Posts Tagged ‘Montreal Canadiens’


While some NHL players are taking a “wait and see” approach during the continued Collective Bargaining (CBA) negotiations, others have decided to play abroad until an agreement is struck. Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings has signed with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Likewise, Washington Capitals captain and fellow Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin has signed with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow.

Other players heading to Europe are Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza who signed today with Rapperswil-Jona of the Swiss Elite League while HC Kladno of the Czech Extraliga signed forwards Jaromir Jagr of the Dallas Stars and Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens.

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Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray has been busy since the 2011-12 season ended and Free Agency kicked off on July 1. Most notably, Murray stated that winger Teemu Selanne has been weighing his annual decision of whether or not he’ll return for another season. Murray announced that he and the Finnish Flash spoke last weekend and soon thereafter stated that talks continued last week just prior to the July 4 holiday. As fans will recall, the past two seasons Selanne waited until the week before training camp to agree to another season. It’s hoped that with all the changes Murray is making to the Ducks roster, Selanne will decide sooner than this September.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau seems hopeful that Selanne will return noting that the team’s elder statesman (who turned 42 on July 3) has been skating, seems up-beat, and is in great shape. The coach feels strongly that the future Hall of Famer is leaning toward saying yes.

Should Selanne agree to return, it will be to a team that’s seeing a bit of an off-season shake-up. Murray has already announced that the team traded forward Jason Blake and that forward Nicklas Hagman will not be returning. Murray says the team also traded fan favorite Lubomir Visnovsky who led all defensemen in points during the 2010-11 season but who underperformed last season after suffering a series of injuries. Another fan favorite, defenseman George Parros, has signed as a free agent with the Florida Panthers for two years at $925,000. Also leaving the Ducks is free agent defenseman Sheldon Brookbank who signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.

New faces entering the lineup are Sheldon Souray (formerly with Dallas) who agreed to a three-year, $11 million deal and Bryan Allen (formerly with Carolina) who inked a three-year contract worth $10.5 million. Souray is particularly excited about the deal because his family lives in Southern California and he owns a home in Malibu. Souray played with current Ducks forward Saku Koivu when they were with the Montreal Canadiens and says he’s never played with a better captain. During his decision-making, Souray spoke to Koivu about the situation in Dallas and with Anaheim and was thrilled that the opportunity to play in Anaheim presented itself.

In addition to those transactions, Murray must now turn his attention to forward Bobby Ryan who has apparently told the press that he’s tired of his name coming up in reference to trade talks, so he implied that he wants to be traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. Ryan recently signed a five-year deal worth approximately $5.2 million per season, so Murray is all the more disappointed that his young winger’s comments were made to the media instead of to management. Murray said he would be speaking to Ryan soon, and fans hope he’ll be able to smooth Ryan’s feathers (pun intended).

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Many trades were made prior to the July 1 opening of the NHL’s 2011 Free Agency, and media outlets have declared James Wisniewski the big winner. Just two days before the open of Free Agency, the Montreal Canadiens traded the rights to the defenseman to the Columbus Blue Jackets who had roughly 48 hours to sign him or allow him to become a free agent. The Jackets were able to lock Wisniewski for six years at a reported $33 million. In exchange for the 27-year-old, the Canadiens received a 2012 7th-round draft pick.

Follow the news on trades as it developments at NHL Trade Tracker.

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During his annual state of the sport address, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that as of the 2011-12 season, the league will have a new disciplinarian. Colin Campbell, the current Senior V.P. of Hockey Operations, will relinquish his duties as dean of supplemental discipline to former NHLer Brendan Shanahan, whose new title will be NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations.

Bettman was firm in stating that Shanahan’s promotion did not mean that Campbell was demoted. He revealed that Campbell approached him in March about relinquishing his supplemental discipline duties feeling that after his 13-years in the role, the league needed a change.

Discipline has been a hot-button issue for the NHL over the past few seasons, and in particular the evenhandedness of fines and suspensions which have been handed out. Recently, Campbell came under fire for not suspending Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara for his viscous hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty earlier this season and for not suspending Pittsburgh Penguins serial offender Matt Cooke for his brutal blindside hit on Bruins forward Marc Savard last season.

The constant scrutiny and criticism of the disciplinarian led Bettman to concede that the position is “a thankless job.” He admitted, “The tipping point may have been 13 years of supplemental discipline. At some point you deserve to have your sentence commuted.”

In his address, Bettman added, “Both Colin and I believe that it is time to take a fresh look at the standards that we use, and if we’re going to move to harsher discipline, that change needs to send a clear message, and we think it would probably be best to do it on a clean slate. Having Brendan, who only recently came off the ice after a wonderful career, will give us the adjustment and the focus and the credibility that this change will bring about.”

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Monday, the NHL named Montreal Canadiens defenseman PK Subban “Third Star of the Week” for scoring his first career hat trick Sunday against the Minnesota Wild. The rookie also had 1 assist for 4 points. Goalie Jose Theodore started the game for the Wild but was replaced by Niklas Backstrom with three minutes left in the second period when Subban scored his second goal to make it 6-0 Habs. He scored the third goal of his hat trick just over one minute into the third period, and the Habs went on to win 8-1.

Subban is the first Habs rookie defenseman to score a hat trick and was also named the “Compuware Second Star of the Night,” but he wasn’t the only rookie to score his first career hat trick Sunday night. The other rookie was Blake Geoffrion, who was named the “Compuware First Star of the Night.”

Geoffrion’s story is particularly amazing because he’s not only the first fourth-generation NHLer, but he’s also the third generation of one family to score an NHL hat trick. His father Danny Geoffrion never scored a hat trick during his NHL career, but both his grandfather Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion and great grandfather Howie Morenz – both members of the Hall of Fame – scored hat tricks during their NHL careers. Yes, Blake’s great grandfather is THAT Howie Morenz, the player who many say died of a broken heart after learning that because his left leg was so severely broken, he’d never skate again.

The Morenz-Geoffrion family has 100 years of excellence in the NHL, and Blake’s milestone hat trick did his family proud. It certainly is an amazing story.

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