Habs Suffer First Preseason Loss

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

For the first thirty minutes, it was awfully quiet in the Bell Centre. Considering how it’s usually the loudest barn in the league, there just was nothing to get excited about.

Les Canadiens would end up walking away with their first preseason loss to the Washington Capitals tonight, and had it not been for the outstanding effort of Carey Price, the game may have been uglier.

There are a few takeaways from this match as we get closer to the beginning of the regular season which opens October 8th (against the Maple Leafs).

It’s clear that the veteran players are ready to play. Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, and PK Subban all had solid games.

Alex Galchenyuk had an exceptional night in his new center position, and Brenden Gallagher didn’t let up on his speed or movement to the net all night.

The two biggest positives came from the exceptional “mid-season style” play from Carey Price who once again did everything to give the team in front of him a chance to win the game. It was his first 60 minute outing of the year. The other positive takeaway came from the faceoff circle, where Les Tricolore dominated. At the midway portion of the second, the Habs were 63% at the dot. An area they struggles in last year.

But le Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge just couldn’t seem to open up against a much tighter checking Caps team – an improved look for Washington, who’ve generally shown a more open ice style of play. That resulted in a pounding when it came to shots on goal. By nights end, the tally was 31-18 in Washington’s favour.

Everyone knows it’s hard to win hockey games when you’re outshot nearly 2-1.

There were some poor choices that lead to penalties, that had they not been taken, would have substantially improved Montréal’s chances, and when having the man advantage, once again, the power play unit couldn’t get the job done.

There is also some buzz around the Jared Tinordi hit on Nate Schmidt in the later portion of the game. Tinordi received 5 minutes each for elbowing and fighting, plus a game misconduct. If you haven’t seen the hit, check it below and leave your comments.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3FPVlPuNzqo

It is likely irrelevant to the big picture as Tinordi will most likely be getting his marching orders back to Hamilton as early as this evening. However, if he were to face supplemental discipline, it could have an effect on a call up later in the season if it was required.

Montréal will now start preparations to face the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night.

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Postgame Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “A” Team – No Captain for Canadiens

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

It didn’t take long, and just as I surmised not very long ago, it happened at the Annual Golf tournament.

The Montréal Canadiens franchise announced today that there will be no letter “C” on a Habs jersey this season. Instead, they will have four assistants instead.

Those four? Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty, and PK Subban.

It’s no surprise that Plekanec and Markov hold the position. Two veterans with the franchise who hold great respect in the room. Their seasoned leadership skills on and off the ice will continue to anchor this team.

The organization however, also kept it’s word regarding youth and growing their leadership base.

There has been a lot of back in forth in the fan base as well as the media in regards to Pacioretty or Subban becoming captain, but as I’ve stated all along, I don’t think either is ready for that step yet.

This move will allow both of the younger players to grow, and will no doubt end up grooming one of them into the captaincy.

As it stands, the two veterans will anchor the team wearing the “A” for all 82 games while the other two will alternate at 41 games apiece.

So that wraps up all the off season controversy, just in time for the game faces to be put on, and begin the quest for a 25th Stanley Cup.

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Announcements, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, Montreal Canadiens | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Habs Give Bouillon a Shot

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

The Montréal Canadiens made it official on Thursday that they are willing to give veteran D man Francis Bouillon a chance to make the squad for the upcoming season.

They have arranged a Professional Tryout Agreement with Bouillon who will attend training camp in the next few weeks.

The 38 year old has spent the last two seasons with Les Tricolore. He played in 52 matches last season with 2 goals, 4 assists, and 34 PIM.

Much of the reasoning behind this tryout, no doubt, has a lot to do with maintaining another possible veteran player on the blue line due to the departure of Josh Gorges.

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Saku Koivu- The Man

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Our Senior Staff Writer Andrea Gordon shares this special tribute to one of the best Captains the Montréal Candiens have seen. Her close personal experience with cancer makes his even more touching. Enjoy!

Written By: Andrea Gordon, #BBBR

1,124, The amount of games Saku Koivu played.
792, The amount of games he wore the CH with pride.
593 – The amount of those games he Captained Les Glorieux.

No matter the numbers, one thing nobody will forget is Saku Koivu, the man.

He’ll never be idolized for the amount of goals he scored (191) nor the total points he put up (641). He will forever be remembered as the Captain who stole our hearts by wearing his heart on his sleeve.

A lot of us grew up thinking of hockey players as unbreakable and indestructible, but he demonstrated to us that no matter how many times you’re thrown down, you get up again and fight.

I’ll never forget the day back in 2001, when I sat in front of my TV as the Habs had called a press conference.
Staring at the screen I was wondering- “Was there a big trade? Had we fired our coach?”. But that wasn’t it. The Montreal Canadiens President Pierre Boivin sat there, with what looked like tears in his eyes.

He sat there and told the world that our Captain, our leader, was going into the biggest battle of his life. A fight against Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I remember tears filling my eyes, It was a battle I knew all too well as it’s one my Father lost many years before.

I said right then and there to anybody who would listen – “Saku Koivu WILL play hockey this season”. People thought I was crazy, but it was a feeling.

Being only 16 going on 17, and at the mercy of my mother to buy my hockey tickets, I picked a game at the end of the season to go to.

The media kept us as up to date as they could on his condition, and then rumblings in March that a comeback may be possible before the season ended began to brew.

April 9th 2002 was the day and with my tickets in hand I made my way to the Mecca of Hockey. I stood there with the 21,272 other fans in the crowd and cheered, clapped and cried as Saku Koivu made his return to hockey. It’s a moment that will forever be etched in my memory.

With that diagnosis Saku entered our hearts even more than before and he showed this city his appreciation in setting up the Saku Koivu foundation. Determined to get another PET scanner into Montreal’s major hospital, in Koivu fashion he succeeded. His name lives on the walls at the Montreal General hospital, and we continue to thank him for his love and support of the city of Montreal.

That campaign earned #11 the Bill Masterton trophy.

I’ll never forget September 2002, when the Canadiens were holding a fan jam, and I was determined to meet and speak to Le Capitaine. I was only 5 when my father lost his battle, and to see how far this horrible disease has come and how many survive it, he inspired me.

Saku came down and started shaking the hands of fans. To my surprise I was going to be one of them! I’ll never forget that moment. All I could say to him was “Thank You!”

He stopped, almost looking puzzled and asked me “Why are you thanking me?” Emotions overwhelming me, I let him know quickly how I had lost my father to the same disease, and how happy I was to see how far the treatments have come and how it’s become one of the more curable cancers. He took my hand in his again and said to me “Thank You”.

It was a quick encounter but one that touched my heart in ways I could never explain.

That’s who he was, a hockey player but more-so, a man. One who fought his battle publicly and showed us all his strength and determination.

Saku Koivu will always be the Captain of my generation, who led by example.

And for all of that I say – “Thank You”

Posted in Announcements, Montreal, Montreal Canadiens, NHL | Tagged , ,

The Hockey Family – Yes! Even Rivals.

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

They say that blood is thicker than water. That when no one else is there for you, you can always count on family.

They also say that there’s no damn way a Boston Bruins fan or someone of the New Jersey Devils persuasion could ever put up with a fan of Les Glorieux. Or visa versa for that matter.

But guess again.

Hockey is many things to many people. To some it’s just a sport, but to others it’s a religion. Some see it as a battlefield, whether it be players that wear the equipment and take to the ice, or fans that don the hometown jersey and take to the bar.

It gets emotions to rise, blood to boil, mouths to curse, and passion to flow.

But it also brings people together.

I would love to tell you that some of my best friends are Habs fans, and that would be true to a point. But reality is, some of my best friends are just plain old hockey fans.

Nearing the end of last season, a certain Facebook site got me talking to a New Jersey gal named Deedee Rodriguez. Sure, she’s a Devils fan, but the more we talked the more I learned to appreciate her love for the game. She was passionate and smart. Beyond smart. She really knows her hockey. We’ve had some incredible conversations about the game over the past months, and despite who we cheer for – we share a passion.

However, let’s get shocking. Facebook has also introduced me to two lads from my arch rival city of Boston. Actually – I should say “rivahl”.

Both Todd Goodwin and William Johnson are pure bread lovers of the Black and Gold. We throw barbs at each other continuously. There’s no shortage of times I remind them of our 24 Stanley Cups, and they never let me live down the spring of 2011.

In the end though, I’ve shared some pretty incredible moments with Todd and William. We’ve talked about books and films, been privy to some family moments like anniversary cruises and new relationships, as well as some touching stories about family.

No doubt, when the puck drops on October 8th, it’ll be every man and woman for his or herself within this hockey family of ours. But there’s a beauty of how it’s brought us together.

I’m looking forward to 82 games of bliss watching my Habs, but I’m also looking forward to the ribbing and competition I’ll have to face from my buddies from Boston and Jersey. We already have bets on the table.

Hockey has brought me some exhilarating moments, some incredible disappointments, and memories that will last a lifetime.

But more importantly, it’s spawned me a new family, and life wouldn’t be quite the same without either them or the game.

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Bye Bye Spin-O-Rama

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

Gone are the days of spin to win as far as the NHL goes. It might be fine for a popular TV game show, or a board game at the cottage, but it’s no longer allowable in the major league of hockey.

This is probably good news, but now the league has to start considering how to get rid of the shootout all together. Something that we will hopefully see in the not too distant future.

Shootouts are for soccer. And even then(?).

Here’s a list of the other rule changes adopted by the NHL that go into effect for the 2014-15 campaign.

*The goalkeeper’s restricted “trapezoid” area expands by two feet from the goal post on both ends of the net.
*Clipping, charging, elbowing, interference, kneeing, head-butting and butt-ending infractions join the same category as boarding and checking-from-behind fouls, whereby a player who incurs two such game misconducts in the category will be automatically suspended for one game.
*Video reviewers may advise referees on whether their whistle was blown after losing sight of the puck on disputed goals.
*More evidence of a “distinct kicking motion” is required for video reviewers to reverse a “goal” call or uphold a “no-goal” call made on the ice.
*A two-minute tripping penalty may be called on defending players who trip players with their body/arm/shoulder, regardless of whether the defending player makes initial contact with the puck. But a penalty shot can not be awarded if the defending player touches the puck first.
*Supplemental discipline for diving increases, with a graduated scale of fines for repeat offenders and their head coaches.
*To curb face-off delay tactics following an icing call, a defending team committing a second faceoff violation (after a warning is issued) will receive a two-minute bench minor.
*Faceoffs will remain in the attacking zone if a stoppage in play is the result of an attempt to create a scoring chance, such as a shot going off the net and out of play, or a shot deflected out of play by a teammate.
*Hash marks on the end-zone circles widen from three feet to the international distance of five feet, seven inches

The season is soon upon us!

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There’s No Place For Martin Brodeur

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

Does someone care to explain the audacity of his request, and the absurdity of the Canadiens “apparent possible interest” in a washed up, has been 42 year old goalie?

I’m sorry, maybe that was a bit brash, but this situation is a bit of a joke.

Price is an elite goalie in the league (apparently ranked third overall), so the starting position is moot – unlike it was years ago.

Now, with the franchise stocked with goaltending greatness, is there really a potential to open a new can of worms regarding the backup position.

Peter Budaj, who has shown himself to be a strong replacement for Price on any given night, and who is only on contract for one more year at a cheap $1.4M is undoubtedly the better choice.

Add in Dustin Tokarski, a young formidable 25 year old star in the making, and there’s no room for someone else. Especially someone with the ego that Brodeur is currently projecting.

Fine, he’s a Montréal home town boy, and arguably one of the best the league has seen. Funny how when he was on top of his game, he wanted nothing to do with Les Tricolore, but now that he can’t secure a contract in his fading career he is all about gracing Montréal with his presence.

To consider Brodeur for even a moment is a head shaking thought. He won’t bring any growth to this team. Price doesn’t need him as a “mentor” as some suggest. He’s doing just fine thanks.

And we haven’t even mentioned Zachary Fucale in Hamilton yet.

So thanks, but no thanks Marty. There’s no room at the inn, and you’re going to need to find another barn to finish your career in.

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Announcements, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, Montreal Canadiens, NHL | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment