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Game 12 Preview: Habs visit the Stanley Cup Champs

Quick blog today as it's been a more-busy-than-usual day at work, but this game is definitely one that deserves a preview. Arguably a marquee match-up, the Canadiens, winners of four in a row at home, are at Mellon Arena right now preparing for their biggest test of the young season: the 2008-2009 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Many people talk about ''Stanley Cup hangovers''. Even the Detroit Red Wings, a team filled with incredible players that has dominated their division and conference for over a decade, is starting to feel the lull of not only winning a Cup two years ago, but making a second appearance in a cup final in as many years. One could blame injuries and free ...

Plekanec showing flashes of brilliance this season

After a 2008-2009 season, during which his offensive production (20 goals and 19 assists for 39 points in 80 games) was mediocre at best, Tomas Plekanec has found a renewed passion and his old offensive flair this season. After 11 games, he already has recorded two goals and eight assists for ten points, despite playing with several different wingers: Andrei Kostitsyn, Matt D'Agostini, Max Pacioretty, Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, etc. We all remember the 2007-08 season when Plekanec played on a line with A. Kost and Alex Kovalev, leading the Habs to the regular season conference title. Plekanec notched 29 goals and 40 assists for 69 points in 81 games that season, a 22 poin...

Game 11 Preview: The Isles? Again? Really? Update: Cammalleri named second star of the week!

---- UPDATE 3:15: I guess the NHL read my spotlight story on Mike Cammalleri yesterday, they've named him the league's second star of the week between the league's top scorer Anze Kopitar and Patrick Marleau. Cammy tallied 4 goals and 2 assists in 4 games. Let's hope he can keep up the pace!!! ---- I know the Canadiens don't pick most of their opponents (although I'm sure they get a few gimme picks from the league, like most of their encounters with the Leafs and a few with the Bruins, among others, not to mention when they go on extended road trips, etc), but who was the genius who decided to send the New York Islanders to the Bell Centre twice in 5 nights, during the Canadiens ...

Sunday Player Profile: Mike Cammalleri

When I was thinking about who to do my first Sunday profile about, several players ran through my head as a viable candidate. Scott Gomez, who made news this week with the whole Sergei Kostitsyn fight / Andrei Markov stabbing debacle and who has been incredibly consistent as a 1st line center for the Habs... Tomas Plekanec, who until last night led the Canadiens in scoring and seems to have turned over a new leaf as a player, even Brian Gionta, who many are predicting will be the next captain of the Montreal Canadiens. But after last night's 5-4 overtime victory over the New York Rangers, it only felt right that the player to be "profiled" today should be Mike Cammalleri. In last n...

Game 10 preview: Rangers roll into town, why mess with a winning line-up?

The Habs six game homestand reaches 5 games as they welcome Chris Higgins and the surprising New York Rangers at the Bell Centre, tonight at 7PM! These teams have been seemingly moving in totally opposite directions this season, from October 1st, all the way throughout tonight's tilt. The rangers have played ten games and and started the season with a more than impressive 7 and 1 record. They sit pretty in 4th place in the East, and while the season is still young, the way they have been playing through the first month of the season, many wouldn't shy away from penciling them into their updated playoff predictions for next spring. They have, however, lost their last two games and wil...

Game 9 Preview: The Tavares Show rolls into the Bell Centre

When the New York Islanders drafted John Tavares last June 23rd in Montreal, no one really expected him to lead the Islanders to a quick playoff berth. The Isles were still expected to suck this year by just about everyone. But Tavares is still a special player, the kind you can build an organization around and improve it over several years. No one knows yet whether he'll be a lifetime Islander or whether he'll be the type of player that ends up moving around, or whether the Islanders will even be on Long Island with every passing season. But one thing is certain. John Tavares returns to the Bell Centre tonight, the place where he was drafted, and the place where he will play the firs...

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 Go...

Game 8 preview: Underrated Thrashers set to face ''Desperate'' Habs

Is ''desperation'' the right word to describe how the Montreal Canadiens need to play tonight, as they face the impressive 4-1 Atlanta Thrashers tonight at the Bell Centre? It seems to be, at least for Mike Cammalleri. The should-be first-line sniper used the nasty word above to describe how his team needs to think heading into tonight's tilt in a post-practice interview yesterday. Maybe he was just trying to impress the Montreal media with his ability to use big words, also dropping the following while taking questions: "consummate", "feasible", "conducive", "urgency", and "competitiveness", among others. We get that you're smart, Mike, but you do know that more than half the peopl...

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Habs' first three weeks

Three weeks of the season (well, 2 1/2 ish but who's counting...) have come and gone, and I don't think anyone could have predicted the standings most of us find ourselves looking at with amazement on this Monday morning. While this blog will obviously be about the Habs woes and what we have to look forward to as well as what we will cringe at in upcoming games, here's a quick look at what the standings look like on this monday morning in each division, before a deeper look at the Canadiens: ATLANTIC DIVISION In the Eastern Conference, the somewhat surprising New York Rangers sit pretty at the top of the conference and their Atlantic division with a 7-1 record. Most thought...

Game 7 Preview: The "Artist" Returns to town

Some like to call him the artist. Others like to call him the second coming of Guy Lafleur. Some just call him lazy. Either way, Alex Kovalev is the closest thing the Canadiens had to a superstar since Guy Lafleur, whether he was one or not. While all of that is as arguable as anything is, there are two things that are certain: 1) It's so weird to see Alex Kovalev in a senators jersey, and it's going to be even weirder seeing him in a Senators jersey in the Bell Centre. 2) Amongst fans, Kovalev was one of the most polarizing figures in 100 years of Canadiens history. While he was beloved by many, all the nights he took off and his alleged laziness on the ice made a lot of pe...