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The Montreal Canadiens and Georges Laraque part ways (Updated)

NOTE FROM PRAX: Updated with Gainey comments UPDATE 2: Poll added Eight days ago I wrote a blog on George Laraque’s demise as an NHL enforcer, well looks like the Montreal Canadiens took my advice this morning when they decided to officially part ways with BGL. Bob Gainey called Laraque to tell him personally that head coach Jacques Martin didn’t have any confidence in him and that the organization believes that it can win without an enforcer in the line-up. According to RDS, The Canadiens will pay Laraque’s salary for the remainder of the current season and then buy out the last year of the three-year $4.5 million contract Laraque signed on July 3rd, 2008. Laraqu...

Bulldogs Sing the BLUES; Captain Darche Called up for Bell Centre Tilt

After a disaster of a weekend and 2 days off, the Canadiens return to action tonight, as they host the St. Louis Blues for another rare Bell Centre tilt. To say that this past weekends losses to the Senators (4-2) and to the Rangers (6-2!) were failures would be an understatement. As a result of falling to two teams that were essentially tied with the Canadiens, as well as the action in the NHL on Monday and Tuesday, the Canadiens dropped from a tie for 7th place to 12th place in the East. Somehow, despite having the last two days off, as well as four days off last week, 4 of the 5 teams immediately ahead of the Canadiens STILL have games in hand! The only solace the Habs can t...

Daniel Alfredsson = Hab killer, Halak in goal tonight

Daniel Alfredsson showed his great leadership in his first game back with the Ottawa Senators after a shoulder injury sidelined him for three weeks. The Senators’ captain notched a goal and two assists in his return to the lineup, and rookie Zack Smith scored his first NHL goal (shorthanded) in the Senators’ 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre Saturday night. Alfie, the Hab Killer, who missed 11 games because of a separated left shoulder, an injury he suffered against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Chris Phillips scored 1:22 apart in the second frame to give Ottawa a 3-2 lead. 3rd string goalie Mike Brodeur stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced in his third ca...

Laraquing up the Goals: Habs vs. Sens

The Montreal Canadiens will look to increase their win streak to 2 games tonight as they welcome the ailing Ottawa Senators to the Bell Centre. On Thursday night, the Habs lit the lamp and broke out offensively, scoring 5 goals against another ailing team in the Dallas Stars. With two goals from Brian Gionta, beauties from Benoit Pouliot and Mike Cammalleri, as well as a rare goal from Georges Laraque (his first as a Hab, hence the title of the blog... can't pass up a good pun like that), the Canadiens walked out of that game with 5 goals and 2 points in the bank. Laraque certainly had something to prove on Thursday. There has been much criticism about his game (deserved criti...

Familiar faces return as Habs host Stars

The Habs look to avoid a let down tonight, as they take the ice for the first time in 5 days to take on the Dallas Stars for the first and only time of the season. The last time the Canadiens played the stars, Guy Carbonneau ended up fired. With Habs coach Jacques Martin on the first year of a seven-figure contract, it's an event unlikely to be repeated. Moreover, the last time the Stars were at the Bell Centre, in 2006, Mike Ribeiro scored 2 goals - for the Canadiens. Not only has Ribeiro since been traded to the Stars, but he'll sit out his long anticipated return to Montreal thanks to a scary throat injury, ironically delivered by his former teammate, Chris Higgins. Ribeiro h...

Georges Laraque's demise as an NHL enforcer

Once upon a time Georges Laraque was one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL. He was even unanimously awarded the 'Best Fighter' award from The Hockey News in 2003. In 2008, Sports Illustrated named him the number one enforcer in the league. During his days an an Oiler, Laraque racked up the penalty minutes, 826 in 490 games, while scoring the occasional goal here and there. Also known as "Big Georges" or simply "BGL", Laraque even scored 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 2001-01 with Edmonton. BGL's good old days: After short stints with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bob Gainey signed BGL to a 3-year $4.5M contract on July 3rd, 2008. Gainey n...

Montreal Canadiens mid-season report

With a little more than half of the season played for the Montreal Canadiens and in the middle of a four-day hiatus, it is a good time to look back at the first half of the 2009-2010 season. Below you will find each player’s individual grade for the first half. Forwards: Tomas Plekanec, A+ 46 points (10G, 36A) in 47 games and is +6 Tomas Plekanec has simply been the Canadiens most consistent forward all season long. He also ranks among the league top scorers as he is currently tied for 12th overall with Patrick Marleau and Zach Parise – Plekanec has been used in every situation – power play, penalty kill, even strength, to defend a lead late in a game, etc. He is truly hit...

Andrei out 6 weeks, Habs not scoring: Where do they go from here?

Up to a few weeks ago, the Canadiens have a legitimate excuse as to why they were struggling. Injuries were plaguing the line-up left and right. Number one defensemen, first line players, roleplayers, no one, except for the goaltending, it seems, was safe. It's safe to say that the Canadiens made the most with what they had. Currently sitting in 8th place in the conference 48 points in 47 games (22-21-4), the Habs are overcoming the expectations that many had when this team was healthy, yet alone for a team that actually played a few games with only half of their regular line-up. With more than half of the schedule complete, many would argue that the Canadiens are still banged ...

Gainey speaks: Halak and Plekanec situations

Last night, before the Montreal Canadiens fell 4-2 to the Washington Capitals (more on that tomorrow), General Manager Bob Gainey met with the media in his ''State of the Union'' type address. The most important topic of the discussion was the situation surrounding impending UFA and mid-season MVP for the Habs, Tomas Plekanec, as well as Jaroslav Halak's status with the club since Gainey admitted that he had asked for a trade. In pure Gainey form, he kept his cards close to his chest and downplayed the situation, but admitted that Plekanec was an important piece to the puzzle. "We would like to keep all our good players and I think you have to mark Tomas Plekanec down on the l...

Habs at Caps Gameday

Most of North America's eyes will be fixated on the World Junior gold medal game tonight, but if you happen to gander towards the NHL's schedule tonight, there is certainly a marquee match-up in the works between the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals tonight at 7PM EST! The Canadiens roll into the US capital tonight with a slim 20 man roster. With Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn both missing the short 1 game road trip with lower body injuries, expect the Canadiens to go with the same line-up that couldn't solve Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres in Sunday afternoon's 1-0 loss. While the Canadiens didn't come out of that game with any points, they did come out of it with t...