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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Habs/Leafs Race To Contend, Letter To Fans, CBA, Barch Wants Sympathy And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

Well it seems hockey isn't even necessary anymore for the rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs to strive.

Sure, the argument over who's better - although phrasing the question, who is worse? seems to be more fitting in years of late - always continues through the offseason. However, normally during the off season there is an upcoming season to look forward to which fuels the debate.

With no end of this current lockout in sight, one might think that the two proud - rand sometimes arrogant, stubborn, delusional etc... - fanbases would put their differences aside until there is actually something to argue about.

I would like to clear up that I do not mean to call Ryan Szporer arrogant, stubborn or delusional. Those were just the words that came to me when I was thinking of a way to accurately describe a handful of Habs and Buds supporters.

With that said, Szporer put up a piece on The Bleacher Report explaining why The Canadiens will be a contender before the Leafs. It's a fun unbiased article that brings up some pretty good points.

After all is said and done, do you agree with the article or do you see the Leafs making a valid run for the cup before nos glorieux?

Habs And Hockey News

- Here is an open letter to hockey fans via The Hockey Writers.

-  The two sides spent the weekend talking about smaller issues but failed to tackle the economic problems that are the core of the problem.

- Avi Goldberg, a professor at Vanier College provided All Habs Hockey Magazine with an interesting view on the NHL lockout.

- Krys Barch of the New Jersey Devils used Twitter to make a case for the NHL's lower paid players. While it may be well written, I find it hard to feel too bad for anybody making that much money. Sure his $750,000 annual salary is nowhere near the highest paid players income, but it still seems silly to compare himself to truck drivers, farmers and line workers.

(Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gomez In Alaska? Gorges Playing Mentor, Subban Not Signing A Plus And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

We are now two weeks into the NHL lockout, and the news of NHL'ers flocking overseas to find work is starting to overshadow the endless CBA play by play.

Among the recent handful of outsourced NHL'ers is Canadiens own Scott Gomez. Or is he?

There were reports online yesterday that the Habs forward had signed with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. Gomez, an Anchorage native played with the Aces during the previous lockout and lead the league in points.

Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette however, reported via twitter that Gomez simply signed a pro tryout contract with the team in order to practice with them and stay in shape.

Stubbs tweeted that Gomez had reached him through text assuring him that he would not be a part of the team during the lockout.

Habs and Hockey News

- In other Habs news, Josh Gorges has taken prospect Brendan Gallagher under his wing trying to help him develop into a pro.

- Nicholas Goss explains why not signing defenseman P.K. Subban before the lockout was not a mistake.

- Stu Cowan has in interesting - but not very encouraging - article on the lockout. Cowan spoke with Aubrey Kent, an associate professor of sport management at Temple University in Philadelphia. Kent shared his views on why the players can't win over economics.

-  Nail Yakupov has been cleared by Hockey Canada to play in the KHL.

-  If anyone is benefiting from this lockout it's the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate.

- 40 of the top American born prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, will play today in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

Friday, September 28, 2012

NHL - NHLPA Talks Resume, Habs on Players' Tour, More

Happy Friday all!

As you probably know, talks between the NHL and NHLPA are set to resume today. In fact, officials from both sides have blocked off the whole weekend for negotiations.

On top of that, rumor has it — okay, Eklund has it — that the NHLPA may even have an offer up its sleeve, and a good one at that. Apparently, they would be ready to drop-down the cap next year to around 55%, with it progressively going down each year until it settles around 50%.

Although the league cancelled the rest of its exhibition schedule, there may be reasons for hope yet.

Who knows, we may even see a last minute deal to get the season going.

Or at least the two sides negotiating past happy hour.

Habs and Hockey News

- Andrei Markov, Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges participated in a exhibition game of locked-out NHLers.

- Alex Létourneau of HabsWorld takes a look back at the Montreal Canadiens of the last lockout in 2004-05. Elsewhere, Eric Engels has ten wishes for the Habs, should they set foot on the ice this year.

- John Tavares seems set to sign with Bern and join his Islanders' teammate Mark Streit.

- Adam Proteau of The Hockey News presents an 11-point plan to end the lockout.

- Pierre Lebrun looks at how GMs are spending their time during the quiet days of a work stoppage.


(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Junior NHL Players, Hamilton Bulldogs, Olympics and More

Good AM!

So, the NFL settled its dispute with its referees at midnight last night after a few days of intense bargaining sessions.

In fact, mere days earlier one session lasted until 2 am.

Never mind ending this lockout — at least the NHL and NHLPA could stay up late.

Habs and Hockey News

- Forty-two players have reported to the Hamilton Bulldogs' training camp, including a few who saw significant NHL time last season, namely Michael Blunden, Aaron Palushaj, Louis Leblanc and Blake Geoffrion. Also worthy of note is the presence of Michel Ouellet, a winger with 190 games NHL experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vancouver Canucks.

- Speaking of the Bulldogs, Brian La Rose points out some invitees to watch at training camp.

- Bob McKenzie looks at how the current lockout could be a silver-lining for Canada's World Junior squad. Speaking of Junior players, when the NHL lockout ends, teams will have a chance to bring up a pre-arranged number of CHL junior players. For Montreal, this includes the highly touted Alex Galchennyuk.

- ESPN's Scott Burnside looks at Brian Burke's appointment as Team USA manager for Sochi 2014.

- In player abroad news, Erik Karlsson has signed in Finland while Nail Yakupov is being prevented from suiting up in the KHL.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Unusual Locations, Old Rules, Montreal Canadiens in Hamilton, David Desharnais and More

File:ETC Crimmitschau Logo.svg
Good AM Hab fans!

One thing that entertains me about this lockout — I am grasping for positives — is seeing players venture off to rather unusual hockey markets.

As I mentioned, Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart signed with Eispiraten Crimmitschau in Germany. Eispiraten are a second division team who've typically finished in the middle of the league table, never obtaining a chance to move up to the top-level DEL.

Maybe Simmonds and Stewart will change their new team's fortunes. Still, it's not the landing spot you would imagine for two top-nine NHL forwards.

Chris Stewart's brother, Anthony, also chose a rather unusual location to ply his trade. He has recently joined the Nottingham Panthers of the British Elite League

That league did see some NHLers fill its ranks in 2004-05 and Theoren Fleury also skated with the Belfast Giants in 2005-06. 

Habs and Hockey News

- Our Amos Legault looks at some old school NHL rules and how they impacted forwards, defensemen and other aspects of the game. 

- TSN's John Bartlett talks about the workout Habs prospects are getting down in Hamilton.

- La Presse reports on offers David Desharnais has received to play abroad.

- Pierre LeBrun dissects Darryl Katz thinly veiled threat of moving the Edmonton Oilers to Seattle. His opinion? In short, not gonna happen.

- The NHL and NHLPA will return to the bargaining table on Friday. As always, Stu Hackel offers excellent insight into the topic of the lockout. 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Revisiting the NHL Rules of Old: Forwards, Defensemen and More

Good afternoon puck addicts.

I think it's safe to say at this point that we're all tired of discussing players who are wearing suits in lieu of jerseys.

Researching the history hockey when the game in its current state comes with a few sad feelings of longing for something you've never experienced.

But as a fan, what can you do but think progressively?

That being said, feel free to let this retrospective on NHL rules rules of old remind or inform you of a time when the game was a game.

After part one focusing on goaltenders, we will look at how old regulations impacted forwards, defensemen and other aspects of the game.

Rest assured, this article will not contain the words 'owner', 'billion' or 'million'.

Attackers and Rearguards

In the midst of player salary negotiations, it's worth noting that in the very young stages of pro hockey, the National Hockey Association — the precursor to the NHL — had a seventh position on the ice.

It was a fourth forward called the 'rover', which was positionally the shortstop of hockey; behind and to the side of the centerman. It was in 1911 that the league adopted the more symmetrical six-man game that we see today.

The reason for the change? The league likely cited a want for more punch and less wrestle. Two fewer men equals more movement in the game.

After all, it was just one year prior to this that they implemented the change from one intermission to two. Two periods at half an hour each was a game that surely saw more fatigue and less action.

In fact, during my research it seemed to be that nearly every rule change since the turn of the century was a direct attempt to increase offense and action. The league's ideas were working and by the mid-twenties goalscoring more than doubled and was climbing still.

Some Just Don't Work

A rule is thought of, approved and implemented by more than just one fool with a hunch, and there's usually a coherent reason for its implementation.

However, this has not always been the case.

For a comically long time — until the 1927-28 season — an attacker with the puck, in any zone but the offensive one, couldn't make a forward pass. He was to bring the puck into the offensive zone himself before passing and beginning a play.

Incidentally, it was in the same year that they started assessing a penalty to a player who picks up the puck and carries it.

Far more perplexing was an extension of the rule that awarded a penalty shot for being tripped and thus prevented a clear shot on goal. You got the shot alright, but it had to be taken from within a ten foot circle, located almost 40 feet from the net.

Makes sense, right? Don't worry, the silliness was adequately evened out. The netminders weren't allowed to advance more than one foot from the goal-line during the shot.

How long did it last? The rule was implemented in the 1934-35 season and lasted until 1941, where the player was permitted to skate in for the shot. It clearly couldn't last, but that's still six solid seasons of awkward shots that likely never went in.

Some Could Still Work

After many decades since its first application, the rule against kicking the puck into the net is still largely debatable.

Prior to the 1929-30 season you could kick, punch, slap, or headbutt that puck into the net, so long as it went in. You put the puck in the net; you score.

I personally subscribe to the idea of allowing the puck to be kicked in, as long as it's on the ice. As Brian Burke would agree, we are very much in the butterfly era of goaltending. I can't see any disadvantages from their perspective. Once the puck reaches the slot and the crease, today's netminders are constantly tracking the puck down low.

Is there really a difference? Where do you guys stand on this?

Another one that I liked, which is more of a fun aspect of the game rather than a rule, was in the late twenties where the home team would start the game by choosing which goal to defend.

This was in a time where the ice was certainly more crude, more likened to a back-yard rink, which is something that would've impacted one's choice in sides more than it would today.

Teams today are a lot more serious about their advantages and disadvantages, as there's truly more at stake than there used to be, so this is something that would only create problems.

Up Jumped the Devil

I'll leave you with a few fun facts that in some ways marked the beginning of true consumer-based hockey, and is fitting with the league's current state.

The rinks were first painted white in the 1949-50 season. Prior to this, it was simply ice on concrete. As you can imagine, the puck was likely a lot harder to track.

Two seasons later marked the first time a home team was to wear basic white sweaters and the visitors basic coloured.

These rules were not really aimed to the players. After, they knew each other well enough and could see the puck fine. Rather, these rules were designed for the spectators, and more specifically,  the television audience.

From Wikipedia:
In the fall of 1951, Conn Smythe watched special television feeds of Maple Leaf games in an attempt to determine whether it would be a suitable medium for broadcasting hockey games.
The rest truly is history.


---
Amos is freelance writer and columnist who writes for HabsAddict.com. Follow Amos on Twitter and Facebook

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Edmonton Oilers to Seattle?, More NHL Players Abroad, Prospects Countdown and More

File:KeyArena.jpg
Good AM Hockey fans!

Quite the bluff by Darryl Katz yesterday, no?

For those of you who don't already know, the Edmonton Oilers owner and the team's upper management went on a tour of Seattle's KeyArena on Monday, fueling speculation that he may move the NHL team if he doesn't get an arena deal finalized in Edmonton.

Certainly a timely move by Katz, especially considering the city of Seattle recently approved an arena deal designed to lure a pro team.

In my humble opinion, Seattle is a perfectly desirable, geographically logical market for a franchise. Just no the profitable, histroically significant Oilers. 

Besides, between a lockout and a Canadian team moving, that is a surefire way to provoke riots and utter hatred of the league. 

Not a smart move for anyone. 

Habs and Hockey News

- HabsWorld's always insightful prospect countdown continues with positions 25 to 21. A couple of interesting players took significant drops, including one who might surprise you considering he got a late-season NHL call-up.  


- Elsewhere, Scott Burnside questions whether or not Gary Bettman has the will the lock the players out past the Winter Clasisc.

- Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart are headed for Germany. As always, if you are losing track of the amount of NHLers abroad, you should check out TSN's full list.   

- ESPN has a great rundown of various leagues and how to tune in to them.


(Photo via Wikipedia/ compujeramey (Jeramey Jannene))

Monday, September 24, 2012

Max Pacioretty in Switzerland, Mathieu Darche, Manon Rheaume, The Economist and More

Max Pacioretty - Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins
Good AM hockey fans!

The strong shift of NHLers towards Europe continues. The latest player to make a move is the Montreal Canadiens' own Max Pacioretty, who has recently joined HC Ambri-Piotta according to The Fourth Period. RDS also confirms the news on their site.

Elsewhere, the Swedish Elite League was compelled to allow NHL players join its league by Anti-Trust authorities there.

As such, some players have begun making the move to the Scandinavian nation as well.

Habs and Hockey News

- Mathieu Darche, amongst others, was on Radio-Canada's Tout Le Monde en Parle on Sunday night.

- The Economist — yes, that Economist magazine — has an interesting piece on the lockout and the evolving landscape of sport ownership at large.

- Twenty years ago, Manon Rheaume became the first woman to suit up in the NHL.

- The NHL and NHLPA are slated to meet in order to discuss last season's revenue. Hmmm... how about we move the discussion to this season?

- If you are lacking you hockey fix, you can always check out this hat-trick by Rick Nash with HC Davos.



(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Detroit Red Wings Fined, Boogard's Family, Habs Prospects and More

Happy Sunday hockey fans!

Obviously, this Sunday would be even more glorious if we could be talking about training camps and some hot-shot rookie making a name for himself.

For the meantime, however, we will have to content ourselves with the pleasant fall weather and the news roundup.

But, as far as news roundups go, its a good one this morning.

Habs and Hockey News

- Don't forget to read our Bryan Willey's great plea to the NHLPA. Elsewhere, USA Today has a great day-to-day breakdown of the lockout.

- Also, your humble correspondent was on Ottawa radio on Friday, if you want to have a listen.

- HabsWorld continues its prospect rankings, counting down from 30 to 26.

- Jim Devellano and the Detroit Red Wings have been fined by the NHL. I know many are not fond of the gag order imposed on NHL owners, but it must be said that Devellano was less-than-eloquent in this instance.

- Derek Boogard's family is reportedly suing the NHLPA for over $9 million dollars.

- Ken Campbell shares some various notes, including an interesting development with the new NHL-sized arena in Markham, in The Hockey News.

- Pierre LeBrun chats with Martin Brodeur, who has been part of four work stoppages in his illustrious career.

- Stu Hackel looks at how the OHL's new fighting bans will benefit the NHL.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Louis Moustakas on CKCU's Red Zone - September 21st 2012

On Friday, I was once again fortunate enough to join the boys on CKCU's Red Zone program here in Ottawa.

As always, it was a blast chatting hockey with them, although it was a tad unfortunate that so much time was dedicated to dissecting the current lockout. I think we would have much rather been discussing the pre-season prospects of the Montreal Canadiens or Ottawa Senators.

In any case, you can find the link here — I join in around the halfway mark.

---
Louis is an Associate Editor and Senior Writer at HabsAddict.com. Born near 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

Cole Nursing Injury, Kristo Gets Another Game, Winter Classic Canceled? And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

It seems the the current lockout isn't all bad for Canadiens fans. Okay fine, trying to find any posistives that come from a shortened - if not canceled - season is kind of reaching but at this point we can use some optimism.

In an interview with Dave Stubbs, Erik Cole talks about an injury he suffered either at the end of the season or during an April workout. Suffering a "lower body" injury, Cole may not have been ready for the beginning of training camp or even the pre-season.

That's right, the prospect of starting the season without one of the team's top producers last season is the possible silver lining to the delayed start of the 2012-13 season. This lockout has officially begun to have me desperate to find any good news on the NHL front.

Habs And Hockey News

- A report out of the Toronto Star claims that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman plans on canceling the Winter Classic if an agreement isn't reached by November.

- The Los Angeles Kings will have 52 names engraved on the Stanley Cup, look here to find out who will be left off.

- Habs prospect Danny Kristo received an additional game suspension following a team party on September 15th

- TMZ reported friday night that the family of the late Derek Boogaard is suing the NHLPA for money remaining on his contract. Sportsnet however has reported that the NHLPA has yet to be served.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dear NHLPA: Time to Wake Up

It is official.

The NHL Board of Governors have locked out the players, meaning the 2012-13 NHL season will be — at best — postponed.

Many predicted this would happen, but few actually took steps and precautions in case the premonitions became reality.

I, however, was one of them.

You see, I am a simple man who likes simple things in life.

I enjoy long walks on the beach with my loved ones, I enjoy the soft ocean breeze blowing through my window, I enjoy cold beer, pizza and Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream.

Most importantly, I love my hockey.

I am the type of person who does not mind if someone eats the last slice of pizza even though I am hungry, but you better not change that channel on game night or you my friend are going to experience a world of hurt.

So with the risk of there not being a season in 2012-13, I took steps to ensure that the contained beast does not release itself.

Sure, I could have spent some time with my wife and kids. Instead I spent countless hours, erasing my PVR of footage from my daughters' The Mickey Mouse Club House and, unknowing to my wife, erased her Glee, Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives episodes.

Was I wrong to do this? Yes I was. But it was for a good cause. It was done in order for me to PVR about 40 different games from the 2011-12 season.

You see my friends, I have plans of rejoicing watching old game tapes — which for the record I have not yet seen — while the common man is forced to cuddle up next their wife and enjoy Glee or other such programming.

While you try to come to terms with the feelings of betrayal, hatred and perpetual displeasure towards Gary Bettman, I will sit back and relax with the game.

Yet, in spite of my overzealous preparation, I still find myself outright disgusted with the NHLPA.

In short, they are a bunch of cry baby millionaire athletes who better sign a bloody CBA soon.

Before I go on, let me just point out a couple of things that I know I will be attacked on.

I know:

  • That it is hard to find sympathy with the owners who cry wolf about losses and then pay Shea Weber $26 million in a calendar season. 
  • That the players accepted a 24% rollback in salary and agreed to a salary cap. 
  • The owners are a bunch of billionaires looking to make more money. 
  • Ticket prices have increased since the 2004-05 lockout. 
  • Gary Bettman is a complete douche with a napoleon complex. 
  • The BOG and NHL have locked out the players three different times under the guidance of Bettman. 
  • The owners keep shooting themselves in the foot with bad contracts and decisions, including keeping the Phoenix Coyotes afloat. 
Despite all of the negatives, it is the owners' right to run their businesses as they see fit and if/when things do not turn out as planned, can scrap it all and start from scratch.

In the real world, if a business does poorly or if an idea bombs, then shops are closed, employees are laid off and the world moves on.

Let’s be honest here for a second, the NHL is a freaking game. The NHLPA is not a group of individuals who are bettering society. They are not striving to feed the mouths of the hungry or finding cures for diseases.

We are talking about a bunch of millionaires playing a freaking game who ultimately want to make more money.

They do not care about the fans. They do not care about the thousands of people across North America who make a living off the NHL, or the NHL employees who just took a 20% cut in salary. All that matters at the end of the day is that their contracts are guaranteed and that they make a minimum of 10 times the average Canadian salary per year.

Why on earth should I, or any of you, side with a group of people who are simply looking to line their pockets with even more money? Especially after reading tweets like that of Paul Bissonnette who said “Fans. The players understand your frustration. But at the end of the day we are fighting for our futures, not yours. That's the reality.”

Here is a little Newsflash for you Mr. Bissonnette: the average salary of a doctor in Quebec is $168,000 a year. You on the other hand made $738,000 last season despite playing just 188 total minutes. In three hours of work you made the equivalent of just over four years of service as a doctor and somehow I am supposed to feel sympathy for your “cause”.

Granted, I understand the amount of gym and practice time put in. And I realize the amount of time and effort that players donate to charity. But to expect any knowledgeable fan to side with you for playing a game leads me to believe that your rock star lifestyle has gone to your head and that players have lost touch with reality.

The owners are the ones who take risks with buildings, expenses, employees, marketing, publicity, taxes, travel and players. When the economy suffers, it is the owners who take a hit.

The players simply play hockey, or at least that's what they are supposed to do.

Perhaps it's time you realize this.

Now we are all deprived.



---
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 ERIC THAYER , REUTERS)

Alexei Emelin, Alex Galchenyuk, Travis Moen, Habs Prospects and More

Alexei Emelin - Washington Capitals v Montreal Canadiens
Happy Friday Hab fans!

Fun times for me this morning, as I get to hop on CKCU's Red Zone program in about half an hour. 

As always, chatting with the gang RE: Hockey and Habs is something I quite looking forward too. 

Can't say I'm excited that the word "lockout" will be part of the discussion though. 

In any case, before I surf the airwaves, let's get to the daily news roundup. 

Habs and Hockey News

- Alexei Emelin signs with AK Bars Kazan in the KHL. I feel like the acronym 'KHL' is coming up a bit too much in these news roundups lately. 


- On the prospect front, HabsWorld continues its countdown with Montreal's 31 to 35th best prospects. Elsewhere, TSN reveals their pre-draft rankings for 2013

- Hockey Inside/Out has a video chat with Travis Moen

- Tyler Seguin is bound for EHC Biel in Switzerland. 'Swtizerland' ... there is another word coming up a lot lately. 

- As for players not looking overseas, some are trying to organize a caravan-style circuit

- Adam Proteau looks at David Branch and the OHL's progressive stand on fighting

- In international news, Croatia has advanced to the next stage of Olympic qualifying for 2014. 'Croatia' — now that is a word that does not come up often!


(Photo Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blaming the Agents, NHL Pre-Season Cancelled, Geoff Molson and More

Allan Walsh - 2011 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7
Unfortunate news to start our day, as it appears the NHL has formally cancelled its 60 pre-season games. No great shock there I suppose, but a disappointment nonetheless.

So far, blame for this fiasco has been split between the owners, the league and the players. However, I must say, the agents have not nearly gotten their fair share.

After all, at times it is hard to believe that agents are acting in the best interest of their clients and the game at large. Because, in reality, best interests of their clients are not only related to dollars and years.

How can you possibly recommend a player sign a ten, 12 or 15-year deal that essentially traps you with that team for the rest of your playing days. We have seen it time and again, those contracts are virtually untradeable.

And, really, would you be ready to commit 12 years to one employer without having even worked one year there?

Nor do I understand why you would advise your client to sign a preposterous offer sheet. The money is fantastic, of course, but you also financially cripple the matching team, hence minimizing your ability to win with said team.

Of course, as an agent, you've won simply by cashing in your hefty commission I suppose.

Habs and Hockey News

- Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson is hoping for a quick end to the lockout.

- According to Guy Lafleur, the players are exploiting the owners.

- The NHL has cancelled its September pre-season games. Meanwhile, Stu Hackel is keeping a daily notebook of lockout events.

- If the new CBA is less-than-favorable, Alex Ovechkin threatens to stay in the KHL. Perhaps this is not the exagerrated threat some make it to be, especially since he also feels strongly about playing in Sochi 2014. If Olympics aren't part of the CBA, he may stay in Russia.

- More players head to Europe, this time with Jason Spezza signing in Switzerland and others in Russia. Is it just me, or will the Swiss and Russian Leagues be really good this year?

- Pierre Lebrun discusses the OHL's rule targeting serial fighters.



(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Montreal Canadiens in Europe, Hamilton Bulldogs Signings, Prospects and More

Raphael Diaz - Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins
Good AM!

The trickle of players heading to Europe continues and an increasing number of Habs are heading East.

To review, thus far Raphael Diaz will join EV Zug, Yannick Weber is heading for Geneva-Servette and Tomas Plekanec is bound for Kladno. Also, former Hab Mark Streit is going to Bern.

Also of note is Alex Ovechkin signing with Dynamo Moscow and goalie Niklas Backstrom joining Belarus' Dynamo Minsk. 

The new Ukrainian KHL club HC Donbass is getting a boost as well, with Ukraine natives Alexei Ponikarovsky and Ruslan Fedotenko joining the club. 

Habs and Hockey News

- The Hockey News' continues its 30 teams in 30 days video previews, looking at the Montreal Canadiens.

- HabsWorld begins counting down the Habs' top prospects with numbers 39 to 36

- The Hamilton Bulldogs signed Stefan Chaput, Olivier Fortier and Daultan Leveille to one-year, two-way AHL/ECHL contracts. Most notably, Daultan Leveille was a first round pick of Atlanta in 2008, becoming to only Jr. B player to ever be selected in the opening round.

- Francis Bouillon and Mathieu Darche say they are ready to make the sacrifice of retirement in order to fight for a new CBA. 

- In hindsight, Mike Modano considers the 2004-05 lockout to have been a waste of time. By his estimates, he forfeited $7 million because of the lost season. 

- Brian Burke comments on the firing of Francois Allaire

- Ryan Kennedy of THN presents some hockey options for those of us in locked out NHL markets.

- The AEG group — owner of the Los Angeles Kings — is for sale
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NHL Players Abroad, Labor Talks, Hamilton Bulldogs and More

File:Europe orthographic Caucasus Urals boundary.svg
Slowly, it has begun.

NHL players are making their exodus towards Europe.

Joe Thornton and Rick Nash are returning to HC Davos in Switzerland. Both played — and won — there in 2004-05.

Meanwhile, Evegeni Malkin, Nail Yakupov, Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikolai Kulemin are KHL bound. Quite an influx of talent to the world's second best league.

As for Montreal Canadiens, Raphael Diaz will rejoin his former Swiss club EV Zug, Yannick Weber is heading for Geneva-Servette and Tomas Plekanec is Czech Republic bound.

TSN has a complete list here.

Personally, I think I would sign somewhere a bit off the hockey map and take the time to really experience a different culture.

Where would you sign during a lockout?

Habs and Hockey News

- The Habs have sent down 21 players to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. HabsWorld has a comprehensive look at the Bulldogs roster situation.

- As labor talks stall between the NHL and NHLPA, Ken Campbell argues that the league missed its chance to bury the players in 2005.

- USA Today considers the impact the lockout could have on the young NBC Sports Network.

- Qualifications for the 2014 Sochi Olympics have begun.


(Photo via Ssolbergj/Wikipedia)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Morning roundup, Russia Bound Players, NHLPA Video and Therrien Interview

Good Morning Addicts!

Well it didn't take long for many NHL players to head overseas after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.

With Evgeni Malkin heading to the KHL to play for Metallurg and hoping to bring teammate Sidney Crosby along, it's evident that any lost time in the 2012-13 season will be advantageous for leagues in Europe.

The owners will have to hope that their star players remain healthy and will be willing to return to the NHL when and if the NHL and NHLPA reach an agreement. With the amount of money that can be offered for players services in Europe, it's a possibility that some players could elect to remain overseas.

Habs And Hockey News

- Less than a day after the NHL addressed the fans with a letter regarding the current lockout, a video was released by the NHLPA with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews among others talking about their love of the game and the importance of the fans.

- Here is Dave Stubbs' take on what the future has in store for the upcoming season that may not be.

- And for those interested in reading something non lockout related, Habs coach Michel Therrien spoke with Dave Stubbs last week about his second stint as the Habs head coach.


(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

NHL's Letter To Fans, Lefebvre, Tony Esposito And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

I guess it comes as no surprise that midnight came and went without the emergence of a new CBA. On the bright side, the NHL did issue a letter to the fans.

The letter assures the fans that despite the expiration of the CBA, both sides are "committed to working negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the players and to the 30 NHL teams".

Doesn't that make you feel better?

One might wonder why, with their commitment to reaching a new CBA, wouldn't the two sides have met yesterday in the final hours to attempt to find a solution that would please the "Worlds greatest fans".

That would be a reasonable question if you had any faith at all in a man who is behind three lockouts in twenty years, and two in the last eight.

Habs and Hockey News

- Now back to non CBA related news. The Gazette had an article on Tuesday focusing on Sylvain Lefebvre as he prepares for his first season as the head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs.

- Dave Stubbs spoke with Tony Esposito as part of the 40th anniversary of  the 1972 Summit Series.

- With no NHL hockey, the American Hockey League should be more interesting with the likes of Jeff Skinner, Jordan Eberle and Adam Henrique joining their teams respective AHL affiliates.

- Bruins forward Milan Lucic beat the lockout buzzer by inking a three year extension worth an average of $6 million.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Doan Signs, Lockout Explanation, Canada/Russia Series And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

This morning I will lead off with the Doan signing for the simple reason of putting it behind us. Hockey talk this summer has been limited to the pending lock out and the mystery of where Doan will sign to end his career.

My eagerness to put this story to bed is not a form of disrespect. Doan has put up respectful numbers throughout his career and done so while playing with a hard nosed style. While his decison to stay in Phoenix will be judged and for the most part ridiculed by fans throughout the league you can't help but respect his loyalty to the only franchise he's played for in his 14 year career.

My rush to get this over with simply stems from confusion. I never would've guessed that a less than stellar bruiser who is less than a month away from his 36th birthday would cause this much of a fuss throughout the duration of an entire off-season.

Habs And Hockey News

- The one negative aspect of the Doan saga coming to an end is that the only distraction from the CBA talks has escaped us. With that being said, there's a fun piece over at Puck Daddy giving tips on how to explain the whole lockout ordeal to your non hockey friends.

- It seems the NHLPA are already looking into ways to keep the players active while the higher ups butt heads. There is talk of a possible Canada/Russia series that would take place in December.

- Detroit, Dallas and Washington were among the teams beating the lockout buzzer and making a few last minute deals.


(Photo by Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Andrei Kostitsyn to KHL?, NHL CBA Update, Habs Management and More

Andrei Kostitsyn - Nashville Predators v Phoenix Coyotes - Game One
Happy Friday Habs fans!

This morning it appears that former Montreal Canadiens' forward Andrei Kostitsyn is heading to the KHL. At least according to reports out of Russia, he has signed a one-year deal with Traktor Chelyabinsk.

I realize AK46 is one streaky player, but he is someone who can regularly deliver 20 goals, 40 points and over a 100 hits.

While lesser players continuously get opportunities to live up to their potential, it is baffling that no NHL team saw fit to take a chance on him.

In situations like this, I can't help but think the bias against Russians is clearly in play. Then again, how progressive can a league run by rich, white men actually be?

Habs and Hockey News

- Hockey Inside/Out introduces us to the Habs' new management team.

- In CBA news — which, I suspect, you are all sick and tired of — both sides are pretty much blaming the other. Gary Bettman and the owners agree on a lockout. Donald Fehr says it can be avoided and it's the owner's fault.

- ESPN.com continues its strong CBA coverage. Scott Burnside profiles Donald Fehr's role as union chief and Katie Strang looks at how the players are forming a united front.

- Elsewhere, USA Today has an insightful history of the current labor stalemate.

- The looming lockout is already impacting employees of NHL teams. For example, Montreal is imposing a four-day work week. Not the worst fate in the world I suppose. You know, unless you needed that extra day of salary to, I don't know, pay the bills.

- Famed Swedish club Djugardens was relegated to the second division last season. The IIHF's Henrik Manninen previews the team's upcoming journey back to the top division.


(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

NHL and NHLPA Trade Offers, Subban to Flyers?, Alexei Emelin, and More

Good AM!

Yesterday, the NHL and NHLPA exchanged proposals, which, I must admit, I took as a positive sign.

Yet, by all accounts, both sides remain miles apart in negotiations and that a lockout is upon us.

At least, that is the view shared by Pierre Lebrun, Stu Hackel and other reports.

In short, it seems like I will be going to see more than a few Ottawa 67s games then.

Habs and Hockey News

- Sean Lloyd's profile series continues with the hard-hitting Alexei Emelin.

- Fred Poulin takes a fantasy oriented look at the Northeast Division.

- According to Bertrand Raymond at RDS, the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers had talks regarding P.K Subban. The notion they would at least talk is not all that surprising, considering the Flyers lost out on Shea Weber and have multiple injuries on their blueline.

- Hockey Inside/Out has a chat with Michel Therrien.

- Eric Engels looks at five things that can help the Canadiens improve in the standings. You know, if there is a season to begin with.

- Given that a lockout seems unfortunately imminent, Ryan Kennedy offers up five non-NHL teams worth watching next season.

- Lubomir Vishnovky will remain a New York Islander. Earlier this summer, he had filed a grievance to void the trade, claiming the no-trade clause in his current contract was still valid.

(Photo by the Canadian Press)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Offseason Player Profile: Alexei Emelin

Alexei Emelin - St Louis Blues v Montreal Canadiens
Alexei Emelin - D
6'2" 223 lbs
2011-12 Stats 67GP- 3G- 4A- 7Pts

The Cost

After completing his first full season in the NHL with a salary of $984,200, the hard hitting Russian blue liner earned a significant raise signing a two-year $2 million contract.

If Emelin continues to deliver crushing hits while improving his all around defensive play, then he will certainly be worth every penny of his new deal.

Performance

Emelin established himself as one of the league's hardest hitters after finishing the 2011-12 season 15th in the league in hits — and fourth among defenseman — with 267.

Along with his physical play, Emelin displayed a willingness to sacrifice his body in other ways, blocking 88 shots, good for fourth on the Canadiens.

His style is more defensive but his hard shot can help the team produce from the back end. However, in order to do so he'll need to take more than the 67 shots on net as he did last year.

The Fit

Much like the physical Mike Komisarek complemented Andrei Markov's game well, Emelin will likely see time with his fellow countryman on the team's second defensive unit.

Where do you think Emelin's fits in? Will he be able to continue his hard hitting ways in his sophomore season?

Check out other player profiles:

Carey Price
Andrei Markov
Raphael Diaz
Francis Bouillon
Ryan White
Travis Moen
Brandon Prust
Colby Armstrong
Lars Eller
Rene Bourque
Tomas Plekanec
David Desharnais
Josh Gorges

---
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)

NHL CBA Hope?, Northeast Fantasy Preview, Seattle and More

Good AM hockey fans!

Is that a slight glimmer of hope in the distance?

After standing off for the better part of the week, the NHL and NHLPA are to meet today and tomorrow in last ditch efforts at negotiations.

Of course, perhaps this is only for show. After all, it would look mighty silly to let the current CBA expire without at least engaging in last minute discussions.

Then again, maybe there is cause for hope. As Scott Burnside points out, contrary to 2004, owners do not all have the stomach to turn the lights off yet again. This time around, many clearly benefit from starting the season on time.

It's a valid argument. I'm not sure the Minnesota Wild would be too thrilled giving $24 million in guaranteed signing bonuses to Ryan Suter and Zach Parise only to cancel parts of the season. Or that the Los Angeles Kings want to halt their cup-winning momentum. Or that big earners like Montreal, Toronto and New York want their cash registers to quiet.

So, keeping up appearances or genuine reason for hope? Only time will tell.

Habs and Hockey News

- Assuming we have a punctual season, we need to be thinking about our fantasy teams. Thankfully, our Fred Poulin has you covered, offering his insights into the Montreal Canadiens and the Northeast Division.

- Speaking of fantasy hockey, HabsWorld is wrapping up its Fantasy Focus series and is looking at some of the spare parts on the Canadiens roster.

- As always, Stu Hackel gives an excellent rundown of the current CBA situation.

- Increasingly, Seattle seems to be becoming a viable candidate for an NHL team, especially now that the city has approved a new arena.

- Mathias Brunet, over at La Presse, share this picture of Dustin Byfuglien. I'm not sure if I believe it or not, the dude is like twice my size.

- Michal Rozsival signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.

- The Hockey News' Rory Boylen looks at how overbearing parents can ruin the hockey experience.

- Contrary to popular belief, hockey can be pretty rough-and-tumble in Europe as well. Just take recent incidents in Finland for example.

- Facepalm. Justin Bieber was offered an ECHL contract.



(Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fantasy Hockey Preview: Let’s Feast In the Northeast

The Northeast Division is viewed as a division filled with fierce and natural rivalries. Boston-Montreal, Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Ottawa and Buffalo-Boston quickly come to mind. This summer, most of these teams have been very quiet on the free agent market as well as on the trade front. The only team that made a major move is the Buffalo Sabres who shipped talented pivot Derek Roy to the Dallas Stars in exchange for über-pest Steve Ott and depth defensemen Adam Pardy.

Overall, none of these teams have a marquee player such as Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Quick.

Instead, this division is filled with very talented, if unspectacular, players who will provide consistent offensive numbers every year. Other than the Boston Bruins, none of these teams are guaranteed to make the playoffs, yet each of them will battle to the end for a playoff berth.

The Northeast offers plenty of fantasy hockey options to consider in the later rounds of the draft, which is why you have to know when it’s the right time to pick these players, especially at forward where there are plenty of quality players in the 60-70 point range.

Forwards

Let’s start with the forwards and see who are the offensive players to watch in the Northeast.

Top Ten Forwards: (Goals, assists, points, PP points, GWG, ATOI, SOG, Up/Down)

P. Kessel (TOR): 40-44-84, 25-9, 20:00, 300, Up
J. Spezza (OTT): 33-48-81, 25-5, 20:30, 250, Up
T. Seguin (BOS): 30-42-72, 20-6, 18:00, 250, Up
M. Pacioretty (MTL): 35-35-70, 18-6, 19:00, 300, Up
J. Pominville (BUF): 28-41-69, 25-5-20:00, 275, Down
B. Marchand (BOS): 32-35-67, 12-5-18:00, 200, Up
T. Vanek (BUF): 28-37-65, 25-5-17:30, 200, Down
J. Lupul (TOR): 23-42-65, 20-4-19:00, 200, Up
D. Desharnais (MTL): 18-45-63, 20-3-19:00, 125, Up
D. Krejci (BOS): 23-42-61, 15-3-19:00, 150, Up

In this division, we know that Phil Kessel and Jason Spezza will be top scorers. Kessel finally broke out offensively in Toronto with 82 points after a steady increase in his offensive production. In 2009-10, he scored 55 points in 70 games and in 2010-11, he recorded 64 points in 82 points. It’s fair to say that Kessel can be a point-per-game player from now on.

Jason Spezza he rebounded with the surprising Senators with an 84-point campaign in 2011-12 after two consecutive 57-point seasons. After this duo comes a trio of young talented wingers on the rise.

Tyler Seguin is finally living up to the hype and exploded with 67 points in his sophomore year. We can expect a similar point production from the talented right winger, his big breakout coming in his fourth year in the league in 2013-14.

Max Pacioretty, who’s coming out of his magical fourth year, has finally found his niche on the Habs’s first line, clicking with linemates David Desharnais and Erik Cole. Max Pac recorded 65 points in 79 games for Montreal, after scoring only 49 points in his first 123 games in the NHL.

As for Brad Marchand, who has just been re-signed by the Bruins to a four-year contract worth $18 million, he is entering his fourth year in the league. The super pest is ready to break out offensively after recording 41 points and 55 points in his past two campaigns.

In Buffalo, the duo of Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek is usually good for 60-70 points most years, but with the lack of a true number one center at the moment, draft them cautiously.

A typical Band-Aid boy, Joffrey Lupul would rank higher on this list if he were able to stay healthy for a full season, something he has not been able to do during his career. Expect around 65 games from Lupul as he always manages to find his way to the infirmary. Finally, dynamic puck distributors such as David Desharnais and David Krejci were able to make the list thanks to a great hockey sense and quality linemates.

Other notable forwards who barely missed this list include Milan Lucic, Rich Peverley, Tomas Plekanec, Erik Cole, Milan Michalek, James Van Riemsdyk and Mikhail Grabovksi.

Defensemen

When looking at defensemen, it does seem the Northeast has its fair share of talented blue-liners. Defensemen can make or break your hockey draft if you choose wisely. You need at least two steady veterans on your squad along with a couple of youngsters with a lot of upside.

Most of the Northeast teams have a least two or three puck-moving defensemen capable of producing at a regular pace. Strangely, the powerhouse Bruins mostly rely on Zdeno Chara on the offensive side of the puck, which is one of the main reasons their power-play has been anaemic in recent years.

Top Ten Defensemen: (Goals, assists, points, PP points, GWG, ATOI, SOG, Up/Down)

E. Karlsson (OTT): 17-58-75, 25-5, 25:30, 250, Up
Z. Chara (BOS): 13-40-53, 20-3, 25:00, 220, Up
P.K. Subban (MTL): 13-35-48, 22-2, 24:50, 205, Up
D. Phaneuf (TOR): 11-35-46, 23-2, 25:00, 200, Up
J. Gardiner (TOR): 10-32-42, 15-1, 22:00, 150, Up
C. Ehrhoff (BUF): 9-32-41, 15-3, 23:00, 150, Down
T. Kaberle (MTL): 5-33-38, 20-1, 19:00, 100, Down
T. Myers (BUF): 10-26-36, 10-3, 23:00, 125, Up
J.-M. Liles (TOR): 7-28-35, 15-1, 22:30, 150, Down
S. Gonchar (OTT): 6-27-33, 16-1, 21:30, 125, Down

Erik Karlsson is the rearguard who stands out the most following his breakout season with the Senators in 2011-12. EK is easily the best offensive defenseman in the league right now, especially since Mike Green has become so fragile after two great offensive seasons.

Steady defenders like Zdeno Chara and Dion Phaneuf are safe picks to consider, while veterans such asTomas Kaberle and Sergei Gonchar can still provide good offensive numbers despite an evident decline in recent years.

The player most likely to break out this season is P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens. The flashy and cocky defenseman has all the tools to explode. A booming slapshot from the blue line, a great vision and excellent skating skills. The presence of Andrei Markov for a full season — if he can avoid injuries, which I highly doubt, hence his exclusion — will certainly help Subban polish his play in both zones. Another youngster to watch is Jake Gardiner. Gardiner blossomed under new head coach Randy Carlyle and will continue to have plenty of ice-time and success this season.

Other options in later rounds include Buffalo Sabres defensemen Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff, who are both looking to rebound after disappointing seasons. As for John-Michael Liles, he has been fairly inconsistent during his career and with Gardiner’s emergence, he will see his power-play time diminish. Liles has also been a regular client of the infirmary during his career, which makes him an even more risky pick.

Other notable defensemen to consider in very deep leagues include Cody Franson, Dennis Seidenberg and Jordan Leopold, all who should finish with around 30 points.

Goaltenders

Last but never least is the goaltenders. Goaltending in this division is quite uneven. Boston always has quality goaltending while Toronto doesn’t really have a clear-cut no. 1 to start the season.

With Tim Thomas taking a sabbatical year, young and talented netminder Tuukka Rask will finally get his chance as a starter for the Bruins. After Rask, you will be well served if you end up drafting Price or Miller on draft day, even if they are playing for fringe playoff teams in Montreal and Buffalo, respectively.

Rask, Price and Miller are all potential no. 1 goalies to own in fantasy hockey leagues, while Anderson is a solid no. 2 netminder because of his steady numbers and strong hold on the goalie job in Ottawa. As for Scrivens or Reimer, steer clear from them for now as you’re best option is to claim them off the waiver wire when a clear-cut starter is named later this season.

Top Five Goalies: (GP, Wins, Losses, OTL, Shutouts, GAA, save percentage, and Up/Down)

T. Rask (BOS): 64, 39-22-3, 9, 2.10, .930, Up
C. Price (MTL): 65, 35-30-5, 5, 2.32, .919, Up
R. Miller (BUF): 64, 33-27-4, 5, 2.63, .915 Down
C. Anderson (OTT): 61, 31-24-6, 3, 2.77, .910 Down
B. Scrivens (TOR): 47, 23-19-5, 2, 2.98, .905 Up

With a career save percentage of .926 and goals against average of 2.20, Tuukka Rask will be a top ten fantasy option in net for 2012-13. As for Carey Price and Ryan Miller, they will get the bulk of the work load in goal with the considerable salaries they will both earn in 2012-13.

Should Craig Anderson falter and have a tough start, the Ottawa Senators will not hesitate to utilize Ben Bishop, as the young puck-stopper gained the confidence of the organization with a solid performance after his acquisition from the St. Louis Blues.

As for the Toronto Maple Leafs it’s hard to gauge their goaltending other than really to stay away from both James Reimer and Ben Scrivens as they are risky picks at the moment. Leafs GM Brian Burke could also decide to acquire a veteran netminder via trade during the season if he is not happy with his young tandem.

If you have to choose a goaltender based on games played, your best bet is Carey Price, who has been a workhorse in his young career. If your choice is based on stats, your goalie should be Tuukka Rask.

What are your predictions for the Northeast division? Who would you pick in your Fantasy draft?


---
You can also follow Fred on Twitter for more information on the NHL.

*Article originally published at The Hockey Writers

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/US PRESSWIRE)

Impending Lockout, Tyler Seguin, Wayne Gretzky and More

Good AM hockey fans!

Only four more days until the CBA, negotiated by way of a lockout in 2004-05, expires and leads, presumably, to another lockout.

The general reaction from fans and media has been "I can't believe this could happen again".

From Bob McKenzie to Marc Denis, that certainly seems to be the sentiment.

Personally, I'll say what I said before, if you can't find out how to split $3.3 billion made from playing a game, you are idiots.

Okay, on to the news.

Habs and Hockey News

- A few Habs players speak out regarding the current labour situation. Reports on the subject from both RDS and Hockey Inside/Out.

- Tyler Seguin signs for six more years in Boston. The contract is worth $34.5 million, which averages out to $5.75 million per year.

- Ken Campbell argues that the NHLPA is showing unprecedented signs of unity. But, according to Donald Fehr, the players seem resigned to a lockout.

- Wayne Gretzky shares his memories on the 1987 Canada Cup.


(Photo by the Canadian Press)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Montreal Canadiens to Challenge Lockout, P.K Subban, Negotiations and More

Erik Cole - Montreal Canadiens v Carolina Hurricanes
Good Monday Habs fans!

Leave up to the Montreal Canadiens to be in the middle of things, eh?

Recent reports indicate that the players have hired Montreal-based lawyer Michael Cohen, who then sent a cease and desist letter to the Canadiens' owners and the NHL.

In short, they are claiming that t would be unlawful for the players to be locked out because the NHLPA isn't certified by the Quebec Labour Board.

Chatter on Twitter also suggests that the NHLPA is looking into the possibility of doing something similar in the other provinces.

Sly move if you ask me. 

Habs and Hockey News

- The community at HabsWorld contemplates the still unsigned P.K Subban. Speaking of P.K, he was named the top Hab under 25 by Eyes on the Prize. No great surprise there.  


- For those of you who follow these links regularly, you know I'm kind of a nerd for far-flung international hockey. On that note, the Canterbury Devils were recently crowned champions of New Zealand. And hey, we have contacts with NZ, Kamal has done a few guest spots on radio there!

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

NHL and NHLPA Talk, Junior Players, Roggie Vachon and More

Ron Maclean - Dallas Stars v Detroit Red Wings - Game Two
Happy Sunday!

Quiet today on the news front, but at least it appears that the NHL and NHLPA are maintaining at least some form of dialogue.

While most people still believe there will be some form of lockout, not everyone shares that view. In fact, Ron MacLean, the famed host of Hockey Night in Canada, flat out believes there will be absolutely no work stoppage.

Do you share his optimism?

Habs and Hockey News

- HabsWorld's Fantasy Focus takes a look at emerging Swiss defenseman Raphael Diaz. As you will recall, our Sean Lloyd also profiled him a few a weeks ago.

- Some agents are worried about what will happen to Junior players if there is an NHL lockout.

- Over at HockeyBuzz, Adam French lists the top-five German born prospects. I always love such lists, especially when it is for slightly less traditional hockey countries.

- Famed goalie Roggie Vachon turned 67 yesterday.

- We know that the Detroit Red Wings lost Niklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Jiri Hudler over the summer. But we also perhaps forgot that Tomas Holmstrom is not likely to return. They will be a very different team.

- Did you know that the KHL is now in seven countries and now includes famed Slovak club Slovan Bratislava. Apparently, Croatia and Italy are also serious candidates to join the KHL in the near future.

(Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Marchand Signs, Subban Next? Leaf Dubbed Worst Team, Northeast Preview & More...

Good Morning Addicts!

It seems there is no actual season necessary for the P.K. Subban, Brad Marchand rivalry to flourish. Marchand signed a four year extension today and right away the focus shifts towards Subban.

While Marchand is a skilled player who has shown what he can deliver on the ice, Subban also displays tons of talent but in a position that is in higher demand. With that being said, many people - okay, many people in Montreal - feel that Subban will be rewarded with a more luxurious contract.

TVA however, has reported that Subban will possibly sign before September 15th at a price very similar to Marchand's.

Habs And Hockey News

- As if it wasn't good enough that the weekend has arrived, ESPN ranked the Toronto Maple Leafs the worst team in professional sports. That's guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

- Our own Fred Poulin takes a look at the Northeast division in his latest fantasy hockey preview.

- Shane Doan has apparently come to a verbal agreement with the Phoenix Coyotes.

- The Hockey Writers picked the five best value picks in each round of the 2012 NHL entry draft. It's very refreshing to see just how many of those picks belong to the Montreal Canadiens.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Josh Gorges Profile, Max Pacioretty, Lokomotiv and More

Happy Friday!

Despite whispers of low-key talks being held today, the NHL and NHLPA both seem far apart on a deal.

In fact, both sides have begun acknowledging the possibility of a lockout — including the Winnipeg Jets.

So, what will you do to get your hockey fix if the world's best league turns of its lights?

Habs and Hockey News

- Our Sean Lloyd returns with his Montreal Canadiens' player profiles, this time looking at Josh Gorges.

- EOTP counts down the top Habs under 25. In fact, they are now entering the final two with Max Pacioretty. Wonder who made number one?

- It appears Shane Doan has a deal in place with the Phoenix Coyotes, so long as the team gets sold to Greg Jamison.

- Stu Hackel argues there is still hope in spite of the pessimism surrounding CBA talks.

- The IIHF reflects on the Lokomotiv plane crash. Likewise, the aforementioned Stu Hackel also recently had a piece on the subject.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Offseason Player Profile: Josh Gorges

Josh Gorges - D
6'1" 200 lbs
2011-12 Stats 82GP- 2G- 14A- 16 Pts

The Cost

When — and if — the 2012-13 season starts, Gorges will be entering his first year of a six year extension he signed with the Canadiens midway through the 2011-12 campaign.

The deal is worth $3.9 million per year for a total of $23.4 million, and was arguably Pierre Gauthier's best move as Canadiens GM before being replaced by Marc Bergevin.

A cap hit of $3.9 million is more than worth it for a player like Gorges who plays his heart out on every shift.

Performance

Gorges was the only player in the NHL to block over 200 shots last season, sacrificing his body 250 times.

His 131 hits were good for third on the Canadiens and had a team high +14 rating. In fact, Gorges, P.K. Subban and Frederic St-Denis were the only defenseman to finish with plus ratings.

Gorges also lead the team with an average of 3:53 minutes of pk time per game and his average of 22:37 minutes of ice time per game was second only to P.K. Subban.

The Fit

Gorges will likely be alongside P.K Subban - providing he signs - on the teams top defensive unit. Gorges's defensive style will provide Subban with the freedom to play his exciting, up-tempo, freewheeling style of play that the fans enjoy so much.

Gorges will also continue to play a huge role on the penalty kill where he will no doubt fearlessly step in front of countless amounts of shots with no regard whatsoever for his well being.

With a player like Gorges, his value is worth more than just the shots he blocks. He provides great leadership on and off the ice. The dedication he shows to his team on every shift shows the younger players in the organization what it means to be a team player.

Check out other player profiles:

Carey Price
Andrei Markov
Raphael Diaz
Francis Bouillon
Ryan White
Travis Moen
Brandon Prust
Colby Armstrong
Lars Eller
Rene Bourque
Tomas Plekanec
David Desharnais

---
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)