Habs news/notes for 10/20: Sergei Suspended (again...), Metro ready to go, more! Update: Sergei returns to Hamilton

Five games in Hamilton, four points, and you couldn't wait a little while longer to get called up? Screw off, Sergei, you impatient little douchebag.

UPDATE 9:30: Sergei returns to Hamilton after meeting with Gainey in the late afternoon

Sergei Kostitsyn was on his way to turning it around. Totally out of the headlines since he walked away from the team after being cut following training camp, a lot of people in this city were assuming that Sergei Kostitsyn would be the first forward called up once Bob Gainey and Jacques Martin were sick of the lack of production from Max Pacioretty and/or Matt D'Agostini.

Even I was warming up to the idea. But according to both Marc-Antoine Godin's twitter has well as RDS.ca, Sergei Kostitsyn was once again suspended today! According to Godin, Sergei left Hamilton today with all his equipment. The team immediately suspended him, but they have yet to release any statement on the matter.

It is unknown at this point whether this signifies the end of Sergei's career in Montreal, but you have to guess that the odds of him ever coming back are as low as they've ever been.

But that's ok, let him rot until he's a free agent and give his spot to any other Bulldog who's patiently waited his turn in Hamilton.

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TOP BULLDOGS PERFORMERS:

- Brock Trotter, center, with 2 goals and 4 assists in 6 games and a +4 rating.

- Mathieu Darche, left wing, with 4 goals and 1 assists in 6 games and a +5 rating.

- Tom Pyatt, left wing, with 3 goals and 2 assists in 6 games and a +5 rating.

- Ryan Russel (C), Ryan White (C), J.T Wyman (RW), and Andre Benoit (D) all sit tight with 4 points through 6 games, and they're all plus players.

- Late cuts Ben Maxwell (C, 3 points in 6 games) and Matt Carle (D, 1 assist in 6 games), as well as PK Subban (D, 2 assists in 6 games) have all been a tad bit quieter than organization would have probably liked them to be.

My guess is that Tommy Pyatt gets the next shot, seeing as the team was pretty high on his pre-season performance before he got injured. Brock Trotter and Mathieu Darche are certainly making cases for themselves as well.

The Bulldogs sit comfortably in 2nd place in the North Division (3rd in the Western Conference) with a 4-0-1 record. The Manitoba Moose hold the top spot in the conference, but they've played 4 more games and have a 6-4 record, losing to the Bulldogs last night.

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INJURY REPORT: METRO READY TO GO

Habs Inside/Out is reporting that 4th line Center Glen Metropolit is finally ready to return to action after leaving the second game of the season with bruised ribs. He will more than likely play tomorrow against the New York Islanders, replacing Kyle Chipchura beside Travis Moen and Georges Laraque. This was probably one of Chipchura's last chances with the team, and his -6 rating and no points in 6 games probably seal his fate.

Glen Metropolit has an underrated role on this team. He isn't a game breaker, but he's a skilled grinder who works hard on every shift and never really makes too many mistakes. He's a good utility player to have at even strength, shorthanded, and even on the occasional powerplay. Metropolit potted a goal and an assist in the season opener against the Leafs, and he'll look to play a more offensive role this season if he can stay healthy.

Honestly, if Maxim Lapierre continues to disappoint at the shutdown center on the third line, it wouldn't be out of this world to see a 3rd line featuring Metropolit along with the likes of Travis Moen and either Matt D'Agostini or Guillaume Latendresse.

Speaking of Latendresse, Habs I/O also reported that Guillaume left practice with an undisclosed injury. Maxim Lapierre replaced him on the second line with Plekanec and Kostitsyn, but you have to wonder whether he's the right fit for that line. Hopefully Latendresse's injury isn't too serious.

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GAME 8 THOUGHTS / GAME 9 OUTLOOK

I will be at tomorrow's game against the Islanders and will post a more thorough blog about that game tomorrow. However you have to imagine that that game is a must-win for the Habs. The Isles aren't very good, for the nth season in a row, and they're playing tonight. However, in a smart coaching move on the Island, Dwayne Roloson will be getting the start against Carolina tonight, which means that Habs-killer Martin Biron will be in goal tomorrow, and everyone knows he loves winning in Montreal.

But more on that game tomorrow.

As for last night's game against the Thrashers, it pretty much went as I expected. It was a nailbiter that went to a shootout. Both goalies looked good, although outstanding young goaltender Ondrej Pavelec faced a lot more shots than Jaroslav Halak did. It's good to see the Canadiens seemingly containing the opposition's shot totals so far in this young season, however they can partially thank numerous powerplay opportunities for that.

So, considering they dish out so many shots and get so many opportunities, why can't they score more than an average of 2 goals per game? It doesn't help that a lot of their shots are perimiter point shots. They seem to be obsessed with setting up blue-line one-timers, and it isn't working. Goalies and defenders have time to adjust to the shots.

While the powerplay looked better last night than it against the Senators on Saturday, they still didn't score on it. Both waves looked to create more room and park themselves in front of the net, but the focus was still on that blueline one-timer.

Not going to improve the powerplay percentage that way, Mr. Martin.

Still, a Habs fan can't complain, since the team won last night. Gionta's goal was a beauty (deservedly the highlight of the night on TSN's sportscenter). Scott Gomez was the best player on the ice for either team, and Mike Cammaleri continued to show that he can pass (we get it Mike, you're smart, you can use big words and you can pass. Now it's time to start scoring goals). The first line, or ''little 3'' as Pierre McGuire likes to call them, is doing fine. They just have to find a way to bury more chances.

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STRACHAN GETS LOLOWNED

All that being said, I'll be back tomorrow with a more in-depth blog and preview of the game against the Islanders.

Until then, enjoy today's LOLOWNED moment of the day:

“(CBC's Hockey Night in Canada's) Hotstove has a number of guest contributors who we rotate through the lineup. At this time, we've made the decision to take Al (Strachan) out of the regular rotation and to use some of the other personalities we've added to the broadcast over the summer.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/on-hotstove-head-shots-and-gemini-...

I have to say that I'm not going to miss seeing Strachan's ugly mug in HD every saturday night. Good riddance, and congratulations, Mike Millbury. :)

That's all for now, enjoy the rest of your wednesday, some good hockey on tonight as well as episode 6 of the Ultimate Fighter, Heavyweights!

Prax
www.thecheckingline.com
www.twitter.com/thecheckingline