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...
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
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...
Monday afternoon the Montreal Canadiens traded disgruntled forward Guillaume Latendresse to the Minnesota Wild for another forward, Ottawa-native Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot, once a highly-touted prospect who was drafted 4th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (one rank before Carey Price), never blossomed under Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota.
The situation did not change under new head-coach Todd Richards for Pouliot. Through 14 games, the 6′3” 200 lbs left winger has recored only two goals and two assists for four points. He also has 12 penalty minutes. Pouliot, currently sidelined by a hand injury, has not played since November 13th in Washington. He is still seven to ten days away befor...
The Montreal Canadiens roll into Pittsburgh tonight having accumulated 7 out of a possible 8 points in their last four games. They roll into Pittsburgh the victors in their game last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, coming back twice from one goal deficits and scoring 5 goals in only their 3rd regulation victory of the season. They roll into Pittsburgh with a burning hot goaltending in Carey Price, who's posted an impressive 5-3-1 record in November, putting up a GAA of 2.39 and an SVP of .928.
The Canadiens roll into Pittsburgh with Tomas Plekanec their leading scorer (24 points, including 19 assists), good for 18th place in league scoring, ahead of some big offensive talen...
Like most people in this city, I found out about the Guillaume Latendresse trade as I got home from work. Naturally, one of the first things I did was turn on RDS, the French version of TSN in Quebec, to hear more about the trade and reactions from the so-called ''experts''.
To my dismay, I was brought to near-disgust with the first words that came out of anchor-woman Chantale Macabé's big fat horse mouth to open Sports 30, RDS's version of Sportscenter.
''Un autre Québecois quitte le Canadien.''
To save you the trip to Google Translate, in English, this means ''Another Quebecer leaves the Canadiens.''.
I seriously couldn't believe my ears. Not even a complete hour after t...
Woah. Benoît who? How did he get drafted so high?
So many questions, so little time.
*UPDATE: Sergei Kostitsyn has just been called up.
Update by Prax: TSN's Bob Mackenzie just reported on twitter that Laraque was given 5 games. Sounds about right to me to be honest. More on the trade and Laraque in my game blog tomorrow.
Anyone who is a Habs fan (a sane one anyway) will tell you that Big Georges Laraque isn't a bad guy. He's always willing to talk to the media, he's a big joker amongst teammates, he has a huge heart when it comes to charity and he's arguably one of the most gentlemanly players in the league.
Thing is, he wasn't signed to be a nice guy. He was signed to be a tough guy, that protects his teammates, aggravates the opposition and provides energy for the 5 to 8 minutes he's going to be on the ice. But in 43 games he's played (out of a possible 195 that he could have played) since he signed a 3 year, $4.5 million deal with the Canadiens in the summer of 2008, he's been almost everything exc...
We're all aware of Bob Gainey's policy of not negotiating contracts during the season.
It's a weird concept that isn't embraced by many general managers around the league, simply because in the new salary-cap NHL, it is extremely important to lock up the core players of your team to long-term extensions as soon as it is financially possible.
Let's take a look at the Habs' potential free agents for the summer of 2010:
Tomas Plekanec (UFA)
Glen Metropolit (UFA)
Paul Mara (UFA)
Marc-André Bergeron (UFA)
Jay Leach (UFA)
Carey Price (RFA)
Jaroslav Halak (RFA)
Tom Pyatt (RFA)
Guillaume Latendresse (RFA)
Maxim Lapierre (RFA)
Gregory Stewart (RFA)
Matt D'Agostini (RFA)
It seems like every game I post a preview for a Habs game, I'm using clichés such as ''moment of truth'', ''desperation'', ''sense of urgency'', ''panic button''... you name it. And every time, it's almost as if the Canadiens respond to said clichés and somehow come out with a victory, or at least a strong performance.
And just like clockwork, on Tuesday night, the ''Cardiac Habs'' somehow managed to get passed the ''Cardiac Canes'' in a 3-2 shootout victory. By no means was it a convincing victory, and truth be told, if I were to sum up that game in one word, it would probably be luck.
While the performances of Carey Price, as well as the line of Plekanec - Pacioretty - Kostitsy...
The American forward is having a hard time in the Big Apple. In fact, Higgins only has five points this year, and only deux goals. Defensively, Higgins' strength, is having difficulties adjusting to John Tortorella's style of play posting a plus/minus differential of -5. Tortorella is mainly using him on the third line as a forechecker. His might run out of patience towards Higgins if the latter doesn't adjust quickly and start producing on a Rangers' team lacing depth offensively after Gaborik, Prospal and Kotalik.
Saku Koivu, now playing for the Anaheim Ducks, is clearly the second line centre behind Ryan Getzlaf. Playing mostly with Selanne and Lupu...