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For time being, this will be the last post at Ya! The Habs Rule!
By now, most of you know that I am taking the managerial reigns of the Habs juggernaut blog HabsEyesOnThePrize.com
I was thrilled when Robert Lefebvre offered me the position earlier this summer, and had been contributing to EOTP whenever I could since the spring. After some debating I decided to take on the challenge.
To be honest Robert’s site was what inspired me to kick off my own, and in that time I have had some great experiences both online and in the field. I never thought that in a matter of months after I started that I’d find myself interviewing the likes of Kirk Muller, Brett Hull, Wayne Gretzky or Guy Lafleur! It has truly been a rewarding and memorable experience, that I plan to continue.
In the process, Robert and I found a mutual respect for each others work, over the past couple seasons, and with Robert moving on to bigger things of his own, it seemed the natural thing to do.
In the mean time, I will keep this site up for anyone wishing to do any Habs research. SB Nation has offered to archive the site into EOTP, but I will likely just refer, and eventually carry over any articles of significance.
I’d like to thank all the supporters of this site, and look forward to seeing you all at EOTP!!
Oh and one more thing, GO! HABS GO!
So there’s a lot of issues as of late between mainstream media (MSM) and blogger universe, but the last 24 hours seem to have spawned some internal strife amongst some media “elite.”
It all started last week, then the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox totally shit the MSM bed by tweeting that former Habs coach Pat Burns had passed away.
The tweet was scattered across the planet in seconds and being reported by virtually every media outlet shortly after. The only problem was, Pat Burns wasn’t dead.
Seems that Mr. Cox, who unlike me and as far as I know HAS a degree in journalism, failed to confirm the story. Instead he merely relied on a comment from Leafs executive, and friend of Burns, Cliff Fletcher, who these days seems to have know idea who he is or where he is. Not exactly a “reliable source,” if you ask me.
Fortunately the story was clarified as false and Mr. Burns is still with us.
Cox tried to justify his “mistake” in a follow up column. But unlike Mr. Fletcher, and pretty much every other media type, he fails to actually apologize. He essentially pointed the finger of blame at Fletcher.
Cox was called out on Sunday by the Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin. I will admit that Dowbiggin suprised me at taking a swing at a fellow journalist, especially after his previous piece on the MSM/Blogger issue seemed almost two months out of place.
You don’t have to like Bruce Dowbiggin, nor do you have to like Damien Cox, but in this case the former was right in his response that Cox failed to take any responsibility for his actions, plain and simple.
So how did Mr. Cox respond? Well on Twitter of course, and at three in the morning in a series of tweets.
It just screams professionalism, doesn’t it?
So while these two scrap it out, let’s see what the other “Pros and Joes” have been doing.
The Canadiens made five cuts on Monday. No real shockers here, but it was nice to see Nicholas Champion (an undrafted goalie) get a chance to test himself against the pros.
Jaroslav Halak (remember him?) will get the pre-season start for the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche. Jeremy Rutherford, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has a great segment on a Blues prospect/Halak admirer who is now sitting 10 feet from him in training camp.
Lions in Winter goes Uber-statistical in comparing that stats of the Canadiens acquisitions from last season.
Kyle Roussell gloats about the $100 he won on Mise-O-Jou, and has a variety of notes and links on the NFL, MLB and Andrei Markov.
Oh Canadiens! Takes a look at the Habs forwards for 2010-11
Pat Hickey takes a look at Benoit Pouliot’s make or break season.
Sergio hits the airwaves: CJAD’s play-by-play man Rick Moffat will be joined by former Habs tough guy Sergio Momesso in the broadcast booth for the 2010-11 season. The station made the announcement last week. Momesso spent some time, during the Habs spring playoff run, co-hosting the post-game shows with Abe Hefter, and seemed the logical replacement for Murray Wilson, who retired at the end of last season.
Live in Toronto? Got any old batteries? If you answered yes to both of these, be sure to stop by the CN Tower, this Saturday from 10am to 1pm, and meet Guy Lafleur! A single old battery gets you an autographed postcard, while a truck load could win you a trip to Montreal. Full details are available on the Call2Recycle website.
As painful as losing 9 teeth was in the playoffs, Eric Belanger’s latest contract debate may have been more painful. Photo: AP (Nick Wass)
Well what an interesting debacle this appears to be!
When the Montreal Canadiens signed shutdown centre Jeff Halpern, several fans and media questioned why GM Pierre Gauthier did not spend the extra money and go after local faceoff specialist Eric Belanger instead?
Regardless of which player you get, it would be an upgrading for a two-way centre, and take the added burden of short-handed ice time for Tomas Plekanec. Speaking of two-way players, you should read Dave Stubbs’ fantastic piece on former Habs centreman Glen Metropolit, but I digress.
Belanger was expected to fetch close to the $1.75 million range in salary, which would have been more than what Metropolit made last year, leaving some tweaking for Gauthier to keep his team under the cap, or have zero space left.
My choice? I would have gone after Belanger. He’s been consistent offensively over the last three years, and quite frankly I don’t know many NHLers that can take a high stick, lose nine teeth (pulling one out on national TV) and stay in a playoff game.
In any event, the Habs signed Halpern to a one-year $600K deal, leaving speculation that a deal with Belanger couldn’t bee reached.
Was Belanger looking for more than his value, after a career high 41 points with the Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals? Was he like many NHL players fearing the high tax brackets in Quebec? Who knows. Maybe he had reached a deal elsewhere…ahhhhh!!!
On Tuesday, Belanger signed with the Phoenix Coyotes for a single $750K a season. Huh???? Makes no sense, or does it?
By Tuesday evening, the accusations from the Belanger camp were fired out. Apparently there was a verbal deal between Belanger and the Capitals for the centre to stay in Washington. A deal that the Capitals allegedly reneged on according to the forward and his agent.
A frustrated Belanger spoke to Montreal’s Team990 on Wednesday, citing that the Capitals gave him and agent Joe Tacopina gave him a reasonable offer, but did not wanted the signing to be announced as the team was working on a trade.
“They said it would take about a week to make a trade,” Belanger said. “It wasn’t a question of if they were making it but when, and you’re going to be signed, because they didn’t want to lose any leverage on the trade.”
This all started close to seven weeks ago, according to Belanger, who in the meantime leased an apartment and had his children enrolled in local schools. The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle seems to back up the situation with an article from August 12.
“I’m no lawyer guy but the line has been crossed, and now I’m looking ahead,” Belanger concluded.
Tacopina spoke to Toronto’s the Fan590 on Wednesday, reinforcing his client’s statements, adding that he had this all on record, via email, from Capitals assistant GM Don Fishman.
According to Tacopina, he was told by Fishman that this deal would be taken care of, once the trade was finalized, and not to worry about negotiating with other teams.
An exchange of stalling emails from the Capitals were sent to the agent, telling him to be patient. Tacopina also noted that Capitals Team Services manager even emailed his client in assisting with housing and getting his belongings moved from Minnesota.
Mirtle seems to verify Tacopina’s side of the story to an extent, in Wednesday’s article ,in the Globe and Mail, and includes excerpts of emails between the agent and Capitals GM George McPhee.
With time running out, and no contract, Belanger signed for $1 million less than what he thought he would a month prior.
But while Tacopina plead his case in print and on air, after all he is a prominent New York City defense attorney, the all important question came to mind.
If there was a deal, why not get it signed and done with and not dicker around for close to two months?
Tacopina easily should have said, “OK, we have a deal but this trade must happen in five to seven days.” He didn’t and Fishman and the Capitals appear to have played him and his client like a fiddle.
Contractual agreements and plea-bargains, which he is more familiar with, are two different things. From this debacle, it’s questionable if Mr.Tacopina realizes this.
The validity of the afore mentioned Globe and Mail article from mid-August also has some concerns. If the Capitals did not wish to unveil the signing, why would Belanger (according to the Le Soleil source in the article) say anything regarding it? Was this the deal breaker? Why would Tacopina allow his client to speak publically on a deal that way?
Mirtle continues to back the errors on Tacopina’s judgment in his Wednesday article below;
A contract, however, was never signed and registered with the league, an arrangement several veteran player agents said they would never have agreed to.
“They don’t have a legal leg to stand on,” one agent said Wednesday. “The entire situation is governed by the CBA. An agent and the player are obligated under the CBA to not take individual legal action or you can lose your certification to be an agent ... The sole remedy would be a grievance.
“The grievance precedent is 100 per cent crystal clear: Unless you have a signed standard player contract on file, registered with the NHL, you have nothing.”
A grievance? Yeah there’s a book the NHL and NHLPA likely don’t want to visit twice in a year, eh?
So in the meantime, Eric Belanger is stuck with a lease on apartment in the D.C. area, where his belongings likely already are, and now has to look at either finding another school in the Phoenix area, or playing distant father to his kids. Oh, and he could be out a million or so due to his agent’s bungling.
As Belanger said, he’s now looking ahead. For him, the 2010-11 NHL season will obviously be a hockey one, as opposed to a financial one. He should just continue doing what he does, possibly getting some power play time in Phoenix, and start over next July.
Hopefully by then, it will be with an agent that knows what he is doing.
Nicholas Champion (l) is one of two goaltenders invited on a tryout to this year’s Canadiens Rookie Camp – photo: Pierre Obendrauf Montreal Gazette
While most eyes at the Montreal Canadiens training camp focus on the likes of Louis LeBlanc, P.K. Subban, and Lars Eller, a pair of 20-year-old goalies may be getting their last shot at the pros.
Barring injury, or total collapse, Carey Price and Alex Auld have secured the two spots in Montreal ,while Curtis Sanford and Robert Mayer should hold the two Hamilton Bulldogs slots on the Canadiens depth chart.
Delmas and Champion will be looking for a potential opening on the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) now that Mayer has moved to the AHL.
Delmas was a former teammate of Los Angeles Kings prospect Jonathan Bernier, when the two played together for the Lewiston MAINEiacs (QMJHL). In light of playing in the shadow of Bernier, the Colorado Avalanche drafted him in the 2nd round (61st overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Photo courtesy LHJMQ
He remained in the Q and despite playing for a partial season under former Canadiens and Avalanche Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, was left unsigned. Delmas became eligible again for the 2010 Draft, but was not picked up by another team.
Much of Delmas’ lack of a big year stems from a hip injury. He had his hip scoped in the off-season and is looking to impress this week at the Canadiens practice facility in Brossard.
Photo courtesy LHJMQ
He is currently playing for the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), and received his invitation to the Rookie Camp on the same day the Canadiens traded goaltending prospect Cedrick Desjardins to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
His last overall evaluation from HockeysFuture is as follows:
“A solid, positional goaltender, Delmas is unflappable between the pipes and plays a mature, steady game beyond his years.
Always square to the shooter, he never gives up on the puck and possesses a quick glove, but at times he struggles controlling rebounds.
Though he has settled down from his rookie year, Delmas is sometimes a bit too adventurous in and around the net and doesn’t have the quickness and agility to always make up for his aggressiveness.”
Champion, on the other hand, has stayed out of the spotlight. A native of Labrador City, Newfoundland, he is familiar with exceeding his own expectations.
Playing Midget hockey in his home town, the 5’10 netminder was accustomed to facing 50 to 60 shots a night for the Labrador Huskies.
Nicholas Champion makes one of 51 saves, for Team Newfoundland & Labrador, during the Midget tournament at the 2007 Canada Winter Games. Photo via hockeyscene.com
After stating the 2007-08 season in the Maritime Jr. A League, Champion surprised himself when he was called up by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan before Christmas. He finished the season with a 25-9-2 record and 2.98 GAA.
Photo courtesy LHJMQ/Lewiston MAINEiacs – Ron Morin
He was never drafted and coincidentally is now playing for Delmas’ former team in Lewiston.
Both goalies have clearly caught the eye of Canadiens’ GM Pierre Gauthier and his scouting staff. Are they just taking a free look at a one-time NHL prospect, or did a diminutive goaltender from Lab City remind them of a former Habs goaltender, from recent memory, who played well under fire.
The following days could be a real test, and pivotal time career-wise, for the two netminders. Not only will they be competing for a long shot to the pros, but also have to know that their Junior days are getting shorter, and being challenged by up and coming teenagers, while they are away.
Jacques Lemaire’s uncorrected card #24 from the 1974-75 Topps/O-Pee Chee set
I guess back in the early ‘70s, hockey card producer O-Pee-Chee got wind of an inaccurate trade rumor. Back then there was no Eklund, no Twitter, and essentially no internet period, so how they got there source is a mystery.
In any event , the then London Ontario based company (the brand is now part of Upper Deck) was led to believe that the Canadiens centre was about to be traded to the Buffalo Sabres.
The company did not verify it their facts and airbrushed Lemaire’s photo and applied the Sabres logo to the card.
You’d think at the time that the card producers would have wondered which Sabres to change to Canadiens players, no?
The card is now considered a UER (uncorrected error) in the collector’s market, and would have raised the eyebrows of youngsters, opening their packs of cards 35 years ago, with the season already under way.
Of course it’s not the first time the card company, or other ones, has made errors in it’s card production.
Onestophockeycards.com has a list of uncorrected O-Pee-Chee errors from 1968 onwards.
Though many are misspelled names (Guy La Fleur, Claude La Rose, Ragatien Vachon), or statistical errors, there are two different years in which Canadiens Hall of Famers Bob Gainey and Serge Savard are mistaken to be Doug Risebrough. Must have been sad for Risebrough as his first ever NHL card didn’t even have his picture.
Clearly proof reading or confirming information was not a concern of hockey card manufacturers back in the day.
Or for that matter, neither was what position they played.
Maybe this one explains why Mario Tremblay can be so bitter…Another rookie card error!
OK so now we can say he’s officially retired! Happy 65th to Jacques LeMaire.
The Hall of Fame centre with the Canadiens, and current coach of the New Jersey Devils, was born on this day in 1945.
When you look at Lemaire’s statistics during his twelve-year career with the Montreal Canadiens, one thing that gets overshadowed was his defensive ability.
He was once referred to as Guy Lafleur’s defensive conscience during the Canadiens run of four Stanley Cups to close out the ‘70s.
His speed, anticipation and determination allowed Lafleur and linemate Steve Shutt to excel more offensively. Lemaire was the workhorse, winning the faceoffs, and digging pucks out of the scrums and getting the puck to his sharpshooting wingers.
In an interview with the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, Lemaire gave insight into the importance of a good defensive forward.
"We talked more about defence than offence. It was always there. I remember my first year playing for Toe Blake -- he was always talking about it.
On the bench, he'd be telling us if this guy or that guy didn't come back on defence and he would bench them. You hear people say their team needs more offence and forget defence.
That's crap! Defence is what we talked about. Somebody has to get back and help the defense. We knew we could score enough goals. We didn't want to give goals to the opponent because if they got a goal, we had to get two."
Lemaire’s defensive capabilities made the Canadiens top scoring line even harder to play against, and he never went a season, since his rookie debut in 1967, without scoring less than twenty goals in a season. He’s finish with 365 goals (7th in Habs history) and 469 assists (5th) for 835 points (7th) in 853 regular season games. Lemaire had a career plus/minus of +349.
During the playoffs, Lemaire brought it up another notch. His 139 career playoff points put him second behind Jean Beliveau. He played on eight Stanley Cup winners with the Canadiens.
He had three overtime playoff goals in his career including Cup clinchers in 1977 and 1979. Only five other players have scored more than one overtime Cup winner.
Not positive, but could be Lemaire’s Cup winner in the 1977 Finals.
His 1979 Cup winning goal would be his last in the NHL.
Lemaire retired from the NHL and spent two seasons as a player-coach in Switzerland. He later returned to become head coach with Montreal at the end of the 1983-84 season, taking the team to the Wales Conference Finals. The following season, Montreal finished first in their division, but lost in the second round of the playoffs.
That summer, Lemaire became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player.
The pressure of coaching in Montreal grew too hard for Lemaire and the following season he moved to the front office to become the Assistant to the Managing Director for eight seasons. The Canadiens would claim two more Stanley Cups (1986, 1993) over that span.
He then took a position as head coach with the New Jersey Devils in 1993 and developed what is now known as the “Trap" System”. He would win the Jack Adams award as coach of the year that season.
Coupled with the goaltending of Martin Brodeur, the Devils won the Stanley Cup in 1995 and Lemaire remained with New Jersey until 1998.
He was hired as the first coach of the Minnesota Wild in 2000, winning a second Adams Award in 2003, remaining there until he stepped down until the spring of 2009, returning to New Jersey.
After one final season with the Devils, he retired as an NHL coach in April of 2010 with 588 wins and a .561 win percentage.
Well I know that getting seats for a Montreal Canadiens home game, which go on Sale September 11, can almost be near impossible especially for people from out of town.
That said, I did some looking in to ticket sales info for those willing to make the trip to, or happen to live near one of the NHL cities the Canadiens are visiting in 2010-11.
The listing I put together is only information on single games. Most NHL teams are already offering 3 or 5-game mini packs which may or may not include the Habs, and that info is not included.
The Ottawa Senators are one of those teams that is already offering the Oct 23 game as part of a multi-game ticket pack. In an attempt to boost ticket sales, the Atlanta Thrashers are allowing fans to create their own “fan-packs”, which includes two games against Montreal.
For a couple teams (Buffalo, Detroit and St. Louis), single game tickets are already on sale. The majority of the other teams’ single-game tix will on sale to the public the weekend of September 10..
I will try to update this as more info becomes available, so if you get any updates please feel free to let me know.
|Thu October 7||Toronto||TBA|
|Sat October 9||Pittsburgh||On Sale Sep 10|
|Fri October 15||Buffalo||ON SALE NOW!|
|Sat October 23||Ottawa||On Sale Sep 11|
|Fri October 29||New York Islanders||TBA|
|Tue November 2||Columbus||On Sale Sep 10|
|Fri November 5||Buffalo||ON SALE NOW!|
|Thu November 11||Boston||On Sale Sep 10|
|Tue November 22||Philadelphia||On Sale Sep 10|
|Fri November 26||Atlanta||On Sale Sep 10|
|Thu December 2||New Jersey||On Sale Sep 10|
|Fri December 10||Detroit||ON SALE NOW !!|
|Sat December 11||Toronto||TBA|
|Sun December 19||Colorado||On Sale Sep 18|
|Tue December 21||Dallas||On Sale Nov 4|
|Thu December 23||Carolina||TBA|
|Sun December 26||New York Islanders||TBA|
|Tue December 28||Washington Capitals||TBA|
|Thu December 30||Tampa||On Sale Sep 10|
|Fri December 31||Florida||On Sale Sep 10|
|Tue January 11||New York Rangers||TBA|
|Tue January 18||Buffalo||On Sale Sep 18|
|Fri January 21||Ottawa||On Sale Nov 6|
|Tue January 25||Philadelphia||On Sale Sep 10|
|Tue February 1||Washington||TBA|
|Wed February 9||Boston||On Sale Sep 10|
|Thu February 17||Edmonton||Pre-sale Sep 23|
|Sun February 20||Calgary||TBA|
|Tue February 22||Vancouver||On Sale Sep 10|
|Tue March 1||Atlanta||On Sale Sep 10|
|Thu March 3||Florida||On Sale Sep 10|
|Sat March 5||Tampa Bay||On Sale Sep 10|
|Thu March 10||St. Louis||ON SALE NOW!|
|Sat March 12||Pittsburgh||On Sale Sep 10|
|Fri March 18||New York Rangers||TBA|
|Sun March 20||Minnesota||On Sale Sep 11|
|Thu March 24||Boston||On Sale Sep 10|
|Wed March 30||Carolina||TBA|
|Sat April 2||New Jersey||On Sale Sep 10|
|Thu April 7||Ottawa||On Sale Jan 8|
|Sat April 9||Toronto||TBA|
An exclusive photo, provided by the CBC’s Michel Godbout, from the Price family ranch in Williams Lake, BC.
Looks like the picket signs will not be needed after all, and will be used for a Labour Day bonfire, now that Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has signed a two-year deal.
So can we all breathe again folks?????
With that out of the way, yours truly is taking some time off from the blogging world. So unless something mega-dramatic happens, there won’t be much new to see here until training camp begins.
Not going anywhere, as I will still be checking in on Twitter regularly, I’m just going to recharge the batteries and read a hockey book or four while doing some offline preparation for the upcoming season.
I will also be making a special announcement, regarding the future of Ya! The Habs Rule! in the coming weeks as well.
In the June 11, 1981 edition of the Montreal Gazette, Chris Chelios’ name only appeared in the middle of a list of players, selected by the Montreal Canadiens, at the NHL Entry Draft the day before.
Chelios was the 40th player selected overall, and clearly the hidden gem of the draft. The Canadiens were lucky to get him, considering they had already made four picks (three in the first round) before selecting him.
The highlight of the media attention at the draft for the Canadiens at the time was Mark Hunter. But even hockey was taking a backseat, as the major news in the Montreal sports world was the 1981 baseball strike, just 24 hours away. The threat of the strike made the first page of the sports section, while the draft was one page over.
After being a star junior defenseman with the Moosejaw Canucks, Chelios joined the U.S collegiate ranks. Under “Badger” Bob Johnson, Chelios won the WCHA Rookie of the Year award, and was an NCAA champion by his sophomore year.
By this time, Canadiens GM Serge Savard knew what kind of a talent his predecessor Irving Grundman had drafted.“We’ve got this kid Chelios, that could play for this team right now,” Savard said feeling that Chelios could easily find himself a roster spot.
Even noted Montreal writer Red Fisher saw it in Chelios in an 1983 article, when he said, “He’s the best example of low drafts on high talent.” Fisher developed a strong media-player bond with the blueliner throughout his career. More on that further on.
Chelios got a first taste of the NHL during the 1983-84 season, seeing 12 regular season games, and fifteen playoff games as the Canadiens fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders in the Conference Final.
The following season, he was in the NHL to stay and made the All-Rookie Team, and finished second to Mario Lemieux for the Calder Trophy. He would get his first taste of Lord Stanley’s mug a year after that as the Canadiens took their 23rd Stanley Cup.
1988-89 was a bitter-sweet season for Chelios. He won his first Norris Trophy, and a First-Team All-Star birth, but the Canadiens fell short in the Cup Final against Calgary.
By the end of the 1989-90 season, the party was over in Montreal for Chris Chelios. One side will tell you that team president Ronald Corey was tired of Chelios’ alleged extracurricular activities, and forced Savard to trade him.
Savard tended to say otherwise, going on doctors advice that the knee injury the defenseman suffered in February would shorten his playing career.
So in June of 1990, Chelios was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Denis Savard. The deal was a head scratcher to fans, media and Canadiens coach Pat Burns.
Twenty years later, Serge Savard must be wondering where his doctors got their medical degrees.
1249 regular season games, four First Team All-Star selections, two Norris Trophies and two Stanley Cups after the trade, Chris Chelios has finally hung up his skates at age 48!
During his retirement speech on Tuesday, Chelios singled out the Montreal reporter who always saw something in him and believed in him from day one.
"The one guy I’d really like to thank is Red Fisher out of Montreal, who, if I could ever have a personal relationship with a member from the media, it’s about as close as it could come," Chelios said.
"Red was there from Day 1, really took care of me, actually. Offered me advice, pulled me aside a lot, was a great friend to my wife, at the time I didn’t have any children.
He really showed me a lot in how to deal with the media. I failed sometimes, but for the most part, I took it to heart what Red told me. Very sarcastic sometimes, but always gave me good advice.
So Red, I just want to wish you and your family the best. Hopefully this will get back to you, and I can’t thank you enough what you did for me."
Chelios officially accepted a position with the Detroit Red Wings, where he won his other two Stanley Cups, on Tuesday to become an Advisor to Hockey Operations.
“I'm 100-percent sure that this is it. I know that I'll never play in the NHL again,” he said. “It's not a hard decision. I couldn't have played any longer than I did. I accomplished what I wanted to. Basically, there's nothing left.”
There’s two things left however to finish his playing career, eventual enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Both of those should come by 2013.
Congratulations Mr.Chelios, on 27 wonderful years.
and of course, how could we not include this?!
More on Chelios’ retirement
Montreal Gazette – June 11, 1981
Montreal Gazette – June 4, 1983
I’ll give him this, player agent Allan Walsh certainly knows how to draw attention to himself. If he ever has a lecture on self promotion, I’ll sign up.
The representative of former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak pulled another shameless self promotion stunt, but his time he’s using charity as a screen.
Halak will be signing autographs this Saturday at Montreal’s Fairview Mall from 2-4pm. Fees will be $20 and it will be provided 8x10 photos only. Proceeds will benefit a worthy cause, the Ste. Justine’s Children’s Hospital Foundation.
HabsInsideOut’s Mike Boone posed the obvious question as to whether the photos were of Halak in a Blues jersey. It would have been better if fans could bring their own items, but this does tend to slow the process on occasion.
The fact that it’s for charity is certainly a wonderful gesture, but it’s how Walsh went about it that irks me, and it has nothing to due with the fact that Carey Price remains unsigned.
The signing was first tweeted on Saturday by the Team990’s Mitch Melnick under his “alter ego” HunterZThompson as follows:
“Jaro Halak at Fairview next Sat PM to sign, say thanx & raise $ for Koivu Foundation. You're welcome.”
“Great news, and a great gesture by Halak,” was my first thought. Of course the sarcastic side figured he had to come up any way to sign off on the sublet of his condo.
Walsh, in his tweets however tried to make it his own little show, blowing off Melnick’s post by citing it was still in the discussion stage. He then proceeded on Sunday to tweet his own horn, and again on Monday morning with some “big Jaroslav Halak news.”
This is a charity event, so why make it a personal crusade, Mr. Walsh? Or would you rather here us say, “Praise yee oh great agent, as you bring back our playoff saviour to help our ailing children.”
The idea seems sincere from Halak as a chance to thank the fans for his support. I’m pretty sure Walsh originally tweeted it as a chance for the fans to thank his client, then probably reworded it. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s deleted a tweet, right?
The move by Walsh of course spurned more fire against the player rep. Once his client was traded, Walsh quickly isolated himself from any Twitter followers connected to the Montreal Canadiens.
Some of us might have had it coming (the tail end of my post on the trade was “Gauthier gives Walsh the FU”). But clearly the man is gutless, as instead of diplomatically handling the situation, he elected to block a series of followers.
The days events spurred more discussion from my fellow bloggers. The Checking Line’s George Prax quickly added a “Blocked by Allan Walsh Club” to his site.
One clever Twitterite even created a “Blocked by Walsha” twibbon.
Again I want to stress that this has nothing against Jaroslav Halak, or the charitable benefits of the event, although the fact that Ste. Justine’s Foundation website has no mention of it also irks me.
Perhaps their web-tech doesn’t maintain it regularly, but it would have been better if Mr.Walsh had worked further in advance to give fans unable to attend some opportunity to get in on the signing.
My advice to Mr.Walsh would be to have his client sign some extra photos, and allow the hospital to use them at their discretion. I haven’t had a chance to hear his comments from this afternoon on the Team990, so maybe he did offer that…Who are we kidding.
In the event fans can’t make it on Saturday, here is the link to donate to the foundation directly.
In the meantime, maybe Mr. Walsh will consider a simple press release the next go around, when his client has a farewell engagement in St. Louis.
Perron weighs in on Halak: St. Louis Blues forward David Perron participated in former Canadiens star Alex Kovalev’s golf tournament on Monday in Ile-Brizard. The winger spoke to the media on his new teammate with great expectations. “I've heard so much about him, and I can not wait to see it in action,” said Perron, who feels the netminder will fit in well with a young team going in the right direction.
A star with the Granby Bisons (QMJHL), Turgeon was the first overall selection, by the Buffalo Sabres, in the 1987 Entry Draft. His offensive play dazzled the Buffalo faithful, with many thinking they had their next Gilbert Perreault.
He would be traded, early in the 1991-92 season, to the New York Islanders in a multi-player deal that saw Islanders star Pat Lafontaine go the other way.
The trade had no bearing on Turgeon’s offensive performance, when the reached a career high in points (132) with the Islanders the following season. The Islanders would go on to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Patrick Division Final, before falling the the eventual Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens.
Turgeon then achieved a childhood dream, after the Islanders decided to clean house, when he was traded to Montreal with Vladimir Malakhov for Kirk Muller, Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby on April 5, 1995.
He scored 20 points in 15 games for the Canadiens, but the team failed to make the playoffs in that strike-shortened season.
In his only full season in Montreal (1995-96), he scored a team high 96 points in 80 games.
He was also named team captain, after predecessor Mike Keane was dealt to Colorado as part of the Patrick Roy trade, and would be the last to wear the “C” for the Canadiens in the Montreal Forum.
Turgeon would win the Molson Cup as the Canadiens’ player of the year.
Despite a decent personal season, the Canadiens squeaked into the playoffs and were eliminated in the first round in six games.
Though he managed six points in those half dozen post-season games, being the captain took on the weight of discontent and the criticism of media and fans alike.
Some fans and media felt Turgeon had underachieved in the playoffs and that he did not act like a captain.
Allegations even came out that Canadiens president Ronald Corey only gave Turgeon the captaincy due to his francophone heritage to lead the Canadiens from the Forum to the Molson Centre.
By the start of the 1996-97 season, Turgeon found himself the third –line centre in training camp. Unhappy, he requested a trade before the start of the season.
In his last game with the Canadiens (Oct 29, 1996), a 5-4 loss to Phoenix, Turgeon was playing left wing (he was a centre) on the first line. He assisted on all four Canadiens goals.
Later that night, the childhood dream ended when Turgeon was traded to the St. Louis Blues, along with Rory Fitzpatrick and Craig Conroy, in exchange for Murray Baron and Shayne Corson.
Journalist Réjean Tremblay assessed the trade this way;
“Players like Pierre Turgeon are part of an infinitely small minority. There are only so many who can collect a hundred points as season year after year.
When you get such a player, you make him happy and let him produce.
You don’t put him on the third line with pluggers who can’t score.”
In his 104 games with Montreal, Turgeon scored 50 goals and added 77 assists for 127 points.
He would continue playing for the Blues, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche before retiring in 2007 . In his 19-year career, Turgeon racked up 515 goals and 812 assists in 1294 games. He scored 97 points in 109 playoff games.
Adjective: Difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious. See Kostitsyn, Sergei
There hasn’t been a lot since he was traded, but this past week I did manage to come across a bit of news/chatter on Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Martin’s favorite whipping boy of 2009-10.
Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton talked, to the Nashville Tennessean, last week on the troubled forward that he acquired in a trade for Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd on June 29.
“He was under the microscope a little bit in the Montreal system,” Fenton said. “I think a new start at a new place like ours where it's a concept of everyone working together is something he will accept.”
“This kid is a really solid, two-way player and he always has been,” Fenton said. “He's very responsible on both sides of the puck. His two-way game is very attractive to me.”
Fenton’s roll with the Predators involves player acquisitions and overseeing the team’s pro and amateur scouting, Suffice to say Kostitsyn and Fenton are well known to each other, as the winger has been on Fenton’s radar since he has been in his mid-teens.
From a blogger point of view, “Guy Lapylon” of Faceoff.com tags Kostitsyn as a bounce-back player this season.
“I think his move to Nashville was a blessing for the Belarusian. Kostitsyn has talent and I think he will get the playing time he was looking for in Montreal.”
Now whether or not this happens may not fall just on Kostitsyn’s work ethic, or change of scenery, but rather with the scoring talent surrounding him.
The Belarusian has always been considered a playmaker, but the 2010-11 Predators roster has no players with over 60 points last season. Without any true finisher to feed pucks to, a turnaround season has to be seriously questioned for the 23-year-old winger.
He’ll likely get the playing time he feels he deserves, but with little offensive depth in Nashville that is to be expected.
Unless a move is made for a top-level shooter, don’t expect that “come back to bite the Habs in the ass” season out if him. I wouldn’t be surprised though to see a offensive spurt around the time he faces his former team on November 18, in Montreal.
Another interesting observation is that there has been little comment from Camp Kostitsyn on the trade, or his one-year $550,000 signing with the Predators.
In fact, a noted Predators blog site doesn’t even list Kostitsyn in their poll of who will lead the team in scoring in 2010-11.
Given Paul Fenton’s long relationship with him, and the fact the Predators are kicking off their season promotional campaigns, you’d think that he would be more up front and centre for the club by now.
On the other hand, Fenton also knows that Kostitsyn isn’t exactly a great orator either, so a press engagement would be rather redundant. Fans and media in Montreal had enough difficulty understanding him, so imagine the backwoods Tennesseans out of the Smokey Mountains trying to figure it out.
In Montreal, we already know which number Dustin Boyd will wear, and he’s already made a brief media appearance for the club.
Then again Kostitsyn is now playing in Nashville, where hockey isn’t exactly big talk on any day of the week. For all we know, he could be drunk and riding the mechanical bull at The Wildhorse Saloon yelling, “Look at me, I’m cowboy!” and everyone will think he’s just one of the crowd.
Just tightening up the noose on a few links and stories that I’ve come across on the Habs over the past few days.
Carey Price: He’s on a horse. No, not like the Old Spice guy! Price took part in a rodeo event over the weekend. The following is the excerpt on his performance from the Chilliwack Times.
“Team roping, in which one rider attempts to lasso a calf's horns and another goes for a hind leg, doesn't normally get as much attention as the wild-animal riding contests. But Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price's attempt to snare a couple of calves shone a light on the sport.
Price learned the ropes, so to speak, on Friday and Saturday, before giving the event a go for real on Sunday. He should stick to hockey; he recorded two no-time scores as he was unable to snare the calf's hind leg with his lasso. But despite his lack of team-roping talent, Price was a hit with locals, according to organizer Helen Larson.
"The kids loved it; he posed for lots of pictures . . . and answered all the kids' questions," said Larson, who had Price sign her own Canadiens jersey, bought specially for the rodeo.
For those wondering, team roping was the only event the NHL would let Price participate in.”
It was the third event for Price in the B.C. Rodeo Association. He ranks 6th in the BCRA rookie of the year standings, earning $934.52 in prize money.
Clearly the Montreal Canadiens would rather that Price stick to his day job, once he signs a contract with them that is..Don’t worry kids, it will happen shortly.
Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau: “The horror! The horror!”
Boudreau was recently at an autograph signing in Toronto. I really should have gone and got him to sign a pic of that dumbfounded look he had after Game Seven. My first idea was to wear my Habs jersey under my jacket and go, “BOO!” would have been much more fun though.
A look at “old-time hockey: Dennis Kane profiles Habs Hall of Famer Sprague Cleghorn, arguably one of the baddest and dirtiest players in the game during his era.
All eyes on the blueline: The Checking Line’s George Prax looks at the Montreal Canadiens rear guards as training camp looms closer.
The Subban Network: P.K. Subban talked to TSN about his high expectations for the upcoming season.
Subban has been spending this past week, along with Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri and other NHL stars at the BioSteel Sports Pro Hockey Week in Toronto. The Fourth Period brings exclusive photos, as well as video interviews with the participating players on their main page.
Gomez and Cammalleri on Price: While at the training session, Scott Gomez and Mike Cammaleri talked to Rogers Sportsnet on Carey Price.
Moving on to more predictions and prognostications: Alexandre Harvey, from the Canadiens’ website, looks at predictions on the team’s upcoming season and individual performances from Pro Pool, the Hockey News and Hockey le Magazine.
NHL.com looks at the Habs upcoming season in their “30-in-30” series.
The things Stevie-Y should really take from Montreal: A nice list, put together by The Active Stick, on some items that the Tampa Bay Lightning can just plain have, without argument.
“Hey guys, are they looking at widening the surface again? If so, where’s the other half of the rink?” Photo – Chris Johnston (Canadian Press)
Day one of the NHL’s Research, Development and Orientation camp on Wednesday certainly brought some interesting experiments that may, or may not be implied to improve the game.
The camp is being supervised by former NHL player and current league VP of hockey and business development, Brendan Shanahan. A great background into how the camp came to be comes from Yahoo!’s Nicholas J. Cotsonika.
A quick recap of the first days’s events and observations can be found from the Canadian Press (via the Globe and Mail).
As teams of prospects, from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, worked through the drills using the new rule suggestions. The results were observed by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and a host of league GMs. The Washington Capitals’ Bruce Boudreau was the only active NHL coach on hand.
Leafs GM and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman observe the camp, discussing what potential rule changes will benefit the Toronto Maple Leafs – Toronto Star Photo
There are several things I agree on, notably the hybrid icing rule, albeit a tad confusing at times, as injuries are getting out of hand.
I wasn’t big on it at one time, but after last season’s post-season “too many men” drinking game, it may be needed as coaches and players can’t seem to communicate line changes as thoroughly in the louder NHL rinks. The blue areas are likely to be called the Don Cherry zones, after the strong proponent of the idea and goat of one of the most infamous too-many-men calls in hockey history.
The shallower goals (40” instead of 44”) wouldn’t make much of a difference to a goalie, and would speed up the pace with a bit more room behind the goal. I also like the larger creases,
I’m not sure what using a red mesh in the goalie net would accomplish, as it is being toyed with to make it easier for shooters to see the puck. NHL goalies would likely respond by wearing red pads, no matter what team they played on.
The 3-on-3 OT experiment seemed to impress many and would likely reduce shootouts. They also had the goalies change ends in the OT frame, something most GM's believe should happen.
The 2-on-2 overtime test seemed to be just a joke.
“We just had a 2-on-2 offside. Somebody get out the gong,” The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau noted on the magazine’s Twitter account. He later went on to tweet, “If the NHL ever adopts 2-on-2 OT, we all have to agree to band together & stage a coupe at league HQ.”
I am definitely not a fan of the the idea of just setting the puck on the faceoff dot and making the players wait for the whistle. It reminds me too much of some kind of dog-training exercise.
From a cosmetic point of view, I still have to figure out what the purpose of doubling the width of the blue line is. It makes no sense to me.
As for a single faceoff circle in one end, blah! I like the idea of finding a way for discouraging players to deliberately stop play in their own end, but that just doesn’t look right. Personally I think coaches it will take away from faceoff strategies, making the game more preictable and boring.
More on day one of the camp from Yahoo!’s Greg Wyshinski
Thursday’s agenda includes:
Ultimately the camp gives the NHL a chance to work through some ideas, as good or bad as they may be, and decide what is right for the future of the game. This blogger is just hopeful that they just don’t get too overboard and literally change the face of the game.
A dark cloud over the family of Guy Lafleur was removed on Tuesday.
The Montreal Canadiens legend was acquitted of his 2009 conviction for of giving contradictory testimony by the Quebec Court of Appeal.
The CBC was one of the first to break the news Tuesday morning.
Lafleur’s lawyer, Louis Belleau, said his client is delighted that the conviction was appealed successfully and he no longer has a criminal record. He also does not expect an appeal by the Crown.
He also mentioned that his client is a man of few words, clearly he only meant this when the subject of the Canadiens is not brought up.
Belleau and Lafleur will also be suing the crown and the police for abuse of power, to the tune of $3.5 million.
Had the appeal been rejected, Lafleur would have been required to abide to his original suspended sentence, a court order to make a $10,000 donation to a drug rehabilitation centre, and pay a $100 fine.
A criminal record would have impeded Lafleur’s travel restrictions abroad, especially in the United States where practically a near-zero tolerance level has been established at border crossings since 9/11.
He did travel to the US last July, while the conviction was appealed, appearing at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.
A conviction could also have jeopardized his Order of Canada and National Order of Quebec status. Steve Fonyo was recently stripped his Order of Canada after multiple criminal convictions.
The entire situation was a tremendous burden on the Habs legend, and his family. His direct-to-DVD feature “Il etais un fois…Guy Lafleur” gives more detail into the family’s struggles during this period.
With this behind him, Lafleur and his family can move on with their lives, and look forward to some exciting times this October.
Lafleur is being honored by the NHL Alumni Association this fall, as their Man of the Year, for his tremendous skills on the ice and involvement with charities and communities off the ice.
Habs Signings, sorta: A few autograph signings/appearances to mention in the Greater Toronto Area for you Habs fans.
First up, P.K Subban will be appearing at AJ Sportsworld in Vaughan. Best to check with the site as this August signing appears as date TBA. Fees start at $25, but there is mail order and drop-off services available.
A pair of Habs legends also will appear ay AJ’s on September 25. Jean-Guy Talbot and Andre Pronovost will both be appearing from 12pm to 1pm. Fees for both start at $20.
Talbot was a member of the five-straight Stanley Cup winning Canadiens teams, and won two more with the Habs in 1965 and 1966.
Pronovost played with Talbot on four straight Cup winning teams from 1957-60.
Their longtime teammate, and Canadiens Hall of Famer, Jean Beliveau, will also appear in Toronto at the Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo in November. Exact day, time and fees are to be confirmed shortly.
Meanwhile ‘86 Cup winner Claude Lemieux will be appearing at Frozen Pond on Saturday October 16. Fees start at $20, and Frozen Pond also offers mail order and drop off services.
Habs ticket sales update: The Canadiens website has indicated that 5-10 game packs will go on sale starting on September 4 at noon.
For those who cant wait for the regular season, and want to make the trip to Ottawa, tickets for the Habs/Sens game at Scotiabank Place on September 25 go on sale THIS SATURDAY at 10am through CapitalTickets.ca.
Capital Tickets will also have some 3 and 5-game ticket packs on sale Saturday, some that feature the October 23 game against the Canadiens. What you wish to do with the tickets for the other two or four games you have to buy seats for is completely up to you.
Well it’s Carey Price’s 23rd birthday. I had expected that the Montreal Canadiens would have announced a new contract on his special day. It hasn’t happened as of 9pm EST, but there’s still time.
The Canadiens appear to have given him an early gift though, to perhaps make the contract negotiations go more smoothly.
Late Monday evening the Canadiens traded goaltender Cedrick Desjardins to the Tampa Bay Lightning for, wait for it…..Karri Ramo.
Desjardins was recently ranked in the Canadiens Top-20 prospects by HockeysFuture earlier this month. More partial to goalies, I had him in the top 12 on a project I was working on..
Desjardins was coming off a career season with the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL), posting a 29-9-4 record with a 2.00 GAA, .919 SvPct and six shutouts.
The 24-year-old had just signed a one-year, $550,000 deal with the Canadiens. Playing in Hamilton, he would make $65K.
Ramo, also 24, spent last season in the KHL with Omsk (21-17-4, 2.11, .913) and has one year remaining in his contract with the club.
His NHL career numbers, all with Tampa, are a meager 11-21-10 with a 3.35 GAA and a paltry .885 SvPct.
Does anyone see this as a real head scratcher, in terms of an even trade? Probably not, but I think I can see the method to Habs GM Pierre Gauthier’s madness. I repeat, I think!
The move essentially gives Alex Auld the uncontested backup roll for the Canadiens this season. That was pretty much a given anyway, and Auld was prepared for that and to mentor Carey Price.
With Ramo committed to the KHL for another year, and veteran Curtis Sandford signed to a two-way deal, Robert Mayer should move up to Hamilton this season after playing last season in the ECHL.
Mayer would be at least a year from hitting the NHL, barring any serious injury issues.
That takes us back to the birthday boy.
By moving Desjardins, it essentially leaves Price with no serious contention in his age range down the road in Montreal.
Gauthier now gives Price and his agent some assurance in terms of contract length potential. Basically saying, “We want you to be our go to guy, and this is what we are willing to do for you. There’s nobody there to take your spot.”
It’s a true gamble and demonstration of commitment by the Canadiens to their 2005 First-Round pick. It may have been just what Price needed to keep any challenges/threats out of his head and focus on being the “franchise player” that he has been touted to become.
Fans may call it odd, but chances are the Canadiens and of course Price see it as job security.
We should get some more details over the next day or two, but I smell a signing by week’s end.
Delmas, 20, was drafted 61st overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2008. This is his review at Hockey’s Future.
Maxim Lapierre hosted his charity golf tournament on Thursday, with proceeds going towards the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.
Celebrities appearing at the tournament included teammates Scott Gomez and P.K. Subban.
RDS’ Pierre Houde and Chantal Machabee, Minnesota Wild Winger Guillaume Latendresse, former Habs player and coach Mario Tremblay, and the St. Louis Blues David Perron were other notables in attendance.
Perron is bragging on Twitter that he won the chipping contest, but the big winner was the Children’s Foundation, which received over $50,000.
While golf and charity were obviously the important topics of the event, the host spoke to CKAC on Carey Price and the Jaroslav Halak trade.
Loosely translated to English, Lapierre was not surprised to see the trade happen.
"I would have done the same thing,” he said “I expected that one of the two would leave, and I expected they would keep Carey Price.”
Lapierre went on to emphasize the support of him and his teammates in Price. “The organization and us, his teammates have tremendous confidence in him,” he said. “It had perhaps not been his best season, but he grew up there and now he has the net. He’ll show us what kind of stuff he has.”
“Last year, the games where Carey was there for us, we were not there for him and when things went badly, we were not better,” he added. “There were games where he made many saves and we only scored one goal and nothing changed.”
Lapierre is also not in panic mode, as many fans are, that Price has yet to come to a contact agreement with the Canadiens, “Am surprised that Carey is not yet under contract? Yes and no. But I'm not worried. I'm pretty sure they are getting a deal before training camp.”
Lapierre’s off-season activities were also featured today on Canadiens.com
Catching up with P.K. on the course: CKAC also got a hold of P.K. Subban at the Lapierre tournament. Here’s the link to the interview.
Subban notes that the Canadiens have not told him to look for an apartment just yet, and he has no intention to until training camp is underway.
More Cammi Radio!!: Lapierre’s teammate Mike Cammalleri chatted with Calgary’s The Team960 on Thursday afternoon.
Most of the chat is similar to his other recent radio appearances (the team’s recent success, Carey Price, etc.), but the Canadiens winger was rather open on him not re-signing last summer with the Calgary Flames.
“They made some moves at the Draft (the Olli Jokinen trade) which put them into a situation where they didn’t have much money to spend, but it made me think of where I might fit in.” he said. “They (Flames management) always treated me with respect. There was never any harsh negotiation of any kind, and it never worked out.”
Cammalleri also talked about the change in playing markets, going from Los Angeles to Calgary and then to Montreal, where the Canadiens are basically a religion.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for the history of the organization, and the level of excellence they’re used to,” he said. “I try and use it as a motivator to do the best you can. It’s been fun so far.”
The interview closes on the Habs captaincy, his leadership roll with the team and the upcoming Heritage Classic game in February.
What the other bloggers are saying in the past couple days:
Habs Watch breaks down the NHL’s move away from picking Europeans, with the exception of Swedish players, in the NHL Entry Draft.
The Active Stick gets this week’s award for humour, when looking at what would happen If Pierre McGuire ran the Habs.
With all the attention focused on the recent train wreck of a UFA signing by one Russian player this summer, Kyle Roussel looks at the future of Andrei Markov in Montreal.
The Checking Line offers a look at Habs prospect Gabriel Dumont.
John Ferguson admires a cigar ad featuring himself prior to the ‘72 Canada-Russia Summit Series. Despite the Team Canada victory, he was not smiling after the pre and post-series antics of his friend, and former teammate, Serge Savard.
In October 1972, Team Canada made their triumphant return to Montreal’s Dorval Airport, after winning the Summit Series over Russia. They were greeted by thousands of cheering fans and dignitaries, such as Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau .
“I can’t believe the response we’ve had,” said Team Canada assistant coach John Ferguson,upon the team’s arrival home. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget in my life.”
Retired since the 1971 season, the one-time Montreal Canadiens enforcer had turned down an invitation to play and instead took on a coaching roll under Harry Sinden.
Ferguson was returning from Europe, after the grueling eight-game series victory, with a fantastic personal trophy.
Clutched in his hands, as he made his way through the airport crowds, was a Team Canada hockey stick that had been signed by all the players on the team.
The stick was seldom out of sight, as Team Canada left Moscow for a single exhibition game against the Czech National team in Prague.
From there it was off to Paris and then home. All the while, Ferguson kept the stick in his clutches at restaurants, hotels and airports. Sinden even claimed that one night he saw his assistant coach go into the men’s room with it, and lock the door.
Ferguson already had plans to mount the stick on his den wall once he got home. It never got there thanks to some unsuspected thieving hands from one of his best friends,
Serge Savard is escorted by RCMP officers as Team Canada ‘72 made their way into Dorval Airport- photo: Montreal Gazette
As the players made their way to the receiving line with Prime Minister Trudeau and Mayor Drapeau, Ferguson was lined up behind Team Canada defenseman, and former Canadiens teammate, Serge Savard.
Savard had finished exchanging words with the Prime Minister when Ferguson heard him say, “And, by the way, look what John Ferguson brought home for you.”
“Before I could say ‘Sacre Bleu!’ Serge had had gently pulled the autographed stick from my hands while I temporarily contracted a case of lockjaw,” he wrote in his biography “Thunder and Lightning.”
If it had it been Guy Lapointe, another Team Canada rearguard and noted joker in the Habs dressing room, it probably would not have been as much of a surprise to Ferguson.
Had someone tried to take, or knock a stick out of John Ferguson’s hands during a his playing days, there likely would have been retaliation on his part with serious repercussions to whoever did it.
“I was speechless, I wanted to throttle him,” he later told Brian McFarlane in “True Hockey Stories: The Habs".”
Before a group of dignitaries however, it was a different case. The Prime Minister happily accepted the stick and thanked the shocked and puzzled Ferguson.
“What could I say?” Ferguson said in his book. “Finally I forced a few words out, ‘Uh, er, you’re welcome, Mr. Prime Minister,’ I said. It was nothing.” Extracting some revenge on his friend, he grinded his heel into Savard’s Gucci shoes while talking to Trudeau.
The Prime Minister handed it over to one the members in his entourage and that was the last John Ferguson ever saw of his stick.
Ferguson later told McFarlane that a staff member from the Prime Minister’s office had got wind of the Savard prank and had offered to return the stick to him. “I said Trudeau could keep it,” Ferguson said.
The stick incident wasn’t the first time Savard had foiled Ferguson’s plans in 1972.
During Team Canada’s August training camp in Toronto, Ferguson had a good tip on a race horse he once owned at the Fort Erie track.
The players had the day off, but Sinden had his coaches working. Savard and Ferguson were both avid racehorse owners, so the latter asked a favour of his friend.
“Drive to Fort Erie today and bet a horse for me in the seventh race,” Ferguson said. “Bet $100 win, $100 place and $100 show. What ever you do, wait until the last minute to place the bets. We don’t want to attract any attention and kill the odds.”
Savard rented a car and made his way to the track and realized that if Ferguson could benefit from a windfall, why shouldn’t he?
Unfortunately, Savard was unfamiliar with the Fort Erie track. Hearing the “One minute to post” call, he made his way to the window to place the bets on the 7-1 odds.
The only problem was it was a cashier window, and he needed to be at the other end of the building to place his bets. The other thing Savard didn’t know is that at Ontario tracks, “ one minute” is just that. The tracks in Quebec, that he was more familiar with, used the “One-minute” call, but allowed a five minute window for late bets.
“He’s going to kill me!” Savard thought to himself.
Ferguson’s tip placed second, and would have doubled their money. Instead, Savard was going home with their even $600, less the cost of the car rental which he felt Ferguson should still pay for.
“C’mon Fergy, anyone can make a mistake,” Savard pleaded.
“True, Serge,” Ferguson replied. “You’ve proved that often enough.”
All was forgiven between the pair of course, and the two remained lifelong friends and business partners.
Nine years after the stick snatching incident, Ferguson, now GM of the Winnipeg Jets, took Savard in the 1981 Waiver Draft after the Canadiens failed to properly file his retirement papers.
Ferguson was persistent to convince his friend not to retire and two months into the 1981-82 season, Savard finally agreed. He would play two final seasons in Winnipeg before retiring officially.
A Keane connection: Former Canadiens captain Mike Keane owes a debt of gratitude to Serge Savard and John Ferguson. Left undrafted, Keane had been playing minor hockey in Winnipeg. Ferguson had watched him play there and gave Savard, now GM of the Canadiens, a call. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sources for this article:
The Montreal Gazette, October 3, 1972
The Montreal Gazette, “How Serge pushed Fergie to the Brink” – by Ted Blackman - August 15, 1981
“Thunder and Lightning” by John Ferguson with Stan and Shirley Fischler
“True Hockey Stories: The Habs” by Brian McFarlane
“’72 From Training Camp to Victory” - DVD
In terms of actual Habs news, there hasn’t been much officially in the last few days, outside of a lot of drooling over Louis LeBlanc’s performance at the World Junior Camp.
The off season is a great time for bloggers like myself to come up with some new projects, or actually have a life and take the summer off. In my case, it’s a little of both but more of the former.
Outside of my own little corner of the Habs blogging world here, I’m also contributing to Examiner.com as their Toronto Sports Memorabilia reporter. Here’s a piece I did there on the 2010-11 hockey card season, that already has product out!
I also spent the weekend working on another project with my fellows at HabsEyesOnThePrize, but I have some stories and projects on the way in a few days at the YTHR mother ship.
In the meantime here’s what my astute fellow bloggers, who continue to work hard at it, have come up with.
Before I forget to mention, it’s Ken Dryden’s birthday! You’d think with his Liberal Party connections, my petition to make it a statutory holiday in Canada would have been passed in the House of Commons by now.
Now on to some interesting Habs blogs. First up is Kamal Panesar at HabsAddict.com. Kamal has come up with two great concepts for his site. His blog now offers contributors in both English and French, and he’s recently added a he said/she said segment, that should bring some interesting views from the opposite sexes.
A second excellent post comes from Kyle Roussel, who puts an end to the Simon Gagne to the Habs talk, once and for all…hopefully! An extra shoutout to Kyle, who was a guest on the Team990’s Franchise show over the weekend! Nice work Kyle!
More from the scrapbook: One of these days, I have to meet and sit down with Dennis Kane and look through these scrapbooks of his! Here’s another edition of treasures.
Way too much free time?: I gotta admit, had I pursued a degree in mathematics, instead of pissing it away drinking beer, I probably would have spent my life generating information such as Michael Whitehouse has done here. This is exceptional detail, and I wonder if even NHL scouts have this much information.
Michael has broken down Carey Price’s goaltending in the last post season, amongst some other topics. It parallels some of the comparisons done last season from Chris Boyle at HabsEyesonThePrize.
It will be interesting to see both Chris and Michael’s statistical analysis of the upcoming season.
Better late than never: J.T gets all poet-like in a tribute to the Habs playoff run. My guess it took her a few weeks longer to compose when she realized she couldn’t get something to rhyme with Spacek.
Habs Group Tickets: For those looking to get a group together for a game at the Bell Centre, the submission period, and sales starts this week. Three and 10 game mini packs will likely go on sale the following week, once the groups are all assigned.
Well I hope those who got it here in Canada had a great “civic” holiday weekend. That’s the most common place term for it.
For our US counterparts, the first Monday in August goes by a variety of names in the various provinces/territories of your northern neighbor. And you guys thought just our money was silly, eh?
Still recuperating from a busy weekend, a crazy Tuesday on the “paying job”work front,I refuse to watch “The Replacements” on TSN.
Yes there is an “Ole. Ole, Ole, Ole” chant in there, but acting legend Gene Hackman and “Whoa” Keanu Reeves? C’mon.
Instead I thought I’d catch up on what Pierre Gauthier and co. and Habs addicts did over the weekend.
Mario Tremblay joins RDS: Moving on… As long as it doesn’t come full circle, recalling Tremblay began a career as a TV analyst during Patrick Roy’s rookie year. From the get go in the press box, and even while as a player, Tremblay never liked Patrick Roy. We all know what happened years later.
I just can’t wait to hear what he has to say about Carey Price. The kid, depending on who you read/listen to, already wants out of Montreal, so talks about a catalyst! Too bad I cancelled my RDS subscription on Saturday, so I’ll have to rely on other sources to see what Tremblay has to say.
Louis signs: Ending the Q vs. Ivy League questions, the Canadiens signed 2009 First Round Pick Louis Leblanc to an entry-level deal. Provided he doesn’t stick with the Hamilton Bulldogs, he’ll play in the Q with the Montreal Juniors.
LeBlanc must have learned enough from one year of economics in Harvard that the pros means “Cha-Ching!” and “Uber-Cha-Ching!”, to a reported $3.6 million with bonuses over three years, if he makes the club straight out of juniors.
An excellent look at the LeBlanc signing from HabsEyesOnThePrize.
Well, at least the Bulldogs have a captain: Gauthier also signed Hamilton Bulldogs captain Alex Henry to a two-year deal.
On a related Bulldogs note, they’ll start their pre-season in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland beginning September 28. The camp will be highlighted by a trio of games across “The Rock” against the Binghampton Senators in CB, Grand Falls-Windsor and St. John’s.
You know, my fiance wanted to go back home to NL this year….hmmmm Nah, she’d never go for that.
This year’s Jay Leach?: With Andrei Markov’s injury a given for the start of the 2010-11 season, the Canadiens picked up defenceman Alexandre Picard. It’s a two-way deal for practically pennies and will give the Canadiens and Bulldogs that extra body with next to no cap hit.
Honestly, I’m not watching the movie: But, not a bad soundtrack…
Antti Niemi: It’s Finnish for “ain’t coming to Montreal.” Face it folks, if the Canadiens were unwilling to sign Halak, they are certainly not going after this guy.
To be honest, I really didn’t think his playoff performance was as stellar as some say it was. If it had been, Stan Bowman would not have walked away from the arbitration and moved to get rid of that other goaltending leech on the Blackhawks salary cap. Unfortunately Bowman still has Cristobel Huet to deal with.
Fare thee well, lads: Glen Metropolit and Dominic Moore have found new homes with Ev-Zug (Switzerland) and the Tampa Bay Lightning respectively.
Metro was a class act in the NHL, has also spent some time before in the European Leagues. I wish nothing but the best for him in the future. Many will say that Europe is the end of the line for NHLers, when a team doesn’t sign them, but may thrive for several years while getting a chance to play. One of Metropolit’s teammates will be former Canadiens forward Paul DiPietro, who has played for EV-Zug for nearly a decade.
I still scratch my head over Gauthier’s decision not to re-sign Dominic Moore, especially after his performance in the post-season, but it falls on cap space and younger players (Lars Eller, Dustin Boyd, Alexander Avtsin and LeBlanc) waiting in the wings.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman got a two-year bargain to add to his Tampa puzzle, and if there’s a “bite them in the ass” deal this season or next (and possibly in the playoffs) against the Candiens, it will be this one, and not the Halak deal.
The Fan590 spoke to Moore , who turned 30, on Tuesday about the new deal and the Habs playoff run last season.
It wouldn’t be complete without SOMETHING on Carey Price: I’ll bestow this honor to J.T from “The H Does not Stand for Habs”, who offers the top-10 reasons Price has not signed. My fave, taking a page from the Michael Ryder days:
“3. I made a paper airplane out of it while I was sitting on the bench during the playoffs.”
The pool now is when the Canadiens sign him.
Did I miss anything?….oh yeah: So Georges Laraque finally decides to retire, big surprise.
I have to question the whole deal to sign him from the get go now.
Did the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Canadiens medical team drop the ball on this one and overestimated BGL’s physical abilities, essentially leaving Bob Gainey to waste cap room for three seasons.
Unfortunately his retirement comes after the buyout, so the Habs are still on the hook for $500K for each of the next two seasons.
Meanwhile the big guy has become co-deputy leader of The Green Party, a political party who has a leader and two deputies, but zero seats in the House of Commons.
True story, but I watched a “direct-to-DVD” version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” last night. The beanstalk reminded me of Laraque in a way; big, green and little movement.
He’s a Scrappy fella: Most of you Habs fans, and hockey history buffs, likely read Dennis Kane’s blog. For those that don’t, shame on you.
Lately Dennis has been sharing some scrapbook memories on the Habs. Here’s his latest entry.
That’s it for today folks, going to see if the Northern Lights are out.
"As your life gets closer to the end, you realize that your body gets weaker, you mind works harder but your heart gets softer. You get closer to family, you get closer to God, and there are things that you realize along the way.” - Pat Burns March 26, 2010
As we all know, former Montreal Canadiens coach Pat burns is in his third battle with cancer. He announced in January of 2009 that he had incurable lung cancer. Burns had been treated for colon cancer in 2004 and liver cancer in 2005.
I recently talked to a contact, who had been in touch with the Burns family in recently, and got an update on his health.
Burns continues to battle the incurable disease, but by opting not to seek treatment his health is rapidly declining. “He’s not doing well,” I was told.
It’s also reported that the three-time Adams Trophy winner, and his wife Lynne, have also sold their home in New Hampshire and are spending the summer in Quebec. The Burns family spent the past winter in Tampa.
The fact that he was healthy enough to travel back to Canada could be a positive sign that his fight with cancer is far from over. “With that kind of mobility, it sounds like he's still got some time with us,” my source added.
Then again, is anyone surprised that Pat Burns was going to take this on without a fight?
Burns last public appearance was on March 26, for the arena naming ceremony in his hometown of Stanstead, Quebec. A frail Burns spoke with a weak voice, far from the bellowing one that got players and referees attention on the ice.
There was concern the end was indeed near back in April, when the 58-year-old was rushed to hospital with pneumonia. He was released a few days later.
A grass roots movement, and several of his former NHL colleagues pushed to get Burns into the Hockey Hall of Fame this summer, before he passed away.
“Pat’s been stricken with a terrible disease,” said former coach Mike Keenan, when I spoke to him earlier this month. “It was an honest attempt, and a very nice gesture for other members of the Hall to bring up his name.”
Unfortunately their public calls did not factor in with the selection committee enough, leading to criticism of the Hall of Fame by fans and media alike.
Three days later, the NHL and his former teams (the Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, The Toronto Maple Leafs, and the New Jersey Devils) donated $50K to the construction of the Pat Burns Arena.
photo: Canadian Press
Just last week, Canadiens forward Michael Cammalleri got some up front media exposure in Toronto. This week, he hit not one, but two Toronto-based radio stations. I know he’s a local boy, but are the Leafs really that non-newsworthy these days?
First up, his chat with TheFan590’s Eric Smith. Cammalleri, in a phone interview from his Montreal condo, discusses the Canadiens playoff run, the Halak deal, his training regimen and the BioSteel Pro Hockey Week, and the Kovalchuk situation.
For more info on the BioSteel contest mentioned, you can click this link at The Fourth Period for a chance to train for a day with Cammalleri and over another dozen NHL stars.
“We might even get Scott Gomez to come in on a flight from Alaska,” Cammalleri said. “But you didn’t hear it from me.”
Actually, the main site for the event does confirm Gomez as an attendee. P.K. Subban is also slotted to attend.
The Richmond Hill native then moved up the dial to AM640 with Bill Hayes to talk more on the BioSteel event as well as growing up as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I had a close buddy that was a huge Habs fan,” Cammalleri said. “He was always Patrick Roy, and I was (Doug) Gilmour or Gary Leeman when we played on the streets.”
Eventually, both players he emulated went on to wear a Habs sweater, so we can’t be too hard on him now, can we?
Cammalleri also talked about the current Habs roster and going into training camp with great optimism.
It’s not a concern in the coming year(s) but he also acknowledged that he does have a limited no-trade clause in his contract. You’ll also notice his openness on what goes on in contract negotiations in theFan’s interview.
He also spoke openly on having another NHL team, or perhaps two in Canada.
“I think that would be tremendous. If we can get a couple more markets in Canada, I can’t see a downside to that,” he said. “I think we should have one (a second Toronto team) undoubtedly. I think that market could easily handle another team and it would be good for everybody.”
If that’s not enough of No. 13 for you: A quick write up on Cammalleri’s busy summer from canadiens.com
A push for the Habs captaincy: Hockey54’s Launy “The” Schwartz gives his reasoning to give the “C” to the Habs winger.
Lions in Winter also has a poll on the subject.
When Franke Selke took over the Montreal Canadiens, one of the first things he complained about was the smell coming out of the Montreal Forum. “Clean the toilets! Nettoyez les toilettes!” were the words he muttered, as cited in the book “Lions in Winter.” It was done.
One has to wonder what the Hall of Fame builder would think in present day, after reading what the story published by ESPN on Monday. Thanks to my friend Mike McLaren for bringing this to our attention.
If you are about to eat, you may want to wait until after or just read this before you eat that next hot dog at our favorite sports arena.
The ESPN story outlines recent health inspection reports at stadiums/arenas in 2009 for the four major leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL).
For the health and germ conscious, you will really want to think twice as you dip your nacho into that cheese, while sitting down to cheer on your favorite team.
Best scores: All of Ontario based venues came with an impressive 0% rating, including the Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre and Scotiabank Place. In Chicago, only Soldier field had any violations and were cited due to a lack of hot water.
Worst: Best to bring your own food to any Florida sporting event. Ditto for the Verizon Center in D.C.
The full article can be found here, but I’ve outline the NHL venues below.
Vendors with critical violations: 33%
Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors spotted an employee scooping ice with his bare hands instead of using scoops.
Vendors with critical violations: 3%
Inspection report excerpt: The only major violation was for not having chlorine sanitizer in the kitchen's dishwashing machine.
HP Pavilion at San Jose
San Jose Sharks
Vendors with critical violations: 20%
Inspection report excerpt: At one location, inspectors found Chinese chicken salad had warmed to 60 degrees, about 20 degrees above a safe temperature.
Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings
Vendors with critical violations: 11%
Inspection report excerpt: One stand dumped 9.5 pounds of sushi after inspectors found that it become too warm.
Air Canada Centre
Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vendors with critical violations: 0%
Inspection report excerpt: No critical or major violations.
Vendors with critical violations: 3%
Inspection report excerpt: Food found at an improper temperature.
General Motors Place
Vendors with critical violations: 9%
Inspection report excerpt: A sushi display cooler was malfunctioning, and the temperature of the sushi rose above safe levels. Inspectors also cautioned one stand regarding properly heating donairs, which have been tied to E. coli outbreaks elsewhere in Canada.
Vendors with critical violations: 14%
Inspection report excerpt: Utensils and equipment at one location were not being cleaned and sanitized properly.
Vendors with critical violations: 25%
Inspection report excerpt: At one location, workers used contaminated cleaning items.
Vendors with critical violations: 0%
Inspection report excerpt: No critical or major violations.
Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche
Vendors with critical violations: 67%
Inspection report excerpt: At one bar, inspectors found phorid flies, sometimes called coffin flies, in a bottle of cognac.
Vendors with critical violations: 67%
Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors issued several violations for soiled ice bins and coolers.
St. Pete Times Forum
Tampa Bay Lightning
Vendors with critical violations: 88%
Inspection report excerpt: At one location with five critical violations, an inspector saw an employee handle dirty dishes and then put away clean dishes without washing his/her hands or changing gloves. The same location lacked soap at a hand sink.
Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers
Vendors with critical violations: 35%
Inspection report excerpt: At a couple of locations, inspectors found food not being protected from contamination.
Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks
Vendors with critical violations: 0%
Inspection report excerpt: No critical or major violations. Chicago health inspectors inspect vendors while the stadiums are empty, when no workers are preparing or serving food.
Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins
Vendors with critical violations: 21%
Inspection report excerpt: Storing dishwashing chemicals on top of an ice machine resulted in a critical violation for one location.
Joe Louis Arena
Detroit Red Wings
Vendors with critical violations: 52%
Inspection report excerpt: Poisonous or toxic materials were stored atop items used to serve customers, posing a potential risk of contamination. Inspectors also found roaches below a soda dispenser at one location.
Xcel Energy Center
Vendors with critical violations: 17%
Inspection report excerpt: Chicken strips for topping a Caesar salad were found at 105 degrees, when they should have been at least 140 degrees.
St. Louis Blues
Vendors with critical violations: 0%
Inspection report excerpt: No critical or major violations.
New Jersey Devils
Vendors with critical violations: 6%
Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors noted that at one location, the person in charge "did not demonstrate adequate knowledge of food safety," and the sink lacked soap and paper towels, and there was no sanitizer solution.
Vendors with critical violations: 8%
Inspection report excerpt: Two critical violations for having a toxic chemical in an unlabeled spray bottle.
Madison Square Garden
New York Knicks, New York Rangers
Vendors with critical violations: 61%
Inspection report excerpt: At one stand, inspectors found "53 mouse excreta" (38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit).
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
New York Islanders
Vendors with critical violations: 0%
Inspection report excerpt: No critical or major violations.
Vendors with critical violations: 67%
Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors cited one vendor after watching employees handle raw, breaded chicken while loading fryers and then handling cooked food without changing gloves or washing hands. The employees placed cooked chicken back in the same container used to pre-portion raw chicken before cooking.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Vendors with critical violations: 9%
Inspection report excerpt: One of the stadium's critical violations was for employees' handling lemons, limes and oranges with their bare hands while placing them on beverage glasses.
Vendors with critical violations: 55%
Inspection report excerpt: In one of the arena's higher-end clubs, inspectors found a live cockroach on top of a soda dispenser holster behind the bar.
Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers
Vendors with critical violations: 15%
Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors found evidence of mouse and fruit fly infestations at one bar location.
Vendors with critical violations: 59%
Inspection report excerpt: Nashville inspectors, who also score vendors, gave the facility's lowest score -- 75 -- to a vendor with three critical and nine non-critical violations.
American Airlines Center
Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars
Vendors with critical violations: 40%
Inspection report excerpt: Expired milk, brown lettuce and employees caught drinking or eating while they were working in the stand accounted for some of the stadium's critical violations.
Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals
Vendors with critical violations: 100%
Inspection report excerpt: Mice droppings, a critical violation in Washington, were found at at least 10 vendors.
It should be interesting to hear a rebuttal from the four major leagues. Typically they will come up with some criticism of the report as over exaggerated. But when 12 of the NHL’s 30 venues have ratings of 33% or more, it will certainly make people think.
Michael Cammalleri tees off at a Pro-Am in Blaineville, QC ealier this month. photo: Vincent Graton/Journal Le Courrier
Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Cammalleri talked to The Fan 590’s Jeff Lumby, Wednesday morning, on the Habs playoff run and the upcoming season.
The full interview can be found with this link.
Lumby (an admitted Habs fan stuck in Toronto) seemed emphatic on the Canadiens lack of size, notably up front.
Cammalleri’s response, and something he echoed all season was, “If Brian Gionta goes in the corner, and he’s stronger than the guy who’s taller than him, who’s bigger when he comes out with the puck?”
The Canadiens sniper also went on to reinforce his support of Carey Price, something he referred to earlier in the week on TSN.
Cammalleri was then off for a 7:50 tee time Wednesday morning, playing in the Canadian Open Pro-Am at St. George’s Golf Club.
An avid golfer, he commented to CityTV on his recent play, “My handicap is six. I used to be a better player, but I’ve been busy playing playoff hockey these days.”
Habs fans can only hope that his handicap is higher next summer.
There’s still 78 days until the puck is dropped on the 2010-11 NHL season, and the Montreal Canadiens have continued to fine tune their roster and staff in preparation.
I’m still catching up from vacation time, but over the past few days, there has been a whirlwind of activity surrounding the Bleu Blanc et Rouge.
Desharnais brings consistent scoring to the Hamilton Bulldogs and the signing of Avstin is KHL fallout from the folding of legendary Russian club team Dynamo Moscow. In essence, the Bulldogs gained strength in the forward position real fast.
The next day, Habs VP of hockey operations Julien Brisebois jumped to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier quickly wasted no time, and replaced him with Larry Carrière.
Carrière might turn out to be a very nice steal, as he has spent the last six years as a scout for the Washington Capitals and has close to 20 years of management experience.
Plus, you gotta love a guy who wasn’t afraid to take on the Broad Steet Bullies, or battle Terry O’Reilly, as seen in these videos.
As HockeyBuzz.com’s Steven Hindle pointed out in his recent article, “A key element to Carrière being brought in is that he brings an immense wealth of scouting and management knowledge, something that neither Guy Boucher or Julien Brisebois ever possessed.”
Hindle goes on to add, “As this is a situation whereby the Habs have benefitted, they shouldn't be so disappointed about the departure of Julien Brisebois.”
In the meantime, Brisebois will be joining former Bulldogs assistant coaches Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond, who were announced as assistants, alongside head coach Guy Boucher, in Tampa on Tuesday. The hiring of Raymond and Lacroix comes as no surprise, as Boucher’s coaching decision back in June centered on him bringing his own staff to wherever he signed on with.
To fill the coaching void in Hamilton, the Canadiens announced the hiring of Randy Cunneyworth as Bulldogs head coach, and Randy Ladoceur as an assistant on Tuesday. We can now officially quell any rumours of Kirk Muller leaving Montreal, for now.
Cunneyworth brings a great background of AHL coaching experience, having served the Rochester Americans for seven seasons (a franchise record) and is second on the Rochester win list. The last two years, he served as an assistant of the Atlanta Thrashers under John Anderson.
For those keeping track, here’s the connection; Cunneyworth played two seasons under Canadiens coach Jacques Martin and Habs assistant coach Perry Pearn with the Ottawa Senators.
The Canadiens have also brought on Pierre Allard as the team’s strength and conditioning coach, replacing the fired Lorne Goldenberg.
Obviously it’s still too early to tell without a crystal ball, but so far the managerial moves by Gauthier seem to be in the right direction for the team.
At the player level, Cedrick Desjardins is signed on to a two-way deal for the 2010-11 season. No financials were given by the team, but Capgeek.com puts the deal at $550,000 if he plays in Montreal and $65,000 in Hamilton.
This gives Montreal solid depth, at a great deal, between the pipes in the event that Carey Price and/or Alex Auld should falter or run into injury problems. Don’t be surprised to see Desjardins put up a battle to stay with the big club during training camp.
Speaking of Carey Price, the Tri-City Herald caught up with him at Olaf Kolzig’s golf tournament. Price acknowledged that negotiations are still ongoing for a new contract, and that he is looking forward to meeting with his new counterpart in the pads.
Price also garnered support from teammate Michael Cammalleri on TSN’s “Off the Record.”
Gauthier continued to keep busy on Tuesday, also signing Ryan Russell to a one-year, two-way deal.
Russell came to the Canadiens in a trade with the New York Rangers for Montreal’s 7th pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The Rangers pick, David Skokan, has yet to play in the NHL outside of three pre-season games, and is currently playing in Slovakia.
Russell comes off a pair of seasons in Hamilton, scoring 20 and 19 goals in each respectively.
His analysis from Hockey’s Future cites, “Russell, much like his brother in Medicine Hat, provides an excellent offensive game on the ice. With strong vision and passing, Russell is also an excellent skater and isn’t afraid to shoot the puck, which he does with great accuracy.”
His downfall is his size where is is listed as 5’10” and 180lbs and will likely stay in Hamilton as the Canadiens have lots of skilled, small forwards.
Mike Keane’s career over?: On another front, it was sad to hear that the AHL’s Manitoba Moose will not bring their captain, Mike Keane, back for another season.
I did a piece on Keane last August, and there are few players as passionate for the game as he is.
Although the Winnipeg Free Press, mentions no official statement has come from the Moose or Keane, it is expected shortly. It wouldn’t be surprising to remain with the Moose in a management or coaching position.
Keane played for eight seasons with the Canadiens and was on their last Stanley Cup winning team in 1993. He was named Habs captain in 1995, after Kirk Muller was traded to the New York Islanders. His tenure as captain was brief. After criticism form the press for his refusal to learn French (sound recently familiar??), he would be eventually be part of the Patrick Roy trade.
Two more Stanley Cups (Colorado in ‘96, Dallas in ‘99) and close to 2300 pro games later it seems that Keane’s playing career has wound down. Not a bad hockey resume for a guy who was not even drafted, though.
On the topic of Habs captains, Karmal Panesar offers his Top Ten list.
The question of who will be the next captain of the Canadiens was also brought to light in the past few days, around the same time defenseman Andrei Markov became a Canadian citizen.
Speculation is that coach Martin will name a new captain before the start of the season. Keep in mind though that a story broke before training camp even began last year, in which Markov was going to be named captain then.
Just a theory, but maybe the Canadiens organization just didn’t want a Russian wearing the “C”, and wanted to wait for his citizenship to be completed.