Monday, June 29, 2009

Accolades and honors still come for Jean Beliveau

250beliveau Having been removed from playing the game of hockey for 38 years, Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau is still well recognized in the hockey world.

Today, the 77-year-old Hall of Famer was announced as the honorary captain for Canada’s 2010 Olympic Hockey Team.

Béliveau received a Team Canada jersey, bearing the famous No. 4 that he wore with the Canadiens for twenty years.

Former teammates Serge Savard and Yvan Cournoyer were on hand to present the jersey at a news conference for the Hockey Canada Foundation gala and celebrity golf tournament on Monday in Montreal.

beliveau“It's unbelievable to think of some of the players who never had the chance to represent Canada in international play,” said Bob Nicholson, president and CEO of Hockey Canada.

“It's about time we see the great Jean Béliveau in a Team Canada sweater.”

Béliveau was a ten-time Stanley Cup winner as a player with the Canadiens and added seven more as an executive.

His seventeen appearances on the Stanley Cup is a record in the NHL as his his team record ten years as captain.

Béliveau was the first recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the playoff MVP, in 1965.

He recorded 1219 points (507 goals, 712 assists) in 1125 games during the regular season and 176 points (79G, 97A) in 162 playoff games.

jean-beliveau-pic He retired as a player in 1971, missing the ‘72 Summit Series.

Since the IIHF did not allow professionals to compete in the World Championships until 1977, Béliveau never had an opportunity to compete at an international level.

Earlier this month, Béliveau received a Lifetime Achievement award from the NHL, for his dedication to the game of hockey, during the 2009 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.


NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman could not have summed it up any better when he told the audience;

“Jean Béliveau was a star, a statesman of our game. He is the emblem of elegance and class.”

OK, well maybe he could have said it a bit better, Jean Béliveau still IS a star.

Below is just a portion of the list of NHL and non-NHL awards Jean Béliveau has received

Stanley Cups 10 as a player, 7 as executive
Hart Trophy 1956, 1964
Art Ross Trophy 1956
Conn Smythe Trophy 1965, inaugural winner
All-Star Game appearances 14
First Team All-Star, 2nd Team Six times, Four times
Jersey No.4 retired by Canadiens October 9, 1971
Hockey Hall of Fame 1972
Honorary Degree in Physical Education (Univ. of Moncton) 1972
Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee 1981
Knight of the National Order of Quebec 1988 and promoted to officer in 2006
Loyola Medal (Loyola College) 1995
Companion of the Order of Canada 1998
Canada’s Walk of Fame 2001
Canada Postage Stamp 2001
Honorary Doctorate of Laws – McGill University 2006
NHL Lifetime Achievement Award 2009
Honorary Captain - 2010 Team Canada Olympic Hockey Team 2009

Jean Béliveau was also offered the post of Governor General of Canada in 1994, but declined the position due to personal reasons.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The 2009 Entry Draft is upon us!


The NHL’s 2009 Entry Draft is a mere 2 1/2 hours away kids.

Rumors continue to be about, along with who the Islanders pick first.

First off: a big shout out to fellow blogger Robert L at Habs Eyes on The Prize who has media access, along with other SB Nation bloggers to this year’s draft.

Canadiens Picks: #18 in the 1st round. No second round pick due to last year's Tanguay deal. Two in the 3rd round (#65 from Atlanta, and #79). One pick in each of the following rounds.

Kessel/Kaberle: The Bruins are reportedly offering their pick and Kessel for the Leafs blueliner. It would give Boston a solid trio on the point with Chara and Wideman.

Vancouver Canucks: Negotiating with Roberto Luongo on a contract extension according to TSN. Could fall on what happens to the Sedins though.

Scott Niedermeyer: Still undecided on next year, although Team Canada reportedly wants him for the 2010 games. The B.C. native, and brother Rob, are both UFA and could wind up with the Canucks. Again it could fall on if the Sedins re-sign.

Free tickets no more: TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting tickets given for free in a lottery now going for $100 a pop!

First pick: All likelihood the Islanders take Tavares….If not, the new surge of season ticket holders from winning the Draft Lottery will be banging on the doors of the Nassau Coliseum demanding their deposits back!

Salary Cap: Reported to be $56.8 Million. Just $100 up from last season.

5:00 p.m. I suspect right now that Commissioner Bettman is getting his rouge applied.

5:20 pm: TSN's Bob McKenzie would not be surprised that Tomas Kaberle will be a Briuin by night's end. The pick offered by Boston would not be this year's first round pick

5:48 pm: Apparently the Kaberle deal with Bruins is no more due to miscommunication in the draft pick part of the deal. Remind me to offer an invite to Bob McKenzie to my next poker game!

Team 990 panel is expecting Gary Bettman to be greeted by a chorus of boos. I'm sure the NHL has instructed TSN/RDS to lower the house mics when he comes on stage.

6:00 pm: OTR on TSN. Michael Landsberg's makeup/work....right up there with the late Michael Jackson

Claude Lemieux: Now a U.S. citizen

Niedermayer: Will return for one more season. If the Ducks keep him, Pronger will likely be traded.

Dany Heatly: If not traded by July 1, the Sens have to pay him $4 million in bonuses

6:20 pm: Team 990's source says LeCavalier will NOT be moved tonight and that Bauwmeester's rights are being moved.

6:25 pm: Tampa GM Lawton on OTR... Just me or does he remind anyone of a shady used car salesman? But he states nothing is happening on the LeCavalier trade front....

6:35 pm: Over/Under on how many times we hear TSN's Pierre McGuire say "Let the rebuild begin..." during the draft.... 18 times

Flyers may be in the running for Chris Pronger.

6:45 pm: Islanders owner Charles Wang a the Islanders table snapping pictures. Maybe figuring he may not be doing thi next year?

6:50 pm: Sen's GM Bryan Murray tells TSN's Darren Dredger that "it's dead", meaning any potential Heatly deals

6:55 pm: P.J. Stock on Team 990 says that if Montreal does not draft a center tonight, there will be some serious talk on the radio on Monday.

7:00 pm: Flyers deal for Pronger apparently just a formality now. Flyers making cap room by not renewing the contract of goalie coach Reggie Lemelin.

7:05 pm: Large crowd at Nassau Colisseum for a draft party. The building could be torched if Tavares doesn't go first.

7:13 pm: Bettman, Cournoyer and the Pocket Rocket...Bettman figures having two Habs legends will reduced the booing against him...didn't work.....neither did his attempt to speak french!

7:18 pm: Islanders take Tavares No. 1 GM Garth Snow says there were no trade offers for the pick of any kind to his liking.

7:20 pm: Leafs GM Brian Burke is mic'd for the event. First tells Bryan Murray how the Bruins deal got screwed up and then tells Bob Gainey that the Vinny rumour is either Montreal or the Islanders.... Gainey has little to say then walks away.

7:27 pm: Tampa takes D Victor Hedman

7:25 pm: Pronger to Philadelphia for Sbisa (Phiily's '08 1st round), this year's #1 and next year's #1

7:38 pm: Colorado Avalanche take Matt Duchene 3rd overall

7:40 pm: TSN's Bob McKenzie listing Duchene's hobbies (guitar, signing, designing hockey sweaters) All key in the Avalanche selecting him I'm sure.

7:45 pm: Evander Kane (named for "The Real Deal") going to Holyfield's hometown, Atlanta.

7:55 pm: LA Kings acknowledge Luc Robitaille (Quebec native drafted by the Kings and a '09 HOFer). Brayden Schenn is picked 5th overall. Brother Luke was picked 5th last year.

7:57 pm: Camera shifts to a dejected Brian Burke who hoped to unite the brothers.

8:00 pm: Reisdorf has apparently tabled an offer of $150 million to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale.

Columbus trades #16 and #77 picks to Islanders for NY's #26, #37, #62 and #92.

Coyotes take Oliver Ekman-Larrsson 6th overall.

8:05 pm: No need to tell you what team is picking now by the crowd reaction. The Blue and White take Nazem Kadri.

Bell Centre crowd is chanting "67" as the Leafs go up to make their pick.

8:10 pm:TSN plays the conversation between Burke and Murray:

Burke:" That's who you want (Kadri)?"

Murray; "Yes."

Burke:"We're gonna take him."

8:18 pm: Dallas takes Scott Glennie. Expected to go in the first round, but maybe a bit of a surprise going in the top 10.

Robert L picked Glennie as his pick for the Canadiens in the SB Nation Mock Draft.

8:27 pm: Senators taked Jared Cowen, with little enthusiasm on their part.

8:34 pm: Oilers select Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson....MPS for short.

Check out his own site:

Note: No American players were picked in the Top 10 for the first time since 1993.

8:44 pm: Memorial Cup MVP Ryan Ellis goes to the Nashville Predators. Nshville building a group of young d-men.

TSN's Pierre McGuire figures he needs three years to develop and that he and Shea Weber will be a lot of fun to watch in a few years in Nashville.

8:50 pm: Looks like the Wild wanted Ellis and now may be trading down with the Islanders.

and they do: Wild trade the #12 pick to the Islanders for #16, #77 and #182.

8:53 pm: Expected to go in a later round, Calvin DeHann is picked by the Islanders

8:55 pm: Chris Pronger on TSN. Said he sent a text to Neidermayer this morning to see what he would be doing.

9:03 pm: The Sabres take Zach Kassian. A Milan Lucic type player..... Mike Komisarek just made his decision to leave the Canadiens.....

9:09 pm: The Panthers take future KHL star Dimitry Kulikov.

9:17 pm: The Anaheim Ducks take Guelph center Peter Holland. Big player but can he give 100% every day. Anaheim could be the team to do that for him.

9:22 pm: Minnesota Wild select Nick Leddy, a Minnesota HS kid. Has won the 2009 "Mr. Hockey" award as top senior high school player in Minnesota. Habs prospects Ryan McDonagh and David Fischer also won this award as well

9:27 pm: St. Louis take offensive point man David Rundblad.

9:30 pm: The Canadiens are on the clock. My choice is Jacob Josefson. But will Bob Gainey go with hometown boy Louis Leblanc????

9:35 pm: to a thunderous ovation. Louis Leblanc is selected.

Bob Gainey acknowledges the importance of the francophone culture in the organization.

"Louis fit perfectly into our wheelhouse," Gainey said. "We got a good, competitive player."

Gainey adds that they would have traded up to get him.

9:41 pm: LeBlanc "I was hoping that it was the Canadiens." While Gainey would give him a couple years to develop at Harvard, LeBlanc said he would be willing to wait one or two and see waht happens.

9:44 pm: Rangers honor Alexei Cheraponov, who passed away this past winter during a game.

The Rangers select Chris Kreider from Andover Academy.

9:51 pm: Calgary trades pick #20 to New Jersey for picks #23 and #84

9:54 pm: My choice for the Habs, Jacob Josefson, is picked by the Devils. Considered by many as the best two-way player in the draft.

9:57 pm: Anaheim trades their #2Bold1 (from the earlier Pronger deal) to Columbus for picks #26 and #37

10:00 pm: The Bluejackets take Scott Moore from the USHL poster: Ayan_SB suggests the Flames/Devils deal was Sutter's way of saying, "sorry for stealing your coach/my brother."

10:08 pm: Roberto Luongo annouces the Canucks pick, Jordan Schroeder.

Canucks' GM Mike Gillis: Tells TSN that the Canucks had Schroeder ranked much higher and they were surprised to be able to pick him.

Gillis says the Canucks are on target in their contract extension talks with Luongo, and is confident the Sedins will be back in Vancouver.

10:12 pm: The Calgary Flames take defenceman Tim Erixon. His dad, Jan, played for the Rangers alongside Alex Kovalev.

10:20 pm: Sweden's record seventh pick in the first round, made by the Washington Capitals, is Marcus Johansson.

Brian Burke audio: Says a deal in the work for the No. 1 pick, but the Islanders wanted Luke Schenn.

10:27 pm: The Bruins pick Jordan Caron of the Rimouski Oceanic. Last time he'll get cheered in Montreal.

10:34 pm: The Ducks take Kyle Palmeiri. Many suspect his removal from the USNDT but TSN think it was do to a "boys will be boys" issue at a tournament. He'll play at Notre Dame this fall.

10:40 pm: Philippe Paradis and his 95.7 mph slapshot goes to the Carolina Hurricanes.

10:45 pm: Scotty Bowman to make the Blackhawks selection to a warm reception. The latest the Blackhawks have had to wait to pick in the first round at No. 27. and they take Camrose Jr. A star Dylan Olsen. He could go to Medicine Hat (WHL) or the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

10:48 pm: Detroit to give up their first round pick (#29) for the Lightning's #32 and #75 picks.

Not that Detroit relies on number one picks to be a winner: see Henrik Zetterberg.

10:54 pm: Carter Ashton, son of Brent, is selected by the Lightning.

10:58 pm: Round one concludes with the Penguins selection, Simon Despres.

Ammo for Don Cherry: According to, 16 picks in the first round are Canadian. Seven Americans, six Swedes (TSN said seven earlier) and one Russian.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Canadiens/Lightning deal could depend on Islanders first round pick.

NHL Board of Governors Meeting pVBKW18UWVsl gainey-bob-cbc-071127

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brain Lawton and Habs GM Bob Gainey

T-minus 47 hours and counting until the start of the 2009 NHL Draft.

As team general managers and staff from all thirty teams, as well as top prospects expected to go in the first rounds ascend on the Bell Centre, the trade rumors circulate more and more.

For Canadiens fans, the “topic-des-last six months” has been Viincent LeCavalier coming to Montreal.


An apparent deal between Montreal and the Tampa Bay Lightning was killed when names of players the Canadiens were planning to move were made public.

Habs' GM Bob Gainey pointed fingers at Tampa GM Brian Lawton for leaking the names after Montreal’s season ended.

Lawton quickly dismissed the allegations.

With the Lightning struggling in the bank account, it seems imminent that they will move their franchise player before his no-trade clause kicks on July 1.

Despite the verbal exchange between Lawton and Gainey, a Montreal-Tampa deal still shows high on the rumor charts.

The question is, who is Tampa willing to move?

In media interviews today, Lawton seemed determined that LeCavalier would remain in Tampa.

Lawton smiles too much when he talks for my liking. I think he’s bluffing.

So if he is moving LeCavalier, the Canadiens would have to give up a fair bit.

The initial speculated deal in January involved forwards Chris Higgins and Tomas Plekanec, prospect defenseman P.K. Subban and draft picks/prospects going to Tampa.

This scenario could still work with Higgins being a RFA. The prospect could be a goalie with Kari Ramo reportedly off to the KHL.

Subban would be likely substituted as he just signed with the Canadiens this spring.

1169221.bin The key to the deal between the two teams could be dependent on who the New York Islanders select first.

If New York goes with Victor Hedman, that’s how the deal could go.

With Tampa having the number two pick Friday, they can grab John Tavares to fill the void at forward and still have Martin St. Louis and the learning Steve Stamkos with a lower payroll for a couple years.

The alternate scenario could go a different way though.

Still provided that Hedman goes first, Tampa could give up their pick (Tavares) and a few others lesser players for Montreal’s 18th overall pick and a smaller package of players.

Maybe throwing Martin St. Louis into the mix will sweeten the Canadiens end of the pot, and help Tampa’s pocket book.

Montreal retains some cap room to announce that Saku Koivu (on the cheap), Alex Kovalev and, maybe, Mike Komisarek (depending on the Islanders choice) are re-signed.

If Tavares goes to the Islanders, we could see possible a deal along the latter of the two or a deal back to square one.

With a stash of centres in this years draft likely to go in the first round, both Montreal and the Lightning could still have a winner in the draft down the middle.

In all likelihood, we won’t know officially though until sometime early Friday evening when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman takes the stage to make any deal official.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Canadiens making bench moves first before the Draft and free agency frenzy

“Silent Bob” Gainey has not been so quiet this week with the Montreal Canadiens.

With the pending new ownership of the team by the Molson brothers now in place, he can now safely begin making changes to the organization.

First, there was a rather surprising move with the removal of Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Don Lever and assistant coach Ron Wilson.


Lever had been the teams longest serving coach and Wilson had been part of the team for even longer.

They led the Bulldogs to the Calder Cup championship in 2006-07 and many expected Lever to be a leading candidate to fill the head coaching job in Montreal.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Lever to the Hamilton Spectator. “Somewhere along the line I must have done something wrong, but they didn’t tell me what it was.

“I just don’t understand how I can be called up and then discarded.”


Lever had been brought up to Montreal as an assistant after the sacking of Guy Carbonneau.

Wilson was named as the Bulldogs interim coach and had a respectable 10-3-2 record.

In the playoffs, they lost in six games in a division semi-final series.

The firing of the duo was certainly a head scratcher as many of the young Canadiens players played in the Hammer under their tutelage.

The changes continued on today when it was announced that associate coach Doug Jarvis was let go.


When Jacques Martin was hired, it had been announced that the new Canadiens head coach would meet with both Jarvis and assistant coach Kirk Muller.

The meeting with Muller clearly went well as he will be staying on for the upcoming season.


Maybe Martin is a Trekkie and likes the thought of having “Captain Kirk”” with him.

While Jarvis is known more for his defense as a player, he did put a power-play that led the league for two straight seasons (2006-07, 2007-08).

This season however, the PP fell apart and obviously someone had to answer for it.

So the next stage for the Canadiens will be the 2009 Entry Draft on Friday.

Bob Gainey has gone on record that he has made some preliminary talks with pending restricted free agents, but will not be negotiating with any pending free agents on his roster until after this weekend.

With a whack of pending UFAs and RFAs and the new salary cap to be announced within days, it does give Gainey some play room to make a blockbuster deal before or during the Draft to fill any potential voids that could be left after July 1.

The Vincent LeCavalier deal speculation picked up steam today as the battle for control of the Tampa Bay Lightning between Oren Koules and Len Barrie apparently found itself in NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s office.

Meanwhile Jacques Martin will still need to find a second assistant behind the bench, as well as a new goaltending coach.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

NHL Awards in Las Vegas...and not on live TV in Canada

Alexander Ovechkin (Richard Trophy) and Evgeni Malkin (Art Ross Trophy)

The 2009 NHL Awards are upon us.

Naturally they are in that hockey hotbed of Las Vegas, NV.

Why you ask? No, it’s not to kick Mats “PokerStars” Sundin’s butt in the poker room at the Palms.

Am I the only one who sees between the lines for Gary Bettman’s ultimate plan to move the Coyotes here?

Well what a rip! I realize that the awards are being blogged in advance on

Show is being showed live in the US on Versus but tape-delayed in Canada...

Thanks NHL/CBC... That "Just for Laughs- Gags" was a real bonus.

Dennis Leary narrates a cool intro to the show.

Then a good intro is ruined by Chaka Khan and Robin don't got the magic!

Jeremy Roenick, Michael Buble? and Kevin Connoly?? introduce Talbot and Malkin to acknowledge the Pens Cup win.

Band music: Are they going to use that crap for every intro? Yes!

Classy reception for Vladimir Konstantinov when he takes the stage.

Steve Mason takes the Calder, Datsyuk gets the Selke.

Alexander Ovechkin picks up the Pearson award.

Masterton Trophy: Steve Sullivan especially thanked his teammates "for never stopping to believe in me."

Lady Byng Trophy: Pavel Datsyuk

Jennings Award: a freebie for Manny Fernandez who rode Tim Thomas' coatails.

The "Unoriginal and not that funny award" goes too...Gerry Dee

The Oilers Ethan Moreau wins the King Clancy award.

OK the guy with the fan fave award for Roberto Luongo: Was there no wardrobe budget???? Seriously, that suit was retro when the Sands Casino was torn down.

Clearly no music budget either....Chaka Khan again!

To the writers of the jokes on this show: Half the audience doesn't speak english!

Vezina presentaion: Tony O! Lay off the Botox!

Vezina Winner: Like him or not, Tim Thomas is a humble and very grateful guy.

Adams: Nice to see Pat Burns on hand. The man is fighting cancer for a third time! No surprise tha it goes to Clade Julien.

Jerry Bruckheimer, who was presenting with Burns, looking around thinking: "I can't even save this sinking ship."

Kevin Connoly: He's there because????????

Norris: Chara wins...The show could have been saved right now if Eminem came rushing on the stage, mistaking Chara for Sasha Baren Cohen a.k.a Bruno.

Chara acknowledges how, like Datsyuk, he was told he would never get past the junior level. Then encourages other kids to never give up.

Gary Bettman: House mike volumes lowered to mask the boos from the fans seating... Put a fiddle in his hands and he's Nero...

Jean Beliveau receives a Lifetime Acheivement Award: If only half the current NHL players could have the class and dignity that he STILL has. Teamate Yvon Cournoyer also in attendance along with fellow Canadiens Ambassador Rejean Houle.

Hart presentation: Fedorov presenting...Guess the KHL rumour was false. Michael Buble again?

Ovechkin wins it: Big surprise... "I like playing in Canadian city but right now my favourite town is Washington"... Hmmmmm otherwise translated: "I want outta here" in a non-Heatly way.

It's over! Thank-you Vegas! You won't see us again!

2008-2009 NHL First All-Star Team

G - Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
D - Mike Green, Washington Capitals
D - Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
C - Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
RW - Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
LW - Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

2008-2009 NHL Second All-Star Team

G - Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets
D - Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
D - Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks
C - Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
RW - Marian Hossa, Detroit Red Wings
LW - Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils

2008-2009 NHL All-Rookie Team

G- Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets

D- Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

D- Luke Schenn, Toronto Maple Leafs

F- Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues

F- Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks

F- Kris Versteeg, Chicago Blackhawks

Georges Laraque urges Canadian PM to stop the seal hunt

For those of you who have visited Habs’ tough guy Georges Laraque’s website, you are likely well aware of his devotion to PETA.

peta1 Georges Laraque at a Peta/Earthlings protest May 3 in Montreal

Yesterday Mr. Laraque appealed to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop the annual seal hunt.

The letter is in it’s entirety below.

Please keep in mind that the content is strictly the comments of Mr. Laraque on his and PETA’s behalf and do not express my own personal opinions.


June 17, 2009

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper

Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Blood on the ice is fine when it comes to Canada’s national sport because players are willing participants, but the blood of helpless baby seals that stains the ice each year is Canada’s shame.

I’m writing to you on behalf of my friends at PETA and its more than 2 million members and supporters around the world dedicated to the protection of animals.

With the world’s attention focused on the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada has an opportunity to show the world its best features, including its breathtaking natural beauty, its bustling cities, and its rich culture.

However, the one thing about Canada that I’m not proud of is the annual seal slaughter. Won’t you please consider ending this tragic war on seals?

Every year, sealers kill hundreds of thousands of baby seals, and every year, our country hears the international outcry against this barbaric slaughter.

Surely you would agree that there is something terribly wrong with shooting baby seals or crushing their skulls and skinning the defenceless pups for the sake of fashion.

Hooking is illegal in the National Hockey League, but sealers routinely hook live seals in the eye or cheek to avoid damaging their fur.

Not only is the unimaginable pain and suffering endured by these seals tragic, it is also completely unnecessary. Sealing is primarily an off-season profit venture for commercial fishers, not a subsistence trade for native peoples.

Inuit seal hunting accounts for only about 3 percent of the slaughter.
The international outcry against the slaughter is loud and clear.

The U.S. banned all seal imports in 1972, the European Union recently passed a ban on the importation of seal products to member countries, the U.S. senate unanimously passed a resolution urging Canada to end the slaughter, Russia recently ended its slaughter of seals under 1 year of age, and even Vladimir Putin, who has been known to hunt bears, has condemned the seal slaughter as a bloody business that should have ended years ago.

Please count me among the majority of Canadians who oppose the seal slaughter and are hoping for a permanent ban on this, the largest and most barbaric massacre of marine mammals on Earth.
Thank you for recognizing the urgency of this issue.


Georges Laraque


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Centering in on the Montreal Canadiens’ First Round pick at the ‘09 Draft

716medlarge With just over a week to go before the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Habs GM Bob Gainey is busy reviewing scouting reports and evaluations before making that key announcement on June 26.

Many panelists and mock-drafts already posted online all seem to agree that, this year, Montreal needs to get a centre to bolster the lineup down the road.

This season’s crop of prospects seems to be the year for the Canadiens to do just that.

Barring a blockbuster trade, we can rule out John Tavares, Brayden Schenn or Matt Duchene to be picked by the Canadiens.

So let’s look at some other possibilities.


lousleblanc Louis Leblanc 6’1” 180 Omaha (USHL)

Ranked #13 amongst North American skaters

The native of Kirkland, QC is heavily favored as Montreal’s first round pick.

Leblanc made the easy transition from Midget to the USHL and will be going to Harvard this fall.


- good hockey sense

-little difficulty playing with other elite players.

– Makes smart quick passes and uses his linemates exceptionally well off the rush and on the powerplay.


3339583511_007c0b3f1f Nazem Kadri 6’0” 180 London (OHL)

Ranked #15 amongst North American skaters

Playing in the shadow of Tavares, Kadri will need to bulk up to get to the level he has achieved, in Junior, at the pro level.

His passing is suspect and he may benefit more on the wing.


- best offensive assets are his vision and hockey sense

- his speed can create mismatches and opportunities

- dangerous on the PK when he can focus on a certain assignment.

- can anticipate the play and pick off passes.

- has the intelligence and hustle to be a solid defensive play


Holland Peter GUE Peter Holland 6’2” 190 Guelph (OHL)

Ranked #19 amongst North American skaters

Already with some great size, but is known not to give a 100% effort on every shift.

He does not play in heavy traffic on a regular basis and often doesn't commit to all his defensive responsibilities.


- His puck skills rival the majority of skilled forwards in the draft

- can stickhandle to create nice passes.

- Quick and accurate shot

- Can use his body well to shield the puck


Chris_Kreider2_325x183 Chris Kreider 6’2” 200 Andover Academy HS (MA)

Ranked #14 amongst North American skaters

Could you imagine Bob Gainey stealing a high school kid right out of Boston’s back yard?

No matter who picks him, they will want him to move on to a more competitive league to accelerate his development.


- displays good puck skills when it comes to passing and shooting

- good size already

- fast skater for his size



Drew Shore 6’3” 195 (USNTDP)

Ranked #28 amongst North American Skaters

Not the fastest skater out of the gate,His skating but once he gets moving he can keep pace with his faster linemates.

Se will be playing for the University of Denver next season.


- likes to get involved around the net and the dirty areas

- makes an honest effort in all three zones

- tries to make sure his defensive responsibilities are covered


Josefson_000 Jacob Josefson 6’0” 190 Djurgardens (SWE)

Ranked #3 amongst European Skaters

Does not have the greatest puck skills, but is one of those players who can be in the right place with or without the puck.

A player that does all the little things needed to make the big-name stars shine.


- Smart and has the hockey sense to be a solid and versatile two-way forward.

- takes hits to make plays

- has the two-step quickness and agility


Kyle_Palmieri Kyle Palmieri 5’10” 191 (NDTP U18)

Ranked #20 amongst North American Skaters

Impressed many at this month’s NHL combine with his physical strength and appearance.

He will be going to Notre Dame this fall.


- Good skater that works hard

- excellent two-way forward

- Good hockey insight

- Compared to Chris Drury in his playing style

Monday, June 15, 2009

Habs draft bust gets his NHL coaching shot with the Wild


Well they always say that those who cannot do, should teach.

Apparently that’s the way Todd Richards took after his NHL career failed to take off.

Picked in the second round by the Habs (33rd overall), Richards never made his debut until 1990 after his commitments to the University of Minnesota and being traded to the Hartford Whalers.

The former defenceman was only around for eight regular season games with four assists. In 11 playoff games he had three helpers.

He toiled in the IHL for nearly a decade.


But his coaching abilities were clearly there after his pro career.

He was an an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Admirals where his team reached the Calder Cup Finals twice, winning it in 2004.

Richard then took the head coaching position for the Penguins AHL affiliate Scranton-Wilkes/Barre in 2006.

He took the AHL Pens to the Calder Cup Final in 2007-08.

By the way, the guy who hired him to coach the mini-Pens is the new Wild GM Chuck Fletcher.

Do the math.

Richards served as an assistant last season with the San Jose Sharks.

The Edmonton Oilers were also apparently permitted to talk to Richards.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yemelin says “Nyet this year" to the Habs


It looks like negotiations between the Montreal Canadiens and their blue-chip Russian prospect, Alexei Yemelin, have broken off.

According to, the blue-liner has signed a one-year contract with AK Bars Kazen of the Kontinental Hockey League.

“Alex will remain in Russia,” said Yemelin’s agent, Don Meehan.

“He was offered better guarantees. I am told that the agreement has a term of one year, possibly two,” he added.

One of Meehan’s employees, based in Russia, is currently preparing the documents.

Many felt that the KHL team would part ways with the 23-year-old after a disappointing regular season.

His performance in the playoffs apparently changed the mind of the team.

Meehan is also the agent for defencemen Patrice Brisebois and Francis Bouillon.

He acknowledged that he plans to meet with Canadiens GM Bob Gainey, hopefully during draft week, to discuss Bouillon’s future.

Meehan has yet to meet with Brisebois to discuss the future of his second veteran rear guard.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Latest Toronto Expansion Proposal will seal Balsillie’s fate.


I’m sure that Gary Bettman’s office gets several proposals on a weekly, if not daily, basis to buy an existing or future NHL team.

The latest proposal issued by Andrew Lopez, a communications specialist who has worked as a motivational speaker for Miss Universe Canada, lays out a vision for a second Toronto team.

Mr. Lopez also noted that $1 billion in private financing is already in place for the proposed expansion team.

The announcement attracted the attention of nearly every major media outlet in Toronto. A dozen TV cameras jostled for position in the back of the room, and reporters filled every available seat.

“We're not sure how (the NHL) or the Toronto Maple Leafs will take this,” said Lopez.

“So we said, 'Let's just share with our city, share with our country, and once they've had a chance to look over what we're proposing . . . by all means, if they consider us worthy, we would be privileged.”

The eager entrepreneur came to the table with a team name, “The Legacy”, a team jersey, and a proposed new arena complex in Downsview Park, in the north end of Metro Toronto.

Lopez said the site would include a community athletic centre, 50-metre swimming pool, four outdoor rinks and public park space among other amenities.

I just have some advice for Mr. Lopez. Read the fine print when negotiating that deal with the city of North York (See Charles Wang).

What makes the proposal truly interesting his his “Mission Statement”.

First of all he’s not pressuring the league for an expansion franchise by stating, “We're not here to force our will on anyone. A simple no from the National Hockey League would be OK. We realize it's a very special club.”

“If the National Hockey League comes up to us and says 'You know what, we're going to look at this in five years, 10 years,' ... . that's fine. There is no timeline on this.”

“If the NHL says no, then this dream will stop.”

lopez-torontolegacy090605Toronto Legacy spokesman Andrew Lopez with Hockey Great Herb Carnegie

Lopez, who says his group could have the team up and running by the 2012-13 season, believes the proximity of the Legacy franchise to the Toronto Maple Leafs can create a new and exciting NHL rivalry without pulling fans away from the Air Canada Centre.

"We're not here to compete with the Toronto Maple Leafs," Lopez said. "We're here to be their little brother."

Lopez's group is also proposing that 25 per cent of its annual net profits will be divided amongst charitable foundations and non-profit organizations.

The Future Aces Foundation, started by former hockey player Herb Carnegie, would be the first organization to receive funding.

Carnegie, who will turn 90 in November, attended Friday's news conference.

Mr. Carnegie has also had a long time relationship with Investor’s Group, a highly speculated partner in this proposal.

If successful, the group says it will hand over every dollar of seat licence fees to foundations and charities.

To make things affordable to the 8 million plus residents that live in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe and surrounding areas, Lopez added that roughly half the tickets to every game would be available for $50.

He did say he wasn’t competing with the Leafs, right? OK maybe just a bit.

Lopez also made it clear that he was not interested in an existing team.

"This has always been about expansion, not relocation," said Lopez.

"I commend anyone in the world that loves hockey and is trying to bring hockey to any city. But this is strictly about expansion ... nothing to do with the former Winnipeg Jets or the Phoenix Coyotes franchise."

The NHL has denied any contact or proposals received.

Naturally, at this time, they cannot.

League commissioner Gary Bettman, as stated in an affidavit filed as part of the Coyotes' bankruptcy case, said the only way another team would end up in southern Ontario is through expansion. He has also said the league isn't looking to add teams any time soon.

To say they’d reviewed the offer would be shooting themselves in the foot.

In any event, the proposal can further diminish the chances of Jim Balsillie’s attempt to bring the Coyotes to Hamilton.

So now we have Mr. Lopez bringing a patient, well thought out proposal with the reported backing needed to start a new team.

On the other hand, we have Balsillie’s “I want, I want” tactics ,Ver 3.0, that came with no formal application for purchase/move of the Coyotes until AFTER court proceedings began.

Even the judge in the case thought that a trifle odd.

The first thing Balsillie did do, after his reported proposal was to start a web site to sell hats and tee-shirts.

The Legacy site is not selling tee-shirts.

Then, he approached the city of Hamilton for a 32-year lease agreement on a building that he later proposes needs a $150 million upgrades.

Oh and he thinks that the taxpayers ought to help out with that.

Wonder if people want their money back for their “make-it-seven” tee-shirts now?

He did get some corporate sponsors (Labatt, Home Hardware) on his side, so we’ll have to give him that.

As passionate as Mr. Balsillie’s plea may be in his mind, he really should take a better respect to the NHL’s conduct of business.

In all likelihood his plan to relocate the Phoenix Coyotes will fail.

With Mr. Lopez’s proposal publically shown, the Blackberry Billionaire’s chances for a team, period after kicking the NHL in the nuts three times, may be gone.

Oh and I have to ask Mr. Lopez.

Sir, please reconsider the team name.

With no disrespect of your intentions to honor Mr. Carnegie, Toronto already has a team with a “Legacy” of losing for over 42 years.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Jacques Martin hiring by the Canadiens: I like it

The only news I had out of Montreal this morning was live coverage from Toronto’s Q107.

bed-in-456 The story of the day was their coverage of the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s ‘Bed for Peace’ sit in at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

What a difference a few hours can make, eh?

Jacques Gallery   05.thumbnail The Canadiens’ Bob Gainey pulled off another “off the radar” move this afternoon.

It was announced that the Florida Panthers’ Jacques Martin would become the Habs new head coach.

Personally I like the move.

Martin will bring a trap system to a team whose defense failed in the playoffs and made goalie Carey Price look like the goat.

Many will say “boooooooooring”, but would you rather see 2-1, or 1-0 wins over a team whose offence all but disappeared over a one-year period anyways?

Yeah that’s what I thought.

Jacques Gallery   01.thumbnail

Martin will be able to bring structure to a team that could, in turn, revitalize offensive stars such as Tomas Plekanec and the Kostitsyn brothers.

If there’s any doubt to that, you can look at his track record with the Ottawa Senators.

In all likelihood though, it could be a style that Alex Kovalev may not like.

With his pending UFA status on July 1, it could be the end of the AK27 show in Montreal.

On the other hand, it could also mean that a certain UFA player, who would benefit from Martin’s system, will stay.

The captain will be back, folks.

Count in Alex Tanguay and Christopher Higgins, UFA and RFA respectively, to be eager to come back as well.

Jacques Gallery   04.thumbnail

With a trap system in front of him, Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak will thrive between the pipes.

Roland Melanson’s dismissal as goalie coach is another step in the right direction.

The assistant’s positions are yet to be decided on, but I just hope the Mario Tremblay rumor is just bad joke.

Martin’s hiring could be an inside track to sign Jay Bouwmeester in the event that Mike Komisarek leaves for bigger dollars.

Regardless, Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Roman Hamrlik will all be back, and Alexei Yemelin is rumored to be ready to sign with the Habs.

In any event the team’s defense is already strengthened with their new coach.

The most important skill that Martin brings to the team is his discipline.

Dissention in the dressing room and off-ice criminal connection stories and trade rumors made a mess of the team this past season.

Hopefully, Jacques Martin can rectify these problems in a way that’s better than taking them bowling after a few losses.