Montreal Canadiens

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Roman Hamrlik’s underrated contribution

When Andrei Markov went down with a lacerated tendon during the Montreal Canadiens’ first game of the season in Toronto, many observers believed his absence and the lack of defensive depth on the blue line would erase any playoffs hope for the 2009-10 season. Andrei Markov’s presence has proven to be invaluable for the Canadiens in the last few seasons as their record indicates: Prior to this year without Markov: 7-14-3 This year without Markov: 14-14-2 However, this season a silent leader emerged among the Habs’ defensive corps of Jaroslav Spacek, Paul Mara, Josh Gorges, Hal Gill, Ryan O’Byrne, Roman Hamrllik and M-A Bergeron, to compensate the long-term loss of Andrei M...

Kovy comes back to town... sorta...

Alex Kovalev was back in Montreal yesterday, promoting the launch of his Off-Ice Training DVD. Is it just me, or is it amusing that Kovalev, now a member of the Ottawa Senators, decides to promote his DVD in this city, instead of promoting it in Ottawa, where Eugene Melnyk has forked over $10 million over two years so that Kovalev can play on the Senators' top lines? Kovalev will be the first person to tell you that Montreal was probably his favorite city to play in. The relationship between the aging Russian star in this city has always been one of love-hate, but there is no doubt in anyone's mind that Kovalev was probably the most exciting player to put on the bleu-blanc-et-r...

Habs look to avoid Centennial Hangover against struggling Flyers

I know when to eat my words. Admiteddly, last week's Centennial Game Blog was very negative. While I was certain that the ceremony before the game would be something to remember, I didn't have too great a feeling going into Friday's game against the Bruins. History has shown us that the Habs don't play too well on nights of ceremonies or jersey retirements. Maybe it's the added pressure of playing under the watchful eye of Habs legends, maybe it's the delay of the ceremonies itself, I don't know, but ever since these centennial celebrations began several years ago, the Canadiens have been constantly embarrassed by opposing teams. I didn't expect Friday night to be any different...

84 years of Glory + 16 years of misery = Habs Centennial

I'm all for celebrating major events in sports. I'm all for ceremonies in hockey. And I'm all for the celebration of the Centennial season of the Montreal Canadiens. But I don't think I'm the only Habs fan that will be glad when tonight's ceremony, as well as tonight's game, is over, and everyone can move on. Centennial seasons aren't something that are celebrated very often in sports. Beyond certain baseball teams in the US, and soccer teams in Europe, the Montreal Canadiens are amongst the oldest teams in pro sports. And if you factor in the fact that the Canadiens have never changed cities or names (they've certainly changed jerseys a lot, but I digress..), their Centennial s...

GAMEDAY: Habs visit Sabres on the 394th day of the 99th year of their existence

The Habs are in Buffalo tonight, as they prepare to face the league's best goaltender, Ryan Miller, and his troupe of Sabres. We'll get to the game in a second, but first a few notes about the site and some upcoming blogs. I'll admit that my game preview won't be as comprehensive as it normally is today. I'm saving myself for a fairly lengthy and in depth feature before tomorrow's centennial game, and I don't want to get too much into it today. Also, expect at least one other blog from me today, as the Chicago Blackhawns are set to announce the contract extentions of several players, and that's obviously something that's going to need some analysis once the contract numbers are...

Max Pacioretty’s much anticipated resurgence

Drafted 22nd overall in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens (a pick they had acquired along with Josh Gorges in exchange for veteran defenseman, and Saku Koivu's best friend, Craig Rivet), Max Pacioretty is finally making an impact offensively for the injury-riddled Habs. Commonly known as Max Pac by his friends and teammates, Pacioretty made his NHL debut last season on January 2nd, 2009 against the New Jersey Devils. That night, he scored his first NHL goal on his first NHL shift beating Scott Clemmensen with an accurate shot in a 4-1 loss. After starting his first professional season in the AHL with the Bulldogs, the New Canaan, Connecticut-native...

If Savard gets a $4.2 million cap hit... (Plus Leafs/Habs preview)

This morning, Bob Mackenzie broke the story that the Bruins had extended center Marc Savard for 7 years. The deal averages out to about $4.2 million (over half a million less than what was circulating around the rumor mill), which seems almost ridiculous when you consider what kind of player Savard is. While we haven't found out what kind of money Savard will make each year, I'd bet a fair sum that it's pretty heavily loaded in the first few years. Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo sports puts it into context: With his $4.2 million hit annually, Savard will cost less against the cap than Tim Connolly(notes) ($4.5 million), Daymond Langkow(notes) ($4.5 million), Martin Erat(notes) and D...

Habs host Caps; Good news on Injury front

Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals visit the Bell Centre tonight for a highly anticipated game against the Montreal Canadiens, only a week removed from the Habs' 3-2 victory in Washington last Friday. Only a few months ago, rumors were circulating around the hockey world that the Habs would be playing this game at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, which could house up to 70,000 screaming Canadiens fans. Unfortunately, thanks to the Montreal Alouettes' option to use the "Big O" for their Eastern final game in the CFL (which they did, in last week's 56-18 shallacking of the BC Lions in front of 50,000 fans), the Canadiens' wouldn't have had time to build a regulation hock...

Markov returns to the Ice UPDATE: Could return before New Year!

Edit: Please check out Fred Poulin's piece on Benoit Pouliot, which I inadvertingly cock-blocked with my latest blog, and don't forget to leave your comments! Update 12:15PM: RDS.ca is now reporting that Markov could very well be returning to the line-up as early as the end of December. He will start working out at a higher pace in December. We can only hope that he's actually ahead of schedule, and not only doing this to make the Olympics. More to come ---------------------- Update 2:30PM: Markov interview after he practice. He says he's happy, uncomfortable but happy to be back on the ice. He's eyeing an early year return. Habs Inside/Out has the full 14 minutes...