Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chelios hangs’em up, 20yrs after a career-threatening injury

The Montreal Gazette - Google News Archive Search

In the June 11, 1981 edition of the Montreal Gazette, Chris Chelios’ name only appeared in the middle of a list of players, selected by the Montreal Canadiens, at the NHL Entry Draft the day before.

Chelios was the 40th player selected overall, and clearly the hidden gem of the draft. The Canadiens were lucky to get him, considering they had already made four picks (three in the first round) before selecting him.

The highlight of the media attention at the draft for the Canadiens at the time was Mark Hunter. But even hockey was taking a backseat, as the major news in the Montreal sports world was the 1981 baseball strike, just 24 hours away. The threat of the strike made the first page of the sports section, while the draft was one page over.

After being a star junior defenseman with the Moosejaw Canucks, Chelios joined the U.S collegiate ranks. Under “Badger” Bob Johnson, Chelios won the WCHA Rookie of the Year award, and was an NCAA champion by his sophomore year.

By this time, Canadiens GM Serge Savard knew what kind of a talent his predecessor Irving Grundman had drafted.“We’ve got this kid Chelios, that could play for this team right now,” Savard said feeling that Chelios could easily find himself a roster spot.

Even noted Montreal writer Red Fisher saw it in Chelios in an 1983 article, when he said, “He’s the best example of low drafts on high talent.” Fisher developed a strong media-player bond with the blueliner throughout his career. More on that further on.


Chelios got a first taste of the NHL during the 1983-84 season, seeing 12 regular season games, and fifteen playoff games as the Canadiens fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders in the Conference Final.

The following season, he was in the NHL to stay and made the All-Rookie Team, and finished second to Mario Lemieux for the Calder Trophy. He would get his first taste of Lord Stanley’s mug a year after that as the Canadiens took their 23rd Stanley Cup.

1988-89 was a bitter-sweet season for Chelios. He won his first Norris Trophy, and a First-Team All-Star birth, but the Canadiens fell short in the Cup Final against Calgary.


By the end of the 1989-90 season, the party was over in Montreal for Chris Chelios. One side will tell you that team president Ronald Corey was tired of Chelios’ alleged extracurricular activities, and forced Savard to trade him.

Savard tended to say otherwise, going on doctors advice that the knee injury the defenseman suffered in February would shorten his playing career.

So in June of 1990, Chelios was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Denis Savard. The deal was a head scratcher to fans, media and Canadiens coach Pat Burns.

Twenty years later, Serge Savard must be wondering where his doctors got their medical degrees.

1249 regular season games, four First Team All-Star selections, two Norris Trophies and two Stanley Cups after the trade, Chris Chelios has finally hung up his skates at age 48!

During his retirement speech on Tuesday, Chelios singled out the Montreal reporter who always saw something in him and believed in him from day one.

"The one guy I’d really like to thank is Red Fisher out of Montreal, who, if I could ever have a personal relationship with a member from the media, it’s about as close as it could come," Chelios said.

"Red was there from Day 1, really took care of me, actually. Offered me advice, pulled me aside a lot, was a great friend to my wife, at the time I didn’t have any children.

He really showed me a lot in how to deal with the media. I failed sometimes, but for the most part, I took it to heart what Red told me. Very sarcastic sometimes, but always gave me good advice.

So Red, I just want to wish you and your family the best. Hopefully this will get back to you, and I can’t thank you enough what you did for me."

Chelios officially accepted a position with the Detroit Red Wings, where he won his other two Stanley Cups, on Tuesday to become an Advisor to Hockey Operations.

“I'm 100-percent sure that this is it. I know that I'll never play in the NHL again,” he said. “It's not a hard decision. I couldn't have played any longer than I did. I accomplished what I wanted to. Basically, there's nothing left.”

There’s two things left however to finish his playing career, eventual enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Both of those should come by 2013.

Congratulations Mr.Chelios, on 27 wonderful years.

and of course, how could we not include this?!

More on Chelios’ retirement

Michael Farber (Sports Illustrated)


Newspaper sources:

Montreal Gazette – June 11, 1981

Montreal Gazette – June 4, 1983

Monday, August 30, 2010

Walsh puts charity in the shadow of client promotion.


I’ll give him this, player agent Allan Walsh certainly knows how to draw attention to himself. If he ever has a lecture on self promotion, I’ll sign up.

The representative of former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak pulled another shameless self promotion stunt, but his time he’s using charity as a screen.

Halak will be signing autographs this Saturday at Montreal’s Fairview Mall from 2-4pm. Fees will be $20 and it will be provided 8x10 photos only. Proceeds will benefit a worthy cause, the Ste. Justine’s Children’s Hospital Foundation.

HabsInsideOut’s Mike Boone posed the obvious question as to whether the photos were of Halak in a Blues jersey. It would have been better if fans could bring their own items, but this does tend to slow the process on occasion.

The fact that it’s for charity is certainly a wonderful gesture, but it’s how Walsh went about it that irks me, and it has nothing to due with the fact that Carey Price remains unsigned.

The signing was first tweeted on Saturday by the Team990’s Mitch Melnick under his “alter ego” HunterZThompson as follows:

“Jaro Halak at Fairview next Sat PM to sign, say thanx & raise $ for Koivu Foundation. You're welcome.”

“Great news, and a great gesture by Halak,” was my first thought. Of course the sarcastic side figured he had to come up any way to sign off on the sublet of his condo.

Walsh, in his tweets however tried to make it his own little show, blowing off Melnick’s post by citing it was still in the discussion stage. He then proceeded on Sunday to tweet his own horn, and again on Monday morning with some “big Jaroslav Halak news.”

This is a charity event, so why make it a personal crusade, Mr. Walsh? Or would you rather here us say, “Praise yee oh great agent, as you bring back our playoff saviour to help our ailing children.”

The idea seems sincere from Halak as a chance to thank the fans for his support. I’m pretty sure Walsh originally tweeted it as a chance for the fans to thank his client, then probably reworded it. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s deleted a tweet, right?

The move by Walsh of course spurned more fire against the player rep. Once his client was traded, Walsh quickly isolated himself from any Twitter followers connected to the Montreal Canadiens.

Some of us might have had it coming (the tail end of my post on the trade was “Gauthier gives Walsh the FU”). But clearly the man is gutless, as instead of diplomatically handling the situation, he elected to block a series of followers.

The days events spurred more discussion from my fellow bloggers. The Checking Line’s George Prax quickly added a “Blocked by Allan Walsh Club” to his site.

One clever Twitterite even created a “Blocked by Walsha” twibbon.

Again I want to stress that this has nothing against Jaroslav Halak, or the charitable benefits of the event, although the fact that Ste. Justine’s Foundation website has no mention of it also irks me.

Perhaps their web-tech doesn’t maintain it regularly, but it would have been better if Mr.Walsh had worked further in advance to give fans unable to attend some opportunity to get in on the signing.

My advice to Mr.Walsh would be to have his client sign some extra photos, and allow the hospital to use them at their discretion. I haven’t had a chance to hear his comments from this afternoon on the Team990, so maybe he did offer that…Who are we kidding.

In the event fans can’t make it on Saturday, here is the link to donate to the foundation directly.

In the meantime, maybe Mr. Walsh will consider a simple press release the next go around, when his client has a farewell engagement in St. Louis.

Perron weighs in on Halak: St. Louis Blues forward David Perron participated in former Canadiens star Alex Kovalev’s golf tournament on Monday in Ile-Brizard. The winger spoke to the media on his new teammate with great expectations. “I've heard so much about him, and I can not wait to see it in action,” said Perron, who feels the netminder will fit in well with a young team going in the right direction.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Birthday greetings to Pierre Turgeon

Turgeonwhiteskates250 Pierre Turgeon was born on this day in 1969.

A star with the Granby Bisons (QMJHL), Turgeon was the first overall  selection, by the Buffalo Sabres, in the 1987 Entry Draft. His offensive play  dazzled the Buffalo faithful,  with many thinking they had their next Gilbert Perreault.

He would be traded, early in the 1991-92 season, to the New York Islanders in a multi-player deal that saw Islanders star Pat Lafontaine go the other way.

The trade had no bearing on Turgeon’s offensive performance, when the reached a career high in points (132) with the Islanders the following season. The Islanders would go on to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Patrick Division Final, before falling the the eventual Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens.

Turgeon then achieved a childhood dream, after the Islanders decided to clean house, when he was traded to Montreal  with Vladimir Malakhov for Kirk Muller, Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby on April 5, 1995.

He scored 20 points in 15 games for the Canadiens, but the team failed to make the playoffs in that strike-shortened season.


In his only full season in Montreal (1995-96), he scored a team high 96 points in 80 games.

He was also named team captain, after predecessor Mike Keane was dealt to Colorado as part of the Patrick Roy trade, and would be the last to wear the “C” for the Canadiens in the Montreal Forum.

Turgeon would win the Molson Cup as the Canadiens’ player of the year.

Despite a decent personal season, the Canadiens squeaked into the playoffs and were eliminated in the first round in six games.

Though he managed six points in those half dozen post-season games, being the captain took on the weight of discontent and the criticism of media and fans alike.

Some fans and media felt Turgeon had underachieved in the playoffs and that he did not act like a captain.


Allegations even came out that Canadiens president Ronald Corey only gave Turgeon the captaincy due to his francophone heritage to lead the Canadiens from the Forum to the Molson Centre.

By the start of the 1996-97 season, Turgeon found himself the third –line centre in training camp. Unhappy, he requested a trade before the start of the season.

In his last game with the Canadiens (Oct 29, 1996), a 5-4 loss to Phoenix, Turgeon was playing left wing (he was a centre) on the first line. He assisted on all four Canadiens goals.

Later that night, the childhood dream ended when Turgeon was traded to the St. Louis Blues, along with Rory Fitzpatrick and Craig Conroy, in exchange for Murray Baron and Shayne Corson.

Journalist Réjean Tremblay assessed the trade this way;

“Players like Pierre Turgeon are part of an infinitely small minority. There are only so many who can collect a hundred points as season year after year.

When you get such a player, you make him happy and let him produce.

You don’t put him on the third line with pluggers who can’t score.”

In his 104 games with Montreal, Turgeon scored 50 goals and added 77 assists for 127 points.

He would continue playing for the Blues, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche before retiring in 2007 . In his 19-year career, Turgeon racked up 515 goals and 812 assists in 1294 games. He scored 97 points in 109 playoff games.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A better 2010-11 for Sergei K? Nyet!



Adjective: Difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious. See Kostitsyn, Sergei

There hasn’t been a lot since he was traded, but this past week I did manage to come across a bit of news/chatter on Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Martin’s favorite whipping boy of 2009-10.

Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton talked, to the Nashville Tennessean, last week on the troubled forward that he acquired in a trade for Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd on June 29.

“He was under the microscope a little bit in the Montreal system,” Fenton said. “I think a new start at a new place like ours where it's a concept of everyone working together is something he will accept.”

“This kid is a really solid, two-way player and he always has been,” Fenton said. “He's very responsible on both sides of the puck. His two-way game is very attractive to me.”

Fenton’s roll with the Predators involves player acquisitions and overseeing the team’s pro and amateur scouting, Suffice to say Kostitsyn and Fenton are well known to each other, as the winger has been on Fenton’s radar since he has been in his mid-teens.

From a blogger point of view, “Guy Lapylon” of Faceoff.com tags Kostitsyn as a bounce-back player this season.

“I think his move to Nashville was a blessing for the Belarusian. Kostitsyn has talent and I think he will get the playing time he was looking for in Montreal.”

Now whether or not this happens may not fall just on Kostitsyn’s work ethic, or change of scenery, but rather with the scoring talent surrounding him.

The Belarusian has always been considered a playmaker, but the 2010-11 Predators roster has no players with over 60 points last season. Without any true finisher to feed pucks to, a turnaround season has to be seriously questioned for the 23-year-old winger.

He’ll likely get the playing time he feels he deserves, but with little offensive depth in Nashville that is to be expected.

Unless a move is made for a top-level shooter, don’t expect that “come back to bite the Habs in the ass” season out if him. I wouldn’t be surprised though to see a offensive spurt around the time he faces his former team on November 18, in Montreal.

Another interesting observation is that there has been little comment from Camp Kostitsyn on the trade, or his one-year $550,000 signing with the Predators.

In fact, a noted Predators blog site doesn’t even list Kostitsyn in their poll of who will lead the team in scoring in 2010-11.

Given Paul Fenton’s long relationship with him, and the fact the Predators are kicking off their season promotional campaigns, you’d think that he would be more up front and centre for the club by now.

On the other hand, Fenton also knows that Kostitsyn isn’t exactly a great orator either, so a press engagement would be rather redundant. Fans and media in Montreal had enough difficulty understanding him, so imagine the backwoods Tennesseans out of the Smokey Mountains trying to figure it out.

In Montreal, we already know which number Dustin Boyd will wear, and he’s already made a brief media appearance for the club.

Then again Kostitsyn is now playing in Nashville, where hockey isn’t exactly big talk on any day of the week. For all we know, he could be drunk and riding the mechanical bull at The Wildhorse Saloon yelling, “Look at me, I’m cowboy!” and everyone will think he’s just one of the crowd.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roping in some Habs reflections and predictions


Just tightening up the noose on a few links and stories that I’ve come across on the Habs over the past few days.

Carey Price: He’s on a horse. No, not like the Old Spice guy! Price took part in a rodeo event over the weekend. The following is the excerpt on his performance from the Chilliwack Times.

“Team roping, in which one rider attempts to lasso a calf's horns and another goes for a hind leg, doesn't normally get as much attention as the wild-animal riding contests. But Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price's attempt to snare a couple of calves shone a light on the sport.

Price learned the ropes, so to speak, on Friday and Saturday, before giving the event a go for real on Sunday. He should stick to hockey; he recorded two no-time scores as he was unable to snare the calf's hind leg with his lasso. But despite his lack of team-roping talent, Price was a hit with locals, according to organizer Helen Larson.

"The kids loved it; he posed for lots of pictures . . . and answered all the kids' questions," said Larson, who had Price sign her own Canadiens jersey, bought specially for the rodeo.

For those wondering, team roping was the only event the NHL would let Price participate in.”

It was the third event for Price in the B.C. Rodeo Association. He ranks 6th in the BCRA rookie of the year standings, earning $934.52 in prize money.

Clearly the Montreal Canadiens would rather that Price stick to his day job, once he signs a contract with them that is..Don’t worry kids, it will happen shortly.

Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau: “The horror! The horror!”

Boudreau was recently at an autograph signing in Toronto. I really should have gone and got him to sign a pic of that dumbfounded look he had after Game Seven. My first idea was to wear my Habs jersey under my jacket and go, “BOO!” would have been much more fun though.

A look at “old-time hockey: Dennis Kane profiles Habs Hall of Famer Sprague Cleghorn, arguably one of the baddest and dirtiest players in the game during his era.

All eyes on the blueline: The Checking Line’s George Prax looks at the Montreal Canadiens rear guards as training camp looms closer.

The Subban Network: P.K. Subban talked to TSN about his high expectations for the upcoming season.

Subban has been spending this past week, along with Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri and other NHL stars at the BioSteel Sports Pro Hockey Week in Toronto. The Fourth Period brings exclusive photos, as well as video interviews with the participating players on their main page.

Gomez and Cammalleri on Price: While at the training session, Scott Gomez and Mike Cammaleri talked to Rogers Sportsnet on Carey Price.

Fantasy Forecasts: Crash the Crease looks at the Canadiens Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri and former Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak as fans start putting their fantasy rosters together.

Moving on to more predictions and prognostications: Alexandre Harvey, from the Canadiens’ website, looks at predictions on the team’s upcoming season and individual performances from Pro Pool, the Hockey News and Hockey le Magazine.

NHL.com looks at the Habs upcoming season in their “30-in-30” series.

The things Stevie-Y should really take from Montreal: A nice list, put together by The Active Stick, on some items that the Tampa Bay Lightning can just plain have, without argument.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bettman’s mad science experiment is underway


“Hey guys, are they looking at widening the surface again? If so, where’s the other half of the rink?” Photo – Chris Johnston (Canadian Press)

Day one of the NHL’s Research, Development and Orientation camp on Wednesday certainly brought some interesting experiments that may, or may not be implied to improve the game.

The camp is being supervised by former NHL player and current league VP of hockey and business development, Brendan Shanahan. A great background into how the camp came to be comes from Yahoo!’s Nicholas J. Cotsonika.

A quick recap of the first days’s events and observations can be found from the Canadian Press (via the Globe and Mail).

As teams of prospects, from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, worked through the drills using the new rule suggestions. The results were observed by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and a host of league GMs. The Washington Capitals’ Bruce Boudreau was the only active NHL coach on hand.


Leafs GM and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman observe the camp, discussing what potential rule changes will benefit the Toronto Maple Leafs – Toronto Star Photo

There are several things I agree on, notably the hybrid icing rule, albeit a tad confusing at times, as injuries are getting out of hand.

I wasn’t big on it at one time, but after last season’s post-season “too many men” drinking game, it may be needed as coaches and players can’t seem to communicate line changes as thoroughly in the louder NHL rinks. The blue areas are likely to be called the Don Cherry zones, after the strong proponent of the idea and goat of one of the most infamous too-many-men calls in hockey history.

The shallower goals (40” instead of 44”) wouldn’t make much of a difference to a goalie, and would speed up the pace with a bit more room behind the goal. I also like the larger creases,

I’m not sure what using a red mesh in the goalie net would accomplish, as it is being toyed with to make it easier for shooters to see the puck. NHL goalies would likely respond by wearing red pads, no matter what team they played on.

The 3-on-3 OT experiment seemed to impress many and would likely reduce shootouts. They also had the goalies change ends in the OT frame, something most GM's believe should happen.

The 2-on-2 overtime test seemed to be just a joke.

“We just had a 2-on-2 offside. Somebody get out the gong,” The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau noted on the magazine’s Twitter account. He later went on to tweet, “If the NHL ever adopts 2-on-2 OT, we all have to agree to band together & stage a coupe at league HQ.”

I am definitely not a fan of the the idea of just setting the puck on the faceoff dot and making the players wait for the whistle. It reminds me too much of some kind of dog-training exercise.

From a cosmetic point of view, I still have to figure out what the purpose of doubling the width of the blue line is. It makes no sense to me.

As for a single faceoff circle in one end, blah! I like the idea of finding a way for discouraging players to deliberately stop play in their own end, but that just doesn’t look right. Personally I think coaches it will take away from faceoff strategies, making the game more preictable and boring.

More on day one of the camp from Yahoo!’s Greg Wyshinski

Thursday’s agenda includes:

  • No touch icing, where the team that commits an offside infraction cannot make a line change and face-off is in offending team zone.
  • Face-off variation: After a face-off violation, opposition center may choose his face-off opponent.
  • Second referee located off the playing surface
  • Delayed penalty rule
  • No icing the puck while shorthanded

Ultimately the camp gives the NHL a chance to work through some ideas, as good or bad as they may be, and decide what is right for the future of the game. This blogger is  just hopeful that they just don’t get too overboard and literally change the face of the game.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Flower is free, some Habs “signings” and ticket info!


A dark cloud over the family of Guy Lafleur was removed on Tuesday.

The Montreal Canadiens legend was acquitted of his 2009 conviction for of giving contradictory testimony by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

The CBC was one of the first to break the news Tuesday morning.

Lafleur’s lawyer, Louis Belleau, said his client is delighted that the conviction was appealed successfully and he no longer has a criminal record. He also does not expect an appeal by the Crown.

He also mentioned that his client is a man of few words, clearly he only meant this when the subject of the Canadiens is not brought up.

Belleau and Lafleur will also be suing the crown and the police for abuse of power, to the tune of $3.5 million.

Had the appeal been rejected, Lafleur would have been required to abide to his original suspended sentence, a court order to make a $10,000 donation to a drug rehabilitation centre, and pay a $100 fine.

A criminal record would have impeded Lafleur’s travel restrictions abroad, especially in the United States where practically a near-zero tolerance level has been established at border crossings since 9/11.

He did travel to the US last July, while the conviction was appealed, appearing at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.


A conviction could also have jeopardized his Order of Canada and National Order of Quebec status. Steve Fonyo was recently stripped his Order of Canada after multiple criminal convictions.

The entire situation was a tremendous burden on the Habs legend, and his family. His direct-to-DVD feature “Il etais un fois…Guy Lafleur” gives more detail into the family’s struggles during this period.

With this behind him, Lafleur and his family can move on with their lives, and look forward to some exciting times this October.

Lafleur is being honored by the NHL Alumni Association this fall, as their Man of the Year, for his tremendous skills on the ice and involvement with charities and communities off the ice.

Habs Signings, sorta: A few autograph signings/appearances to mention in the Greater Toronto Area for you Habs fans.

First up, P.K Subban will be appearing at AJ Sportsworld in Vaughan. Best to check with the site as this August signing appears as date TBA. Fees start at $25, but there is mail order and drop-off services available.

A pair of Habs legends also will appear ay AJ’s on September 25. Jean-Guy Talbot and Andre Pronovost will both be appearing from 12pm to 1pm. Fees for both start at $20.

Talbot was a member of the five-straight Stanley Cup winning Canadiens teams, and won two more with the Habs in 1965 and 1966.

Pronovost played with Talbot on four straight Cup winning teams from 1957-60.

Their longtime teammate, and Canadiens Hall of Famer, Jean Beliveau, will also appear in Toronto at the Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo in November. Exact day, time and fees are to be confirmed shortly.

Meanwhile ‘86 Cup winner Claude Lemieux will be appearing at Frozen Pond on Saturday October 16. Fees start at $20, and Frozen Pond also offers mail order and  drop off services.

Habs ticket sales update: The Canadiens website has indicated that 5-10 game packs will go on sale starting on September 4 at noon.

For those who cant wait for the regular season, and want to make the trip to Ottawa, tickets for the Habs/Sens game at Scotiabank Place on September 25 go on sale THIS SATURDAY at 10am through CapitalTickets.ca.

Capital Tickets will also have some 3 and 5-game ticket packs on sale Saturday, some that feature the October 23 game against the Canadiens. What you wish to do with the tickets for the other two or four games you have to buy seats for is completely up to you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Habs give Price a birthday gift, trade closest rival


Well it’s Carey Price’s 23rd birthday. I had expected that the Montreal Canadiens would have announced a new contract on his special day. It hasn’t happened as of 9pm EST, but there’s still time.

The Canadiens appear to have given him an early gift though, to perhaps make the contract negotiations go more smoothly.

Late Monday evening the Canadiens traded goaltender Cedrick Desjardins to the Tampa Bay Lightning for, wait for it…..Karri Ramo.

Here are the releases from the Canadiens and the Lightning.

Desjardins was recently ranked in the Canadiens Top-20 prospects by HockeysFuture earlier this month. More partial to goalies, I had him in the top 12 on a project I was working on..

Desjardins was coming off a career season with the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL), posting a 29-9-4 record with a 2.00 GAA, .919 SvPct and six shutouts.

The 24-year-old had just signed a one-year, $550,000 deal with the Canadiens. Playing in Hamilton, he would make $65K.

Ramo, also 24, spent last season in the KHL with Omsk (21-17-4, 2.11, .913) and has one year remaining in his contract with the club.

His NHL career numbers, all with Tampa, are a meager 11-21-10 with a 3.35 GAA and a paltry .885 SvPct.

Does anyone see this as a real head scratcher, in terms of an even trade? Probably not, but I think I can see the method to Habs GM Pierre Gauthier’s madness. I repeat, I think!

The move essentially gives Alex Auld the uncontested backup roll for the Canadiens this season. That was pretty much a given anyway, and Auld was prepared for that and to mentor Carey Price.

With Ramo committed to the KHL for another year, and veteran Curtis Sandford signed to a two-way deal, Robert Mayer should move up to Hamilton this season after playing last season in the ECHL.

Mayer would be at least a year from hitting the NHL, barring any serious injury issues.

That takes us back to the birthday boy.

By moving Desjardins, it essentially leaves Price with no serious contention in his age range down the road in Montreal.

Gauthier now gives Price and his agent some assurance in terms of contract length potential. Basically saying, “We want you to be our go to guy, and this is what we are willing to do for you. There’s nobody there to take your spot.”


It’s a true gamble and demonstration of commitment by the Canadiens to their 2005 First-Round pick. It may have been just what Price needed to keep any challenges/threats out of his head and focus on being the “franchise player” that he has been touted to become.

Fans may call it odd, but chances are the Canadiens and of course Price see it as job security.

We should get some more details over the next day or two, but I smell a signing by week’s end.

Former Av’s draft pick invited to Habs rookie camp: In a report from Metro Halifax’s Matthiew Wuest, the Canadiens have invited Halifax Mooseheads goalie Peter Delmas to their rookie camp.

Delmas, 20, was drafted 61st overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2008. This is his review at Hockey’s Future.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Habs chat from Lapierre, Subban, Cammalleri and more!


Maxim Lapierre hosted his charity golf tournament on Thursday, with proceeds going towards the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.

Celebrities appearing at the tournament included teammates Scott Gomez and P.K. Subban.

RDS’ Pierre Houde and Chantal Machabee, Minnesota Wild Winger Guillaume Latendresse, former Habs player and coach Mario Tremblay, and the St. Louis Blues David Perron were other notables in attendance.

Perron is bragging on Twitter that he won the chipping contest, but the big winner was the Children’s Foundation, which received over $50,000.

While golf and charity were obviously the important topics of the event, the host spoke to CKAC on Carey Price and the Jaroslav Halak trade.

Loosely translated to English, Lapierre was not surprised to see the trade happen.

"I would have done the same thing,” he said “I expected that one of the two would leave, and I expected they would keep Carey Price.”

Lapierre went on to emphasize the support of him and his teammates in Price. “The organization and us, his teammates have tremendous confidence in him,” he said. “It had perhaps not been his best season, but he grew up there and now he has the net. He’ll show us what kind of stuff he has.”

“Last year, the games where Carey was there for us, we were not there for him and when things went badly, we were not better,” he added. “There were games where he made many saves and we only scored one goal and nothing changed.”

Lapierre is also not in panic mode, as many fans are, that Price has yet to come to a contact agreement with the Canadiens, “Am surprised that Carey is not yet under contract?  Yes and no. But I'm not worried. I'm pretty sure they are getting a deal before training camp.”

Lapierre’s off-season activities were also featured today on Canadiens.com

Catching up with P.K. on the course: CKAC also got a hold of P.K. Subban at the Lapierre tournament. Here’s the link to the interview.

Subban notes that the Canadiens have not told him to look for an apartment just yet, and he has no intention to until training camp is underway.

More Cammi Radio!!: Lapierre’s teammate Mike Cammalleri chatted with Calgary’s The Team960 on Thursday afternoon.

Most of the chat is similar to his other recent radio appearances (the team’s recent success, Carey Price, etc.), but the Canadiens winger was rather open on him not re-signing last summer with the Calgary Flames.

“They made some moves at the Draft (the Olli Jokinen trade) which put them into a situation where they didn’t have much money to spend, but it made me think of where I might fit in.” he said. “They (Flames management) always treated me with respect. There was never any harsh negotiation of any kind, and it never worked out.”

Cammalleri also talked about the change in playing markets, going from Los Angeles to Calgary and then to Montreal, where the Canadiens are basically a religion.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for the history of the organization, and the level of excellence they’re used to,” he said. “I try and use it as a motivator to do the best you can. It’s been fun so far.”

The interview closes on the Habs captaincy, his leadership roll with the team and the upcoming Heritage Classic game in February.

What the other bloggers are saying in the past couple days:

Julie Veilleux aka MetricJulie (The Team990) looks at the teams off season moves and exclusions as the new Canadiens correspondent for The Fourth Period.

Habs Watch breaks down the NHL’s move away from picking Europeans, with the exception of Swedish players, in the NHL Entry Draft.

The Active Stick gets this week’s award for humour, when looking at what would happen If Pierre McGuire ran the Habs.

With all the attention focused on the recent train wreck of a UFA signing by one Russian player this summer, Kyle Roussel looks at the future of Andrei Markov in Montreal.

The Checking Line offers a look at Habs prospect Gabriel Dumont.

TCL’s George Prax also looks at the top-six forwards in Montreal, as well as the rest of them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Savard’s antics bookended Fergie’s ‘72 experience

cap009John Ferguson admires a cigar ad featuring himself prior to the ‘72 Canada-Russia Summit Series. Despite the Team Canada victory, he was not smiling after the pre and post-series antics of his friend, and former teammate, Serge Savard.

In October 1972, Team Canada made their triumphant return to Montreal’s Dorval Airport, after winning the Summit Series over Russia. They were greeted by thousands of cheering fans and dignitaries, such as Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau .

“I can’t believe the response we’ve had,” said Team Canada assistant coach John Ferguson,upon the team’s arrival home. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget in my life.”

Retired since the 1971 season, the one-time Montreal Canadiens enforcer had turned down an invitation to play and instead took on a coaching roll under Harry Sinden.

Ferguson was returning from Europe, after the grueling eight-game series victory, with a fantastic personal trophy.

Clutched in his hands, as he made his way through the airport crowds, was a Team Canada hockey stick that had been signed by all the players on the team.

The stick was seldom out of sight, as Team Canada left Moscow for a single exhibition game against the Czech National team in Prague.

From there it was off to Paris and then home. All the while, Ferguson kept the stick in his clutches at restaurants, hotels and airports. Sinden even claimed that one night he saw his assistant coach go into the men’s room with it, and lock the door.

Ferguson already had plans to mount the stick on his den wall once he got home. It never got there thanks to some unsuspected thieving hands from one of his best friends,

SavardMtlCelebrateSerge Savard is escorted by RCMP officers as Team Canada ‘72 made their way into Dorval Airport- photo: Montreal Gazette

As the players made their way to the receiving line with Prime Minister Trudeau and Mayor Drapeau, Ferguson was lined up behind Team Canada defenseman, and former Canadiens teammate, Serge Savard.

Savard had finished exchanging words with the Prime Minister when Ferguson heard him say, “And, by the way, look what John Ferguson brought home for you.”

“Before I could say ‘Sacre Bleu!’ Serge had had gently pulled the autographed stick from my hands while I temporarily contracted a case of lockjaw,” he wrote in his biography “Thunder and Lightning.”

If it had it been Guy Lapointe, another Team Canada rearguard and noted joker in the Habs dressing room, it probably would not have been as much of a surprise to Ferguson.

Had someone tried to take, or knock a stick out of John Ferguson’s hands during a his playing days, there likely would have been retaliation on his part with serious repercussions to whoever did it.

“I was speechless, I wanted to throttle him,” he later told Brian McFarlane in “True Hockey Stories: The Habs".”

Before a group of dignitaries however, it was a different case. The Prime Minister happily accepted the stick and thanked the shocked and puzzled Ferguson.

“What could I say?” Ferguson said in his book. “Finally I forced a few words out, ‘Uh, er, you’re welcome, Mr. Prime Minister,’ I said. It was nothing.” Extracting some revenge on his friend, he grinded his heel into Savard’s Gucci shoes while talking to Trudeau.

The Prime Minister handed it over to one the members in his entourage and that was the last John Ferguson ever saw of his stick.

Ferguson later told McFarlane that a staff member from the Prime Minister’s office had got wind of the Savard prank and had offered to return the stick to him. “I said Trudeau could keep it,” Ferguson said.

The stick incident wasn’t the first time Savard had foiled Ferguson’s plans in 1972.

During Team Canada’s August training camp in Toronto, Ferguson had a good tip on a race horse he once owned at the Fort Erie track.

The players had the day off, but Sinden had his coaches working. Savard and Ferguson were both avid racehorse owners, so the latter asked a favour of his friend.

“Drive to Fort Erie today and bet a horse for me in the seventh race,” Ferguson said. “Bet $100 win, $100 place and $100 show. What ever you do, wait until the last minute to place the bets. We don’t want to attract any attention and kill the odds.”

Savard rented a car and made his way to the track and realized that if Ferguson could benefit from a windfall, why shouldn’t he?

Unfortunately, Savard was unfamiliar with the Fort Erie track. Hearing the “One minute to post” call, he made his way to the window to place the bets on the 7-1 odds.

The only problem was it was a cashier window, and he needed to be at the other end of the building to place his bets. The other thing Savard didn’t know is that at Ontario tracks, “ one minute” is just that. The tracks in Quebec, that he was more familiar with, used the “One-minute” call, but allowed a five minute window for late bets.

“He’s going to kill me!” Savard thought to himself.

Ferguson’s tip placed second, and would have doubled their money. Instead, Savard was going home with their even $600, less the cost of the car rental which he felt Ferguson should still pay for.

“C’mon Fergy, anyone can make a mistake,” Savard pleaded.

“True, Serge,” Ferguson replied. “You’ve proved that often enough.”

All was forgiven between the pair of course, and the two remained lifelong friends and business partners.

Nine years after the stick snatching incident, Ferguson, now GM of the Winnipeg Jets, took Savard in the 1981 Waiver Draft after the Canadiens failed to properly file his retirement papers.


Ferguson was persistent to convince his friend not to retire and two months into the 1981-82 season, Savard finally agreed. He would play two final seasons in Winnipeg  before retiring officially.

A Keane connection: Former Canadiens captain Mike  Keane owes a debt of gratitude to Serge Savard and John Ferguson. Left undrafted, Keane had been playing minor hockey in Winnipeg. Ferguson had watched him play there and gave Savard, now GM of the Canadiens, a call. The rest, as they say, is history.

Sources for this article:

The Montreal Gazette, October 3, 1972

The Montreal Gazette, “How Serge pushed Fergie to the Brink” – by Ted Blackman - August 15, 1981

“Thunder and Lightning” by John Ferguson with Stan and Shirley Fischler

“True Hockey Stories: The Habs” by Brian McFarlane

“’72 From Training Camp to Victory” - DVD

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Looking at the past few days of Habs blogs

In terms of actual Habs news, there hasn’t been much officially in the last few days, outside of a lot of drooling over Louis LeBlanc’s performance at the World Junior Camp.

The off season is a great time for bloggers like myself to come up with some new projects, or actually have a life and take the summer off. In my case, it’s a little of both but more of the former.

Outside of my own little corner of the Habs blogging world here, I’m also contributing to Examiner.com as their Toronto Sports Memorabilia reporter. Here’s a piece I did there on the 2010-11 hockey card season, that already has product out!

I also spent the weekend working on another project with my fellows at HabsEyesOnThePrize, but I have some stories and projects on the way in a few days at the YTHR mother ship.

In the meantime here’s what my astute fellow bloggers, who continue to work hard at it, have come up with.

Before I forget to mention, it’s Ken Dryden’s birthday! You’d think with his Liberal Party connections, my petition to make it a statutory holiday in Canada would have been passed in the House of Commons by now.

Now on to some interesting Habs blogs. First up is Kamal Panesar at HabsAddict.com. Kamal has come up with two great concepts for his site. His blog now offers contributors in both English and French, and he’s recently added a he said/she said segment, that should bring some interesting views from the opposite sexes.

A second excellent post comes from Kyle Roussel, who puts an end to the Simon Gagne to the Habs talk, once and for all…hopefully! An extra shoutout to Kyle, who was a guest on the Team990’s Franchise show over the weekend! Nice work Kyle!

Breaking down the Habs prospects: Steven Hindle, a regular at Hockey Buzz, has  spent his week breaking down the Canadiens future at center, wing and on the blueline.

More from the scrapbook: One of these days, I have to meet and sit down with Dennis Kane and look through these scrapbooks of his! Here’s another edition of treasures.

Way too much free time?: I gotta admit, had I pursued a degree in mathematics, instead of pissing it away drinking beer, I probably would have spent my life generating information such as Michael Whitehouse has done here. This is exceptional detail, and I wonder if even NHL scouts have this much information.

Michael has broken down Carey Price’s goaltending in the last post season, amongst some other topics. It parallels some of the comparisons done last season from Chris Boyle at HabsEyesonThePrize.

It will be interesting to see both Chris and Michael’s statistical analysis of the upcoming season.

Better late than never: J.T gets all poet-like in a tribute to the Habs playoff run. My guess it took her a few weeks longer to compose when she realized she couldn’t get something to rhyme with Spacek.

Habs Group Tickets: For those looking to get a group together for a game at the Bell Centre, the submission period, and sales starts this week. Three and 10 game mini packs will likely go on sale the following week, once the groups are all assigned.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No holiday weekend for the Habs and their followers

Well I hope those who got it here in Canada had a great “civic” holiday weekend. That’s the most common place term for it.

For our US counterparts, the first Monday in August goes by a variety of names in the various provinces/territories of your northern neighbor. And you guys thought just our money was silly, eh?

Still recuperating from a busy weekend, a crazy Tuesday on the “paying job”work front,I refuse to watch “The Replacements” on TSN.

Yes there is an “Ole. Ole, Ole, Ole” chant in there, but acting legend Gene Hackman and “Whoa” Keanu Reeves? C’mon.

Instead I thought I’d catch up on what Pierre Gauthier and co. and Habs addicts did over the weekend.

Mario Tremblay joins RDS: Moving on… As long as it doesn’t come  full circle, recalling Tremblay began a career as a TV analyst during Patrick Roy’s rookie year. From the get go in the press box, and  even while as a player, Tremblay never liked Patrick Roy. We all know what happened years later.

I just can’t wait to hear what he has to say about Carey Price. The kid, depending on who you read/listen to, already wants out of Montreal, so talks about a catalyst!  Too bad I cancelled my RDS subscription on Saturday, so I’ll have to rely on other sources to see what Tremblay has to say.

Louis signs: Ending the Q vs. Ivy League questions, the Canadiens signed 2009 First Round Pick Louis Leblanc to an entry-level deal. Provided he doesn’t stick with the Hamilton Bulldogs, he’ll play in the Q with the Montreal Juniors.

LeBlanc must have learned enough from one year of economics in Harvard that the pros means “Cha-Ching!” and “Uber-Cha-Ching!”, to a reported $3.6 million with bonuses over three years, if he makes the club straight out of juniors.

An excellent look at the LeBlanc signing from HabsEyesOnThePrize.

Well, at least the Bulldogs have a captain: Gauthier also signed Hamilton Bulldogs captain Alex Henry to a two-year deal.

On a related Bulldogs note, they’ll start their pre-season in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland beginning September 28. The camp will be highlighted by a trio of games across “The Rock” against the Binghampton Senators in CB, Grand Falls-Windsor and St. John’s.

You know, my fiance wanted to go back home to NL this year….hmmmm Nah, she’d never go for that.

This year’s Jay Leach?: With Andrei Markov’s injury a given for the start of the 2010-11 season, the Canadiens picked up defenceman Alexandre Picard. It’s a two-way deal for practically pennies and will give the Canadiens and Bulldogs that extra body with next to no cap hit.

Honestly, I’m not watching the movie: But, not a bad soundtrack…

Antti Niemi: It’s Finnish for “ain’t coming to Montreal.” Face it folks, if the Canadiens were unwilling to sign Halak, they are certainly not going after this guy.

To be honest, I really didn’t think his playoff performance was as stellar as some say it was. If it had been, Stan Bowman would not have walked away from the arbitration and moved to get rid of that other goaltending leech on the Blackhawks salary cap. Unfortunately Bowman still has Cristobel Huet to deal with.

Fare thee well, lads: Glen Metropolit and Dominic Moore have found new homes with Ev-Zug (Switzerland) and the Tampa Bay Lightning respectively.

Metro was a class act in the NHL, has also spent some time before in the European Leagues. I wish nothing but the best for him in the future. Many will say that Europe is the end of the line for NHLers,  when a team doesn’t sign them, but may thrive for several years while getting a chance to play. One of Metropolit’s teammates will be former Canadiens forward Paul DiPietro, who has played for EV-Zug for nearly a decade.

I still scratch my head over Gauthier’s decision not to re-sign Dominic Moore, especially after his performance in the post-season, but it falls on cap space and younger players (Lars Eller, Dustin Boyd, Alexander Avtsin and LeBlanc) waiting in the wings.

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman got a two-year bargain to add to his Tampa puzzle, and if there’s a “bite them in the ass” deal this season or next (and possibly in the playoffs) against the Candiens, it will be this one, and not the Halak deal.

The Fan590 spoke to Moore , who turned 30, on Tuesday about the new deal and the Habs playoff run last season.

It wouldn’t be complete without SOMETHING on Carey Price:  I’ll bestow this honor to J.T from “The H Does not Stand for Habs”, who offers the top-10 reasons Price has not signed. My fave, taking a page from the Michael Ryder days:

“3. I made a paper airplane out of it while I was sitting on the bench during the playoffs.”

The pool now is when the Canadiens sign him.

Did I miss anything?….oh yeah: So Georges Laraque finally decides to retire, big surprise.

I have to question the whole deal to sign him from the get go now.

Did the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Canadiens medical team drop the ball on this one and overestimated BGL’s physical abilities, essentially leaving Bob Gainey to waste cap room for three seasons.

Unfortunately his retirement comes after the buyout, so the Habs are still on the hook for $500K for each of the next two seasons.

Meanwhile the big guy has become co-deputy leader of The Green Party, a political party who has a leader and two deputies, but zero seats in the House of Commons.

True story, but I watched a “direct-to-DVD” version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” last night. The beanstalk reminded me of Laraque in a way; big, green and little movement.

He’s a Scrappy fella: Most of you Habs fans, and hockey history buffs, likely read Dennis Kane’s blog. For those that don’t, shame on you.

Lately Dennis has been sharing some scrapbook memories on the Habs. Here’s his latest entry.

That’s it for today folks, going to see if the Northern Lights are out.