Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Charity Auction: Go to the 2009 HHOF Ceremony with Glenn Anderson


Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson is teaming up with,’s Greg Wyshynksi and noted hockey collectibles auction house Classic Auctions to offer a unique auction opportunity.

Up for grabs is a chance to be Glenn Anderson’s special guest at the 2009 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony, on November 9, in Toronto.

It’s a unique opportunity to see the 2009 class (Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch and Lou Lamoriello) along with past inductees all in one night.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

The winning bidder will also win a V.I.P. ticket for a taping of the final round of the CBC's "Battle of the Blades", in which Anderson is competing.

Full details, and how to bid, can be found at Classic Auctions website.

Montreal Canadiens go postal!


Maurice Richard graces the latest cover of Canada Post’s “Details” magazine.

Canada Post will honor the Montreal Canadiens 100th Anniversary this fall with a collection of stamps and first day issue covers.

The collection will be released on October 17, 2009.

A domestic rate stamp will be issued in a book of ten. The booklet will list all of the Canadiens Stanley Cup championships and the stamps will be positioned in the shape of an H (for Habitants).

stamp_page2 stamp_page

The domestic stamp is a closeup of the logo from Maurice Richard’s game-worn jersey that is currently housed in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The first day cover ($1.54) will list every player to play for the Canadiens since inception in 1909 with the various team logos over the century on the reverse side.

There will also be a three stamp souvenir sheet ($9) that honors the fifteen players whose numbers have been retired by the Canadiens.

The centerpiece of the souvenir sheet is the “Motionstamp” technology that features the 500th career goals of Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur using actual footage of the three moments.

Certainly a great collectible for any Habs fan. A 100-stamp roll would be nice though.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2009-10 Montreal Canadiens assembled!


Jacques Martin made his final cuts at the Montreal Canadiens training camp Tuesday afternoon.

Making there way out of Caledon, forwards Ben Maxwell and Tom Pyatt, defencemen Yannick Weber and Mathieu Carle, and goalie Curtis Sanford will not be riding the bus that takes the off ramp from the 410 to the 401 East tomorrow morning.

Instead they will continue south on the bus that takes them on the 403 to Hamilton. The Canadiens press release can be found here.

That leaves 23 players, including the injured Kyle Chipchura, on the Habs roster to begin the season.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in your best  Michel Lacroix voice…

Accueillons nos Canadiens!


# 13 Mike Cammalleri 
# 28 Kyle Chipchura
#36 Matt D'Agostini
#21 Brian Gionta
#91 Scott Gomez
#46 Andrei Kostitsyn
#40 Maxim Lapierre
#17 Georges Laraque
#84 Guillaume Latendresse
#15 Glen Metropolit
#32 Travis Moen
#67 Max Pacioretty
#14 Tomas Plekanec
#70 Gregory Stewart


#75 Hal Gill
#26 Josh Gorges
#44 Roman Hamrlik
#22 Paul Mara
#79 Andrei Markov
#3 Ryan O'Byrne
#6 Jaroslav Spacek


#41Jaroslav Halak

#31Carey Price

Now if we only knew who the captain will be…..

No Komisarek for Leafs/Canadiens opener?

There's a possibility that Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek may miss the season opener Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.

The former Habs blueliner, signed in the off-season by the rival Leafs, pulled a hamstring during Sunday's pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Komisarek did not take part in the team's practice, Tuesday morning in Huntsville, ON, but did work out in the gym saying it was nothing major and that he doesn't expect to miss Thursday's game.

"It will take a lot more than this to keep me out," he said.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Home on the Range: Canadiens spend some bonding time together

matt  default So long as anyone resembling the men pictured above are nowhere near the Montreal Canadiens for the next three days, they should be fine for October 1.

Well it can’t be worse than a team bowling outing, right?

The Montreal Canadiens arrived Sunday evening at Teen Ranch in Caledon, ON. After a snack, had some time together and watched some football then headed to their rooms for the night.

With players four to six to a room, the next little while will be a little more close quarters than the players are now accustomed too.

The next three days will be composed of team practices in the morning along with professional speakers and therapists as well as some on-site free time for the players to get to know each other better.

Now as long as the motivational speaker’s name is not Matt Foley and Dr. Knobb (“The Natural”) isn’t there telling them that losing is a disease and that they should imagine that they are on a ship at sea, it should be a productive outing.

HabsInsideOut has day one audio from coach Jacques Martin as well as Matt D’Agostini, Max Pacioretty, Ryan O’Byrne and Georges Laraque.

One player on the Canadiens who did not make the trip was winger Sergei Kostitsyn who got a connecting bus, after being dropped off near Highways 410 and 401, to Hamilton.

The Belarusian was in coach Jacques Martin’s doghouse earlier last week and despite improved play in his last pre-season game, it was decided to send him down to the AHL.

“We have expectations and objectives that were laid out,” Martin said Monday.

“He (Kostitsyn) needs to understand what’s expected of a professional and we feel by being assigned to Hamilton that he can show he can play at this level. I think you have to reach a point sometime where it's not words, it's action (that's needed) to deliver a message.”

Rumors are already circulating, though denied by agent Don Meehan, that Kostitsyn is already talking to the KHL.

Hmmm anyone remember Pavel Valentenko???

Saturday, September 26, 2009

After tonight, the rest count for the Montreal Canadiens

c374717ae27eb4ac038d018af39c8f8e-getty-89747441pm018_montreal_cana Jaroslav Spacek faces his former team, the Buffalo Sabres tonight in pre-season action  - Photo: Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens pre-season wraps up tonight against the Buffalo Sabres (3-1).

The Canadiens will look to end their pre-season on a winning note after going 3-2-1 thus far.

It will be former Sabre Jaroslav Spacek’s first game against his former team.

Spacek has played well, since joining the Canadiens defensive corps, with a goal and two assists in four pre-season games and is plus-four.

The Sabres penalty killing unit has been impressive this pre-season, having killed ten of ten on the road and fourteen of fifteen overall.



Forward lines: Pacioretty-Gomez-Gionta, A. Kostitsyn-Plekanec-D'Agostini, Latendresse-Lapierre-Moen, Pyatt-Metropolit-Stewart

Defense pairings: Gill-O'Byrne, Hamrlik-Mara, Spacek-Carle


Injuries: Chipchura (shoulder), Cammalleri (upper body) Markov (flu)


Forwards: Roy, Connolly, Paille, Stafford, Grier, Vanek, Gaustad, Pominville, Kaleta, MacArthur, Gerbe, Hecht, Kennedy

Defencemen: Montador, Butler, Paetsch, Sekera, Rivet, Myers

Goalies: Miller, Lalime

Injuries: Mair (hip)

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff will give each goalie full 60 minutes in their final two games, but has yet to announce his starter tonight.

Game time is 7pm at the Bell Centre.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Carey Price still No. 1 for the Canadiens: Jacques Martin

AMC09-0923-Habs-12.thumbnail Habs-Practice-Gallery-10.thumbnailDespite a great pre-season from Jaroslav Halak (bottom), Canadiens coach Jacques Martin sill  has Carey Price as the No. 1 goalie for Montreal

A power outage in Brossard today cancelled the Montreal Canadiens’ practice, but coach Jacques Martin did talk to the media while players continued to workout in the naturally lit gym.

During the session, Martin essentially indicated that Carey Price, for time being, is still the No. 1 goaltender in Montreal.

It clears any speculations to who would take the starting roll, or if Martin might use a 1A, 1B tandem to start the season.

Many journalists and fans felt that the No. 1 spot was Price’s to lose, and looking at the pre-season thus far it would have looked that way.

But, while Halak has posted a 1.56 GAA and a .938 SvPct and Price appears to be struggling at 3.75 GAA and .875, one has to keep in mind that the Canadiens have only played six games and that Price was lit for 4 goals in forty minutes in one of those games.

As with pitchers in baseball, the pre-season essentially gets a goalie loosened up and prepared to play five to six games, or more, straight and avoid fatigue and potential injury. Nobody screamed if Nolan Ryan got shelled in a Cactus league game, right?

In light of Halak being designated the backup, for now, Martin said he likes seeing a battle between his goalies.

“Competition has always been healthy,” he said. “It helps the coaching staff when you have two goalies that are capable. They’re both young, getting better and pushing each other.”

The idea of battling goalies could be reminiscent of Ken Dryden and Michel Larocque’s during the Canadiens’ ‘70s dynasty.

Though Dryden was the designate No. 1, Larocque always stayed competitive in games, as well as in practice against Dryden.

Like his Hall of Fame counterpart, Price has not only the competition of Halak, but also the all-seeing eye that is comprised of the Montreal media and Canadiens fan base.

In Thursdays edition of his “6 Cities in 6 Days” feature, TSN analyst Bob McKenzie notes that Carey Price’s performance this season will be under the microscope first, and above all else.

“In a season full of Canadiens' shortcomings, the poor play of Price was as glaring as anything.

He was very good as a rookie, not very good as a sophomore, and where he goes in Year Three may well define him in the eyes of the Canadiens' fans.”

Mr. McKenzie’s article continues looks at other elements of the team, but his conclusion returns to the Habs’ No. 1 man between the pipes.

“But any way you slice it, it always comes back to Price and goaltending will either have to hold the fort while the Canadiens try to gel with their new teammates, or not be bad enough to discount any strong play if the team should come together quickly.

Honestly, I don't know what to make of a Montreal team with so many changes, but what I do know is that they're going to need A-level goaltending no matter what.”

Price is scheduled to start in the Canadiens last pre-season game Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.

After that, the team will head to Caledon, ON for some team bonding and light workouts before the season begins on October 1st in Toronto.

Based on what he sees at the team outing, coach Martin feels he will find the team’s next captain.

Martin also said that with the exception of Kyle Chipchura, who is still waiting for medical clearance, the team on the ice Saturday should be close to the roster that he wants to start the season with.

The possibility of eight defencemen on the roster is also being thought over by the Habs coach, and he will stick with four lines given the league’s grueling schedule with the Olympics sandwiched in between.

More from the coach: Coach Martin addresses his team’s size issue on TSN.

Cut!: Mathieu Dandenault has been released by the San Jose Sharks following a tryout.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adieu a Breezer !

New Jersey Devils v Montreal Canadiens 2c3un-vaan5l Defenseman Patrice Brisebois has decided to call it a career.

The 38-year-old announced his retirement today after eighteen seasons in the NHL.

Brisebois spent the summer as an unrestricted free agent, but no teams picked him up.

He then learned that he was receiving the Jean Belivieau Trophy from the Canadiens. At that point he decided to make the announcement.

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Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens QPMlpPBsBn1l 

Patrice Brisebois tearfully announcing his retirement Thursday – Getty Images

“When Donald (Beauchamps) called me to tell me that I had won the trophy, I was very excited and very happy,” he said. on learning that he would receive the award. “Mr Beliveau is one of my idols.”

“It was a great honour. I decided that maybe it would be the right time. That’s why I am here tonight.”

Sporting his 1993 Stanley Cup ring, which he had not worn in sixteen years, Brisebois tearfully thanked his wife Michelle and his two daughters as well as former coach Jacques Demers and former teammate Kirk Muller, both who were in also in attendance, Thursday afternoon.

A second round pick of the Montreal Canadiens, Brisebois played all but two seasons in the bleu, blanc et rouge.

Brisebois signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche in 2005 and returned to Montreal for the 2007-08 season.

He played his 1000th NHL game on March 14th, becoming the eleventh player to accomplish the feat while wearing a Habs uniform.

Senators Canadiens Hockey Patrice Brisebois receives a silver stick, marking his 1000th career game, from Henri Richard in April 2009

In 1009 career regular season games, he tallied 98 goals and 322 assists.

His 896 games ranks third amongst Canadiens defensemen all time, and ranks fifth in points (371) and fourth in goals (87).

“I’m very proud of what I did,” he said.

Brisebois will receive the Jean Beliveau Trophy prior to Thursday’s pre-season game against the Boston Bruins.

The Beliveau Trophy is decided on a selection committee, comprised of members of the Board of directors of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation. The committee evaluates the candidates according to the effort, enthusiasm, implication and time invested in both collective and personal initiatives. They also evaluate their commitment, leadership and financial assistance to the causes close to their heart.

Brisebois was a candidate for the award last season.

Comments from his former teammates can be found on the Canadiens website.

Brisebois certainly had a love-hate relationship with the fans on Montreal who were sharp to criticize him on his defensive play with nick names such as “Breeze-by”.

Nonetheless it was clear that he was a competitor who refused to give up and played several games with key injuries. A thousand games proves that coaches and GMs saw taht he could bring something to the tale.

Brisebois also brought one of the humorous moments for Habs fans during the Heritage Classic.

And of course, anyone who mixes it up with Darcy Tucker deserves all respect!

All the best to you Patrice! Thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

They really think this will sell???

61l0SBDj9xL._SL500_AA240_Looking at the cover, I presume they mean just 10 great for a game Leafs and not the ten greatest. A scant few are legit greats.

Maple Leafs Sport and Entertainment will pretty much do anything for a buck!

Coming September 29, Toronto Maple Leafs: 10 Great Leafs and their most Memorable Games.

Now you’d think they’d really focus on their moments, Stanley Cups, great individual achievements, etc.

Well this 10 disc set is far from that.

While the first two discs acknowledge their Stanley Cup glory of 1964 and 1967, after that it gets rather desperate.

Disc three highlights Lanny McDonald’s winning goal to upset the New York Islanders in the 1978 Stanley Cup playoffs. I’ll give them that one.

After that, it’s seven discs of mostly upset playoff games from 1987 to 2002.

Essentially trying to let the current generation of young Leafs fans know that yes, they Leafs once made the playoffs, an won an early round or two.

Clearly it pales in comparison to recent DVD editions released by the Montreal Canadiens or even the Islanders.

I think even the smartest of Leafs Nation will know what to expect when they look at the cover. Seeing Ken Wregget and Nikolai Borschevsky as one of the 10 greats, you gotta know what to expect.

You’d think Sittler’s ten-point night may have been added??? Just saying!

Monday, September 21, 2009

An a-maze-ing tribute to the Habs and Jean Beliveau

beliveaumaze A maze to honor Jean Beliveau and the Habs Centennial in Florenceville, NB

A shout out to my friend Ian Cobb for passing on this story.

Brothers Tom and Chip Hunter decided this year to do their annual corn maze in honor of the Montreal Canadiens and their legendary captain, Jean Beliveau.

To top it off, the brothers received a phone call back in July from “Le Gros Bill” himself, thanking them for the honor.

The original article from The Bugle Observer, can be found here.

Info on the Hunter brothers maze and farm can be found on their website.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bert Corbeau was tough, but not for the waters of Georgian Bay

contract_fhCanadiens defenceman Bert Corbeau was amongst 25 men drowned on September 21, 1942.  Newspaper copy provided courtesy Huronia Museum

He was considered one of the toughest and best defensemen of his era. But on September 21, 1942, former Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Bert Corbeau met his match in the waters of Georgian Bay.

The native of Penetanguishene, long retired as a player and no longer coaching, had returned home to help his community’s effort during World War Two in 1942.

Working as a plant superintendent at the Midland Foundry and Machine Company, Corbeau and his staff worked long days to aid Canada’s war effort.

After a successful work order was completed, Corbeau issued a memo for his men;

You are invited to attend a stag party.

Aboard my boat on Monday Sept. 21 at 4 P.M.

For a buffet lunch and refreshments.

Come one and all.

Prizes Will be awarded to the best fishermen.

Plant Superintendent

B. Corbeau

Forty-two men set out on Corbeau’s boat the Wawinet, on that clear Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., but only 17 would return.

After making the trip to from Penetanguishene to Honey Harbour, with a brief stop at the Delawana Inn, Corbeau began to make trip back home.

2000.0007.0001 The Wawinet – The portholes had  allegedly been cut from round to rectangular by Corbeau.  Earlier photos seem to refute this. Photo: The Huronia Museum

At about 9:50pm, the Wawinet struck a sand bar on the south end of Beausoleil Island and listed to the starboard side and, with the portholes open, began to take on water.

One report said you could see a 25 foot rift in the sand bar where the boat had struck.

Despite Corbeau’s warnings, the men rushed to the port side out of panic and the boat buckled to that side, taking on more water. The boat quickly began to sink rapidly.

Witness accounts, in an article by Gordon Sinclair of The Toronto Star, state that Corbeau may have been thinking to go down with the boat, but not before trying to save his guests.

“I was up in the wheelhouse with Bert when we were on the way home,” said survivor Chas Rankin.

“There were two others there and Bert was talking with one of these when he swung hard left to come around. She heeled over pretty heavy and, with the large square windows open, they filled with a great gush of water and she went down within two minutes.”

“When Bert saw what happened, he didn’t want to be saved,”  Rankin continued.

“We were both beside Bert and there was a bright moon. As the boys were struggling in the water, Bert peeled off his clothes and said ‘You boys swim for it..Good luck.’”

“Bert and I went out out of the wheelhouse sort of sideways and I pulled off my windbreaker sort of sideways and trod water where he was. I saw Bert take hold of one chap and pulled him up to the boat as she hesitated before making the plunge.”

“You’re dead right,” echoed fellow survivor Stewart Cheetham on Rankin’s account.

“I was below in the galley when she swung around sharp and the water started pouring in through the side windows. Charles Rankin started swimming straight off and Bert Corbeau climbed climbed up to where I was . He looked the whole picture over in the moonlight then he just slid in. Bert Corbeau was a strong swimmer and a very good guy.”

In all chances, Corbeau tried to save as many as he could before succumbing to the frigid waters of Georgian bay.

With only two lifeboats in tow, one capsized, and no lifejackets, the survivors clung to what they could, if anything, and swam to Beausoleil Island. Soon they realized that they were in shallow water and walked to shore. The men, cold and wet huddled in a small cabin on the Island’s YMCA camp.

For others on the far side of the boat, the only land in sight was the further Present Island. Few successfully made that long swim.

Rescuers would not arrive until the next morning.The local police in Midland were not made of the tragedy until 5:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, once reports from families of the missing men and the discovery by morning boaters trickled in.

P1050383 A model of the Wawinet on display at the Huronia Museum

How the Wawinet came to strike sandbar has been questioned for decades.

There was speculation that alcohol was a factor. Many survivors said there had been little drinking on board, and Corbeau’s blood alcohol level was found to be within limit. Witnesses did say a one or two rounds had been bought at the Delawana before it’s departure.

Another theory is that there was some horseplay, or a scuffle on the bridge. Witnesses stated that up to five men were up top and some took turns at the wheel. Maybe things got a bit out of hand and Corbeau  found the boat off course and was unable to regain control in time.

Another report, but less unlikely, claims Corbeau liked to rock the boat to amuse his passengers, perhaps rocking it one too many times.

Chas Rankin’s account verifies the sharp turn but does not mention an incident with the men in the wheelhouse or Corbeau rocking the boat.

The structure of the 75-foot boat also came into question, as Corbeau had made several modifications to the 38-year-old Wawinet that may not have made the boat top heavy and unbalanced.

That with the fact that Corbeau may not have been licensed to operate a boat with that many passengers, may have led more to the tragedy.

Elmer Shaw, the owner of the Midland Foundry, confirmed that another employee was at the wheel earlier in the evening, but that Corbeau was the the helm on the return trip.  He also gave an account that little alcohol was involved on the trip and noted the boat’s unbalanced structure.

Bert Corbeau1 Bert Corbeau was a member of the Montreal Canadiens first Stanley Cup winning team and played for the Hamilton Tigers and Toronto St. Pats/Maple Leafs.

Regardless of how it happened, for the people of Penetanguishene and Midland, the tragedy could not have come at a worse time.

Residents of the area were already reading reports in the weekly newspapers of the war unfolding. Stories of family lost, killed or taken prisoner in the European theatre of World War Two already brought enough heartbreak to the area.

As Raymond Desrochers put it in his account ten years ago, "It was a time when the loss of the breadwinner held terrible consequences for the remaining family. There were few social supports and few people had life insurance.”

With the war still raging on however, foundry owner Shaw had no choice but to re-open his shop three days later.

“We have only sixteen men left now out of a staff of around forty but shall build up our organization rapidly from local people,” he said. “Only three members of the staff did not go on the trip.”

As a new resident to the Midland-Penetag area, I’ve spent the last several months researching and learning more about this tragedy and the life of Mr. Corbeau.

Hopefully I can learn more. I still have to make a trip to the Penetanguishene Sports Hall of Fame, where Bert Corbeau is an inductee,  and am awaiting some further information from other sources. If anyone else has other information, please email me.

I’d like to dedicate this article to the victims, survivors and their families from this tragic event.

The victims from September 21, 1942:

From Penetanguishene: Aimé Lalumière, Bert Corbeau, Jack Magnus, Arthur Legault, George Todd, Mitch Maracle, Norman Roberts, Jack McLaughlin, Bert Mason, Arthur Bingham.

From Midland: F. 'Buddy' Bell, Bert McQuay, Richard Cornelius, William Clark, Lloyd Strong, Rudy Ellery, Elgin Scott, Harry Gillespie, Ted Contois, Alvin Bourdon

From Port McNicholl: Moïse St-Denis, Joe Staruck

From Wyebridge: Gordon Eakley

From Toronto: Albert A. Dix, J.N. Bicknell

The survivors:

From Midland:  Charles Rankin, Joseph Parker, Al Miller, Mort Garrett, Orville McClung, Harry Lavigne, Stanley Leclair, Albert Perrault, Basil Somers, Henry Deschamps, Kenneth Lower, Robert Shaubel.

From Wyevale: Ernie Robbins, Thomas Davidson

From Penetanguishene: Laurie Goutte.

From Toronto: Elmer Shaw

From Brantford: Stewart Cheetam

Special note of thanks:

Putting this story together would not have been possible without the help of Genevieve Carter, at the Huronia Museum, for getting me in the right direction, as well as Jenny Suttaby, author R.B. Fleming, and Bruce Pratt for getting me some other photos and information on the Wawinet.

Kovalev, Fisher lead Senators to a thumping of the Habs Alex Kovalev watches the puck trickle past Carey Price – Photo: Sun Media

Former Hab Alex Kovalev had a goal and an assist and Mike Fisher had a hat-tick and an assist as the Ottawa Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 Saturday night in Kanata.

Unlike the night before at the Bell Centre, Scotiabank place was full of empty seats for the pre-season contest. I even checked the Senators ticket site and cold find 10th row seats in section 105 at 6pm.

The seats that were occupied had quite a lot of fans of the Bleu-Blanc et Rouge in them.

Kovalev heard the jeers of disgruntled Canadiens fans early in the game every time he touched the puck.

The Russian forward replied with a short-handed wrist shot through the legs of Carey Price to open the scoring.

“It was important to get the win,” he said. “We played a complete game.”

Kovalev tried to downplay the importance of playing his former team, but he had to have been surprised by the mixed reactions emanating from the crowd.

"I couldn't understand where I was playing - Ottawa, Montreal or somewhere in between," he said.

"It doesn't matter if they're cheering or booing, you know, you've got the crowd, you've got a lot of people who watched the game and that's what makes it exciting."

Montreal would score on the power-play later in the period when Jaroslav Spacek blasted a shot off the point to beat Pascal LeClaire.

Fisher scored on the man advantage for Ottawa late in the period.

Fisher and Peter Regin each scored even-strength goals in the second period. Fisher then got his trick in the third period, while Josh Hennessy closed out the scoring.

Pascal LeClaire made 23 saved and played the whole 60 minutes for the Senators.

Price struggled in the Canadiens net, making 12 saves on 16 shots through the first two periods.

“It’s gonna take a while to get back to md-season form,” he said. “We need to prepare a little bit better, it’s not an excuse.”

The Habs netminder was also asked on Kovalev scoring on him, having faced him in practice on several occasions in the past.

“It went straight through my legs,” he said. “He’s a good player and I’ve been watching him shoot for the last two years. Sometimes he’s gonna beat you. That’s what good players do. It’s something we’re going to have to get used to now.”

Cedric Desjardins stopped five of seven for Montreal in the third.

Eric Neilson, who dropped the gloves on three occasions in Friday’s win over the Senators, had a rematch with Matt Carkner early in the first period.

The aspiring Canadien’s tough guy’s discipline did not show up Saturday though, as he also left the Canadiens shorthanded twice and was in the penalty box when Fisher completed his hat trick.

“To me it’s about preparation,” said Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin. “ It doesn’t matter whether it’s pre-season or regular season. We had a good start, but there were some mistakes and they capitalized.”

Martin stated that he will go two more games before he begins cutting the roster down to size.

“That’s what training camp is for,” he said. You get to know your people, you take notice of what each individual brings, but you need to be ready on October 1st.”

The Canadiens play their next pre-season game Sunday, in Quebec City, against the Boston Bruins.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Canadiens and Senators set to go at it again Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec celebrate Brian Gionta’s goal Friday night - Photo:Sun Media

The Montreal Canadiens travelled to Kanata today for the second of their back-to back pre-season meetings with the Ottawa Senators.

“It’s definitely exciting",” said former Habs winger Alex Kovalev on facing his former team.

Kovalev did not play in Montreal Friday night, but if he had is way would have preferred to play in all six Senators pre-season games.

“We have many young guys trying to make the team,” he said. “ it’s not my decision to make.”

Kovalev has been playing with fellow newcomer Jonathan Cheechoo, who was picked up in the Dany Heatley deal.

The Senators will be looking for their first pre-season win, after having three straight losses.

Ottawa coach Cory Clouston will be looking at tonight’s game very intently as the team begins trimming it’s roster.

"There's an opportunity for guys that play well tonight or might get another look," Clouston said “There's also a chance that somebody could play themself off this team.”

“Whether you are a vet or a young guy trying to make this team, these games mean something. We are looking at how hard they compete.”

The Senators coach also talked about the team’s lack of goal production.

“We’re getting chances, we’re just not scoring,” he said.

“We’ve hit eight posts in three games. It’s hard to explain. The positive is the chances are there. We’re just not scoring.”

Clouston also expects to let Pascal LeClaire play the full 60 minutes tonight in goal.

For the Canadiens, two hopefuls, who impressed coach Jacques Martin Friday, will start again tonight.

Ben Maxwell, who scored Montreal’s first goal Friday night will look to impress his coach further.

“You really get the sense of his nice progression,” said Martin.

“This is a solid two-way player with deceptive speed that he’s shown all through training camp. He worked really hard this summer and we’re seeing the results of that now.”

Eric Neilson, who logged 37 penalty minutes will also be out to terrorize the Senators for another night.

In the event Georges Laraque goes down to injury, it’s nice to see the Canadiens have another tough guy down the pipe.

Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette had a great post-game chat with Neilson Friday, and I came across a quote from Sidney Crosby, his former teammate in Rimouski, on the Habs hopeful.

“He’s very tough. He and another guy shared the heavyweight crown in our league.

He’s not only tough but very fast. He’s not there just to fight, he can skate and he’s a good checker as well.

There are a lot of guys who are tough but have trouble playing hockey, he’s not one of those guys. He can play too.”

- Sidney Crosby 2005 interview with HFBoards

Sergei Kostitsyn has also been cleared by Canadiens’ team doctors for game play and is scheduled to play tonight

Game time is 7:00pm at Scotiabank Place.

Canadiens Lineup:

Goal: Price, Desjardins

Defence: O'Byrne, Spacek, Belle, Benoit, Anderson, Markov

Forwards: Cammalleri, D'Agostini, Lapierre, A. Kostitsyn, White, Maxwell, Johansson, Pacioretty, Stewart, S. Kostitsyn, Neilson, Gomez.

Gomez on playing in Montreal: Rocky Bonanno of talks to the Canadiens center on looking forward to playing in Montreal.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Canadiens beat Senators 2-1

jm09 0918 senators 01.thumbnail Ben Maxwell battles Pascal LeClaire Friday night – Montreal Gazette photo

It certainly wasn’t a playoff game, and you didn’t miss much if you missed the first two periods, unless you like a good fight or tow, otr three.

Nonetheless, the Montreal Canadiens came alive, in the third period of this pre-season tilt, to beat their division rival Ottawa Senators tonight at the Bell Centre 2-1.

Montreal only mustered four shots in the  first period, and the Senators scored the lone goal of the period, when Milan Michalek fired a Jason Spezza pass by goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

Michalek was making his first appearance for Ottawa since being traded from San Jose in the Dany Heatley deal.

The Canadiens showed signs of life in the second, inspired by hopeful Ben Maxwell who tied the game at one on the powerplay at 5:15.

Another hopeful, Eric Neilson, showed the Bell Centre crowd his pugilist skills.

After laying out the Senators’ Jeremy Yablonski with a solid hook early in the period, he later took on Ottawa tough guy Chris Neil to a draw.

jm09 0918 senators 05.thumbnail Eric Neilson goes at it with Chris Neil – Montreal Gazette photo

The New Brunswick native wasn’t finished as he and teammate Andrew Conboy would have a mini scrap with Ottawa’s Matt Carkner and Cody Bass respectively halfway into the third period.

“Neilson did an outstanding job,” said Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin. “He’s a smart individual who doesn’t put his team in trouble.”

Neilson’s 37 penalty minutes on the night is not surprising. 

He racked up 207 PIM in 53 games with the Peoria Rivermen (AHL) last year and used to be Sidney Crosby’s body guard when the two played Junior in Rimouski.

Brian Gionta, one of the  newcomers with high expectations this season, took a Tomas Plekanec pass to beat Robin Lehner with the game-winning goal at 15:56.

Plekanec and Gionta showed improvement, with linemate Max Pacioretty, as the game progressed, despite Pacioretty leaving the game briefly midway into the game.

The two teams meet again tomorrow, in Kanata, where former Hab Alex Kovalev is expected to play.

Kovalev ne joue pas ce soir

storage.canoe.caAlex Kovalev  Photo:

Ottawa Senators GM Brian Murray has asked Alex Kovalev to take a night off tonight to think about his game.

Nah, just kidding.

But, the Senator’s prize free-agent signing will not be on the squad that faces his old team, the Montreal Canadiens, tonight at the Bell Centre.

We’ll see “L’Artiste” in action Saturday, when the teams meet at Scotiabank Place, saving the dramatic return to Montreal for the regular season.

The Sens have struggled in the pre-season, losing their first two games, to the Florida Panthers, and accumulated just two goals in those contests.

“It’s not “a worry, but it is an issue,” said Sens coach Cory Clouston.

Well he can’t blame it on any lack of effort from Dany Heatley now, can he?


Habs injuries: Laraque (lower body) ,Hamrlik (flu), Sergei  Kostitsyn and Kyle Chipchura still are awaiting doctors clearance for game play.

From the Sens Camp: A nice article on Senators goalie Pascal Leclaire, who looks forward to playing at least two periods in his home town.

Other Habs tidbits:

Dave Stubbs ( asks “What is wrong with this picture?” looks at Mike Cammalleri after his first pre-season game in a Habs jersey.

Jason at Flying Frenchmen is not big on a rotating captaincy.

Four Habs Fans get some input on coach Jacques Martin from bloggers for his former teams (Sens, Florida Panthers)

Lions in Winter has been looking, in depth, at the projected lines this season.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Montreal Canadiens Training Camp: Day Four

The stands at the Brossard training complex were not as crowded today as the Habs took to the ice for a fourth day of practice.

Tomorrow, the Canadiens will play their first pre-season game against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.

“It’s a good opportunity,” said forward Scott Gomez, who was amazed to hear that the Bell Centre will be a sell-out for a pre-season game.

“Whether it’s pre-season or not, once you step on that ice, in that atmosphere you realize how special it is that you’re in the NHL.”

Gomez will play on a line Thursday with Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn.

“I didn’t realize how good a player he is,” he said of Kostitisyn.

“He’s a complete player, a guy we’re definitely gonna need him this year whether we play together or not.”

“I feel good with these two guys,” said Kostitsyn. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Like Gomez, Cammalleri was equally surprised that the Bell Centre is a sell out for a pre-season game.

“Is that what is, twenty-one and change?” he asked. “Wow, here we go!”

Carey Price had his first session today with new goaltending coach Pierre Groulx.

“It was tough,” he said on the outing. “It was a pretty good little skate this morning.”

Price figures his style of play shouldn’t change that much under his new coach.

“I think there’s going to be a few minor adjustments, but I think it’s going to stay the same technically,” he said.

“Mentally I think I might be a little bit more prepared this year to deal with everything that goes on.”

The 22-year-old said likes the mentality of the Canadiens dressing room this season over last year.

“I think our guys are bonding better this year,” he said.

“Over the next couple weeks we’re going to have to keep that up and keep working as a team.”

Price will also sport a new mask, for the Canadiens Centennial, that features goaltenders Ken Dryden and Gump Worsley.

He’s also going to the red goal pads, which will raise the eyebrows of many fans.

"I’m the same size in this, as I am in white,” he said and doesn’t feel the red pads were a part of his failure last year.

“It’s all up here. I don’t beleive in curses. I’m not a very superstitious person.”

The Montreal Canadiens site offers more comments on Price from his new teammates.

Game time Thursday is at 7:30pm (EST).

Carbo joins HNIC, Peter Puck returns, Habs Thursday lineup

Former Canadiens captain, and coach, Guy Carbonneau will join former goaltenders Glenn Healy and Kevin Weekes as part of CBC's team on Hockey Night in Canada.

And Peter Puck is back!!

CBC's release can be found below:


Legendary Don Cherry celebrates 30 years on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada; Guy Carbonneau, Kevin Weekes and Glenn Healy added to broadcast team; Peter Puck returns to CBC

Get ready hockey fans! CBC's unprecedented 57th regular season returns on Saturday, Sept. 26th, with a special pre-season matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET with Hockey Tonight hosted by Ron MacLean.

Then, the regular season gets in full swing on Thursday, Oct. 1 with a special all-Canadian doubleheader starting with a special edition of Hockey Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the Leafs and Canadiens as well as the Canucks and Flames at 10 p.m. ET.

Saturday, Oct. 3 features another game addition—a live broadcast from Stockholm, Sweden featuring the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3 p.m. ET, followed by a full slate of evening games.

CBC’s season is highlighted by the biggest games all year long, including 25 all-Canadian tilts, the 2010 NHL Winter Classic, the Canadiens 100th Anniversary Game on Friday, Dec. 4, four appearances from the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, and the much-anticipated 10th annual HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA broadcasting from Stratford, Ontario on Saturday, Jan. 30.

Additional games have also been added throughout the season featuring the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames (please see updated broadcast schedule attached).

The program will celebrate an important milestone later this season, as the popular and impeccably dressed Don Cherry, host of Coach’s Corner on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA, marks his 30th season with CBC. The Kingston, Ont. native debuted in April, 1980, and has since become a national icon with his intimate knowledge of the game; entertaining and enthralling Canadians with his commentary every Saturday night.

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA today also announced the addition of Guy Carbonneau, Kevin Weekes and Glenn Healey to the all-star lineup of commentators and play-by-play talent for the 2009-10 season.

Three-time Stanley Cup winner and Frank J. Selke Trophy recipient, Guy Carbonneau, joins the lineup as an analyst during Montreal Canadiens broadcasts throughout the year. The former captain (1989-94) and head coach (2006-09) of the Habs will provide viewers with an in-depth knowledge of the historic franchise and its players.

Netminder Kevin Weekes will serve as a Western Conference analyst alongside play-by-play man Mark Lee. The Scarborough native has always been known as an astute observer of the game and adds a veteran player’s perspective to the booth. Weekes’ career spanned 348 regular season games, manning the nets for Vancouver, Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers in addition to the New Jersey Devils—reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2002 as a member of the Hurricanes.

A former NHL player, hockey broadcaster and NHLPA Executive, Glenn Healy will appear between-the-benches as an analyst on broadcasts featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well a pre-game and Hot Stove commentator. His extensive contacts and experience on multiple levels of professional hockey will add another valuable layer of insight to the already reputable cast.

Plus—this season, CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA is bringing home a classic with a twist. Peter Puck animated cartoons will be produced and aired in HD beginning Saturday, Oct. 3 as part of Hockey Tonight. This all-new 26-part series will focus on interesting and unique stories of players and remarkable moments in hockey.

Returning this season are all the special segments that hockey fans know and love.

Every Saturday night leads off with Hockey Tonight and includes Inside Hockey with Eilliotte Friedman telling stories of the people and places that shape the game of hockey.

A CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA mainstay, Coach’s Corner returns for its 22nd season every Saturday night during the first intermission of Game One.

During the second intermission of Game One The Hotstove is back with more candid debate and discussion of the current issues from around the NHL. Pierre LeBrun, Al Strachan, Mike Milbury will all be regular contributors.

Coast-To-Coast also returns with Mike Milbury and Kelly Hrudey joining Ron MacLean.

In the second intermission of Game Two, Up-to-the-Minute, keeps fans abreast of all of the night’s scores and highlights from around the league.

At 1 a.m. ET, After Hours with Scott Oake, the one-of-a-kind post-game show, caps off the full night of hockey with live, in-depth post-game interviews featuring NHL players and personalities.

Canadians will be able to experience the program online with live and on-demand online video streaming of all games, including Punjabi-language broadcasts with Parminder Singh handling play-by-play duties and Harnarayan Singh providing analysis.

Online streaming of Hockey Tonight and CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada I-Desk (hosted by Scott Morrison and Jeff Marek) will also return. is the destination for hockey fans, featuring weekly columns from personalities, breaking news, in-depth reports, interactive features, broadcast schedules and more.

For hockey fans who can’t wait until Saturday nights to get their CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA fix, HNIC Radio on SIRIUS hits the airwaves on SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s Channel 122 on Monday, Sept. 28 and will air Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. ET.

Host Jeff Marek, one of sports talk radio’s brightest stars, will return alongside rotating co-hosts Kelly Hrudey, Elliotte Friedman and Scott Morrison. HNIC Radio features intelligent hockey talk, insight and debate, keeping fans up-to-date on all the breaking news and issues from the world of hockey.

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 28 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.

One of the original Peter Puck Episodes episodes is seen below.

Line-up is set for habs first Pre Season Game:

Jacques Martin has posted his lineup for Thursday's pre-season game against the Florida Panthers:

Goal: Price, Sanford

Defence: Markov, Spacek, Gorges, O'Byrne, Benoit, Subban

Forwards: Cammalleri, Gomez, A. Kostitsyn, Latendresse, Lapierre, D'Agostini, Stewart, Johansson, Trotter, Darche, Desharnais, White

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Montreal Canadiens Training Camp: Day Three

It was not to be a carbon copy of the last two mornings at the Canadiens Brossard practice facility.

While fans packed the stands, for a third day, to catch a glimpse of the team’s practice and inter-squad scrimmage, the media were eager to talk to Andrei Markov.

A story Tuesday morning, by the Montreal Gazette, reported that Markov had turned down the offer of captain for the storied franchise.

Eager journalists would have to wait until after the session to get some answers.

Today’s workouts would feature the final, two-period, scrimmage between Teams B and C.

Wearing the white practice jerseys, Team C opened the scoring in the first period when Brian Gionta made a flashy move, on a penalty shot, to get the puck past  Robert Mayer.

Mike Cammalleri would tie it at one after taking a cross crease pass from Scott Gomez.

It was Cammalleri’s second pairing with Gomez, in the scrimmages, and the winger is liking what he sees.

“We're starting to get more familiar with each other's game, he said.

“The key is to learn each other's strengths and each other’s game. Then you start making decisions based on instinct, instead of thinking about it, and at that point you become more effective.”

“They’ve got good speed. One’s a playmaker and ones a shooter,” said head coach Jacques Martin on the Gomez-Cammalleri combo. The coach expects that the two will start the pre-season with Andrei Kostitysn on the left wing.

It was all team C, the rest of the way, with goals from Andrew Conboy and Max Pacioretty for a 3-1 win.

“I’m happy with how I played both days,” said Pacioretty, who was impressed by the intensity of the first three days of camp.

“It’s great to see the guys, even the veterans, want to play that hard, even at camp.”

Team B claimed the “tournament title” based on goals four and against as all three teams had won a game apiece.

Gionta and Brock Trotter shared the “scoring title”, while Jaroslav Halak earned “top goalie” after playing shutout hockey during his two appearances.

Attention after focused on Markov, who stated that he had never been offered the captaincy.

“I was surprised cause nobody talked about that and nobody told me about that,” he said.

“It’s not my decision, it’s the coach’s decision. Nobody asked me that.”

Markov also talked about the importance of being the Canadiens captain, especially after the departure of Saku Koivu.

“I just know it’s a big responsibility, and I think it’s not easy to be a captain in front of you guys(media),” he said. “It’s something special to be a captain in Montreal.”

“The organization hasn’t offered Andrei the captaincy," said Jacques Martin, who then put an end to any speculation by announcing that he and GM Bob Gainey will make the decision on captain at the end of training camp.

Martin also defended his reasoning for selecting a captain over a team vote.

“It’s important that we have an individual that shares the same values, the same views, concerns and principles as the organization,” he said.

Mike Cammalleri also added that the position of captain is not currently an issue with the players.

“It hasn’t been such a big issue for us,” he said. “I’d be ok with it. We have enough leaders in this room that will step up and lead by example.”

Like Markov, Cammalleri acknowledged that captain of the Canadiens is a unique position in the NHL.

“It’s the Montreal Canadiens. There is a different level of responsibility that maybe comes with being captain of this organization as far as things outside of the room, such as media attention and things like that, that maybe aren’t present in other markets.”

Training camp resumes Wednesday (11am- 1:30pm), but will be four empty stalls in the dressing room areas tomorrow morning.

Goaltender Jason Missiaen, and blueliners Mac Bennett and Joe Stejskal were returned to their respective, OHL, college and USHL teams.

Philippe Lefebvre, invited for a tryout at camp, will return to Drummondville, but not before signing a three-year-deal with the Canadiens.

“It’s a big event for me,” Lefebvre said. “It means I showed some good things and I worked hard.”

Monday, September 14, 2009

Montreal Canadiens Training Camp: Day Two

fans Fans crowd the Brossard training centre for the second day of training camp Photo: Montreal Gazette

The Montreal area set a record for sick days from work, and truant officers were seeking out absent students as the Canadiens’ Brossard practice facility was filled again with fans for day two of training camp.

The fans were treated to a second two-period scrimmage in as many days, with today’s game featuring camp Teams A and C.

Habs hopeful Brock Trotter got Team A in an early lead with two goals on Curtis Sandford, and nearly had a hat-trick had it not been for a big stop by Sandford.

“I made good on the opportunity,” the 22-year-old forward said. “I took advantage of it last year, all the same I’m gonna try to keep rolling with that into  this season as well.”

“It's nice to see the progression from him,” noted head coach Jacques Martin on how the youngsters improvement during the second half of last season, in the AHL, is still carrying forward.

Team C would rally back in the second period. Josh Gorges would blast one from the point past Jason Missiaen, and was followed quickly by Tomas Plekanec.

“I liked it,” Gorges said, after the scrimmage, on playing on the point with Hal Gill. “He keeps the game real simple, but he communicates really well.”

Mathieu Darche would beat Missiaen. on a penalty shot, to put the C squad in the lead.

Darche_Missaien Darche beats Missiaen  - Photo: Montreal Gazette

Glen Metropolit squared it up at three apiece, with a shot past Cedrick Desjardins, but Brian Gionta won it for Team C with 17 seconds left to play.

“It feels good to get out there and be a little competitive,” Gionta said.

Gionta played with Plekanec and Travis Moen, for the second consecutive day, and is not disappointed at not being reunited, straight away, with former teammate Scott Gomez.

“That never played into my decision for coming here,” he said. “I wanted to come here to be part of a wining team, and such a storied franchise.”

Ryan O’Byrne, who will have to fight for the final defenceman slot with the Canadiens, played an aggressive game. The 6’3” blueliner laid out some big hits on Matt D’Agostini and Gregory Stewart.

“Stewie’s one of by best friends,” O’Byrne said. “That’s the way it goes. There’s no friends out here anymore. That happened a little too much last year. There was too much hesitation and that’s no longer the case.”

O’Byrne is also aware of the prospect defensemen (Yannick Weber and P.K. Subban) that are looking to make a splash, at the camp, and that his roll is a physical one over flash. “My job is to make it hard for the opposing forwards,” he said. “This year I’m fighting for a spot.”

O’Byrne spent a lot of time focusing on his game, studied game tape, added muscle mass (eight lbs) and took boxing lessons in the off-season.

He knows to put last season’s upsets behind him and look forward.

“I lost confidence at times last year, I got it back and I lost it,” he said.

“Last year is behind me. It is what it is and that’s why I had a great summer. (I) just focused on being positive and keeping that confidence at all times.”

Two players, that are practicing with the team at camp, have yet to see scrimmage action. Both Kyle Chipchura and Sergei Kostitsyn had off-season shoulder surgery and are awaiting doctor’s clearance to play in the inter-squad scrimmages.

mara_moen Travis Moen and Paul Mara battle in out in Monday’s scrimmage – Photo: Montreal Gazette

Off to a confident start? : Goaltender Carey Price is off to a good start in the first two sessions of inter-squad scrimmages, allowing just 1 goal in 40 minutes.

Camp resumes again Tuesday from 10am to 1pm, with another intersquad game (B vs. C) at 11am.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Montreal Canadiens Training Camp: Day One

The stands were filled at the Montreal Canadiens training facility on Sunday. Close to 1200 fans came out to watch the team’s first day of training camp, a surprise to many newcomers to the team this year.

“That’s pretty unique,” said forward Scott Gomez. “It just shows what a great place this is.”

Gomez was paired with fellow off-season acquisition Mike Cammalleri and Andre Kostitsyn in the first day of practice, and scored during the team scrimmage.

“It’s only the first day,” he said when asked if this could be a potential starting line. “So let’s not get crazy.”

“We made some great plays out there,” said Paul Mara, another newcomer who was paired on the point with Andrei Markov for day one. “We’ll see what happens.”

Mara too was overwhelmed by the fan turnout and cheering on the first day, “It’s unbelievable,” he said. “It really welcomes you and makes you want to play in Montreal.”

“It was real fun,” added Jaroslav Spacek. “I’ve never seen something like that.”

Habs hopeful P.K. Subban laid out a couple hits, including an open ice one on Max Pacioretty, during the scrimmage.

“He’s OK.,” he said after talking to Pacioretty after practice. “I wasn’t trying to hit him. He must not have seen me coming.”

Head coach Jacques Martin wants his defenseman to join in the offensive rush whenever possible, something that would suit the young blueliner just right.

“You have to pick the right times to jump up, and when to stay back,” Subban said. “I wanna prove that I’m reliable also, and that I know that I can play and be a sound defenseman back there.”

Coach Martin seemed generally impressed with what he saw from the first day of camp, noting the physical work of Guillaume Latendresse as well as the performance of the four goalies during scrimmage.

The coach stressed, as the players had, that immediate decisions can’t be made from one practice alone.

“My approach, to our team, is we have to find two lines that are gonna give us some good production",he said.

“I’m not sure who’s going to be our first left winger or who’s going to be our fourth left winger. I think we’ve got some battles. It’s going to be up to the players to determine that.”

Martin then gave some insight into how he formulates his lines and that he will take the pre-season to work on that.

“When I look at line combinations, a lot of times I look at a duo, a center and a winger,” he said. “If we have good a combination, for instance, center and right wing, we may see a rotation on the left side, or vice-versa.”

The coach then discussed the necessities of taking the roster GM Bob Gainey put together, and getting the players all on the same page.

“It’s going to be important for us to develop our own identity,” Martin said. “..where we all have the same goal, the same objective. That’s what we’re going to develop in the next twenty days.”

Martin later emphasized puck possession, work ethic and commitment at both ends of the ice.

“We have to work at developing that mentality and identity,” he said. “It has to come from them (the players).”

“I like the enthusiasm that’s been around the team. I like our skill level.” he added. “We just gotta keep progressing.”

Training camp resumes Monday at 10am to 1pm, with a scrimmage between practice groups A and C at 11am.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Montreal Canadiens turn their heads and cough

ContinogetsArmyPhysical Exclusive photo obtained by Ya! The Habs Rule! of an unnamed training camp invitee at today’s team physical. – just kidding

The invitees to the Montreal Canadiens 2009-10 training camp reported to the Brassard practice facility for their physicals.

After they reported in, the players were out to talk to the media.

“I haven’t felt this good in a long time,” said team heavyweight Georges Laraque. “My back is good.”

“When I worked out this summer, I did a lot of stuff to get my back better. I lost a lot of weight (20 lbs) and did a lot of yoga.”

Coming in to camp at 245 pounds, Laraque is the lightest he’s played since becoming a pro. 

“Last year I was fit when I came in,” he said. “This is something I had to do for my  back to be better, and it worked. I still feel confident.”

He refused to comment on, former Hab enforcer, Gino Odjick’s remarks last week on his “fighting code” .

“We were in different times. He was in a time when there was no instigator rule and now the times are different.”

Laraque then looked at the revamped roster that GM Bob Gainey assembled over the summer.

“We’re not an old team,” he said. “(We have) a  lot of energy guys a lot of young guys, a lot of speed and we have a lot of size too so we’ll be able to play any style of game that any team will throw at us.”

“We were expecting those kind of things,” added center Maxim Lapierre referring to last season’s disappointments.

“With those changes, we’re pretty sure we’re going have the kind of team that’s gonna compete every night.”

Lapierre had surgery on his right ankle to shave off some bone. It’s still a bit sore, but it’s not expected to give him problems.

He joined winger Guillaume Latendresse, in Ottawa, this summer, training with the Canadiens new strength and conditioning coach Lorne Goldberg.

“We’re in great shape for the start of the season and we’ll just have to keep bringing it for 82 games,” he said.

“Everybody starts on the same level,” said Latendresse, noting the new roster and coaching changes.

He hopes his off-season work will earn him a position on one of the top forward lines this season and possibly see some power-play time as well.

“I’m just gonna try to show that that’s my spot and that’s where I want to play,” he said.

Latendresse was touted as a potential power forward when he was drafted, but that did not emerge under coach Guy Carbonneau.

He met with coach Jacques Martin last month and said it was a positive talk.

“He seems like a guy who knows where he’s going, he said. “I think he’s going to be ready. He really loves guys that are in shape.”

With only a trio of francophone players on the current roster, Latendresse joked that they will have to get some of the others to learn French and help them in the dressing room.

Newcomer Hal Gill seems happy with the leadership aspect of the team this season and is not concerned that the Canadiens do not have a captain yet.

“I think captain is overrated sometimes,” he said. “You don’t need a C on your jersey to be a leader.”

“There’s a lot of guys that are in a leadership position,” the big defenceman said. “It’s part of the way that management when out to get guys. I think they’ve done a good job at that.”

While he his impressed with the roster list put together, Gill made a very key comment on it, “It doesn’t matter what you see on paper. We have to put the rubber to the road.”

The veteran is looking forward to coming to the pressure cooker of Montreal after winning a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh last season.

“Every game is a big game and you guys,of course, remind us everyday,” he said. “It would be a real special thing to have some success here.”

Gill then talked about goalie Carey Price, and saw how former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury’s early career struggles mirrored Price last season.

“He’s got a real good head on his shoulders and obviously he’s talented. We have to let him play and let him do his thing,” he said.

“He’s getting over all this attention from the media and eventually he’s just gotta do his thing and not worry about it. He’s got a good foundation.”

“My roll is to be big in front of the net and give Carey a view of the puck.” he added. “If he can’t see it, then I have to block it for him.”

Fellow blueliner Josh Gorges noted that the arrival of the new players looks to be very promising after some impromptu skating sessions.

“It’s like they’ve been here for two or three years,” he said. “They fit right in. We’re all excited to see each other again and meet the new guys.”

“There’s a buzz within the dressing room that I didn’t feel so much last year.” he added. “You can just sense it in the room that guys want to get going and want to get playing with each other here this year.”

As with Gill, Georges feels that with the current roster, a necessity of a captain is not a key concern.

“It’s gonna be big shoes to fill, there’s no question about it,” he said on the departure of Saku Koivu.

“Everyone is somewhat of a leader in the room. They lead in their own way. A captain will get appointed, but even before you put the C on, the players know who the real leaders on the team are. We’ve a lot of guys that can step up to fill that void, fill that roll, I think there has to be a group of guys that are pushing in the same direction and buying into the same system.”

Practice sessions begin Sunday morning at 10am, with the first pre-season game on Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

To start out, the team is being split into three practice squads as follows;

Team A: Goal: Missiaen, Price; Defence: Henry, Mara, Markov, Stejskal, St. Denis, Subban; Forwards: D'Agostini, Johansson, Laraque, Lapierre, Latendresse, Lefebvre, Metropolit, Russell, Stewart, Trotter.

Team B: Goal: Halak, Mayer; Defence: Anderson, Bennett, Carle, Hamrlik, Spacek, Weber; Forwards: Cammalleri, Chipchura, Conboy, Desharnais, Fortier, Glumac, Gomez, A. Kostitsyn, Pacioretty, White.

Team C: Goal: Desjardins, Sanford; Defence: Belle, Benoit, Busto, Gill, Gorges, O'Byrne; Forwards: Darche, Gionta, S. Kostitsyn, Maxwell, Moen, Neilson, Plekanec, Pyatt, Wyman.