Thursday, May 31, 2012

Habs Coaching Search: Hartley, and Crawford, and Therrien, oh my!

Today the latest Habs coaching rumour was shot down when Bob Hartley was hired by the Calgary Flames. While some are lamenting the Habs' loss of "the best candidate available", I think if Montreal had wanted to hire Hartley, they would have.

He simply would not have slipped through their fingers.

Listening to TSN 990 this morning, it seems that the Canadiens have followed the same hiring process for their coach as they did with their GM.

That is, they made a huge list, cut it back to a handful, did initial interviews, made the group smaller still, and are now poised to make a decision.

Making the cut

The rumoured list of finalists is/was Bob Hartley, Patrick Roy, Michel Therrien, and Marc Crawford. Give that Hartley is now with the Flames, he is clearly off the list.

Next up is Roy, whose fiery temperament and lack of NHL experience make him a pretty risky hire. Also, it is rumoured that Roy has been making some demands that perhaps make him even less attractive to new GM Marc Bervegin.

But, to me, the bottom line is that you have you think Bergevin doesn't need for his coaching hire to become a potential problem. And going down the Roy path could do exactly that.

So, eliminating Roy from the equation leaves Therrien and Crawford as the last two men standing.

Just say no

To me, if these are the two choices left, then Crawford should be the hands-down selection. Why? Well, he's got the experience, pedigree and demeanor to last in Montreal.

Calm in the face of the media, fiery behind the bench, and able to adapt on the fly, Crawford would be a great fit for the Habs.

Moreover, he speaks French, so you can tick that qualification off the list too. Also, he is supposedly taking a French intensive course right now, so read into that what you will.

As for Therrien, well, I wouldn't go near him with a ten-foot pole. It's not that he's not a good coach, but he is a gruff, bully of a leader. As such, he's the type of old-school guy who tends to wear out his welcome pretty quickly.

The end result is that the team stops listening and he gets fired.

Just ask the Pens, who went on to win the Cup the same year Therrien was fired—under Dan Bylsma. No, the new breed of coach has to be able to speak to his players without berating them all. And Therrien is not that man.

Sure he knows the market and that is experience that you can't easily overlook. And that, to me, is why he's still in the running. But hiring Therrien would mean that is two to three years, the Habs would once again be on the hunt for a new coach.

And after almost two decades of a carousel in the coaching and GM fronts, that is certainly a problem they would do well to avoid.

So what do you think? Who would you chose as the Habs head coach?

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Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also a regular on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo Victor Decolongon/Getty Images North America)

Kings Win Game 1, Beaulieu Signs, Lidstrom to Retire and More

Good morning hockey fans!

Quite a thriller in the swamp last night, no?

While the first half of regulation felt like two teams merely feeling each other out, the pace of the contest in the latter half did not disappoint.

And what a finish in overtime, with Anze Kopitar's breakaway goal giving the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

With the win, the Kings are now 9-0 on the road in these playoffs.

Amazing.

Habs and Hockey News

HabsAddict.com - Press Release - Habs Sign Nathan Beaulieu

ESPN - Analysis: Game 1 facts

ESPN - Rumblings: Coaches, Luongo and Wild

La Presse - David Desharnais: «On peut difficilement faire pire»

The Hockey News - THN at the Stanley Cup: Devils miss opportunity, Kings continue rolling on the road

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: NHL to examine obstruction penalty standard

TSN - McKenzie: Devils can take positives from Game1 despite loss

TSN - Canadiens sign 2011 first-round pick Beaulieu

TSN - Source: Lidstrom to announce retirement Thursday

USA Today - Devils lament missed opportunity in Stanley Cup Game 1

USA Today - Kings steal Game 1 on road as Kopitar beats Brodeur in OT


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Press Release - Habs Sign Nathan Beaulieu

Canadiens sign defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a three-year contract

MONTREAL (May 30, 2012) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced today the signing of defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a three-year contract (2012-13 to 2014-15). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In 53 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs, Beaulieu finished tied for fifth in scoring among QMJHL defensemen with 52 points (11 goals, 41 assists). He was tied for third among rearguards in the league with 41 assists. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenseman scored four of his goals on the powerplay and one while shorthanded. He recorded 150 shots on goal, maintained a plus-41 plus/minus differential and served 100 penalty minutes. This season, Beaulieu helped the Sea Dogs to their third consecutive Jean-Rougeau Trophy (awarded to the QMJHL regular season champions), as well as their second straight President Cup (awarded to the QMJHL playoff champions).

Beaulieu ranked tied for third among league defensemen with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 17 playoff contests. He tallied one of his goals on the powerplay. He displayed a plus-27 plus/minus differential and served 32 penalty minutes. Beaulieu added four assists in as many games at the Memorial Cup tournament in Shawinigan. He suited up for Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Alberta, posting one assist, 13 shots on goal and 16 penalty minutes in six games.

A native of Strathroy, Ontario, Beaulieu, 19, recorded 152 points (37 goals and 115 assists) in 233 games since his junior debut with Saint John. He was part of the Saint John squad that won the Memorial Cup in 2011.

He was drafted in the first round, 17th overall by the Canadiens at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Last September Beaulieu took part in his first training camp with the Canadiens, appearing in three preseason games, recording one assist (0-1-1) and three shots on goal. He was returned to the QMJHL’s Sea Dogs on September 26.

Panesar and Moustakas: Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Winner Picks

Ilya Kovalchuk - New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils - Game Six
Louis Moustakas: Hello my friend!

Quite a Cup Final we have on our hands, isn't it? I mean, how do you even go about predicting this one? It is difficult enough to handicap two teams from opposing conferences at the best of times. 

Here, we have the unusual fact of an eighth seed facing off against a sixth seed. Needless to say, regardless of who wins, it will be the first time such a low seed hoists the cup. Ironically, the previous lowest seed to accomplish the feat was the New Jersey Devils, who finished fifth in the Eastern Conference after the lock-out shortened 1994-95 campaign.

In any case, If you saw this coming at the outset of the post-season, props to you. I thought both of these teams would be out after one round.

So, I suppose the question is, who wins it all?

Kamal Panesar: Very true, Louis. Who indeed?

To me, the Kings look like they are doing their best impersonation of an unstoppable force…and succeeding. They really look like a team that is built to play and win in the playoffs.

Big, strong, aggressive, great goaltending, no problem generating offense.

What’s not to like?

The thing with the Kings is that yes, they are a surprise given that they had a dismal season and barely made it into the playoffs. But while adding pieces like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter over the summer seemed, at least on paper, like it would produce instant success, sometimes (usually?) it takes some time for things to jel. Especially when you are adding such high profile and impactful pieces to your squad. I mean it’s not like they added a couple of fourth liners. These two are instantly part of the Kings core.

Fast forward to the playoffs, and it looks like that elusive chemistry arrived just in time for the Kings.

That being said, and while I feel the Kings will take this series in six games, you can never count out a Martin Brodeur backed Devils squad in the finals. Especially one that no longer plays the trap and seems capable of scoring almost at will!

Louis Moustakas: The Kings are indeed doing an amazing impression of an unstoppable force.

But one has to wonder what kind of resistance this force has faced. Going 12-2 is impressive, but it should equally raise questions about the quality of the opposition. How will the Kings react if they are faced with adversity in the Final round? What if they lose the first game? Have they developed the backbone to contend with that?

Maybe they do possess the required internal fortitude, but it certainly has not been demonstrated so far —mind you, through no fault of their own —and remains a question mark.

Also, a lot has been made of the matchup between LA's big forwards against New Jersey's smaller defense, but I feel this point is a touch overemphasized. Big, strong forwards are most effective when they can establish a forecheck. Somehow, I doubt Martin Brodeur's puckhandling skill will allow that to happen to the same extent it did in the previous Western series.

As for the New Jersey Devils, they may not own the physical, aggressive nature of their Californian counterpart, but their depth is not to be minimized. Top players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac have been effective while even their fourth line has produced nine goals. Petr Sykora, Patrik Elias and Alexei Ponikarovsky have more underwhelming numbers, but they remain offensive threats.

How will LA's top heavy blueline fare against New Jersey's four-line balance? The Kings' bottom defenders, namely youngsters Slava Voynov and Alec Martinez, certainly run the risk of being exposed in this series.

I suppose you see where I am going with this. I'll go New Jersey in 6.

On another topic, regardless of who wins, it will be intriguing to see who is handed the Conn Smythe Trophy. Seldom have I seen a year where, on both teams, the award could legitimately be handed to so many players.

Kamal Panesar: Very true and, to be sure, I’m certainly not writing off the Devils. Hey, they didn’t get to the finals by chance. Also, your point about the Kings so far not having to face any real adversity, is salient. If there’s anything I’ve learned from watching over three decades of playoff hockey is that whoever wins the Cup usually has to go through some struggles in order to win. Not always, but usually.

I think the key to this series is really the first two games in Jersey. If the Kings can continue to be road warriors, winning or one or even both games, this thing won’t be much of a contest. However, if the Devils hold serve it puts all the pressure on a Kings squad that hasn’t yet faced much.

On the Conn Smythe discussion, for the Devils, I’ve got to say that the player who has been the most impressive, in my opinion, is Ilya Kovalchuk.

Once a one trick pony, Kovalchuk has become a well rounded, all-world player in these playoffs. It’s amazing what a couple of years playing in a well defined system under a well constructed organization can do for a player.

Not only is he scoring goals but he’s back checking, blocking shots and really leading by example, up front. I think his Russian countryman, Alex Ovechkin, could use a little of whatever he’s got.

Yet despite Kovalchuk’s strong play, to me, the hands down Conn Smythe front runner has got to be Jonathan Quick. 14 games played, 12 wins, two losses, two shutouts, a ridiculous 1.54 goals against average (GAA), and an equally mind-boggling .946 save percentage.

Out of the 14 games the Kings have played, Quick has let in three or more goals (exactly three) only once. He has let in two goals five times, one goal five times and had two shutouts. He has simply been a brick wall and, despite how well the Kings have played, their power play has been firing blanks while their PK has been lights out. I think Quick played a large role in the PK stats and in the Kings overall success.

To me, there has been no player who has been more valuable so far in these playoffs and that’s why, win or lose, he’s my Conn Smythe pick.

Louis Moustakas: I'm not sure I would give the Conn Smythe to Jonathan Quick win or lose. Certainly, he is the top candidate on the Kings, but he has not had to steal the series against St. Louis or Phoenix either.

Dustin Brown also deserves consideration for his tremendous physical and offensive contributions, but Drew Doughty is a choice that could have some merit should the Kings capture the Cup. He has maintained an impressive +10 rating while playing over 25 minutes per night, contributing ten points in the process as well. 

Much has been made about the shutdown duo of Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi, but Doughty's ability to be used proficiently in every situation — and to excel — makes him an excellent choice.

On the New Jersey side, I would agree with you. Ilya Kovalchuk has blown me away and, most importantly, he has improved as the playoffs have worn on. In the deciding game against the New York Rangers, he had two points, including an assist on the eventual winner. He has been physical, has chipped in some garbage goals and has been a game breaker for the Devils. Heck, he is even being used 45 seconds per game on the penalty kill.

Then again, all of this is speculation. We all know the most important round is upon us and a stellar — or abysmal — performance can make or break one's Conn Smythe chances. When it comes to voting for this award, recent performance weighs very heavily.



What are your predictions for the Stanley Cup Final? Who will win it all? Who will be named playoff MVP?



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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, and LiveSport New Zealand.

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. He is also an occasional guest on CKCU's Red Zone program.

Find him on twitter @LouisMoustakas



(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Finals Begin, Hartley Rumors, Habs News and More

Hey hockey fans!

Is there some big events upcoming?

What's that you say? It isn't that the World Inline Championships are starting this week (true story)?

Oh! It's the Stanley Cup Final!

And what a Final it promises to be. Somehow, I get the sense that this will be one of the more entertaining matchups in recent years.

Be it because of the goaltending show Jonathan Quick and Martin Brodeur are likely to put on, the stellar performances from Dustin Brown and Ilya Kovalchuk, the inevitable big hits or the fact that these teams are such ridiculous underdogs.

Fun times are ahead. Don't you think?

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Bob Hartley to be named the Montreal Canadiens’ next coach?

La Presse - Le CH n'a pas contacté les Lions de Zurich pour Hartley

La Presse - Le CH avait-il une direction?

RDS - Bob Hartley : deux entrevues à Calgary

RDS - À défaut de filet mignon...

TSN - Dreger: Nothing imminent on Hartley, Habs' coaching search

TSN - Fraser: Memories of the Cup Final...and Game 2 in 1993

Hockey News

ESPN - Watch: Devils by the numbers

ESPN - Watch: Kings by the numbers

La Presse - Kovalchuk, le gars d'équipe

Sports Illustrated - Devils' Salvador the quiet story of Stanley Cup finals after year away

The Hockey News - THN at the Stanley Cup: Opposites Brodeur, Quick prepare for showdown

The Hockey News - VIDEO: Devils and Kings players discuss Stanley Cup final

The Hockey News - VIDEO: THN Puck Panel – 2012 Stanley Cup final preview

USA Today - Devils' Martin Brodeur remains a force at 40

USA Today - Experts think Hasek, 47, could make it as NHL backup

USA Today - KHL teams expected to play two games in Brooklyn

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Press Release - Habs Hire Scott Mellanby as Director of Player Personnel

CANADIENS APPOINT SCOTT MELLANBY DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL

MONTREAL (May 28, 2012) – Montreal Canadiens executive vice president and general manager, Marc Bergevin, announced today the appointment of Scott Mellanby to the position of director of player personnel.

“We are extremely happy to have Scott Mellanby joining the Canadiens organization. Scott has an impressive background and a commanding knowledge of the league, having played for 21 seasons in the NHL before holding various management positions over the last four years. Scott is known for his character and his leadership, which made him a great team captain during six seasons with the Florida Panthers and the Atlanta Thrashers. He has extensive knowledge of the game, is well respected in the hockey circles and will become an important asset for our organization,” said Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.

A native of Montreal, Scott Mellanby, enjoyed a successful 21-year career in the NHL with five different teams. Suiting up for 1,431 games in the National Hockey League, ranking him 23rd on the all-time list for most games played, he recorded 840 points (364 goals and 476 assists) and served 2,479 penalty minutes, also 23rd on the NHL all-time list. He played in 136 career playoff games, and totaled 53 points (24 goals, 29 assists).
Mellanby sparks a trend

Mellanby retired as an active player after the 2006-07 season. Following his playing career, Mellanby joined the Vancouver Canucks organization, working as special advisor to general manager Mike Gillies (2008-09) and as a professional scout (2009-10). On June 1, 2010 he returned to St. Louis to take on the position of assistant coach over the last two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12).

“This was an easy decision for me. It’s an honor for me to get a chance to be a part of the Canadiens organization,” said Mellanby via conference call from St. Paul, MN. “I was born in Montreal and I grew up idolizing the Canadiens – Guy Lafleur in particular. It’s really a thrill for me to get this opportunity. Marc talked to [Blues GM] Doug [Armstrong] to get permission to talk to me and when he talked to me, it was automatic.”

Signed as an unrestricted free agent by Atlanta in July 2004, Mellanby would go on to play two seasons as the Thrashers team captain (2005-06 and 2006-07). Prior to joining the Thrashers, he played with the St. Louis Blues from 2001 to 2004. He reached the postseason in each of his four seasons in St. Louis, reaching the Western Conference Final in 2001. Mellanby spent seven seasons with the Florida Panthers, including the last four, from 1997 to 2001, as the Panthers’ captain, recording 157 goals and a total of 354 points. In 1996 he was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game before leading his team to the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche that same year. Mellanby also donned the Oilers jersey from 1991 to 1993 playing 149 games and recording 82 points. Drafted in the second round, 27th overall, by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1984, Mellanby earned a spot on the Flyers roster in 1986-87 and would go on to spend five seasons in Philadelphia, where he registered 227 points in 353 career regular season games.

Now 45, Scott Mellanby played his junior hockey with Don Mills, in the Metro Toronto Hockey League, and the Henry Carr Crusaders of the Ontario Jr. B League before joining the Wisconsin University Badgers (WCHA) in 1984-1985. On the international level, he helped Canada capture the silver medal at the 1986 World Junior Championships, notching nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) in seven games.

Scott Mellanby and his wife Sue have three children, sons Carter and Nicholas and daughter Courtney.

Harltey, Mellanby, Finals, Brodeur and More

George Bridges/KRT
Good morning Hab fans.

After last week's addition of Rick Dudley and extension of Larry Carrière, the Montreal Canadiens front office continues being fleshed out, with Montreal native Scott Mellanby being named as Director of Player Personnel yesterday.

Mellanby spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues. He also played in 1431 NHL contests, collecting 840 points in the process.

On the coaching front, our own Fred Poulin reports that Bob Hartley ison the verge of being named the Montreal Canadiens next head coach. And, to Fred's great credit, he was even cited by PuckDaddy late yesterday.

Thus far, how do you feel about how the Habs' front office and coaching staff seem to be shaping up?

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Bob Hartley to be named the Montreal Canadiens’ next coach?

La Presse - Le prochain entraîneur du CH? Patience...

La Presse - Marc Bergevin ajoute Scott Mellanby à son personnel

PuckDaddy - Bob Hartley as next Montreal Canadiens head coach picks up steam

Sports Illustrated - Report: Canadiens to hire Hartley as next coach

TSN - Canadiens name Mellanby director of player personnel

Hockey News

ESPN - Five players you'd like to see win

ESPN - Brodeur leaning towards returning next year

La Presse - De surprises en surprises...

TSN - McKenzie: Remember when Kings had interest in Kovalchuk?

TSN - Devils, Kings feature several links for Stanley Cup Final

USA Today - Sizing up the Stanley Cup Final

USA Today - Devils' Zajac reaches Stanley Cup Final after injury scare


(Photo by George Bridges / KRT) 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bob Hartley to be named the Montreal Canadiens’ next coach?

Bob Hartley.
The Memorial Cup is over after the host team, the Shawinigan Cataractes, defeated Dale Hunter's London Knights 2-1 in overtime yesterday at Centre Bionest on Anton Zlobin's goal late in the first overtime period.

Now, according to a source, it is expected that the Montreal Canadiens will name Robert "Bob" Hartley as the team's next head coach. It is also expected that Eric Veilleux, the head coach of the Cataractes, will follow him to Montreal to become his assistant coach.

Three weeks ago, I mentioned Hartley as one of the team's top candidates to become the next head coach of the Habs.

Marc Bergervin, who was named the Canadiens' general manager at the beginning of May, has been meeting potential candidates in recent weeks. He has also been seen with owner Geoff Molson in Shawinigan over the past few days and his presence has helped fuel rumors regarding Hartley in the Canadian media. 

Two of the Habs' top prospects, Michael Bournival and Morgan Ellis, played for the Cataractes this season. Prospects Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu were also playing in the tournament, for London Knights and Saint John Sea Dogs, respectively. 

Gerard Gallant, the Sea Dogs' head coach, was also rumored to be in the running for the head coach position, but he denied meeting Bergevin or any member of the organization.

Hartley worked as a special advisor to head coach Eric Veilleux during the Memorial Cup and he was often seen talking to members of the Montreal Canadiens organization throughout the tournament. Veilleux played nine years under Bob Hartley as a player in Laval, Cornwall and Hershey, and considers him as his top mentor. A preliminary contract drafted by the Canadiens legal affairs team has reportedly been given to Bob Hartley.

The Bleu Blanc Rouge's front office is slowly shaping up after the team announced the nomination of Rick Dudley as the team's assistant GM two days ago. Dudley had been working as an assistant to GM Brian Burke with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dudley will be splitting duties with assistant GM Larry Carriere, who was given a contract extension. As part of the agreement, Dudley will not take part of the draft and will rather be involved in signing free agents and attending to internal matters.

Scott Mellanby has also just been named the team's Director of Player Personnel. 

The announcement will most likely be made on Tuesday, May 29th, before the start of the Stanley Cup final or at the beginning of June as Hartley needs to void his contract with the Zurich Lions before accepting the position with the Canadiens. He helped lead the Lions to the 2012 Swiss National League A championship.

Do you like the choice of Hartley as the Canadiens’ next head coach?


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Follow me on Twitter to get updates on the Canadiens and the NHL in general.


(Photo via the Associated Press) 

Cataractes Take Memorial Cup, Junior Prospects, Kings-Devils and More

Michaël Bournival rend hommage à son entraîneur
Good morning Hab fans!

The Memorial Cup hosts, the Shawinigan Cataractes, are also the Memorial Cup Champions after a 2-1 overtime win against Dale Hunter's London Knights.

As a result, Habs' prospects Michael Bournival and Morgan Ellis can now stake claim to the most prestigious prize in junior hockey.

With an assist on the game winning goal, Michael Bournival vaulted into fifth in scoring with seven points in six games. Meanwhile, Morgan Ellis assisted on the first Shawinigan goal and was named the game's second star.

First-round selections Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu were also part of the tournament.

Brendan Gallagher and Patrick Holland both had strong offensive seasons in the WHL.

With all of that in mind, has this year's performance by Canadiens' prospects made you feel optimistic about the upcoming season?

Habs and Hockey News

ESPN - Holiday weekend jam: 10 finals facts

HabsWorld.net - UFA Assessment: Travis Moen

La Presse - Les Cataractes champions!

La Presse - Une soirée survoltée

La Presse - Michaël Bournival rend hommage à son entraîneur

Sports Illustrated - Don’t crown the Kings prematurely

The Hockey News - 2012 NHL Stanley Cup final preview

TSN - Kings' Doughty shining with stellar playoff performances

TSN - DeBoer delivers Devils back to elite level in just one year

USA Today - How Kings, Devils stack up in five key areas

USA Today - Marty McSorley hopes Kings reverse his curse



(Photo by Sylvain Mayer / La Presse) 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The next Habs coach, Doughty, Kings, Devils, Conn Smythe and more

Oh, the calm before the storm. That's certainly where things are in the Stanley Cup playoffs. With three more days off before the finals begin on Wednesday, the Kings and Devils have a little time to lick their wounds.

Although, for the Kings, I doubt there are that many. They are a well rested bunch, having played only 14 games so far en route to the finals.

Still, the build up to the finals is always exciting and, with the nice weather, you actually get to spend a little time outside.

Imagine that?

Hockey News

Habsworld.net - The Fans Choice: The next coach of the Habs should be...

TSN - FORMER OILERS STOLL, GREENE GRATEFUL FOR SECOND CHANCE AT CUP

TSN - RANGERS HAVE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM DESPITE LOSS TO DEVILS

TSN - YOUR CALL: WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR THE CONN SMYTHE TROPHY?

TSN - KINGS' DOUGHTY SHINING WITH STELLAR PLAYOFF PERFORMANCES

ESPN - Stanley Cup finals: Points to watch

ESPN - Kings: Top two lines fueling playoff run

Spector's Hockey - Latest on Coyotes, Capitals and Avalanche – May 26, 2012

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Habs hire Dudley, Devils advance, Gagne, Final preview and more

It's over!

Well, the 2012 semi-finals are over. If you didn't see it, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Rangers in Game 6, last night.

It was yet another hard fought victory for the grinding Devils. You've got to hand it to the Rangers though, down 2-0 after one only to comeback and tie it up in the second.

The third solved nothing and it was overtime again where Jersey playoff standout, Adam Henrique, potted the series winner a few short minutes in.

And with that, the Devils are off to the finals versus a well primed and rest Kings squad. That should be one hell of a series! For what it's worth, I'm picking the Kings in 6. They just look unbeatable right now.

On that Habs front, GM Marc Bergevin made his first appointment, naming Rick Dudley as his assistant GM. You can read the full press release below, but suffice it to say that the Habs now have three all-world talent evaluators in their ranks (Bergevin, Dudley, and Timmins).

That can only bode well for the future of this franchise.

Habs News

HabsAddict.com - Press Release - Habs name Rick Dudley assistant GM

RDS - Rick Dudley épaulera Marc Bergevin

Hockey News

TSN - DEVILS BEAT RANGERS IN OT, ADVANCE TO STANLEY CUP FINAL

TSN - MCKENZIE: DEVILS' GRINDERS CONTINUE TO PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE

TSN - CULLEN: HENRIQUE'S HEROICS SEND DEVILS TO STANLEY CUP FINAL

TSN - GAGNE ENJOYING KINGS' SUCCESS, RETURNS TO PRACTICE

TSN - BLUES CEO STEPPING DOWN FOLLOWING OWNERSHIP CHANGE

THN - 2012 NHL Stanley Cup final preview

THN - Broduer shows Lundqvist how to win in playoffs

(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Press Release - Habs name Rick Dudley assistant GM

Rick Dudley named assistant general manager
Larry Carriere will receive a contract extension with the Canadiens.

MONTREAL (May 25, 2012) – Montreal Canadiens executive vice president and general manager, Marc Bergevin, announced today the appointment of Rick Dudley to the position of assistant general manager. The Canadiens also announced a contract extension for Larry Carrière to remain assistant general manager.

Dudley brings more than 40 years of experience in professional hockey, including the last two decades as a senior executive with various NHL organizations. Before joining the Canadiens, Dudley worked extensively in various managerial capacities with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Atlanta Thrashers, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Ottawa Senators.

“Rick Dudley is a very knowledgeable and proficient hockey executive and we are pleased to welcome him in our organization in the position of assistant general manager. Rick has been actively involved at the management level in the NHL for many years and is one of the league’s most respected executives. An outstanding talent evaluator, he has extensive experience as a scout. The success he enjoyed at all levels throughout his career speaks volume of his expertise. We are thrilled to have both Rick and Larry Carrière as assistant general managers for several seasons to come,” said Bergevin.

Dudley, 63, held the title of Director, Player Personnel with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2011-12. Prior to joining the Leafs, he was with the Atlanta Thrashers from 2009 to 2011, beginning as associate general manager before being promoted to general manager, holding that position until the franchise moved to Winnipeg. From 2004 to 2009, Dudley worked with the Chicago Blackhawks serving as the team’s assistant general manager for the last three seasons after starting off as hockey consultant. In Chicago, his work was conducive to the Hawks’ first Stanley Cup win in 48 years. Dudley previously served as the general manager of the Florida Panthers for two seasons from 2002 to 2004. From 1999 to 2002, he was the Tampa Bay Lightning’s general manager and played a significant role in building this team for the 2004 Stanley Cup win. Prior to joining the Lightning, he held the position of general manager of the Ottawa Senators in 1998-99, taking the team to the top of their division for the first time in franchise history.

A Toronto native, Rick Dudley spent four highly successful seasons with the IHL Detroit Vipers taking the team to the Turner Cup in 1997. Throughout his career as general manager, he has been to the finals eight times in three different leagues (IHL, AHL, ECHL) and has won four championships. Prior to embarking on a managerial career, Dudley spent seven seasons as a player in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets, where he was one of only three players in the NHL to wear number 99. He also played 270 games in the World Hockey Association where he also tallied two consecutive 40-goal seasons.

Larry Carrière joined the Canadiens organization as assistant general manager on July 16, 2010. He served as an assistant coach by interim for part of the 2011-12 season before returning to his duties of assistant general manager before the end of the regular season. Larry Carrière brings more than 30 years of experience in professional hockey and held several front office positions with the Buffalo Sabres and the Washington Capitals organizations.

Habs Coaching Search, Shawinigan Wins, Guarantee and More

Good morning Hab fans!

Good news for Habs prospects Morgan Ellis and Michael Bournival, as their Shawinigan Cataractes managed to stay alive in the Memorial Cup Tournament thanks to a 6-1 drubbing of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Now, the underdog hosts are destined to meet with Nathan Beaulieu's Saint John Sea Dogs in the semi-final.

Regardless, with Jarred Tinordi and the London Knights waiting for their eventual opponent, it is certain that at least one top Canadiens prospect will be hoisting the Memorial Cup.

Cool, no?

Habs and Hockey News

ESPN - Rumblings: Montreal coaching search

HabsWorld.net - The Fans Choice: The next coach of the Habs should be...

La Presse - Brodeur peut s'offrir une vengeance

La Presse - Beaulieu et Tinordi feront leur place avec le Canadien

La Presse - Twitter offre un contact privilégié avec les fans, soutient Geoff Molson

The Hockey News - Adam Proteau: CBC's women-focused endeavor is disrespectful

TSN - Rule says MacKinnon can't play in Canada-Russia Challenge

TSN - Cataractes romp to win, eliminate Oil Kings

TSN - With Messier a distant memory, Rangers refuse guarantees



(Photo by Jacques Boissinot / CP) 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Devils Win, Goaltending, Vigneault, Memorial Cup and More

Good morning hockey fans!

Well, that was quite a game last night, wasn't it?

A near three-goal comeback for the New York Rangers ended in a 5-3 loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils, who are now one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals.

In the game, both goaltenders were uncharacteristically shaky. It is perhaps less of a surprise to see the 40-year old Martin Brodeur lose the plot on occasion, but Henrik Lundqvist allowing four goals on only 16 shots was definitely unusual.

As for Brodeur, he may not be the dominant netminder he once was, but he is still excellent. And, in the playoffs, as long as he can produce four wins per series, it matters little how he plays the rest of the time.

Last night, though, was a bonus. His teammates bailed him out big time.

Hockey News

HabsAddict - Panesar and Moustakas: Is Shot Blocking Really a Problem in the NHL

La Presse - Alain Vigneault aurait dit oui au Canadien

The Hockey News - Devils role players step up again in Game 5; Rangers not cooked yet

The Hockey News - Scott Mellanby won't be back next season as Blues' assistant coach

TSN - Wild sign Granlund to three-year, entry level deal

TSN - Cullen: Fourth liners make the difference for Devils

TSN - Fraser: Judging the Brown knee and Doughty's outburst

TSN - Huberdeau scores twice as Sea Dogs top Cataractes

TSN - Marlies blank Barons to close in on AHL final

USA Today - Canucks extend head coach Alain Vigneault's contract

USA Today - Ryan Carter lifts Devils to 5-3 win vs. Rangers


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kings Advance to Final, Shot Blocking, Dudley and More

Good morning hockey fans!

Wow. That is all there is to say about the Los Angeles Kings. Has there ever been an eighth seed that has looked so little like an eighth seed before?

Honestly, at this point, regardless of who they face in the Stanley Cup Final, don't you feel like they are the presumptive favorites?

Or do you think the New Jersey Devils or New York Rangers can stop the Californian squad?


Habs and Hockey News

HabsAddict.com - Panesar and Moustakas: Block Party

HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens Moving Forward - Part 4 - Defense and Goaltending

ESPN - Coyotes irate as Kings advance

HabsWorld.net - UFA Assessment: Mathieu Darche

La Presse - Rick Dudley demeure en attente

La Presse - Devils-Rangers: ça commence ce soir!

RDS - Québec a gagné des points croit Aubut

RDS - Jean Béliveau se remet de son AVC

TSN - Cullen: Penner's OT goal gives Kings berth in Cup Final

TSN - Off-Season Game Plan: Buffalo Sabres


(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

Panesar and Moustakas: Is Shot Blocking Really a Problem in the NHL?

New Jersey Devils' Stephen Gionta leaps into the air as New York Rangers' Ruslan Fedotenko falls in an attempt to block a shot from the point in front of Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist during second period of Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals hockey playoffs at Madison Square Garden in New York, May 14, 2012.
With one half of the Stanley Cup final now decided, hockey fans must come to grips with the fact that the Eastern representative will either be the historically defensive minded New Jersey Devils or the architects of post-lockout, shot-blocking defense, the New York Rangers.

But, really, is shot blocking the scourge it has been made out to be? Your new favorite debate duo return to discuss.

Kamal Panesar: So, if you haven’t heard by now, there is a new demon in the NHL. Something more vile than the neutral zone trap, and more stifling than the clutching and grabbing that used to be. Now, apparently, blocking shots is the end of the league.

Ummm, really?

According to some media types, shot blocking is the new bane of the NHL. The ‘new’ trap, if you will. Stifling offense, making life easier for goaltenders, and keeping the score low. For more on this, you can read Ken Campbell’s piece from The Hockey News, or Stu Hackel’s piece from Sports Illustrated on the matter.

To be honest, I think this is much ado about nothing. Shot blocking is a skill, and one that has developed considerably over the last 20 years. But why is that a bad thing? Is progress bad? I thought it was a good thing. But I guess purists who think the game should continue to be ‘the way it used to be’, probably also rallied against removing the red line!

Louis Moustakas: After Guy Boucher's horrid defensive system, blocking shots is the new scourge being released upon the league.

Blocking shots takes both courage and skill. It is an often painful sacrifice that can, at times, produce some pretty exciting defensive plays. How this even gets compared to the Dead Puck Era is beyond me.

The real issue here is that the only thing equated with entertainment value is goal scoring. Tight games, defense and goaltending seem secondary in the minds of many in the media. Apparently, individuals who have covered the game for years, if not decades, lack the ability to appreciate the intricacies of the game and want nothing but more scoring chances, more goals.

Because, you know, aren't we all pinning for those 8-7 games where the netminders — unaccustomed to playing butterfly style — got beat on the low, far-side all the time? Thrilling stuff. Of course, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh provided an exciting series, but it was exciting due to its unusual nature. I'm not sure I would be thrilled watching teams forget how to play defense for 82 games a year.

In the end, no one is helping promote the game by constantly correlating a decrease in scoring with a lack of entertainment. The sport has so much more to offer than just goals. Progress and change will always arise over time. The high-offense days are the 80s are over. Deal with it.

Kamal Panesar: Well said, my friend!

To be honest, I find scoring chances to be even more exciting than actual goals scored. Sure, you get the payoff with a goal. That release from tension and cheer for your team. But, when there are scoring chances, and bodies are flying left and right to dive in front of 100 mph shots, while goaltenders are forced to make acrobatic saves, and while opposing forwards barrel towards the crease in hope of a tip or rebound, well, I find that to be pretty exciting.

Especially in the playoffs.

For me, what makes the playoffs so intense to watch, is the feeling that any goal could be the winning goal. Any shot, no matter how good or bad, could be the back breaker and, moreover, the series winner. So when a team is pressing on the attack and is being met with shot blocking, I find it exciting.

Yes, the player’s have Kevlar-like padding that makes shot blocking that much easier, but let’s be honest here. Yes, the Rangers (mostly) to a man, block shots. But it still took them seven games to make it through the first and second rounds, respectively. That, to me, means that their system is not bullet proof. There are ways around and through the shot blocking maze and if a team chooses to block shots like a brick wall, then your coaching staff better figure out a way around it or find a new job.

Penalize or restrict shot blocking? Ridiculous.

Louis Moustakas: We are quite in agreement this time, aren't we?

And you make a good point about the excitement of each goal, the feeling each one could be a winner or a backbreaker. To me, that every shot, every pass and every play can become a pivotal moment is what makes the post-season such a delight.

As for legislating against shot blocking, that is outright silly. It is a problem only exaggerated by media types — who, poor them, have the painful job of covering the playoffs. When various rule changes are proposed, we often hear talk of how it is important to maintain the physical, gritty element of the game. Blocking a 100 MPH shot seems pretty gritty and physical to me.

Kamal Panesar: I couldn’t agree more. The bottom line here is that by talking about legislating against shot blocking, certain media types are going down the road of “punishing” players, so to speak, for a skill. Because let’s be honest here, great equipment or not, shot blocking takes skill.

So, just like when the calls to no longer allow goaltenders to handle the puck behind the net came to the forefront, you are talking about penalizing individuals who have a certain skill.

I’ve never been a fan of that. With the goalie issue, it’s not every goaltender in the league who can play the puck they way Martin Brodeur can, so why penalize him for that exceptional skill he has? To me, this is the same argument about legislating against blocking shots. The players who can and do block shots on a regular basis, generally, possess a higher skill level in this department than your average player.

Just ask Josh Gorges.

Think about Gorges not being allowed to block shots. Wouldn’t that take a huge part of his game away, thus making him a lesser player? I think so and, despite what some say, I still think that not every player in the league can block shots.

At least not with the same efficiency.


What about you? Do you think shot blocking has negatively impacted the 2012 playoffs?

---
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, and LiveSport New Zealand.

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. He is also an occasional guest on CKCU's Red Zone program.

Find him on twitter @LouisMoustakas

(Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Devils Win, Signings, World Championships and More

Good morning hockey fans!

While the playoffs are still in full swing, the offseason is approaching rapidly as well.

In fact, by looking at the recent slew of signings across the league — for which you will find the stories below — it is clear that many teams are gearing up for the busy summer period.

Interestingly, the Anaheim Ducks signed Swedish standout netminder Viktor Fasth, who was Sweden's starter at the recent World Championships.

With that in mind, one AM question for you: are there are any players who participated in the last World Championships you would like to see the Habs sign?

For my money, Norwegian defender Jonas Holos and Latvian forward Miks Indrasis would not be horrible choices. If nothing else, such players could serve to replenish the Bulldogs' depth.


Hockey News

HabsAddict.com - Montreal Canadiens Moving Forward - Part 4 - Defense and Goaltending

Sports Illustrated - Devils still sit in Rangers' shadow in fight for attention

TSN - McKenzie: Rangers' defence falls short in Game 4

TSN - Flyers ink prospects Mathers, Johnston to entry-level deals

TSN - Sabres re-sign D Sulzer to one-year, $725,000 contract

TSN - Hurricanes re-sign D McBain to two-year, $3.6 million deal

TSN - Ducks sign Swedish free agent Fasth to one-year deal

USA Today - Parise lifts Devils to series-tying 4-1 win

USA Today - Rupp punch dials up intensity in East final

USA Today - Coyotes hope to carry momentum into Game 5


(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Habs Moving Forward, Russia Takes Gold, Coyotes and More

Mike Smith - Phoenix Coyotes v Los Angeles Kings - Game Four
Good AM hockey fans!

Amazingly, the Kings actually lost a game yesterday, falling 2-0 to the Phoenix Coyotes, who avoided getting swept in the process.

While I suspect no one believes the Desert Dogs will become the fourth team to successfully overcome a 0-3 series deficit, what a tale that would be.

A team often plagued by mediocrity and under constant threat of relocation rallying to make history and access the Stanley Cup Final.

That would be cool story, no?



Montreal Canadiens Moving Forward - Part 4 - Defense and Goaltending

Ryan Suter - Nashville Predators v Phoenix Coyotes - Game Five
Greetings Habs Nation!

After discussing the importance of finding a GM and coach for the Habs — half of which has been resolved  looking at a few of the options at the upcoming draft and taking a look at what can be done to bolster the offense, it's time to finish off the Moving Forward series by weighing the Habs options when it comes to their defensive line up for the 2012-13 season.

Goaltending is the last line of defense and, in this department, Marc Bergevin's priority is quite simple, sign Carey Price.

Price is a top-ten goalie in the NHL with top-five potential. With Price signed, Bergevin will have more time to focus on the rest of the roster without worrying about having security between the pipes. That being said, the sooner he's signed the better.

As for backup, Peter Budaj is signed for another year, but his first year with the CH hasn't turned many heads. However, Price is capable of playing 65-70 games per season, so if the rest of the line up can be improved than the position of back up goalie is hardly worth losing any sleep over.

Not many people are against Price being a top priority — if not THE top priority — for Marc Bergevin. At the same time, you would be hard pressed to find a handful of fans who wouldn't agree that P.K. Subban is next on the list.

Subban is set to become a restricted free agent, and will no doubt be signing for much more than the $875,000 he made last year.

After taking a lot of heat for most of the year for not putting up more points, Subban finished the year strong under interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth and concluded the season with 36 points, just two less than his career high the previous year.

What seemed to escape most critics was that his +9 rating was an incredible improvement from his -8 in 2011.

Alexei Emelin is another RFA who should be high on Bergevin's to do list. In his first year playing in the NHL, the hard hitting Russian defender doled out 236 hits, good for 15th in the league and fourth among defensemen.

Emelin's 30 penalty minutes show that while he regularly delivers crushing checks, he's doing so legally and rarely gets sent to the box.

Emelin's presence is essential on a team that all too often gets knocked around. For once, it's the players in the visiting jersey who neeed to worry about their well being when entering the offensive zone.

Andrei Markov is signed for the next two seasons and, if his knee can stay healthy, he can bring a lot to the team with his puck moving ability and powerplay skills.

Josh Gorges is signed until the end of the 2017 season and there is no telling how much rubber he will get in front of between now and then. This past season, Gorges was the only player in the NHL to block more than 200 shots, taking 250 pucks to various parts of his body. Nobody can question that Gorges is the heart of this team and having him on the backend along with Markov and Subban gives the Canadiens a very impressive top three.

Tomas Kaberle is signed on for another two years and this is where it gets tricky. Kaberle has got to go and it will be hard for Bergevin to find a taker. The fact that Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford managed to trade him still baffles everyone, Rutherford included.

Kaberle brings with him a $4.25 million cap. That's four million dollars being spent on a defensemen who can't defend and who is all too predictable in the offensive zone. The man can pass, there is no question about it, but there is also no question as to whether or not he will pass.

Having the ability to dish the puck is hardly worth anything when everybody knows what you're going to do, he has become all too easy to defend when he's quarterbacking a powerplay an that makes it all the more frustrating knowing he's taking up so much room on the payroll.

Yannick Weber is also contractually linked to the Habs for the upcoming season but don't be surprised if he's included in a deal to acquire a draft pick, prospect or bag of pucks. Weber has not yet managed to secure a spot on the team over the past four years and with Raphael Diaz and Frederic St-Denis developping nicely as well as Nathan Beaulieu and Jared Tinordi just another year or two away from the NHL, it seems that Weber's time is up in Montreal.

Assumimg that Bergevin can't rid the roster of Kaberle the Habs will likely go into next season with Subban, Markov, Gorges, Kaberle and Weber.

Raphael Diaz and Frederic St-Denis will likely be re-signed - they are both RFA's - and battle for the sixth spot.

However, if Kaberle gets bought out or demoted to the minors and the Canadiens find themselves with some room to manouver, who wouldn't like to seem them make a pitch for Ryan Suter?

As a UFA in Nashville, Suter will be one of the most sought out players along with New Jersey's Zach Parise and Colombus's Rick Nash — although Nash will be the center of a trading war since he is still under contract with the Blue Jackets.

Suter would bring size — 6'1" 198 lbs — to the Habs blue line while also chipping in with some offense as he has accumulated 238 points in 542 NHL games.

A lot of what transpires will depend on Nicklas Lidstrom's future with the Red Wings. If Lidstrom should decide to hang up his skates after 20 NHL season's and four Stanley Cup's then you can be sure that Hockeytown USA will do their best to acquire the NHL's top defenseman in the free agency pool.

One other player I wouldn't mind seeing the Habs have a go at is Dennis Wideman. Wideman finished his season in Washington in 2012 with 46 points - tenth among defensemen - with four of his 11 goals coming on the powerplay. The previous year, he finished with nine powerplay goals sharing the league lead with none other than P.K. Subban.

Just imagine the Habs blue line looking like this:   

Markov-Gorges                                                                        
Subban-Suter
Emelin-Wideman
with Diaz/St-Denis as the seventh d-man.

Wishful thinking I know, but even if just Wideman signed in Montreal there would be an improvement.

Markov-Emelin
Gorges-Subban
Wideman-Diaz
St-Denis

Not too shabby.

What direction would you like to see the Canadiens go in on the back end?

---
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.


(Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rangers win, Bergevin's decisions, Prust elbow, Rumours and more

Morning puck addicts!

Well, it was another dandy performance by the Rangers, topping the Devils 3-0 and taking a 2-1 series lead.

This series is surely far from over (I actually think it will go to seven games!), but, for now, the Rangers have returned serve, putting the pressure back on the Devils.

However, with another shutout by Henrik Lundqvist and co., the cries about too much shot blocking are sure to rear their heads again.

Bad shot blocking! Bad! Stop it!

Ummm, ya.

Hockey News

Hockey Inside/Out - Kings can polish off Coyotes today, NYR up 2-1

Hockeybuzz - Key Roster Decisions Loom for Habs' Bergevin

TSN - RANGERS BLANK DEVILS IN GAME 3, TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD

TSN - CULLEN: RANGERS NEARLY DUPLICATE GAME ONE IN GAME THREE WIN

TSN - RANGERS' PRUST COULD FACE PUNISHMENT FOR ELBOW ON VOLCHENKOV

ESPN - It's all about heart for Brad Richards

ESPN - Henrik is the King of The Rock

THN - Lundqvist, shot-blocking continue to serve Rangers well

Spector's Hockey - NHL Rumors – May 19, 2012

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Habs Bergevin closes in on coach, Rangers/Devils Game 3, Hejduk re-signs and more

Morning puck addicts!

Did you enjoy the day off from hockey yesterday? Given how nice the weather was in Montreal, I certainly did!

And the beautiful weather is due to continue all long weekend. Me likely!

The NHL playoffs resume today, with an afternoon tilt between the Rangers and the Devils. It is a pivotal Game 3 in a series that has been pretty close so far.

The Kings and Coyotes continue (finish?) their series tomorrow afternoon, with L.A. trying to complete a sweep of the 'Yotes. Given how that series has gone so far, I can't see Phoenix pulling out a win.

Can you?

In Habs news, GM Marc Bergevin seems to be slowly zeroing in on a head coach. He wouldn't say who, or when the decision will be made, but said the process is going well.

Oh, and on that note, Guy Lafleur thinks the Habs should hire Bob Hartley. It still amazes me that any cares what Lafleur has to say about the Habs. But, sadly, people do.

Habs News

RDS - Marc Bergevin analyse les candidats

RDS - CH : Guy Lafleur choisirait Bob Hartley

TSN - BERGEVIN REMAINS TIGHT-LIPPED ABOUT NEXT CANADIENS COACH

Hockey News

Habsworld.net - 2012 IIHF World Championship: Week Two Recap

ESPN - Devils' DeBoer has found his niche

THN - Change in roster philosophy the key to Rangers, Kings success

TSN - AVALANCHE RE-SIGN HEJDUK TO ONE-YEAR, $2 MILLION DEAL

(Photo: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kings win, Habs Dumont, Tampa off season, Rumours and more

...and so the playoffs roll on, with the L.A. Kings continuing to stick it to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Last night, it was a 2-1 decision that gave the Kings a 3-0 strangle hold on their best of seven series. The way the Kings have torn up the 'Yotes, I think this will be a over in four and the Kings will be on their way to the finals.

A feat they have not achieved since they faced, and lost to, the Habs in 1993.

On the other side, the Rangers and Devils won't face off until tomorrow night, with any strange (useless?) day off in the schedule.

But, with the long weekend upon us, I guess that makes for more hockey watching over the next few days!

Hockey News

Hockey Inside/Out - Kings edge Coyotes 2-1, inch closer to final

RDS - Gabriel Dumont doit saisir l'opportunité

TSN - CULLEN: KINGS CONTINUE DOMINANCE, TAKE 3-0 SERIES LEAD

TSN - ALBERTA PREMIER STANDS FIRM ON NO FUNDING FOR OILERS' ARENA

TSN - OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

ESPN - Jarret Stoll sacrifices for bigger goal

ESPN - Dave Tippett: Game is turning dishonest

THN - Contributions from top to bottom helping Kings roll over Coyotes

Spector's Hockey - NHL Rumors from the Blogosphere – May 18, 2012

(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kings Win, Possible Suspensions, World Championships and More

Good afternoon hockey fans!

Well, the Phoenix Coyotes sure dug themselves into a hole last night.

Not only did they go down 0-2 in their series against the Los Angeles Kings, but both Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal received major penalties and are facing potential suspensions.

And here I was thinking they would win this series. At this point, it would almost seem miraculous for them to win a game.

Two questions, then, this PM

Do Hanzal and Doan deserve a suspension?

Can anyone stop the Kings?

Hockey News 

ESPN - Morning jam: Kings-Coyotes, Game 2 facts

ESPN - West finals turn nasty in Game 2

IIHF - Video: Max Pacioretty on pace

IIHF - 10 stories you need to know

La Presse - Le printemps de M. Anschutz

La Presse - Après la trappe, les tirs bloqués

The Hockey News - Rory Boylen: The myth of the blocked shot problem

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: Kings outmatch Coyotes, poised for Stanley Cup final

TSN - McKenzie: Shanahan must decide if Coyotes hits suspendable

TSN - Cullen: Carter's trick leads Kings past overmatched Coyotes

USA Today - Jeff Carter hat trick leads Kings past Coyotes

USA Today - Eight players break out from the NHL draft pack


(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blocked Shots, Dudley, Rangers, Hunter and More

 
Good morning puck fans!

It seems like the recent trend of shot blocking is flustering many in NHL circles, doesn't it?

Anytime a trend emerges that can stifle scoring, media people tend to throw their arms up in the air.

Bad for the game. Unwatchable. The new trap. The blocked puck era.

Here is a thought: get a grip. These have been some of the most exciting, surprising playoffs in recent memories.

And, while watching Philadelphia and Pittsburgh trade chances was a blast, I personally enjoy team's that can actually play defense and goalies who can actually stop pucks. But that is just me.

Or is it really just me? According to Nielsen, the NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the first two rounds of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs have averaged 1.06 million viewers, making them the most-watched first two rounds on record. Meanwhile, ratings on CBC have remained typically strong.

So, apparently, a lot of people are enjoying these playoffs. You just would not get that impression listening to certain members of the media flip out.

Habs News

Hockeybuzz - Crawford Comme Entraineur?

TSN - Leafs place condition on possible Dudley move to Canadiens

Hockey News

ESPN - Good is not enough versus Lundqvist

La Presse - Brent Sutter emballé de diriger le Canada

Sports Illustrated - Shotblocking trend draws fire

The Hockey News - Ken Campbell: Rangers shot-blocking mentality bad for NHL

The Hockey News - Tired Rangers stand up Devils in Game 1 win

TSN - McKenzie: On the NHL's coaching moves and candidates

TSN - Hunter steps down as Capitals coach after less than a season

USA Today - Girardi gets Rangers started in 3-0 win vs. Devils




(Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kings draw first blood, Goalies for Sochi, Predictions, Rumours and more

Morning puck addicts!

Well, the third round of this year's Stanley Cup playoffs got underway last night, and the drama continued.

Buoyed by two uncharacteristically bad goals against L.A.'s Jonathan Quick, the Coyotes had more life against the Kings than they probably should have.

L.A. was dominated pretty much all night, as their potent offense made things difficult for Phoenix.

The Kings took the decision 4-2 and grabbed home ice advantage in the process. So it this going to be the longest short series in the world, for the 'Yotes? Or do Mike Smith and co. have enough to give the Kings a challenge.

My money is on the Kings to go all the way, but I wouldn't count the 'Yotes out too soon.

What about you?

Hockey News

Hockey Inside/Out - Kings open Western final with win vs Coyotes

TSN - HODGEMAIL: WHO'S CANADA'S STARTING GOALIE IN SOCHI?

TSN - CULLEN: SHOTS AND SAVE PCT. INTO THE NHL CONFERENCE FINALS

TSN - KING SCORES TWICE TO GIVE KINGS 1-0 SERIES LEAD OVER COYOTES

Habsworld.net - HW Predicts: Round 3

THN - Kings offense provides a challenge to Coyotes attack

Spector's Hockey - Latest Capitals and Penguins Rumors – May 14, 2012

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rangers advance, Third Round preview, Conn Smythe tracker and more

Well, it was another tight game, to say the least, but the determined New York Rangers finally bested the pesky Caps, 2-1, in Game 7 last night.

The win moves the top seeded Rangers one step closer to the Cup finals.

Up next for New York is a date with their New York state rivals, the Devils. As much as the Devils started the playoffs as the sixth seed, they look like a team that is firing on all cylinders.

Moreover, their "team" game is really shining through and, as a result, they have been knocking the opposition down since the playoffs started.

Still, I think this is the Rangers' series to lose.

Round Three kicks off tonight as the Coyotes and Kings get started while the two New York-based teams play their first match on Monday.

The way things look right now, my money is on the Kings and Rangers to advance with L.A. pulling out their first Cup win. Then again, the way the playoffs have gone so far, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Jersey-Yotes final.

Boy would that ever take years off of Gary Bettman's life!

Hockey News

Hockey Inside/Out - Rangers earn date with Devils in Eastern final

TSN - RANGERS BEAT CAPITALS IN GAME 7, ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE FINAL

TSN - COYOTES D AUCOIN TO MISS GAME 1 OF WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

TSN - FRASER: MEMORIES OF REFFING GAME 7'S IN THE NHL PLAYOFF

TSN - DEVILS REFUSE TO GET COMPLACENT AS CONFERENCE FINALS APPROACH

ESPN - Experts' 2012 conference finals picks

ESPN - Five storylines for the third round

ESPN - Conn Smythe Trophy Tracker

THN - NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Round 3

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

NHL Roundup, Bryzgalov sounds off, Rangers-Caps, rumours and more

Morning puck addicts!

So how have you been handling the two days away from playoff hockey? Have you been, I don't know, buying groceries, paying bills and, heaven forbid, going outside?

It's amazing how wrapped up we all get in the intensity of the playoffs. And, when there is a rare break, like there has been the last two nights, you kind of come back to reality. You remember that there is a life outside of playoff hockey.

I know that sounds like blasphemy to you. But it's a blast for me too!

Heh.

The big NHL news, aside from tonight's Caps-Rangers Game 7, is that the Flyers' goaltending woes just got a little more woeful. Ilya Bryzgalov, who refused to talk to North American media, was more than happy to sound off about Flyer fans, to a Russian newspaper. And it was ugly...

Eight more years with a $5.66 million cap hit? Ya, good luck with that contract.

Hockey News

HabsAddict.com - NHL Roundup: Playoff storylines, Gainey returns, Robinson and more

Hockey Inside/Out - Game 7 looms tonight for Rangers-Capitals

Habsworld.net - Who should be the next Habs' coach?

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