Archive for the ‘Montreal Canadiens’ Category

Looking around the league with…. no colored glasses:

– A very scary moment in the Detroit Red Wings game against The Nashville Predators last night, when a hard shot by Roman Josi caught Patrick Eaves in the side of the head. Eaves was stretchered out of the arena and taken to Detroit Medical Center where he is being treated for a fractured jaw. Hopefully he can have a quick recovery from this very scary incident. The Red Wings won the game 4-1, their 5th straight.

– 2 controversial moments in the game between Pittsbugh and Montreal when Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens hit Kris Letang in OT. This appears to be a head shot. In this guy’s opinion, it appears the head is the principal point of contact, now if it is intentionally aiming for the head, I cannot tell. I believe the hit was going to be shoulder to shoulder before Letang dropped his head for the shot. I do think Brendan Shanahan will definitely be looking at this one, as for a suspension…. I think he might, keyword “might” get a 1 game suspension, if not just a fine. Pittsburgh won 4-3 in OT, easily another controversial moment in the eyes of Habs fans, the referees seemed to fall asleep on that one, but alas, you do not stop playing until the whistle is blown.

– The New York Islanders continued their flip flopping fight with The Columbus Blue Jackets for bottom spot and 29th in the NHL, crawling back out of the basement with a 3-2 win over New Jersey (Thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk)

-The New York Rangers are having a great November so far, going 8-2, including last night’s shutout win against Philadelphia thanks to Henrik Lundqvist, who made 29 saves in the effort.

– Colorado busted their losing streak in a big way, scoring 5 against Edmonton, including a first goal of the season for Shane O’Brien and a first goal in the NHL for newcomer Stefan Elliot.

– Bye Bye Boudreau? The Capitals got slaughtered for the 2nd game in a row, this time 5-1 at the hands of the slumping Buffalo Sabres. The losses are starting to mount, you can bet the rumors are going to start to swirl (if your name starts with an E, and end with a D, computer generated rumors do not count)

– Lightning strikes twice, Tampa won their 2nd straight game against the red hot Florida Panthers last night thanks to brilliant goaltending by Mathieu Garon, and the scoring abilities of one Steven Stamkos. In 2 games, Garon had 47 saves, and Stamkos had 3 goals, and 1 assist.

– The Phoenix Coyotes continued strong play, as did Mike Smith, making 26 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the falling Dallas Stars. Mikkel Boedker scored career goal number 20 in the 1st period, Ray Whitney and Taylor Pyatt also added tallies.

– The Los Angeles Kings are 1-2-1 their last 4 after losing to The Chicago Blackhawks yesterday. Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick both faced 27 shots, but a Jonathan Toews goal (his 13th this year)  in the 2nd period broke the tie.

-Sit down Luongo! Corey Schneider made his mark last night against San Jose, stopping 43 shots in a 3-2 victory, his 4th straight, only allowing 3 goals in those 4 games. Just think, the goalie making $900,000 is winning games while the guy making $10,000,000 is riding the pine. Silly…isnt it? For Vancouver also, Manny Malhotra, playing in game number 800, scored his 2nd of the year. For San Jose, Patrick Marleau scored his 10th goal, his 20th point on the season, and Joe Pavelski earned his 150th career assist in the game.

Here are some random news and notes from around The NHL :

– The Boston Bruins ran over Ryan Miller and The Sabres (Literally) for their 5th straight win in a so far perfect November.

-Max Pacioretty of The Montreal Canadiens, talk about a comeback! 3 goals in 4 games, leading the team in Goals (7) and Shots On Goal (61)

-The Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed Nikita Nikitin to the team with 24:57 of ice time, he had 1 assist, Steve Mason had 35 saves, and rookie Ryan Johansen had 2 goals in a 2-1 win over Winnipeg.

– The St.Louis Blues welcomed Kris Russell, who scored the gamewinner in a 3-0 shutout over Tampa Bay. Brian Elliot made 19 saves in the effort.

-The Detroit Red Wings are back on track, winning 4 straight games with last night’s grilling of Dallas 5-2, Jimmy Howard is on fire, making at least 22 saves each game in that 4 game span that included 2 shutouts.

– The Pittsburgh Penguins are still on top of the world in the east (tied for best in NHL) even after last night’s  loss at the hands of Carolina. “Crosby? Crosby!? We don’t need no stinkin’ Crosby!”

– The Blackhawks are tops in the west (also tied for best in NHL) with the usual suspects (Kane,Hossa,Sharp,Toews) leading the way.

-Martin Brodeur became the leader in most regular season losses with 353 (surpassing Curtis Joseph and Gump Worsley). Hey, if you are going to have the most wins, why not have the most losses as well?

Last season:44-30-8, 96 points. 6th East, lost in first round to Boston (4-3).

Additions: G Peter Budaj, RW Erik Cole, RW Brian Willsie, D Jeff Woywitka

Losses: G Alex Auld, C Jeff Halpern, D Roman Hamrlik, D Alexandre Picard, LW Benoit Pouliot, C Tom Pyatt, D James Wisniewski

Offense: Tomas Plekanec scored 20 goals for his fifth straight year and remains one of the Habs’ best offensive weapons. Captain Brian Gionta continued his Montreal revival, scoring 28 goals. Mike Cammalleri only had 19 goals last year, but is only two years removed from netting 39 with Calgary. Erik Cole (26 goals with Carolina) was signed to give the Habs a physical presence on one of their top lines. Max Pacioretty only played 37 games before he was injured in a game against Boston, but had 14 goals in his limited time. As long as he’s healthy, he should continue to produce. Andrei Kostitsyn continued to be a reliable goal scorer, hitting the 20 goal mark for the third time in four years. Scott Gomez scored 7 goals, but considering he was paid over $1 million for each goal, it wasn’t enough.  Mathieu Darche could see more penalty killing time with Jeff Halpern departed.  Youngsters David Desharnais and Lars Eller will compete with each other for more playing time.

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Here are some thoughts on some of the potential rule changes being looked at in the NHL Research And Development Camp:

NHL Research And Development Camp (Photo:THN)

 Hybrid Icing: Safety is the main issue that gets addressed here (Remember Kurtis Foster’s injury?), without taking away from the game. Easily something I think that should be implemented in the game.  Although some would argue about the officiating on certain calls, which is the only real argument against it.

No Icing While Shorthanded: If the NHL can find a way to boost scoring, they’ll test it out (Remember the idea of round nets?) Now, I understand the want to score more often, but I don’t really like this idea. You should be able to ice the puck while shorthanded, make the other team actually have to work on the powerplay. The other guy has two or five minutes in the box, that should eb enough of a penalty on his team.

Overtime Changes ( 4 minutes 4 on 4, then 3 minutes of 3 on 3): If this gets rid of the shootout (unless the shootout goes to 5 shooters), im all for it. However, I really do not like the idea of 3 on 3 hockey, it should be 4 on 4 minimum.  Would be interesting to do on a test run basis in the NHL.

No Line Change For Team That Is Offsides: Honestly, I like this idea, if a line can’t come into the zone onsides, they shouldn’t be able to change. Honestly, unless the players on the line have been on the ice a while, but, going offsides is their own fault, is it not? But,like the next rule, it could have an impact on the game negatively.

Faceoff In Own Zone After Offsides Is Called: Now this, I do not like, at all. This would encourage dump and chase hockey, which, just isn’t that good  to watch from a fan standpoint. I don’t see this rule making it very far at all, it will not see the light of day in the NHL.

Eliminate The Trapezoid: Yes, yes, and yes. Getting rid of the trapezoid behind the net has my approval. Goalies should be aloud to play the puck, there is no good reason this rule was ever implemented. Goalies doing a bit more work, I don’t see any defensemen who would have to chase the puck otherwise, that would argue against that. Let the goalies be free from the evil trapezoid!

Goal Line Camera: A brilliant idea I can’t believe they didn’t think of sooner! So many close calls, some right , some wrong . Now, if we can work on defining “kicking motions”, that would be another huge step forward. I would really like to see this implemented in the NHL. But I feel it might not be 100% fool proof depending on the camera’s position if say, the goalie was on top of the puck.

Shea Weber could be on the move this year (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Shea Weber, one of, if not the, best defenseman in hockey today. After being unable to come to a contract agreement before arbitration with Nashville (in which he hit the Jackpot at $7.5 million for a one year deal.) there are bound to be rumors that he will be dealt this year at the trade deadline, if not before.

Obviously, this could change, he wants to be on a cup contender, and Nashville could very well turn into that. But for the sake of writing, lets say they don’t and he decides to demand a trade. Here are 4 possible destinations I think he could end up before or at the trade deadline.

4.) The New Jersey Devils: Now I will admit, “cup favorite” isn’t exactly what I would say about New Jersey this year, however, there is no way the team can be as bad as last year. But if New Jersey were to swing a deal, im not sure if it would be for just a rental, or for a re-signing possibility. They have a lot of contracts expiring next year (4 RFA’s, 6 UFA’s including both goaltenders). They already have $5.8 million in available space, with a few pieces that can be moved in a deal, it’s a long shot, but I think New Jersey could pull it off.

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This is part two of my two part summer doldrums games package.  Part one (the worst games) can be found here.

5. Flyers 7, Kings 4 (12/30/10)
Part one of my three game SoCal adventure (part two is in the “worst games” post). Both sides can agree the officiating was awful on this night, but the scoring came in bunches. Both the Flyers’ Mike Richards and Kings’ Ryan Smyth had two goal nights, Richards also added two assists. Claude Giroux chipped in three assists. The Flyers powerplay actually worked for once, scoring two goals! It was fun being one of the few people in my section standing up and cheering seven times in one game, high fiving a guy a few seats down while the natives gave me dirty looks.

4. Flyers 5, Devils 2 (10/3/09)
The invasion of “The Rock” was successful. It was Jersey’s home opener and we ruined the party. Ray Emery, who’d shutout Carolina the night before, was great in net for the Flyers. The Flyers jumped out to a 4-0 lead sometime in the 3rd before New Jersey scored two goals, sandwiched around a 5th Flyers goal. They may have been chanting “hey…you suck” to the Flyers and our fans, but we surely didn’t suck on that night. Best part of the night may have been an upset Devils fan asking our group (who was being a bit raucous), “When’s the last time you guys won anything?” I blurted out, “About ten minutes ago, did you see the scoreboard?” He muttered and stuttered, “that’s not what I meant”, and we just laughed at him.

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Here are some tidbits from around the NHL

Kris Draper (PHOTO: Getty Images)

– Kris Draper announced his retirement from the NHL. He is a 4 time Stanley Cup winner (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008. All with Detroit), as well as a 2004 Frank J. Selke Trophy winner. He totaled 364 points in his 19 year NHL career that spanned 1157 games. Also has 2 world junior gold, 1 world cup gold, 1 world championship gold and silver to his name with Team Canada. Congrats to him on a great career, and all the best to him in retirement!

– Nikolai Khabibulin is heading to the slammer after deciding to not appeal his 2010 DUI conviction. The lesson, being on injured reserve for a sore back, not the time to get wasted. On the bright side, 15 days is plenty of time  for him to start a prison yoga gang.

– Penguins signed Right Winger Jason Williams. A very good, underrated signing. He seems to always pop up when you need a goal, just don’t count on him all the time. He’s like Alex Kovalev…. without the huge price tag, stickhandling ability, and attitude.   (more…)