don't agree with that thinking, but there is a political reality at work that shrouds and handcuffs the Habs, as an organization.

But now, with Molson at the helm, we'll soon get to see just how much he let's the language debate enter into his decisions.

The last point on Nill, is that he did state that he is clearly interested in becoming an NHL GM. Perhaps this whole process with the Habs will open to door to him eventually (sooner than later) being hired to do just that.

So if/when Leafs' GM, Brian Burke, gets fired next season, will Toronto be the lucky benefactors?

---
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 on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, LiveSport New Zealand, and other radio networks.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Habs News, Devils Force Game Seven, Luongo Out? and More

Roberto Luongo - Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks - Game One
Good morning Hab fans!

It's been a while, but there was actually a fair bit of Montreal Canadiens related news yesterday, namely concerning Max Pacioretty, Danny Kristo and Jim Nill. Details can be found here.

Elsewhere, it increasingly looks like Roberto Luongo's days in Vancouver are numbered. In the final day of media availability yesterday, he said in no uncertain terms that he would waive his no-trade clause.

However, with teams succeeding with far cheaper and younger netminders — Mike Smith, Jonathan Quick, Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliot and Braden Holtby immediately come to mind — who will want Luongo's expensive contract?




(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Habs Roundup: Pacioretty, Nill and Kristo

Max Pacioretty - Montreal Canadiens v Calgary Flames
Max Pacioretty Nominated For Masterton Trophy

Somewhat expectedly, Montreal Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators and Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs are the other finalists.

Pacioretty had a career year in most categories, scoring 33 goals and 32 assists for a team leading 65 points. He was also second on the Canadiens with five game winning goals

The trophy is awarded annually to the "player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey". The winner is selected by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association after each team nominates one player.

Pacioretty returned to action after missing the Habs' final 15 regular-season games and the playoffs last season after he was checked — head first — into a stanchion by Boston Bruins' blueliner Zdeno Chara.

Canadiens fans will bitterly recall that Chara was not handed any supplemental discipline following the incident.

As @WinterLions hilariously pointed out on Twitter, "I don't get why Pacioretty is a Masterton Trophy finalist. I mean, it was just a hockey play after all."

Jim Nill To Remain With Red Wings

After engaging in talks with the Montreal Canadiens, it appears that Detroit Red Wings Assistant General Manager will remain in the Motor City next season.

Although he claims there was mutual interest between him and the Habs, Nill explained that the timing was not right because of an illness in his family.

However, the fact that the organization reached out to Nill should be reassuring for Montreal Canadiens fans. The notion that Geoff Molson and company are considering a unilingual anglophone demonstrates that they are exploring all options available to them.

Danny Kristo To Stay in North Dakota

According to RDS, prospect Danny Kristo will remain with the University of North Dakota for the 2012-13 season. As such, he will delay his entry into the professional ranks for another year.

A second round pick in 2008, it was widely expected that the winger would join the Canadiens' organization after a career year at UND. He finished the campaign with 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points.

After a playoff-free year in both Montreal and Hamilton, Kristo's decision negatively impacts a depth chart that desperately needs replenishing.


---
Louis is an Associate Editor and Senior Writer at HabsAddict.com. Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. Find him on twitter @LouisMoustakas

(Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images North America)

Senators Headed For Seven, Coyotes Move On, TV Ratings, Interference and More

Good morning Hockey fans!

With the Phoenix Coyotes' 4-0 win last night over the Chicago Blackhawks, the beleaguered team from the desert has formally cemented their place in the second round. In fact, it's the Coyotes first series win since moving to Arizona.

Looking at the setup out West, you have to think that Gary Bettman is relatively pleased. Not only do the four remaining teams — the Coyotes, Predators, Kings and Blues — give a significant boost to the game's exposure in the South, but Phoenix and Los Angeles also represent two of the top television markets in the USA.

On the heel of already strong ratings, I bet the commissioner is hoping that bigger markets like Boston, Miami and New York pull through in the East.

But, of course, I am sure he is really just a fan of all of the teams.

Hockey News


ESPN - Goaltending rules the day out West

ESPN - Things to know from Monday's games

La Presse - Journée triste et grise sur Ottawa

SB Nation - NHL Playoff TV Ratings: Capitals Vs. Bruins Game 6 Tops Winter Classic As Most-Watched This Season

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bruins Force Game Seven, Flyers and Kings Advance and More

Morning hockey fans!

It seems as if we have our first official upset of these playoffs, with the Los Angeles Kings defeating the President's Trophy winning Vancouver Cancucks.

Given how close the team's are in the Western Conference, I do not know how much of an upset this is, but seeing the Canucks bow out in only five games certainly counts as a surprise.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern side, the Ottawa Senators have an opportunity to pull off an upset of their. They lead their series 3-2 and have an opportunity to close out the New York Rangers tonight.

So, are you surprised by the way the first round has played out thus far?

Hockey News

ESPN - Things to know from Sunday's games

ESPN - Coyotes' closing woes strike again

Sports Illustrated - NHL and the referees are trying to restore some order

The Hockey News - Flyers finish off sloppy series in six games; Bruins' big guns start firing; imperfect Canucks defeated

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: Why the Oilers should keep the No. 1 pick and take Nail Yakupov

TSN - McKenzie: Canucks didn't look like they quit on Vigneault

TSN - Fraser: Bissonnette's game misconduct and a new addition

USA Today - Stoll's OT goal sends Kings to second round

USA Today - Bruins top Capitals, force Game 7

USA Today - Flyers oust Penguins with 5-1 win


(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sens, Caps push Bruins, Rangers to brink, Blues bounce Sharks, Habs prospects and more

Man, are the 2012 NHL playoffs ever not playing out the way I thought they would. Most of the series aren't over yet—except for the Blues who eliminated the Sharks last night.

That series aside, the underdogs are mostly winning or leading their respective series'. And that is surprising, to say the least.

Phoenix leading Chicago? Check.

The Caps leading the Bruins? Check.

The Sens leading the Rangers? Check.

Who woulda thunk it? Especially with the Bs and Rangers. But hey, that's why they say the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win. You can do so much during the regular season and, in the playoffs, it doesn't mean squat.

Can you imagine the Sens eliminating what looked like an unstoppable juggernaut in the Rangers? How about the lowly Caps, barely squeaking into the playoffs, bouncing the defending champion Bruins? They'll get that chance, today and man will that ever be a good game.

Will you be watching? I know I will.

Habs News

Hockey's Future - Hard work and character headline the first edition of Montreal Prospect Awards

RDS - Dernier hommage pour Émile Bouchard
Hockey News

Hockey Inside/Out - Rangers teetering vs Senators, Blues advance, Caps can bounce Bruins today

TSN - SPEZZA'S GOAL THE DIFFERENCE MAKER AS SENATORS SINK RANGERS

TSN - CAPITALS PUSH DEFENDING CHAMP BRUINS TO BRINK OF ELIMINATION

TSN - PANTHERS BLANK DEVILS TO MOVE A WIN AWAY FROM SECOND ROUND

TSN - TORRES SUSPENDED 25 GAMES FOR LATE HIT TO HEAD ON HOSSA

TSN - VIGNEAULT: CANUCKS NEED MORE CLUTCH PERFORMERS IN GAME 5

TSN - WINGS' LIDSTROM SAYS HE NEEDS TIME BEFORE DISCUSSING FUTURE

ESPN - Rising Blues close window on Sharks

THN - Thomas' play has Bruins on brink; Devils own deeds their undoing; Anderson doing Lundqvist impression; Sharks window closes

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pens force Game 6, Wings eliminated, Bettman, Gillis and more

Morning puck addicts!

Don't look now, but it looks like the Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to make a series out of things. Down 3-0 in their first round matchup against the Flyers, the Pens have stormed back, winning the last two games (including last night), to make it a 3-2 series.

The series now shifts back to Philly where the Flyers try to grab that ellusive fourth win. If not, and the Pens can somehow tie the series and send it back to Pittsburgh for a decisive Game Seven, does Philly stand a chance?

On the West coast, the Preds beat and eliminated the Red Wings. They certainly are no longer Detroit's little brother. The question now is, what happens to the Wings? Bounced in the first round and with several aged veterans, what will this squad look like next season?

Don't you just love the playoffs?

Hockey News

Hockey Inside/Out - Predators bounce Red Wings; Penguins force Game 6

TSN - PENGUINS WIN AGAIN TO SEND SERIES BACK TO PHILADELPHIA

TSN - MCKENZIE: LIDSTROM OR NOT, RED WINGS TO SPEND IN FREE AGENCY

TSN - GM GILLIS “NOT SURE” IF GOALIE CHANGE WILL IMPACT NEXT SEASON

TSN - BETTMAN: BROOKLYN MAY NOT BE VIABLE HOME FOR ISLANDERS

TSN - CITY OF MARKHAM VOTES TO EVALUATE FUNDING PLAN FOR NEW ARENA

TSN - DREGER'S MAILBAG: FLYERS' GOALIES AND CANUCKS' CHALLENGES

THN - Goalies hold key to any miracle Penguins comeback; Predators win a changing of guard?

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Habs News, Clock Stop, Gill, Holtby and More

Morning hockey fans!

Wow. Can you imagine the proverbial gong show had the Boston Bruins scored in the dying seconds of last night's contest against the Washington Capitals?

With 9.5 seconds left in the game, the game-clock operator realized 0.9 seconds should have been added. But off-ice officials couldn't get the attention of the on-ice officials, meaning that the clock wasn't re-started until 5.3 seconds after the ensuing faceoff. In the extra few seconds of play, Braden Holtby — who made 44 saves in his team's 2-1 win — was even forced to make one final, big save.

The clock-related incident in Columbus caused a stir earlier this season. In the playoffs, the controversy would have only been multiplied exponentially.

Habs News

HabsWorld.net - Introduction: How to build a winning hockey team in the modern NHL

IIHF - The next Forsberg?

Louis' Note: Filip Forsberg is a consensus top-five pick, meaning he could very well end up with the Habs at the 2012 draft.

La Presse - Hal Gill: «Ils ont viré Jacques Martin, mais rien n'a changé»

La Presse - À quand un commanditaire sur le chandail du Tricolore?

Hockey News

ESPN - Things to know from Thursday's games

ESPN - NHL on Caps-Bruins clock malfunction

The Hockey News - Holtby staring down Bruins; Brodeur shows Hall of Fame form; Western powerhouses on the brink

The Hockey News - Adam Proteau: Hockey closer to having first openly gay player

TSN - McKenzie: Holtby has busy night but delivers for Capitals

TSN - NHL says crowd noise led to extra time at end of Capitals' win

USA Today - Blues one win away from dispatching Sharks

USA Today - Holtby lifts Capitals to series-tying win

USA Today - Coyotes put Blackhawks on the brink with third overtime win

USA Today - Brodeur nets 24th playoff shutout as Devils cruise


(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Habs News, Roy Video, Torres, Penguins, Canucks, Senators and More

Good morning hockey fans!

Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks avoiding getting swept in a big way last night.

The Pens crushed the Philadelphia Flyers by a ridiculous 10-3 margin. Mind you, the way this series has been played, that score should not come as a total shock to anyone. Even before last night, Ilya Bryzgalov was allowing about 4 goals per game.

Meanwhile, on the other coast, the Cancucks got their first win against the Los Angeles Kings, winning 3-1. Not nearly as striking as the above drubbing, but given how well Jonathan Quick has played, those three goals might as well have been ten.

Finally, the Ottawa Senators tied up their series with the New York Rangers at two games apiece thanks to a dramatic overtime win.

Wouldn't it be something if both conferences top seeds got elimintated?

Mind you, that would not help my Eastern or Western prediction record, but it would be fun to see.

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Patrick Roy Interviewed on The Random Hockey Show

La Presse - Les obsèques d'Émile Bouchard auront lieu samedi

TSN - Roy mum on plans as NHL speculation continues

Hockey News

HabsAddict.com - Panesar and Moustakas: Post-Season Pandemonium

ESPN - Pittsburgh's centers far from cowardly

ESPN - Things to know from Wednesday's games

The Hockey News - Penguins-Flyers a complete turnaround; Senators no easy out; Schneider relegates Luongo to backup

TSN - McKenzie: Penguins' key three step up in win over Flyers

TSN - Coyotes' Torres suspended indefinitely for hit on Hossa

TSN - Fraser: The missed call on Raffi Torres's hit

USA Today - Canucks avoid elimination, beat Kings in Game 4

USA Today - Turris scores in OT to lift Senators past Rangers

USA Today - Penguins rout Flyers to avoid elimination

USA Today - Brennan: NHL needs to handle violence with harsh punishment



( Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Patrick Roy Interviewed on The Random Hockey Show

Greetings again puck addicts!

I've got a bit of a treat for you today. Friend of HabsAddict.com (and President and CEO of Dangle Media), Danielle Fernandes, took her Random Hockey Show to Quebec City recently.

If you're not familiar with the Random Hockey Show, you have to check it out! Basically, it's a hockey lifestyle program, showcasing behind the scenes of hockey in general.

In her latest interview, Danielle met with none other than Quebec Remparts owner, Patrick Roy to talk Junior hockey, coaching, life after the NHL, and a possible NHL return as a coach or GM.

Timely, no?

Here's the vid:


Was it just me, or did you find yourself hanging on Roy's every word?

After Roy is Claude Rousseau, Remparts Team President.

Enjoy!

Habs News, Torres, Playoffs, Suspensions and More

Morning puck fans!

Another eventful evening in the NHL playoffs, eh?

Phoenix Coyotes' forward Raffi Torres delivered a vicious, head-hunting hit to Chicago Blackhawks' winger Marian Hossa. No doubt more work for Shannahan, who already levied suspensions on Andrew Shaw, Niklas Backstrom, Aaron Asham and James Neal yesterday.

Kamal and myself discussed the playoff mayhem in our most recent Panesar and Moustakas segment.

In game action, the Florida Panthers rallied from a 0-3 deficit to vanquish the New Jersey Devils 4-3, chasing Martin Brodeur in the process.

Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators took a commanding 3-1 lead in their series thanks to a win in Detroit last night.

In short, another night of exciting but at times unsettling play.

Habs News

HabsWorld.net - HabsWorld Podcast - Episode 10

La Presse - Clément Jodoin trace un bilan mitigé de la saison des Bulldogs

La Presse - Radulov voit Roy derrière le banc du Canadien

Hockey News

HabsAddict.com - Panesar and Moustakas: Post-Season Pandemonium

ESPN - Mayhem has become story of playoffs

ESPN - Things to know from Tuesday's games

Sports Illustrated - Up to 1 man to curb violence after another night marred by dirty play

The Hockey News - Predators size pushes Wings to brink; top-heavy Devils disregard Panthers; Hawks-Yotes in tug-of-war

The Hockey News - Rory Boylen: Kings would be crazy to trade captain Dustin Brown

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: NHL being dragged back into the dark ages

TSN - McKenzie: Torres' hit on Hossa meets all criteria of Rule 48

TSN - Hossa leaves on stretcher after open-ice hit from Torres

USA Today - Philly paper pictures Sidney Crosby as Cowardly Lion

USA Today - NHL hands out suspensions for four players

USA Today - Boedker's overtime goal lifts Coyotes over Blackhawks

USA Today - Red Wings face 3-1 deficit as Predators prevail

USA Today - Panthers stage epic comeback in 4-3 win vs. Devils


(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Panesar and Moustakas: Post-Season Pandemonium

Brendan Shanahan - 2011 Hockey Hall Of Fame Induction
Upon returning from a family excursion to Israel, our Kamal Panesar came back to a surprisingly rough NHL post-season.

With your new favorite duo reunited, we discuss the early playoff madness.

Kamal Panesar: New York Rangers' forward Carl Hagelin was recently handed three games for elbowing Ottawa Senators' captain Daniel Alfredsson in the head. The right call, in my estimation. So why nothing for Weber on Zetterberg? Oh, wait, is it because he is a superstar?

Blech. Bush league.

Louis Moustakas: Bush league indeed.

Weber evading suspension is baffling. Perhaps it is because he is a star, as you point out, or perhaps the league does not want to dim the playoff hopes of one of its shining southern markets. Either way, the NHL once again missed a precious opportunity to set a proper disciplinary tone. And, in failing to suspend Weber, Brendan Shannahan has created more problems for himself.

First of all, from a public relations point of view, this is a nightmare. Following Hagelin's three game punishment, the New York Rangers released a statement mentioning that they "are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling's inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs." If that is not a thinly veiled reference to the Weber incident, I don't know what is.

Second of all, Weber walking away scot free sets the tone for the playoffs. Typically more aggressive teams like the Flyers, Rangers and Bruins all stand to be benefit from a more clement environment while teams not inclined to play in such fashion are disadvantaged.

In any case, do you not find the league's stance on such issues confusing?

Kamal Panesar: I find it inconceivable how the Gary Bettman NHL simply refuses to protect it’s assets (the players), and insists, stubbornly, on putting their collective heads in the sand. It is beyond childish and it only hurts the game. The fact that they refuse to admit there is a concussion epidemic, even though such non-pugilistic player like Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Daniel Sedin, Carey Price, and many, many other superstars, were felled by this exactly problem this year.

When Brendan Shannahan became the head of NHL discipline last summer, the hope was that there was a new sheriff in town who would get away from Colin Campbell’s farcical disciplinary ruling style: one type of punishment for stars and one for everyone else.

And, to his credit, Shannahan started off that way. But he has backslid so severely that his rulings are now just as unclear, inconsistent and confusing as his predecessor. What will it take for this league to get it’s stuff in order? A death on the ice?

Louis Moustakas: The only thing that would truly shake up the league's culture of laissez-faire is if the rough and tumble negatively impacted their bottom line. Much like how the crackdown on obstruction occurred only after the devastating lost season of 2004-2005, I feel that, in the short term, it would take something equally dramatic to create a true shift in league culture. 

However, with playoff excitement at a fever pitch and news that US T.Vratings are strong, I doubt Bettman and company feel any impetus for change. Heck, they barely seemed concerned about raising the maximum fine (2500$) in the CBA!

As for Shannahan, he has done a great deal to diminish his credibility this post-season. Not only was the Weber non-suspension an aberration, but then news leaked that he might reduce Carl Hagelin's suspension if Daniel Alfredsson returned to health sooner than expected.

It is all well and good to take into account injury in doling out a suspension, but it seems incredibly inappropriate to go back on a decision, doesn't it?

In the end, without wide ranging support and clear, quantifiable disciplinary guidelines, it is near impossible to fulfill Shannahan's role with any real success though.

Kamal Panesar: Ultimately, Louis, you’re 100 percent correct. Nothing will change. Moreover, there will be no impetus for Bettman et al. to change anything as long as ratings are high and the dollars are rolling in. It really feels like someone is going to have to die, on the ice, for the league to change its prehistoric ways.

Too dramatic? I don’t think so.

If we go back to the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty last season, I thought that was the moment. My initial feeling was that Pacioretty was dead and that it was that defining moment where the league would be forced to change their ways. Fortunately I was wrong and Pacioretty ended up being alright. However, given the league’s recent, inconsistent rulings, I still think that horrific, Earth-stopping moment is around the corner.

I mean, unless the league makes clear decisions to curb unsafe behavior on the ice, this problem can only escalate.

On a final note, if you want an example of how to “clean up” the game, check out OHL commissioner, David Branch. This guy took it upon himself to clean things up and started imposing huge suspensions and fines for any dangerous plays and head-shots, without discriminating between stars and regular players. Well, in a matter of a season or two there are virtually no more on-ice shenanigans going on in that league—a league that many consider to have some of the best hockey in the world.

Now Branch and the OHL are taking it another step forward and talking about removing fighting completely.

That remains a topic for another day but, suffice it to say the NHL needs to get rid of the goonery, while keeping the toughness. There is simply no room for ANY player grabbing another player by the helmet and ramming his head into the glass. None. I don’t care if you are a superstar or a fringe NHLer. And until the NHL realizes and starts enforcing the rules as such, I will continue fear an eventual death in the NHL.

But that’s just me.

Louis Moustakas: My friend, your concerns and feelings are quite legitimate.

The worst part of all of this is that the league lacks clear direction, making things even more dangerous. Players hesitate to police themselves, fearing reprimand. Yet, when an incident arises, the disciplinary measures imposed are tepid at best. It creates an atmosphere where individuals are not held accountable for their actions, be it in physical or financial manner.

The Milan Lucic hit on Ryan Miller earlier this year is a perfect example. The Buffalo Sabres did not cause a brawl after Lucic's dangerous hit and, when they looked to the league for a response, the Bruins forward went unpunished.

Now, after years of watching the league do nothing, it seems the players have gone back to self-policing in these playoffs. But self-policing is a fine line, one that can quickly cross over to reckless vigilantism. Clearly, though, the league seems unaffected by these potential risks. And, until grave injury occurs, one suspects they will continue to remain indifferent to the situation.


---
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 on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, LiveSport New Zealand, and other radio networks.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


Louis is an Associate Editor and Senior Writer at HabsAddict.com. Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. Find him on twitter @LouisMoustakas

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Habs Front Office, Mackasey, Subban, Playoffs and More

Ron Hextall - 2011 NHL Entry Draft - Round One
Morning Hab fans!

Our very own Sean Lloyd offers up a nice overview of the current search for a new General Manager and Coach.

Meanwhile, TSN is reporting the the Montreal Canadiens have recently asked permission to speak to Blair Mackasey of the Minnesota Wild.

This, about a week after contacting both Luc Robitaille and Ron Hextall in Los Angeles.

Let's be honest, how many of us had Mackasey or Hextall on our preliminary list of candidates? Not many, I would guess.

By approaching some unexpected or unconventional names, it is clear Geoff Molson is leaving very few rocks unturned. And that should be a welcome sight for most Hab fans.

Don't you think?

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens Moving Forward - Part 1, The Front Office Shakeup

TSN - Subban jumps to 10th in Button's latest draft ranking

TSN - Report: Wild grant permission to Habs to talk to Mackasey

Hockey News

HabsAddict.com - NHL By the Numbers: Playoff Fighting

ESPN - Flyers enjoyed fight-filled Game 3

Sports Illustrated - Mayhem reigns in Stanley Cup playoffs

The Hockey News - Henrik Lundqvist holding off feisty Senators; Braden Holtby crashes to earth; PK bites Sharks

TSN - McKenzie: Lundqvist is the key to Rangers shutdown game

TSN - NHL upholds suspension to Penguins' Adams; Bylsma fined

USA Today - Blues hold off Sharks to take 2-1 series lead




(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Montreal Canadiens Moving Forward - Part 1 - The Front Office Shakeup

Luc Robitaille - Phoenix Coyotes v Los Angeles Kings
Habs Need to Regroup After Disappointing Season

Hello Habs nation, It's been a while since my last appearance and while part of it is because I've been away, it's also partly because I've had trouble coming to terms with the dismal season the Habs delivered.

I've decided to skip my usual recap of their last two weeks of the season, and instead focus on their needs as they move forward.

While it's clear the Canadiens have some work to do in order to find success, I do believe they are closer than this season's results would have many believe.

Over the next few weeks I will be going over some changes that need to be made in order for the Habs to avoid any further embarrassment.

In this first installment, I will focus on the first thing the Canadiens need to do: fill the void left by Pierre Gauthier's departure and appoint a head coach.

Front Office Shake-Up

It's safe to say that whoever comes in to replace Gauthier will be an improvement. While I personally would like to see the job handed to Pierre McGuire, it's reassuring to see Habs owner, Geoff Molson, exploring all of his options before making his choice.

Current assistant GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning Julien Brisebois is an apparent front runner. Chicago Blackhawks' assistant GM Marc Bergevin has also been approached and RDS has reported that while the Canadiens were interested in Red Wings' assistant GM Jim Nill, Nill has no intention of leaving the Detroit organization

Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reported last week that the Habs have reached out to the Los Angeles Kings with regards to Luc Robitaille, who is currently the Kings' President of Business operations, and Ron Hextall who serves as Vice President and Assistant GM with the team.

Kypreos' report went on to say that the Kings have confirmed the Canadiens interest in certain members of their organization but would prefer if things were dealt with after the playoffs.

Molson will more than likely make his choice before the June 22nd draft, but they would surely like to have their man in place sooner rather than later.

The draft would be a perfect time to bring in somebody like McGuire.

McGuire knows just about everything about anybody who has ever played hockey and his knowledge would be useful when choosing future prospects.

Whether or not it's McGuire who's appointed the team's next GM, there is no question that finding someone to replace Gauthier is the first step to improving this team.

The second step would then be finding a new bench boss.

Head Coach

Generally speaking, it's the GM who brings in his coaching staff, so it's possible Montreal will not have a new man for the job until the GM position is filled.

Although there are reports to the contrary, with rumors swirling that there is already a verbal agreement that would have Patrick Roy behind the bench next year. The idea is loved and hated throughout Montreal, as Roy's fiery temperament and controversial past is viewed as passion by some and immaturity by others.

The language issue does limit the Canadiens when trying to employ a new coach, but it's hard to believe there isn't a bilingual answer for the Habs somewhere in the hockey world. Bob Hartley and Marc Crawford are names that have bounced around along with Roy's.

Another name that will more than likely come up more often than not is Alain Vigneault. With his Vancouver Canucks down 3-0 against the Los Angeles Kings it is widely believed that he could be on his way out.

Vigneault has lead the Canucks to five playoff appearances in his six years in Vancouver, including the Stanley Cup finals last year losing in seven games against the Boston Bruins.

The Canucks have also won two Presidents Trophy's under Vigneault, who claimed the Jack Adams award as the NHL's top coach in 2007.

While language is important—mostly for the media's sake—there are other factors that need to be considered.

In my opinion the team needs somebody who can get the best out of his players, and who has the guts to hold top players accountable when necessary.

Sounds cliche I know, but both qualities are imperative for a coach to be successful.

Once these two positions are filled, the organization can start deciding what they want their team to look like, and start putting the pieces together.

How do you feel about the lack of a GM and coach right now? Do you think filling these voids should be done as soon as possible so progress can be made or do you have trust in Molson's patience?

---
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

Follow Sean on Twitter


(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Habs News, Playoff Fights, Suspensions and More

Carl Hagelin - Ottawa Senators v New York Rangers - Game Two
Morning hockey fans!

This year's playoffs have been rough, haven't they?

Heck, there are so many fights, I would not be surprised to wake up bruised one morning myself.

But is it just an impression, is there really more animosity than usual? Our Francois Dumais takes a look, and the numbers are startling, to see the least.

How do you feel about this rough and tumble post-season? Is it ust playoff intensity or is it crossing the line?


Habs News

Faceoff.com - Bouchard had delicious sense of humour

HabsWorld.net - HW Recap: One last look at '11-12

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: Butch Bouchard a cherished captain in Montreal Canadiens history
Hockey News

HabsAddict.com - NHL By the Numbers: Playoff Fighting

ESPN - Expect sparks in Rangers-Senators Game 3

ESPN - Temper, temper, Sidney

The Hockey News - Special Features: Penguins lacking discipline; Canucks move to Schneider makes no difference

TSN - Rangers' Hagelin suspended three games, Carkner gets one
USA Today - Kings push Canucks to the brink with 3-0 series lead

USA Today - Panthers top Devils, notch first playoff win since 1997

USA Today - Flyers take down Penguins to take 3-0 series lead

USA Today - Kevin Klein leads Predators past Red Wings


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

NHL By the Numbers: Playoff Fighting

Hello playoff fans,

I would assume that most of you have noticed that quite a few games in this years' playoffs have been very intense battles, to say the least.

People have been asking me if we really are seeing more fights than usual? Are penalty minutes on the rise? Or is this just your usual playoff "intensity"?

Think of it: when previously concussed superstars Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux end up throwing blows at each other, there must some serious hatred going on.

"There's always more fighting in the playoffs."

Well, not quite. If you look at the below chart, which covers the last seven years of both regular season and playoff stats (all brought down to an 82 game average) you will notice that, on average, there are more than twice as many fights in the regular season (42 fighting majors per 82 games) as there are in playoffs (19 fighting majors per 82 games).

But what about this year?

Well, this year is a little different, indeed. Fighting majors are on the rise by 280% against the seven year average. This is only after 34 games (roughly 20% of usual 170-175 post season games), so things could change.




But game misconducts are also on the rise, by a whopping 450% over the same seven season average.

That's a clear indication that there have been quite a few more brawls than usual.

The 2011-12 regular season saw a decrease in minor penalties and total penalty minutes awarded for the seventh straight season. In fact, penalty minutes per game have been going down every year since the lockout.

The playoff numbers were pretty much following the same trend – until this year.

Is this the year the numbers go off the charts?


---
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:Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bouchard passes, Flyers, Wings, Kings and Devils win, Playoffs update and more

Well that was some serious hockey last night!

If you missed it, the Flyers and Pens potted a collective total of 13 goals in yesterday's 8-5 Flyers win.

That give Philly a surprising 2-0 series lead.

On the other coast, the Kings continued their domination of the Canucks, grabbing a 2-0 series lead heading back to L.A.

And that is why you've gotta love the playoffs...you truly never know what is going to happen!

Habs News

Hockey Inside/Out - Habs legend Émile (Butch) Bouchard dies at 92

RDS - Butch Bouchard s'éteint

Hockey News

TSN - FRASER: MY INITIAL TAKE ON THE SHEA WEBER INCIDENT

TSN - BETTMAN POSITIVE ON PANTHERS RETURN TO THE PLAYOFFS

TSN - SENATORS CONFIDENT HEADING INTO GAME 2 IN NEW YORK

TSN - BROWN LEADS KINGS TO 2-0 SERIES LEAD OVER CANUCKS

TSN - CAPITALS, BRUINS LOOKING FOR MORE GOALS HEADING TO GAME 2

TSN - BLUES' HITCHCOCK PROMISES CHANGES FOR GAME 2 AGAINST SHARKS

TSN - GIROUX NETS SIX POINTS AS FLYERS GRAB WILD WIN OVER PENGUINS

THN - Flyers' 'Plan B' players shine; Kings happy to hang on to Dustin Brown

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