The Future is Bright in Montreal

By now you’ve already heard the news that defenceman Hal Gill has been traded to the Nashville Predators along with a conditional fifth round draft pick in 2013  in exchange for forwards Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney, as well as a second round draft pick in 2012.

My initial reaction was sadness and a puzzled look on my face, never having heard of the two forwards the Canadiens acquired (okay, maybe I live under a rock sometimes).

After some quick research and more thought, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

With Gill being an unrestricted free agent, it was only a matter of time before something had to happen with him.

As my step dad predicted last week, he was traded.

It makes sense, seeing as we either would have lost him for no return or would have had to shell out the big bucks to keep him in town.

In return we pick up two young forwards who are 6’2″; one whom bleeds bleu-blanc-rouge and has Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion and Howie Morenz running through his veins, the other is a good Canadian boy.

According to the current roster on Canadiens.com, 19 of 25 players listed are over 6’0″ and 15 of them weigh in at 200 pounds or more.

For a team that’s been criticized for lacking in size all season long, those are certainly big numbers.

With only seven players over the age of 30 on the Habs roster, it’s looks like the beginning of a great future in Montreal.

Okay, here’s the part where the girly hockey fan in me shines through so close your eyes for two seconds boys.

By adding Gill to their line up, the Preds continue to bolster their roster of “sexiest NHL players.” To be fair, we still have a number of stunners on our team a la Josh Gorges, Carey Price and Max Pacioretty to name a few.

Okay, girl comments are done, you can start reading again guys.

What we gain:

As I already mentioned the biggest trade off is return on a UFA in size and youth. Geoffrion played 22 game with Nashville this season, where he earned three assists. In 20 AHL games he has two goals and seven assists. He was awarded the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, as the Top U.S. Collegiate Player in 2010

Wow..what a day…its bitter sweet, going to miss my hometown of nashville, but going to where it all started with my family…MONTREAL!!! -@BlakeGeoffrion on Twitter

Slaney has split the season between the AHL and the ECHL. He has one assist in nine AHL games, and eight goals and five assists in 23 ECHL games.

Want to thank everyone in Nashville for everything, and excited for a new start in Montreal!  #newbeginnings -@rslaney67 on Twitter

What we lose:

A veteran defenceman with a wealth of playoff experience, strong penalty-killing ability and depth.

Moving Forward

As sad as I still am to see Big Hal depart for Nashville, I am excited for the future generation of Montreal Canadiens.

They may not be having the best season this year, but neither were the Ottawa Senators last year and look at them now.

“We are also very pleased to have acquired a second-round draft selection in 2012 and two young prospects for our organization. We look forward to working together with Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney to continue their progression.” -Canadiens GM, Pierre Gauthier

This time, I’d like to give PG a pat on the back for a good trade.

Flames Too Hot for Canadiens



For the second time this season the National Hockey League took the game back to its roots—outdoors—for a pond hockey style Heritage Classic matchup between the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

The sell-out crowd of 41,022 had to battle the elements at McMahon Stadium as temperatures dipped to 13 degrees (-9 Celsius). Factoring in the wind chill, it felt more like 1 degree (-17 Celsius).

On the ice, the Calgary Flames were on fire as they defeated the visiting Montreal Canadiens 4–0.

Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff turned away all 39 shots he faced for his fourth shutout of the season.

Rene Bourque scored a pair for a career 100 goals. Anton Babchuk (short-handed) and former Canadien Alex Tanguay also found the back of the net for the Flames.

No Zamboni

The NHL’s ice guru, Dan Craig, decided not to send out an ice re-surfacing machine between periods. Instead, an expert ice crew cleared the ice with specially designed shovels and a custom-made water-spraying unit.

Because of the frigid temperature, the ice was brittle and the machine could have cracked it.

“The ice wasn’t great, but it’s better than some NHL rinks we play in,” Calgary captain Jerome Iginla told TSN. “It was a little bit bouncy, probably a little bit brittle compared to what we’re used to, but nobody was really complaining about the ice.

The Calgary Flames donned a retro-looking uniform at the Heritage Classic honoring the history of professional hockey in the city. The jerseys were inspired by the Calgary Tigers who helped form the Western Canada Hockey League in 1921.

The Tigers became the first Calgary club to compete for the Stanley Cup, losing to the Montreal Canadiens in 1924.

Along with the Maroon and yellow striped jerseys and socks the Flames wore tan-colored pants with a red stripe.

The Montreal Canadiens chose to go with a classic version of their current road sweater.

Not to be confused with the Winter Classic, which is played annually on New Year’s Day, the Heritage Classic in 2003 was actually the first game to be played outdoors as part of the regular season.

That event took place at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium in front of 57,167 fans to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Oilers joining the NHL.

In 2008, the league began the Winter Classic which to date has taken place in American NHL cities.

In a postgame press conference NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, was asked about the future of the Heritage Classic. While he couldn’t commit to a possible date or location, he said the outdoor game was profitable.

“We made a big investment in doing it in Calgary and we think it paid off tremendously,” he said. “As our COO John Collins has told a number of you, our sponsor activation and investment in this was higher than any Winter Classic we’ve done.”

By the numbers

A few days ago an interesting stat came out: When Scott Gomez plays more than 18:40, the Montreal Canadiens are 1-6-0. When he plays 18:39 or less, Habs are 12-1-1.

Last night the Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1…Gomez’s time on the ice? 18:05.

While the stat is still holding true, you’ve got to give the guy some credit for last night’s game (or maybe Kirk Muller since that’s who Gomez thanked for his perfomance). Gomez was credited with a goal in the first period, something he hasn’t been able to do much of this season. Yet, he skated over to the refs and told them he did not even touch the puck, so the goal was rightfully given to Cammalleri.

In a league where everyone is so hyped up about getting points, it takes a lot of class to admit you didn’t score a goal. Especially after being booed by fans for having a rough start to the season (in 22 games played he only has seven points).

The good news is, Gomez seems to have a rough start in every season (except his rookie season). Last season he had 59 points in 78 games, 41 of those points coming in his last 44 games. So for now, let’s cut the guy some slack, keep his ice time below 18:40 and wait for the last 40 games of the season to come around….Scott Gomez will be back.

Last night marked one of the first games in a while that Carey Price was not named one of the three stars of the game. It’s not that he didn’t deserve it, because he definitely did, but Cammalleri, Eller and AK46 also deserved them too.

Price has been absolutely outstanding this season, even when the Canadiens didn’t stand tall in front of him.

Last season in 41 games Price only had 13 wins. This season is just 21 games he’s already reached that mark. He is ranked first amongst NHL goalies for the number of games played, number of wins, and number of shut outs (4).

The Habs are 13-7-1 with Price in net. The only game of the season he didn’t play they also won.

At the start of the season the Canadiens really struggled on the power play, now they are 18th in the league (which may not seem the greatest, but it beats where they were before).  On a high note, their penalty kill is second in the league.  

Another interesting stat to note with the Habs: If the Canadiens are leading after the first period they are 8-1, if they are leading after the second period they are 10-1 however if they are trailing after one they are 0-5 and if they are trailing after two they are 0-6.

As long as they can score early and Price can continue to shut out the opponents the Canadiens will continue to dominate.

Go Habs Go

Habsolute bust in home opener

Let me begin by first admitting that I was a Price nay-sayer when the unthinkable happened- Halak was traded to the St Louis Blues for a player I had never even heard of.

Dont get me wrong Carey Price is a great goaltender and he’s still very young and has a lot to learn.

I was however worried that the pressure of being a Hab would get to him and he wouldn’t be able to perform.

After tonight’s home opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning my Price worries are starting to fade.

Tonight the Price was right! The rest of the team? Let’s just say we’re still playing hide-and-go-seek.

I didn’t see the first period of the game so I can’t speak to that. I do know that in the last 40 minutes of the game the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge forgot to come back on the ice after that first period intermission.

Time and time again Price stood on his head putting up a wall against the likes of Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Steve Stamkos but no one was there to help him out.

Les Canadiens were outshot 44-26 going into over time… That’s right Price made 41 saves to make sure the Habs took home a point tonight.

PK Subban… I think I know what the PK stands for now; Penalty Kill. You can’t blame the refs for that call but it was definitely the weakest, most unnecessary slashing penalty I’ve seen a guy take in a long time. Subban’s rookie error put the Canadies on the PK for the remainder of the game with only a one goal lead.

Vinny Lecavalier made sure to take advantage on that mistake when he was left alone to fake the shot and send a nifty pass to Stamkos (who might I add was also left alone, in front, in the slot) who sent the one timer into the net to send the game into O.T.

The Habs misery continued there as they collapsed yet again leaving Price to fend for himself. He managed to keep the first few shots at bay but was finally beaten.

Any ‘habs’ fan who booed Price tonight deserves a slap in the face. Any fan who booed those refs and threw debris on the ice needs to relax, take a step back and realize that the refs did not, I repeat DID NOT do this to the Canadiens.

They did it to themselves.

End of discussion.

Fall is here

It’s only been fall for about two weeks now and the change of season has already become quite apparent. Driving through the rolling hills of Caledon I can’t help but stare in awe at the beautiful scenery that surrounds me.

The amazing colours of fall are not the only reason this is my favourite season. October is just another month on the calendar to the average person…but to us hockey fans ‘Hocktober’ is when Christmas comes early.

The NHL season has already begun with the Carolina Hurricanes defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in an afternoon match up on opening day.

Ex Hab Guillaume Latendresse ended up being a trending topic on twitter today thanks to his goal in the first period that marked the first NHL goal of the 2010-11 season. That will also probably be the last time Latendresse ends up as a trending topic. Sorry pal.

The Glorious Habs are in Toronto this evening looking to crush the Make Me Laughs on home ice. The Leafs are only one colour away from being the Canadiens…a colour they can add to their jerseys tonight; Red. The colour of blood. Les Canadiens will turn those Blue and Whites into Bleu Blanc Rouge in no time.

Unfortunately the Habs will be without power forward Mike Cammalleri who is serving a suspension.

If tonight goes anything like last year’s season opener (Canadiens beat the Leafs 4-3 in Overtime at the ACC) the city of Montreal will be smiling tomorrow morning.

If the Leafs win tonight you can bet a bunch of their “loyal” fans* will start planning the Stanley Cup parade route.

 

*I say ‘loyal’ fans because almost everyone knows that most of these so called Leaf fans only emerge from the closet when the Buds are doing good and run quickly back into hiding the second anything goes wrong.