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.

My First Tweetup

Sporting my Habs colours, even my iPhone wears bleu, blanc, rouge. Photo by Laura Kenney (@Habbykins)

On Feb. 11 the All Habs Tweetup crew hosted a Toronto event at St. Louis Bar and Grill for a Hockey Day in Canada match up between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

During the last year I’ve been reading up on these tweetup events and the friendships that come out of meeting fellow twitter Habs fans face-to-face, and finally had the opportunity to attend one myself.

After carefully choosing which of

My fiance wearing my step dad's Canadiens sweater. I couldn't resist taking a photo for all his Sens fans friends back home.

my bleu, blanc, rouge outfits to sport to the bar (I went with a Josh Gorges t-shirt), and raiding my step dad’s closet to give my Sens fan fiance a sweater to wear, we were on our way to show our colours in enemy territory.

Not going to lie…the following words did escape my mouth en route to the bar:

“The Habs better win this game, I am going to be so embarrassed if we take over a Toronto bar and have to walk out with a loss”

Luckily for me, Les Canadiens not only won, they completely dominated the blue and white in their home arena and shut them out on a night they were celebrating their beloved ex captain Mats Sundin.

From the moment I walked into the bar, I knew it was going to be a great night.

We were welcomed with open arms by my Twitter acquaintances whom I’ve built online relationships with throughout the last year or two.

It was pretty surprising when I didn’t even have to introduce myself; as I walked in Dayes yelled “hey! Melissa”

I finally got to meet @habbykins, @Kuyaz and @cokeaddict who I’ve spent a lot of time chatting with on Twitter about the Habs, my own hockey endeavours, and not to mention cake. Mmm, cake.

Michael Kuyaz and I meeting in person for the first time! I'm wearing a Gorges t-shirt, he's wearing Pacioretty!

I also met @thetonyjones and new follower @ange_ducharme, among others.

When Erik Cole scored five minutes into the second period to give Montreal a 1-0 lead, the entire bar (okay, our entire group…which made up 3/4 of the bar) errupted in cheers as @Kuyaz came around and gave everyone a high five.

The blue and white crowd at St. Louis would remain silent for the rest of the game as the Habs went on to rout the Leafs 5-0 just hours after Sundin claimed Toronto was the hockey capital of the world, in his pre game speech.

So much for that, eh Mats?

The Canadiens chased James Reimer out of the net after 40 minutes of play, after he allowed four goals on just 15 shots. Jonas Gustavsson replaced “Reim Time” between the pipes for the third period and was beat once on three attempts.

Carey Price made 32 saves for a perfect game, as Montreal won their fourth straight.

It was the first shutout by the Canadiens in Toronto since Jose Theodore blanked the Leafs 4-0 on Oct. 11, 2003.

The Canadiens league-leading penalty kill was tested five times, while they’re power play (which is second worst in the league) was 1-for-2.

Kuyaz and I, he added the caption. Photo by Dayes (@Cokeaddict)

Back to the Tweetup…

On each table was a piece of paper that included feedback on the event and a short quiz about Hockey Day in Canada.

Needless to say, I didn’t know a single answer on the test but wound of winning a prize, $25 St. Louis gift card, for ‘most creative answers’.

Mike managed to snap this photo as I was cheering for the Eller goal. Epic! Photo by Mike Milonow (@MikeMilonow)

When Lars Eller dangled Dion Phaneuf and undressed Reimer for the Habs fourth goal, we were pretty sure the Leafs would not be able to come back into the game in the third period.

During the second intermission our group sang happy birthday for former Montrealer Jaroslav Spacek, who was celebrating his 38th birthday.

There’s a video recording of it somewhere, you’ll have to ask @cokeaddict for it.

After filling up on nachos, wings, delicious drinks and plenty of high fives, hugs and photos the night came to an end and it was time to part ways.

A big thank you to @Kuyaz and @Cokeaddict for putting on a fabulous event. I can’t wait for the next one!

Next on my bucket list is to attend a Tweetup in Montreal.