Friday, November 30, 2012

Mediation Fails, Habs Language Woes, More...


TGIF HabsAddicts !!!!


As expected by most, the advent of U.S. Mediators in the NHL Lockout negotiations proved to be an exercise in futility. The Deputy Commissioner of the NHL Bill Daly, and NHLPA head Donald Fehr both issued individual statements.

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com bring us up to speed on the 3 month stalemate, and answers the question, "Where do they go from here?"

Habs and Hockey Notes:

Rob Elbaz of The Hockey Writers discusses how language discrimination may be at the root of the Habs' failures in recent years.

- Our own Sean Lloyd tells his story of how he was born into being a Montreal Canadiens fan.

- Puck Daddy's Sean Leahy examines Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeny Malkin's success in Metallurg of the KHL and how little he misses the NHL.

- Just to annoy hockey fans a little bit more, the L.A. Times Helene Elliott reports about the death of longtime L.A. Kings P.A. Announcer David Courtney, and how the lockout cost him his chance to announce the team's first banner raising ceremony.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jacobs Should Be Blamed, Meeting With Mediators, More

Good Morning Addicts !!!

Another week, another accusation...

Last week, Philadelphia Flyers' owner, Ed Snider, was accused of making disparaging remarks about Gary Bettman. This week, the focus shifted from the NHL Commissioner to some of the most powerful  owners in the league.

Joe Haggerty of Comcast Sportsnet New England reports how Gary Bettman is simply a puppet, with Jacobs and his gang pulling the strings. Is that really news to anyone?

Habs and Hockey Notes:

- On Wednesday, the NHL and NHLPA had their first meeting with Federal mediators. Katie Strang of ESPN New York give us the details.

- The Montreal Gazette's Dave Stubbs spoke to P.K. Subban about how his failure to sign with the Habs might actually work in his favour.

- ESPN and TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun reports on the Glendale City Council meeting and the approval of the deal to help save the Phoenix Coyotes.

- With the NHL Lockout well into its third month, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post give us her take on why fans and some NHL business partners may not return.

- Finally, getting away from all things NHL, TSN's Bob McKenzie assesses the firepower that will be available for Team Canada for the coming World Junior Hockey Championships.

(Photo: Associated Press)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Phoenix In Jeopardy Again, Thoughts on Mediation, More

Good Morning HabsAddicts !!!

As if the drama of the NHL lockout isn't enough to drive deprived fans batty, the Phoenix Coyotes' saga came to the forefront again.

Although Glendale's new mayor, Elaine Scruggs, was against the proposed lease agreement and attached payment to Greg Jamison, Glendale city council voted 4-2 in favour of the deal.

While the sale is still pending approval from the NHL Board of Governors, will this deal guarantee that the Coyotes will remain long-term residents of Jobing.com Arena, or is relocation of the franchise still in the cards?

Habs and Hockey News and Notes:

- ESPN's Lester Munson tells us why he thinks having mediators between the two sides of the NHL labour dispute is a positive.

- And to look at the other side of the mediation coin, Jesse Spector of the Sporting New takes the pessimist's perspective.

- Montreal Gazette sports editor Stu Cowan explains why Gary Bettman has become hockey's biggest nemesis.

- Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshinski takes a look across the Atlantic at the success of Boston Bruins' forward Tyler Seguin, who is spending the lockout dominating in Switzerland.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lockout Mediation, Eller Enjoying Hockey In Finland, More...

Good Morning HabsAddicts!!!

With all the talk about decertification this past weekend, the NHL and NHLPA threw everyone a curveball by agreeing to have U.S. mediators join in the CBA negotiations.

While getting an outside perspective may give some hope to desperate NHL fans around the world, considering that any suggestions from the mediators would be non-binding, will it realty make a bit of difference?

Habs and Hockey News & Notes

- Geoff Molson and Evenko announced today that they will soon begin construction on the long-time arena plan for La Place Bell in Laval, Quebec.

- Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette spoke to Habs' forward Lars Eller about how he is enjoying playing hockey in Finland.

- To get an idea of the effects of the NHL lockout on a small market, the Tennessean's Joshua Cooper at its toll on Nashville-area downtown businesses.

- New York Times writer Jeff Klein takes a look at what it would take for the NHLPA to decertify.

- The Detroit Free Press' Helen St. James gives us Todd Bertuzzi's take on the long-term damages the NHL lockout may cause.

- Adam Herman of nyrangersblog.com examines how the NHL wants to keep NBC from broadcasting Operation Hat Trick. 

(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Breaking Down the 'Dogs This Week, NHL Bullying Players and The Dangers of Decertification

Good Morning HabsAddicts!!

The Hamilton Bulldogs played three games this past week. They split two back to back games versus the St. John's IceCaps, while losing this weekend to the Lake Erie Monsters.

One positive to bring out of the two defeats was the continued progression of the Bulldogs' offense, which out shot their opponents in both loses. That however begs the question, "Why can't the Bulldogs effectively transition from offense to defense?" Only Sylvain Lefebvre and his coaching staff can answer that.


Habs and Hockey Notes:

- Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com gets Ray Whitney's take on the NHL's negotiating tactics.

- Ken Campbell of the Hockey News explains the dangers posed through the decertification of the NHLPA.

- While they NHL lockout really isn't given any a reason to smile, The Montreal Gazette's Dave Stubbs decided to take a look at a problem facing Habs' forward Tomas Plekanec.

- Puck Daddy's Sean Leahy looks at LA Kings' forward Justin Williams' angle on how the NHL Lockout might actually benefit the defending Cup Champions.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Alex Galchenyuk/Brady Vail at 2013 WJC?, Plekanec's Advice to Gally, Owners Need to Speak Up And More...

Good Morning Addicts!
Alex Galchenyuk is fifth in the OHL scoring race


There seems to be a lack of hockey news this morning other than the usual lockout talk and the current theme of the week, decertification. With no update on either front I'm going to start with the upcoming World Junior Championships that will begin on boxing day.

Adam French is a blogger for the Phoenix Coyotes - remember them? - over at HockeyBuzz.com. French wrote an article on which forwards he feels will make the American squad. Among his choices are Habs prospects Alex Galchenyuk and Brady Vail.

Galchenyuk seems like a shoe-in. With last night's four point performance in an 8-2 win over the Peterborough Petes, Gally is now fifth in the OHL scoring race with 41 points - 15G 26A - in 25 games. The fact that the 18 year old captain is putting up these numbers on a less than dominant team - sixth place in the Western Conference - makes it that much more impressive.


Brady Vail of the Windsor Spitfires

 Brady Vail of the Windsor Spitfires is further down the chart tied for 37th, but is still putting up a point per game pace with ten goals and 15 helpers in 25 contests. Vail is also putting up his impressive stats on a team that is not exactly a powerhouse as the Spitfires currently sit in seventh place just two points below the Sting.

Will having two Canadiens prospect represent team U.S.A. make it harder for you to root against our neighbours down south?

Habs And Hockey News

- A few days back I highlighted a few questions regarding the Habs that have been left unanswered due to the lockout.

- Tomas Plekanec has a few words of advice for Montreal Canadiens top pick Alex Galchenyuk.

- Larry Brooks of the NY Post makes a good point on how the owners need to step up and let their voices be heard by the board of governors in order to end the lockout.

- With the lack of NHL hockey to watch, Ryan Kennedy of TheHockeyNews.com provides a list of exciting teams to watch from around the leagues.

(Photos by by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Decertification, Plekanec on Cole/Hamrlik Feud, Galchenyuk Dominating And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres
supports decertification.
 As of yesterday, the NHL cancelled all games through December 14th as well as the 2013 All Star game. While nobody really cares about the All Star game, it's quite discouraging to see yet another two weeks be erased from the season.
With the latest block of cancelled games the new talk of the lockout has become decertification. It seems that the term "decertification" has been popping up just about everywhere over the past few days.

Basically what decertification means - or at least from what I understand - is that the NHLPA would disband and the players would no longer be unionized. In doing so the players would be able to file an anti-trust lawsuit claiming the lockout as an "illegal group boycott".

By doing this however, the players would be losing anything that is awarded to them through a CBA such as guaranteed contracts, health benefits, pensions etc... Despite the potential drawbacks, Buffalo Sabres netminder, Ryan Miller has publicly endorsed the idea.

This tactic is said to be feared by the owners but is also an all or nothing type of move. If the players were to go through with decertification and have it not work, they would lose any leverage at the bargaining table and be completely at the mercy of the owners.

For better understanding of decertification, here is a link to a decertification Q&A by Elliotte Friedman.

With a possible cancellation of the entire season seeming closer with each passing day, do you think the players should go through with the decertification process?

Habs And Hockey News

- Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette spoke with Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec about the Hamrlik/Cole feud and more importantly, Plekanec's dwindling supply of turtlenecks.

- Alex Galchenyuk continues to dominate in the OHL and Charles Hudon is climbing the QMJHL scoring chart as Andrew Berkshire points out in his week 9 Overseas Habs and Prospects Report.

- With more on Galchenyuk, Neate Sager of Yahoo Sports writes how the Sarnia Sting captain is having an MVP type season. The video evidence is quite reassuring.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Habs Questions, Scott Gomez, Mike Commodore, More

Mike Commodore - Columbus Blue Jackets v Anaheim Ducks
Good AM hockey fans.

Unusually for a lockout Friday, we have quite a bit of Habs related content and news to share this morning.

Our Kamal Panesar looks at how the lockout might impact Scott Gomez and the rest of the team, while Sean Lloyd looks at five questions left unanswered by the lockout.

To boot, we actually even have a signing to speak of, with former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore signing a tryout with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

What do you think of that move?

Habs and Hockey News

- Roman Hamrlik and Erik Cole got into a bit of a long-distance verbal exchange over the lockout this week. Hamrlik recently expressed concern over the lingering lockout as well as the time and money lost.

- Geoff Molson spoke out about recent events this week.

- Blake Geoffrion has been cleared to return home.

- Former Habs netminder Jaroslav Halak is headed for Germany.

- Adam Proteau and Stu Hackel both look at how NHL-NHLPA talks are headed nowhere yet again. Meanwhile, TSN's Bob McKenzie contemplates the possibility of union decertification. What you say? Yeah, he explains it.


(Photo Source: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Five Habs Questions Left Unanswered by the NHL Lockout

The Lockout Leaves Question Marks After A Disappointing Season

Just over two months have passed since the 2012-13 lockout officially started. The annual Winter Classic has been nixed and the All-Star game is sure to be next. The cancellation of the All-Star game shouldn't come as a shock to anybody. After all, how can there be stars without a season?

I've come to care less and less about the lockout as time goes by simply because, while I love the game, I refuse to let it take over my life.

Though I enjoy Saturday night games as much as the next fan, I've had little trouble moving on. Sure my "Mardi's" aren't nearly as "méchant" as I would like them to be, but I've had no trouble replacing these traditions with enjoyable new ones such as "Whiskey Wednesday's".

The thing that bothers me most about this lockout is that the absence of a season leaves too many questions unanswered. The Montreal Canadiens went through many changes during the summer and I — along with pretty much every other Hab fan — was looking forward to seeing what those changes would bring.

And with that, here are five questions regarding the Montreal Canadiens that have been left unanswered due to the ongoing lockout.

1. Are the Canadiens tough enough?

With the free agent signings of forwards Brandon Prust and Colby Armstrong along with the re-acquisition of defenseman Francis Bouillon, a large portion of the Habs fanbase immediately felt that the team would no longer be pushed around as easily as it has been for... well, as long as I can remember.

While Armstrong is not especially big, he doesn't shy away from throwing his body around, something that isn't done nearly enough by many Canadiens.

Bouillon's 5'8" 198 pound frame hardly screams heavyweight either but anybody who has seen him play knows his hits are hard and willingness to drop the gloves is borderline suicidal.

Prust, however, was the prize signing. After letting beloved tough guy Brad Staubitz leave via free agency after just 19 games, the Habs were in desperate need of a designated tough guy. With Prust in the lineup the Canadiens now have a player who can protect his teammates, cause problems for opposing players and occasionally pitch in offensively.

The question remains, are these three enough?

2. Is Andrei Markov back for good?

Unfortunately, as I write this Markov is injured in Russia. Markov has been playing for Vityaz Chekov in the KHL but left a game on October 26th with what was described as an "upper body" injury.

Markov would have been returning to the Montreal Canadiens at the beginning of the season after missing what seems like a kajillion games due to repeated knee injuries. With Markov healthy heading into September the Canadiens powerplay as well as their defensive zone breakout was guaranteed to improve drastically.

However, given his current predicament, it's hard to imagine that he would've lasted through the entire 2012-13 season.

In the end though, who really knows how thing's would've played out if he was back in a Habs uniform when the puck was supposed to drop.

3. Is David Desharnais for real?

One of the few positives to come out of the disastrous 2011-12 season was the emergence of David Desharnais as an efficient point producer. The argument can be — and has been — made that his success was due in large part to having Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty on his wings. Whether that's the case or not, the fact is Desharnais finished third on the team in scoring with 60 points.

With that 60 point season came constant debates on who is better between himself and Tomas Plekanec — cough, Plekanec, cough. Regardless, what seems clear is that Desharnais can play with the big boys.

This season would've shed light on Desharnais's true role and value. There is no doubt that he would've started the season with the same line mates but there were many out there wondering if the 5'7" 177 pound center could put up similar numbers in a season where opposing players would be more aware of him.

4. Is Michel Therrien the man for the job?

I'm quite tempted to just type "no" and move on. The reason I won't is Marc Bergevin.

Since Bergevin burst into the Habs hockey scene he has done nothing but better the organization. The one thing that may go against that statement is the hiring of Therrien. Seeing as how Bergevin has a Stanley Cup ring, though, and I don't I feel compelled to blast his choice just yet.

Therrien is mostly known in Montreal for his meltdown behind the Canadiens bench against the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2002 playoffs. Therrien took an unsportsmanlike penalty in a game the Canadiens were leading, eventually contributing to a devastating loss. The Hurricanes win tied the series at two and the 'Canes would go on to win the following two games earning a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.

People can change and there is a possibility that his reputation of demanding tough play and placing accountability on players could be just what this squad needs after a season where only a handful of players seemed motivated.

5. How will Alex Galchenyuk be handled?

The Montreal Canadiens' number one pick in the 2012 draft is quite possibly the silver lining to this lockout mess. After missing last season in Sarnia due to a knee injury, it seemed that another season in the OHL would be the best idea to further the prospects development.

Rene Bourque's surgery at the end of August was especially concerning. With a top-six nine forward expected to be sidelined for 8-12 weeks and Galchenyuk's skill — not to mention the hype surrounding him — I couldn't help but worry he would be rushed.

Sure, I have faith that the Canadiens development will improve drastically under the watch of Marc Bergevin. Yet, after years of watching talented young prospects be rushed and ruined by this organization, I couldn't help but worry about what would happen if Galchenyuk played well and was given a spot in the NHL right away.

Even if he were to be productive in a handful of games with the CH, I would still want him to play one more year with the Sting in order to better prepare for the main stage. So far, the lockout has proven beneficial for Galchenyuk who is currently tied for eighth in OHL scoring with 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 22 games.

With no NHL schedule, Galchenyuk can continue to succeed without any distracting debate over where he should be playing.

Without the 2012-13 season to answer these questions, what do you think:

1. Are the Canadiens tough enough?
2. What are your thoughts on Markov?
3. Is Desharnais for real?
4. Is Therrien the man for the job?
5. Will Galchenyuk really benefit from the lockout?

---
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.

Does the NHL Lockout Affect the Habs and Scott Gomez?

Greetings puck addicts!

I know posts from me has been few and far between for the last few months, and for that I apologize.

But considering what's going on, or rather what isn't going on with the NHL, what is there to really talk about?

As the NHL lockout enters Day 69, this U.S. Thanksgiving Thursday morning, it's more of the same.

Few proposals, a sentiment of frustration from both sides, petulance, at least from Gary Bettman, and a feeling that maybe, just maybe, the players are starting to get a little desperate.

If the NHLPA constituents are not yet desperate, they are at a minimum starting to break ranks.

Just this morning there was a piece on Roman Hamrlik saying he is concerned with the amount of money the players are losing. Habs' forward Erik Cole responded by saying he feels Hamrlik's comments are selfish.

That may well be the case, but what is certain is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the 700-plus members of the PA to stay in lock-step.

The Gomez Question

If you haven't heard last week's Montreal Hockey Talk lockout show, listen to it now!

We had a star-studded panel with TSN 690's Ted Bird and Nick Murdocco, TSN 690's legal insider, David Kellerman, and the inimitable Dave Stubbs, Habs beat writer for the Montreal Gazette.

Some excellent hockey talk in there, to be sure...well worth a listen.

What's interesting is that after the show we started talking about the logistics of starting things up again, if a new season was announced tomorrow. And that got me thinking about the Habs situation from last year, and some of their lingering problems, like what to do with Scott Gomez.

With the massive distraction that is the current NHL lockout, perhaps Habs GM Marc Bergevin has more options now than he did when he first became GM.

At that point, the hideous failures of the previous regime were fresh in everyone's minds. Moreover, Albatross contracts to floundering players like Scott Gomez, were front and center in the fans' minds.

But what about now?

Anyone who has read me in this space before knows that I feel the Habs cannot be taken seriously with Gomez on their opening day roster. But now, a few months into an ugly lockout that has fans as jaded and disinterested in the sport as they've ever been, perhaps the previous statement no longer holds true.

I mean ask yourself, as a Habs fan (if you are one), when the last time was that you thought about Gomez?

With the lockout at the forefront and actual on-ice product a distant memory, I don't think anyone is thinking about how bad Gomez has been for Montreal. As such, perhaps Bergevin can start the season with Gomez on his roster, while having him on a very short leash.

And that's exactly what will happen playing under Michel Therrien.

He'll try out the roster he's given on opening day but, unlike his predecessor, will not tolerate non-performance...especially not from a veteran.

Couple this with the PA's latest proposal offering a provision to count AHL salaries against the cap, if they are $1 million or over, and the Habs might not have a choice but to start the year with Gomez.

And would that be such a bad thing right now?

Whenever hockey comes back it will be carte blanche for everyone. No one is really going to remember much of the previous season...at least not very vividly. Also, let's face it, the Habs are not a contending team.

Not yet.

And given that Bergevin has bad contracts in Gomez and Tomas Kaberle to contend with, standing pat and taking his time to see if the new coach can pull a turn around—from where I'm sitting, he can't—might just be the best approach.

Afterall, what's the worst that can happen...Gomez's value will go down?

A bit of levity

The technical geniuses at MontrealHockeyTalk.com have made it a point of creating gag ads that they throw on during commercial breaks.

They just finished putting the latest ad to video and I thought you'd all get a kick out of it.

Enjoy!



---
Kamal is Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, C.O.O. of WebSports Media Network, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also an on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Top Habs Prospects?, Jaroslav Spacek Retires, NHLPA Offer, More

Good AM hockey fans.

Last night, the Hamilton Bulldogs lost 3-1 to the St. John's Ice Caps in spite of peppering the opposition net with a season-high 46 shots.

Brendan Gallagher scored the only goal for Montreal's struggling farm team.

Fortunately, although the Canadiens' lower-level professional clubs are struggling, many of their top junior prospects are thriving, including — obviously — Alex Galchenyuk and  — not so obviously — Tim Bozon.

Which leads me to this question: which prospects do you think will make the biggest impact in the next two years?

Habs and Hockey News

- Andrew Berkshire of EOTP had a weekly review of Habs prospects and players abroad a few days ago.

- Former Habs' blueliner Jaroslav Spacek has retired.

- The NHLPA is set to present an offer today. Over at ESPN, Scott Burnside looks at some of the worrying similarities between the current lockout and the 2004-05 conflict.

- At USA Today, Kevin Allen warns that both sides must start truly negotiating or risk disaster.

(Photo by Christopher Mast)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NHL Requests NHLPA Offer, P.K Subban Still Unsigned, Brian Gionta, More

P.K. Subban - Winnipeg Jets v Montreal Canadiens
Good AM hockey fans.

In a rather interesting development yesterday, the NHL outright requested that the NHLPA submit a new CBA offer.

In fact, the league asked that NHLPA dictate, in writing, its position on all of the major negotiating issues. Over in the world of eternal optimism, Hockeybuzz's Eklund feels that this will be an opportunity for the players to step up with season saving offer.

Of course, should a the season be saved, it will be quite a scramble for the Montreal Canadiens to get the still unsigned P.K Subban under contract.

If the season were to be salvaged, how would you handle the sticky Subban situation?

Habs and Hockey News

- RDS has a piece on how Brian Gionta is filling his captain's role in spite of the lockout.

- There are whispers of a crack in the owner's ranks. Stu Hackel has more on that.

- A few days after Ian White outright called Gary Bettman an idiot, Kris Versteeg has also voiced his displeasure with the upper echelons of the NHL. If you are the players, you can't have it both ways. You can't point to how well the league is doing financially and then claim it's run by idiots.

- The Hockey News' Ken Campbell supports the recently floated idea of taking a break in CBA negotiations.



(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hamilton Bulldogs Weekend, CBA Discussions Resume, Impeaching Bettman, More

Good AM hockey fans.

As I've mentioned before, I enjoy writing this little column on Monday mornings. After all, there are actual scores to talk about.

The Hamilton Bulldogs played a high-scoring two game set against the rival Toronto Marlies, winning 6-3 and then losing 6-1.

The much maligned Alexander Avtsin scored in the win for his team. It was his first game this year.
Down a notch below, the Wheeling Nailers got hammered 6-1 (a lot of sixes, eh?) by the Toledo Walleye.

Interestingly — and also discouragingly — both farm teams sit at 14th in their respective conferences.

Habs and Hockey News

- HabsWorld provides an always excellent recap of the activity down in Hamitlon and Wheeling.

- As the NHL and NHLPA are set to return to the table today, Grantland's Bill Simmons contemplates impeaching Gary Bettman.

- Stu Hackel writes about the 'illusion' that team's are losing money.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sabres University, Bettman Needs to Go, Habs Prospects Report And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres, seems to have found a way to keep his staff busy during this prolonged lockout. On Tuesdays and Thursdays in November, team staffers will be attending "Sabres University".

Sabres staff will be taking courses such as "Salary Cap and Player Transactions", "Media Buying" and  "Fitness and Nutrition" among others. The courses are all taught by Sabres employees and even Pegula's wife, Kim teaches "What Ownership Means" a course that is aimed to "reinforce the Sabres' orgazational philosophy, and the mission of the company and our ownership as a whole".

Classes are worth three credits and thirty credits are needed in order to pass the November semester.

I have to say that this is probably the most interesting article I've read during the lockout. While it sounds like something you would see in a movie, I'm curious to see whether or not it makes an impact when the game returns.

It's hard to see it doing any damage so it's definately worth a shot. Not only do employees not lose their jobs during the labor negotiations but they also get the oppurtunity to learn from each other to become better at what they do. An interesting approach.

I am for this little project and honestly think it wouldn't hurt more teams to follow suit. Do you think this will make a noticable difference on the organization or is it more of a movie storyline where a non playoff team betters themself in an unheard of fashion during a lockout only to return and become champions?

Habs And Hockey News

- It's no secret that Bettman needs to go for the good of the NHL, but here is a great read on why.

- The NHL and the NHLPA have tentatively agreed to meet tomorrow to resume talks just five days after Commissioner Bettman suggested the two sides take a two week break.

- With the assumption that these talks will go nowhere, is it time for a new voice in the labor talks?

- It was an eventful week for Habs prospects as you can see in Andrew Berkshire's Overseas Habs and Prospect Report 8.


(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images North America)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Daly/Fehr Talk, Politics in Sports, Kane Leaves KHL And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

Just days after league commissioner Gary Bettman suggested the two sides take a two week break from negotiations, it seems the two sides have resumed talking. While there were no negotiations Deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke over the phone with special councel Steve Fehr.

The two were expected to speak more over the weekend about further steps in bargaining talks.

With every article I read on this topic I can't help but notice words like "optimistic", "progress" and "positive results". And each time I see these terms I can help but wonder, who is buying this?

When you have one side that seems to have made it's best offer by giving up a billion dollars worth of concessions and another that would prefer to take a break rather than continue to work towards common ground, how can you see an end in sight?

After going over that last paragraph I realize it looks like I'm taking the players side. I'm not. I don't back the players and I in no way back the owners. In fact, I'm not even on the fans side.

At this point how can I feel bad for fans? If it's been this long and you haven't found anything in life to keep you busy Saturday nights then perhaps the lockout isn't your biggest problem. Go to dinner, catch up with friends, spend time with your family...

I refuse to feel pity for anybody who follows this lockout too closely. Both sides are trying to win sympathy and too many fans are falling for it. Just sit back and let the billionairs argue with the millionairs and when they finally agree on what to do with your money then turn the game on. Or don't.

Personally, I will. I love the game. If they take another season to figure this whole mess out I will still return when hockey does. I just refuse to make my non hockey life about waiting for it's return and falling for every line I'm fed by either side.

And with that said I apologize for the bitterness. I don't mean to start your Saturday morning with negativity, I have just become fed up with how too many (not all) fans have fallen victim to false hope. I don't blame anybody for being opinionated, I just feel bad for anybody who thinks that what they think about this mess matters. It doesn't. Your money matters, the owners and players can whisper all the sweet nothings into your ears to win you over but the bottom line is they don't care. Whether or not we forgive and forget doesn't mean anything to them as long as they get paid. And they will.

Habs And Hockey News

- Avi Goldberg (@avigoldberg) featured writer over at Allhabs.com takes an interesting look on politics, sports and the lockout.

- It seems the KHL was too much for Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane.

- TSN reports that Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider may be getting tired of the lockout.

- Habs prospect Brendan Gallagher's two goals lead the Bulldogs to a 6-3 win over the Toronto Marlies last night.

Friday, November 16, 2012

NHL Requests Break, Financial Damage, Saku Koivu, More

Gary Bettman - NHL Media Availability
Happy Friday.

Or not.

It seems that the NHL has proposed that they and the NHLPA take a two-week break from negotiations.

A dumb idea if I ever heard one.

The owners will bleed fans and sponsors as this drags on. It is simply unrealistic to expect the level of forgiveness seen in 2004-05.

And the players are losing money they will never get back. As Mark Recchi pointed out earlier this week, "No matter what the system is, or has been, the players get their money. No matter what the contract, the owners always find a way to pay them more. That's why I say, get a deal and get back in there...the money's always there."

Get to the table. Get it done so we can all write about something else. Like, you know, Andrei Markov getting injured or P.K Subban being unsigned.

Habs and Hockey News

- USA Today's Kevin Allen tracks the financial damage of the current lockout while Adam Proteau wonders what kind of legacy the NHL's owners are leaving behind.

- Laura — a.k.a The Active Stick — writes about how Saku Koivu's heroic return helped make her a hockey fan for life. A story which I, and many others, can certainly relate to.

- Cam Fowler and Niklas Grossman are headed to Sweden.



(Photo by Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NHL and NHLPA Quiet, Mark Recchi, Andrei Markov, More

Bill Daly - NHL Media Availability
Happy Thursday Hab fans.

After a week of more promising, continuous dialogue between the NHL and NHLPA, TSN is now reporting that there is no communication nor plans to meet between the two sides.

For all the momentary moments of optimism, it increasingly looks like the 2012-13 season could be headed down the drain.

Somehow, though, I don't expect fans will be nearly as forgiving as in 2004-05 should that happen.

I know I won't be. What about you?

Habs and Hockey News

- Andrei Markov's return to the KHL will have to wait a bit longer as he is still recovering from a rib injury.

- The Hamilton Bulldogs lost their third straight game, dropping a 4-1 decision against the Rochester Americans.

- Corey Collard from Montreal Hockey Talk presents a fan's solution to the lockout.

- Mark Recchi offers some advice to the players.

- Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart sure have bounced around during the lockout. After signing for 30 days in the German second division, they then headed to the Czech League. But now, USA Today reports that both players are leaving their Czech team for family reasons.

- Speaking of the Czech Republic, Jason Chimera just signed a deal there. Another player who isn't holding his breath on a CBA I suppose.

- There are a few International events going on, including the Deutschland Cup which features a few former Habs on the Canadian and Slovak rosters.



(Photo Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Simulated NHL Seasons, Mathieu Darche, Blake Geoffrion, More

Good AM!

For those of you who view this morning column regularly enough, you probably have noticed that I have never linked to Hockey Inside/Out or ESPN's simulated hockey seasons.

Why?

Because I really don't care.

I don't check the simulated scores. I don't read articles about the topic. Personally, I have a hard time understanding why there would even be interest in these virtual campaigns.

What about you?

Habs and Hockey News

- While being interviewed on l'Antichambre, Mathieu Darche claims he still believes in a December 1st start to the NHL season.

- Also over at RDS, Bertrand Raymond has a slightly soapy piece on Blake Geoffrion, his family and his recent injury. 

- The writer's at HabsWorld pick sides in the NHL-NHLPA debate.

- Goaltender Scott Darling, who has played two games with the Wheeling Nailers this season, has been given a professional tryout with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hockey Hall of Fame, 16 D Before P.K Subban, NHL-NHLPA Issues, More

Good AM hockey fans.

As you probably all saw, four new individuals were added to the Hockey Hall of Fame this week.

Adam Oates, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure are the latest additions to the prestigious organization.

Of course, as is often the case, pundits have already begun making their selections for the 2013 inductees, including recently retired players such as Chris Chelios and Eric Lindros.

Who would you add in 2013?

Habs and Hockey News

- Fred Poulin takes a fantastic look at the 16 — yes, 16! — blueliners chosen before P.K Subban in 2007.

- Blake Geoffrion father, Danny, talks about his son's recent injury scare.

- Ken Campbell takes a look at the oft-underappreciated Adam Oates.

- According to Steve Fehr, three outstanding issues remain before a deal can be reached between the NHL and NHLPA. Stu Hackel takes a look at the subject of contract rights. Elsewhere, Ken Campbell argues that Donald Fehr's tactics are beginning to get in the owner's heads.

- Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin say they would love to see an NHL team back in Quebec City. Personally, I'd just love to see an NHL team again at this point.

(Photo via the Canadian Press/TSN.ca) 

Monday, November 12, 2012

2007 NHL Draft: The 16 Defensemen Selected Before P.K Subban

As a hockey fan, have you ever wondered what would have happened if your team had drafted a certain player instead of another?

Like in 2000, when the New York Islanders drafted goaltender Rick Dipietro 1st overall instead of taking Dany Heatley (drafted 2nd overall) or Marian Gaborik (drafted 3rd overall)? We all know what happened after… The organization traded top goaltending prospect Roberto Luongo along with Olli Jokinen to the Florida Panthers for a bag of pucks and a dirty jock straps. The upper management thought Dipietro would become the no. 1 netminder of the future, but instead he became a regular client of the medical clinic!

Now Habs fans, let’s have a look at 2007, the year the Canadiens had more than nine draft picks:

After a very successful first round during which Montreal drafted D Ryan McDonagh — now with the New York Rangers — and F Max Pacioretty, Trevor Timmins and his scouting staff drafted an electrifying defenseman named Pernell Karl Subban coming off a 56-point campaign —15 goals and 41 assists in 68 games — with the Belleville Bulls of the OHL. 

Yet, a few NHL teams made strange selections in the first round, as well as in the beginning of the second round of the 2007 Entry Draft and the Canadiens were allowed to land Subban 43rd overall.

Below you will find the 16 defensemen who were drafted before Subban in 2007. Some of them turned out to be very good hockey players, while others have yet to make it to the “big show”.

1. Thomas Hickey – Selected in the 1st Round (4th Overall) by the Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings surprised everyone when they drafted Hickey fourth overall in 2007. Pegged to be a mid-to-late first round pick, Hickey turned into a bust, having yet to even play in the NHL. Hickey has played for the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL for the past few seasons, never recording more than 26 points in a single campaign.

2. Karl Alzner – Selected in the 1st Round (5th Overall) by the Washington Capitals

A very solid defensive defenseman, Alzner and his long-time partner John Carlson have been the top shut-down defensive pairing for the Washington Capitals over the past few seasons. Not known for his offensive abilities, Alzner, who has never cracked the 20-point barrier, is a combined +24 over the past two campaigns. The Burnaby, B.C. native is also a very good penalty killer and shot blocker — he blocked 139 in 2011-12 and 132 shots in 2010-11.

3. Keaton Ellerby – Selected in the 1st Round (10th Overall) by the Florida Panthers

Another defensive rearguard, Ellerby can be dubbed as another disappointment of the 2007 draft year, albeit not to the same extent as Hickey. The towering defender has played 116 games over three seasons for the Florida Panthers, recording two goals and 15 assists for 17 points in the process.

Ellerby’s lack of overall development has turned him into a depth defenseman rather than a top-four rearguard with the Panthers. Despite his tall frame, Ellerby is not very physical and, as a result, he has been passed by highly-touted prospect Erik Gudbranson on the Panthers’ depth chart.

4. Ryan McDonagh – Selected in the 1st Round (12th Overall) by the Montreal Canadiens
Traded by the Montreal Canadiens along with Christopher Higgins and prospect Pavel Valentenko to the New York Rangers in the now infamous Scott-Gomez trade, McDonagh has turned into a very solid top-four defenseman for the Blueshirts.

McDonagh had the best season of his young career last year, registering seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points in 82 games, while posting a impressive +25 plus/minus rating. Not afraid to hit (118 hits) and block shots (182 BkS), McDonagh can do it all on the ice: play on the power play, kill penalties, carry the puck and protect leads. This trade will go down as the worst trade made by Bob Gainey during his tenure as the Habs’ general manager.

5. Kevin Shattenkirk – Selected in the 1st Round (14th Overall) by the Colorado Avalanche

The best defenseman to be drafted in the first round that year, Shattenkirk blossomed with the St. Louis Blues last season, notching nine goals and 34 assists for 43 points in 81 contests.

The offensive rearguard, who posted an impressive +20 plus/minus differential, was acquired from the Avalanche with Chris Stewart and a second-round pick in February 2011 in exchange for fellow blueliner Erik Johnson, forward Jay McClement and a first-round pick. Along with teammate Alex Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk will be part of the Blues’ defensive corps for the years to come.

6. Alex Plante – Selected in the 1st Round (15th Overall) by the Edmonton Oilers

Similar to Ellebery, the oversized defenseman has turned out into a major disappointment for the Oilers. Plante, who has only played in ten NHL games, has never been able to make the transition to the higher level. He is currently playing for Edmonton’s AHL affiliate the Oklahoma City Barons where he is having a disappointing campaign so far.

7. Ian Cole – Selected in the 1st Round (18th Overall) by the St. Louis Blues

Splitting his time between the NHL and the AHL over the past two campaigns, Cole has been a very useful rearguard for St. Louis despite not having won a full-time NHL gig yet. A call-up in case of injuries, Cole has played 26 games with the Blues in each of the last two seasons, recording a total of two goals and eight assists for ten points. Before the lockout, Cole was slated to make the team as the 6th or 7th defenseman.

8. Jonathon Blum – Selected in the 1st Round (23rd Overall) by the Nashville Predators

A very offensive blueliner in the WHL for the Vancouver Giants, he was seen as a future power-play quarterback when the Predators drafted him in 2007. After learning the ropes in the AHL for two seasons, Blum finally managed to make it to the NHL, playing 56 games with Nashville over the past two campaigns.

In the process, the skilled rearguard recorded a total of six goals and nine assists for 15 points with the pros. After Ryan Suter’s departure via free agency this off-season, Blum was slated to become an important piece of the Preds’ defensive unit but is currently wasting his time in the AHL.

9. Brendan Smith – Selected in the 1st Round (27th Overall) by the Detroit Red Wings

Another player who was supposed to finally get his chance in the NHL following Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement. Smith made his professional debut with Detroit last year, playing 14 games while registering 1 goal and and 6 assists for 7 points. The talented blue-liner would be playing every night for the Wings but is instead another player wasting his time in the AHL this season.

10. Nick Petrecki – Selected in the 1st Round (28th Overall) by the San Jose Sharks

The rugged defenseman, who has yet to play in the NHL with the Sharks, has turned into a marginal AHL player at best. Petrecki has been playing with the Worcester Sharks since the 2009-10 season without ever getting a taste of the big show.

11. Nick Ross – Selected in the 1st Round (30th Overall) by the Phoenix Coyotes

Another player who has never played in the NHL, Ross is now playing in Europe with the Augsburg Panthers of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga after he was not re-signed by the team when his entry-level contract expired at the end of the 2011-12 season.

12. T.J. Brennan – Selected in the 2nd Round (31st Overall) by the Buffalo Sabres

One of the quality prospects with Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb the Sabres have on defense, Brennan finally made his NHL debut in 2011-12 when he played 11 games with Buffalo, recording one goal. Brennan is currently perfecting his skills in the AHL with the Rochester Americans.

13. Taylor Ellington – Selected in the 2nd Round (33rd Overall) by the Vancouver Canucks

After a successful career in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips, Ellington dropped off the map playing 21 AHL games since he was drafted by the Canucks. Ellington has been such a disappointment that he cannot even crack AHL rosters any more, having only played in the ECHL since 2011-12.

14. Josh Godfrey – Selected in the 2nd Round (34th Overall) by the Washington Capitals

A prolific offensive rearguard in the OHL with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Godfrey has never been able to replicate his offensive numbers at a higher level, not even in the AHL. Having never a played a game in the NHL, Godfrey is currently playing in the ECHL for the Las Vegas Wrangler. The perfect place to bet a few dollars that he will never play in the bigs.

15. Tommy Cross – Selected in the 2nd Round (35th Overall) by the Boston Bruins

After playing four years for Boston College, Cross only dressed for two games with the Providence Bruins of the AHL last season. Still under contract with the Bruins, he is currently playing for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.

16. Kevin Marshall – Selected in the 2nd Round (41st Overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers


The former defenseman from the QMJHL finally graduated with the Flyers in 2011-12, dressing for ten games. The rugged rearguard is currently playing for the Hershey Bears of the AHL, and if not for the lockout, Marshall would have every chance to stick with the Flyers due to injuries to key defensemen such as Chris Pronger and Andrej Meszaros.

17. P. K. Subban – Selected in the 2nd Round (43rd Overall) by the Montreal Canadiens

Averaging 24:18 per game on the ice last season, the colorful Subban had already become a mainstay on the Habs blue line in his second NHL season. Blessed with a booming slapshot and a great hockey sense, Subban takes full advantage of his excellent foot speed and strength to carry the puck and support the offense. Despite an up-and-down season, the Toronto-native managed to record seven goals and 29 assists for 36 points in his sophomore campaign.

Still unsigned by Montreal, the Subbanator is currently a restricted free agent who has yet to re-sign with the team that drafted him five years ago. 

With his extravagant personality, you can bet Subban will work in the media after his professional career, whether it is as a television analyst or a weatherman.


---
Hat tip to Ian C McLaren for the idea to write on this topic.

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

(Photo by Eric Bolte/US PRESSWIRE)

NHL and NHLPA Meet Over Weekend, Blake Geoffrion, Hamilton Bulldogs, More

Happy Monday hockey fans!

Rough few days for the Montreal Canadiens' farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Dogs lost their two weekend contests against the Syracuse Crunch, including a 4-1 defeat in front of an 18,000 person crowd at the Bell Centre.

On top of that, Blake Geoffrion was forced to have emergency surgery on Friday night after taking a skate blade to the head.  He is now out indefinitely

Hamilton currently sits 12th in the AHL's Western Conference and have played the fewest amount of games in the league.

Habs and Hockey News

- As always, HabsWorld's Brian LaRose recaps the week that was for the Montreal Canadiens and their farm teams.

- Eric Engels comments on his experience watching the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Bell Centre.

- Down in the ECHL, the Wheeling Nailers also lost their weekend contest against the Toledo Walleye.

- The NHL and NHLPA met on Sunday yet again, but appear still deadlocked. In the meantime, you can always read Bob McKenzie's excellent insights on the situation.

- Three teams — the Netherlands, Ukraine and Great Britain — moved on to the final stage of Ice Hockey Qualifications for the 2014 Olympics.

(Photo via the Canadian Press/TSN.ca) 

Friday, November 9, 2012

NHL and NHLPA meet again, P.K Subban Having Fun, Gino Odjick, More

P.K. Subban - Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators
Happy Friday!

After touching on the make-whole provision, the NHL and NHLPA reportedly discussed revenue sharing as part of their ongoing, week long CBA negotiations.

Both sides are again slated to sit down today.

Adam Proteau argues that there could be reason for some"cautious optimism" as it looks like the NHL is getting serious. Heck, at this rate, we could actually have an NHL season.

After that, all the Montreal Canadiens would need to do is sign P.K Subban...

Habs and Hockey News

- Speaking of P.K Subban, Michael Traikos of the National Post has a piece on the young rearguard and how he is living with the lockout.

- Cool little piece on RDS illustrating the unlikely friendship between Gino Odjick and Pavel Bure. I used to love having Odjick as the Habs' enforcer. No one else has really filled his shoes since.

- Buffalo Sabres' forward Cody Hodgson was injured in an AHL contest.





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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

CBA Talks Continue, NHL Legends, AHL, ECHL, More

Happy Thurdsay hockey fans.

Another day, another round of talks between the NHL and NHLPA.

After extended sessions on both Tuesday and Wednesday, the two sides are again set to meet today.

And, as Pierre LeBrun explains, it seems this set of talks may have reached a critical point with the Make Whole provision now being discussed.

Habs and Hockey News

- Our Rosalyn Roy shares her experience when the NHL Legends visited her part of the world in Port-Aux-Basques.

- The Hamilton Bulldogs fell 0-3 last night against the Syracuse Crunch. Down a league below, the Wheeling Nailers dropped a 3-4 decision against the Reading Royals.

- Stu Hackel presents some of hockey's greatest photographs.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roz's Rant: NHL Legends in Port-aux-Basques

File:Newfoundland Port aux Basques.jpg
When the NHL Legends game was announced as coming to Port-aux-Basques I made my mother take a cab up to the arena to get tickets that very morning. We popped for the second tier VIP tickets, which meant an autograph session and a meet and greet with the players after the game.

Frankly, I didn't recogize a lot of players other than Glenn Anderson, Sergio Momesso, and Stephane Richer. Also on the ticket were Alain Cote, Rick Middleton, and Mike Krushelnyski along with a few others. Hey, if they never played for the Habs chances were good I have no clue who they are.

I did some research, hit my brother up for some cards to get signed, and listened to my father gripe about the trading of Richer for which he has yet to forgive the Montreal Canadiens. Oh game day I threw on a Tomas Plekanec sweater and headed for the Bruce Arena.

"Are you nervous?" Mom wanted to know, since we were going to be schmoozing with the players.

"Not really," I said. I don't impress easily, but I do have periodic bouts of shyness.

The game itself was called by John Horrigan who is a witty and personable guy but suffered greatly by the truly terrible sound system in the rink.

As soon as the players hit the ice you could practically smell the blood. There was also a major height discrepancy between the two teams, clearly visible when they lined up for the Canadian anthem.

One Leafs fan in the front row sang in off-key English, I massacred the half-French half-English version I'm used to for the Canadiens game, and some old guy in a Leafs jacket dropped a ceremonial puck.

The Port-aux-Basques Mariners were badly outmatched from the get go but the Legends seemed to take a bit of pity on them for the first period and the score was 4-3 after the first twenty minutes in favour of the ex-NHLers.

It's not that the Mariners are particularly bad — they have a wall full of trophies to attest to their team's success within the league — it's that even retired NHLers still have a much higher skill set.

Before the end of the first period a local kids team was send out onto the ice to face the Legends, who suddenly turned into the on-ice version of the Keystone Kops. I watched Glenn Anderson dive like he was trying for Olympic gold.

"There's too many men on the ice," I said to Mom, eyeballing the twenty or so kids facing off against the Legends. "And just look at these shoddy line changes. Who do they think they are? The Habs?"

Richer had a lot of fun hauling down some of the younger players, but was the first one to laugh, cheer and raise his sticks as the youngsters put three into the Legends net. Krushelnyski kept slip sliding all over the place and taking out the kids like they were bowling pins.

It was all great fun of course and it was hard to tell who was having the most fun — the Legends players, the kids or the spectators. After that it was time for intermission and a Q&A session with Anderson and Krushelnyski, none of which I got because the audio was so terrible.

After the game, Legends goalie Roy Nolan told me that standing in the corridor before hitting the ice for the second period he flat out warned the Mariners that those three were all they were getting and he was done playing nice. His teammates seemed to up it a notch as well and before the second period was half over the Legends had opened up a four goal lead and were clearly toying with the Mariners.

At one point Richer, apparently frozen by the slower pace of the game, took to skating laps around the rink and interfering with the puck at both ends of the ice. He's a big guy and he's retired but he's still got plenty of juice left in the tank. His shot is also still powerful, fast and accurate, something the Mariners found out the hard way.

Meanwhile Glen Anderson completed the first of his two hat tricks for the night. He was having a blast and it showed, at one point hollering at a ref when an errant puck bounced off the ref's skate and back into the Legend's corner.

"Get out of the way!"

Andre DuPont took to passing into the offensive zone while seated on the bench. When DuPont wasn't doing that he also literally held a Mariner's player against the boards like a lover leaning in for a kiss while a ref shrugged, laughed, and skated away.

Mike Krushelnyski tormented the Mariners players mercilessly, constantly stripping them of the pucks and racing back up-ice. Between that and all the tripping, hooking, holding and slashing it was like watching hockey from days of old.

In fairness, despite the onslaught Mariners netminder Steve Osmond made some nifty kick and glove saves, including a brutal attack by Richer that caught the entire Mariners squad flatfooted. After kicking away Richer's first shot he got a bit of glove on the rebound that directed it into the corner and got a nice burst of appreciation from the crowd.

By the end of the second the score was 15-3 in favour of the Legends.

During the second intermission when the Tier 1 VIPs were sent down to the dressing room to meet the players Mom and I got accosted by one of the organizers who flashed some Stanley Cup rings at us. Of course I grabbed Richer's and tweeted a photo. Altogether he was carrying around 300K worth of NHL Stanley Cup rings, three belonging to Edmonton Oilers players.

Heck I even took a moment to admire the Toronto Maple Leafs Division Championship ring, which is quite frankly a nice piece of jewelry.

After that Mom and I got hauled up to the announcer's booth where we joked with Horrigan and made a good show of cheering for the home team even though they were getting their butts kicked up and down the ice.

Krushelnyski decided to have a go at tossing his stick into the booth. "That's the highest high stick I've ever seen!" Horrigan shouted at him, but since no contact was made it was decided no penalty was necessary.

It was just as well. There didn't seem to be a penalty box anyway and I wasn't keen on having Krushelnyski get any closer with his stick since he came pretty close anyway, so I didn't want him in the booth with us.

Indeed no penalty was called during the entire game, and since the only stoppages in play occured when the players shot the puck out of bounds into the netting, the time just whipped by. Towards the end it was decided that a shootout was necessary and both teams scores were re-set to 3 goals apiece.

The two best goals of the shootout game courtesy of Gary Leeman who scored major points with the crowd for creativity. His first goal came after picking the puck up with his stick blade and throwing it into the net. The second came when he kicked the blade and puck with his skate.

The final score on the board was 6-4 in favour of the Legends, but in reality it was more like 18-4, Nolan having let one in during the third period despite his resolve not to do so. "Yeah they got one more past me than I was hoping," he said afterwards, shaking his head.

During the meet and greet I won a Mike Krushelnyski jersey which he was kind enough to sign for me even though I hassled him about trying to hit me with his stick. "But I missed you, didn't I?" was his defense and since I can't hold a grudge I gave him a bag of Newfie Screech coffee in return.

I'd like to say how I got a scintillating interview with the guys but really I'm not a hardcore reporter, just a hockey fan, and as a fan I have to highly recommend going to these sorts of games if you get the chance.

Not only is it usually for a great cause, as it turns out there's an awful lot of opportunity for comedy in the world of hockey.

---
Rosalyn used to frequent the old Forum during her early childhood when her father was a corporate season ticket holder, where she fell in love with Larry Robinson, so her lifelong obsession with the Habs is entirely his fault.

Follow Rosalyn on Twitter


(Photo by Aconcagua via Wikipedia)

NHL-NHLPA Marathon, Toronto Not a Hockey Town, NCAA, More

Good AM hockey fans!

With most eyes turned towards the U.S Presidential election, it was easy to miss that the NHL and NHLPA talked for over seven hours on Tuesday and have scheduled a follow-up session today.

A sign for optimism perhaps, but, as pointed out in this space yesterday, many have cautioned that there are still significant obstacles to an agreement.

And, with players such as Max Talbot trickling to Europe, you can't help but get the sense that an agreement is not necessarily close at hand.

What do you think?

Habs and Hockey News

- Pierre Lebrun reports on yesterday's rather secretive talks over at ESPN. In fact, Stu Hackel feels that the more "hush-hush" nature of these discussions has been helpful.

- Wow. Here is a headline sure to garner a few angry responses. "Brampton Battalion relocation proves Toronto isn't a hockey town". Hard to argue with some of Rory Boylen's arguments though.

- Did you know that there were more than 50,000 new registered hockey players in the world this year?

- HabsWorld continues its excellent prospect coverage, looking at the Habs' NCAA assets.


(Photo by the Canadian Press)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scott Gomez's Production, Carey Price on RDS, Labour Talks, More

Scott Gomez - New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens
Happy (U.S) Election day.

Sean Lloyd and I tackled our first HabsAddict mailbag yesterday, addressing a question we received about Scott Gomez's production — or lack thereof — with the Montreal Canadiens.

How refreshing it was to contribute to an article and, moreover, write about something non-lockout related.

Anywho, I hope you join in on the discussion.

If nothing else, Scott Gomez can always be counted on to get the ink flowing.

Habs and Hockey News

- Carey Price was on RDS' Antichambre program yesterday.

- As talks between the NHL and NHLPA are set to resume today, Pierre Lebrun warns against getting too optimistic. Over at Sports Illustrated, Stu Hackel echoes the same sentiment — curb your enthusiasm. And, at The Hockey News, Ken Campbell speaks of the different obstacles in the way of a new CBA.

- Boy, that was a lot of negativity, eh? Thankfully, we also have some optimism in the form of Kevin Allen, who underlines five reasons the NHL could get going by December.

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Monday, November 5, 2012

HabsAddict Mailbag: Scott Gomez's Production with the Montreal Canadiens

Scott Gomez - New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens
Hello Hab addicts.

Bored with the lockout?

Yeah, so are we. So, in an effort the generate content and discussion, we have decided to tackle some of the questions we hear from friends, Facebook and Twitter.

Today, myself and Louis Moustakas tackle a classic query: Scott Gomez's decline.

Mika Oehling @armchairhockey asks "Any explanations to Gomez and his 1 goal a season since he joined the Habs?"

Sean Lloyd: Thanks for the question Mika, and quite a doozy to kick off the HabsAddict mailbag.

Gomez is a playmaker, always has been. While it's impossible to ignore his lack of scoring, it's his vision and passing abilities that make him an NHL player.

My best guess as to why he doesn't bury more goals would be his reluctance to shoot. In 2011-12 he was tied for 15th — with Josh Gorges — on the team for shooting. Even Alexei Emelin managed more shots with 62.

Then there is the good old fashioned "pressure of Montreal" theory. With the New Jersey Devils he scored 116 goals in 548 games, or one tally every five contests. In two seasons with the New York Rangers he scored 32 times in 153 games, once again producing one goal every five games.

Since donning the Montreal Canadiens' jersey, his average has dipped to one goal every nine games, producing only 21 goals in 196 games.

Gomez will either need to direct more pucks towards the net or learn to handle the pressure, if not we can expect roughly nine goals out of him whenever hockey resumes.

Louis Moustakas: Mika, that a doozy indeed.

Sean is right, Scott Gomez is not a natural shooter or natural scorer. In fact, his 33 goal season with the New Jersey Devils has to be considered a huge anomaly.

Other than his extremely successful 2005-06 campaign, he never reached the 20 goal plateau at the professional level, not even while playing in the ECHL during the lockout.

Having said that, it is perplexing to see a player who has regularly produced 10-15 goals per year plummet so drastically.

Beyond the point of Scott Gomez not shooting frequently, his shot locations are not optimal. Especially in 2011-12, his attempts on net came from either the wings or afar. Hardly prime choices.

Just look at his first goal in over a year. Fabulous pass, but really, he is quite distant off the wing.


That, and it's not like his head and heart have looked in the game in recent years.

What do you think? What caused Scott Gomez's precipitous decline?

---
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.

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 Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Hamilton Bulldogs, Alex Galechnyuk Video, NHL-NHLPA Talks, More

Good AM hockey fans.

The nice thing about Monday mornings — and yes, there are nice things about Monday mornings — is that I get to start off the week starting about actual hockey.

Not lockout, labor, negotiation mumbo-jumbo. Scores, statistics and results.

The Hamilton Bulldogs played a two-game set against the Rochester Americans over the weekend, losing 2-3 in a shootout and winning the second contest 4-3 in comeback fashion. Brendan Gallagher had two goals and an assist along the way.

In the process, however, Greg Pateyrn was injured and the Bulldogs were forced to call up Joe Setjskal from the ECHL.

Speaking of the ECHL, the Wheeling Nailers hit the ice recently, registering an overtime loss in their last game against the Cincinnati Cyclones.

See, doesn't it feel good talking about actual hockey?

Habs and Hockey News

- As always, Brian La Rose of HabsWorld provides an excellent recap of the last week in the world of the Montreal Canadiens.

- The Hockey News recently posted a video profile of Habs' top prospect Alex Galchenyuk.

- The NHL and NHLPA apparently spoke over the weekend, and more talks are apparently scheduled for Tuesday.


(Photo by Graham Hughes and the Canadian Press)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fehr/Daly Meet, Cole Retiring?, Oilers Trade Looming? And More...

Good Morning Addicts!

After two weeks without talking, Bill Daly and Steve Fehr met last night in an attempt to save any of the season that can be salvaged. Although there have been phone conversations between the two sides, there have been no formal meeting since October 18th.

Forgive me if this news doesn't excite me. Sure, it can't be bad that the two sides met. In fact it's even better that they plan on meeting again early this week, but util anything concrete happens I remain of the belief that this season is toast.

With over 300 games already canceled including the Winter Classic it's hard to imagine the two sides comnig to an agreement on time for any hockey to be played. Although a December agreement was what saved the 1993-94 season it still left a mark on that year.

If the NHL resumes this year, I'll watch. Even with the bitterness and pessimism taking over the hope I tried to hold onto I never adopted the "I'm done with hockey, when it comes back I'm through with it!" attitude that so many people resorted to. I'm quite certain the majority of those people will be in the same bars I'm in cheering on their team when and if this labor strife ends.

However, it's hard for me to take any hockey that is played this year seriously. Without a full season played there will be an asterix in my mind next to the Stanley Cup champion, just like there is nect to the '94 Rangers.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend that if the league resumes and the Habs win I won't celebrate. I don't see that happening. But to be completely honest with you I wouldn't want them to win this year if there is NHL action. It's been too long since the Habs won ad when they do it again I want it to be earned after a full hard fought 82 game schedule where nobody can take anything away from them.

Habs And Hockey News

- Erik Cole is obviously not impressed with the lockout. Cole recently stated that he is considering heading towards Europe or even retiring if the whole season is lost.

- Greg Wyshynski asks if the "make whole" makeover will lead to the lockout's end?

- Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe hinted a few days back that some trades could be made sooner rather than later to improve his club.

- USA Today Sports asked fans with tickets to the Winter Calssic for their reactions.