Canadiens legend passes away; Jean Béliveau 1934-2014

20141203My Jean Béliveau story.
Circa winter 1993.
I was studying at Concordia University here in Montreal.

One night that winter, we were hit with a huge snow storm. I was taking the metro home like any other day shortly after 5pm.  I was with a couple of my buddies.
Anyway we were on the platform waiting for the metro.  Down the tunnel, I could see the metro train was already at Atwater station, one previous stop. The metro car makes it way to my stop at Guy-Concordia.  It was basically empty.  I recall thinking to myself that perhaps many elected to stay home that day.

The metro car’s doors open, and who do I see standing facing me as I boarded the metro car?  Le Gros Bill himself, Monsieur Jean Béliveau.  I was awestruck.  For a second, I froze. I walk into the metro car.  I make eye contact with Mr. Béliveau.  I smile.  He smiles.  And I go stand next to him, not saying a word.  I was in just total amazement.  Although I never watched Mr. Béliveau play, as he retired from hockey when I was 1 year old, as a big Habs fan, I knew who this legend was.

So while i was standing besides this gentle giant, my buddies all went rushing in for empty seats like mice go after cheese.  But I didn’t.  I continued standing next to a legend.  But my buddies kept calling me over.  “Hey Mario, there’s a seat for you here”.  Over and over they pestered me.   And to myself I’m trying to tell them, “Hey guys, don’t you know who this man next to me is”?

One short stop later at Peel Metro station, I left my spot next to Mr. Béliveau, and I went to sit with my friends.  I had to explain to them who that gentleman was.

At the time Mr. Béliveau was Vice-President of the Montreal Canadiens.  And like many that day, he was taking the metro home from The Montreal Forum (Atwater Metro) due to the storm.
Mr. Béliveau disembarked at Berri-UQAM, making his way to the yellow line heading towards his home on the South Shore.

Fast forward to Year 2005.  Mr. Jean Béliveau was putting the majority of his memorabilia up for auction.  He was promoting the auction on a Sunday night Memorabilia radio show on what was then Team990 (now TSN690).   And that night, the radio host was taking calls.  So I decided to call.

I explained to Mr. Beliveau  that I had the opportunity to shake his hand 12 years earlier but I didn’t, and that it was an honour for me to be speaking with him finally.  Mr. Béliveau replies to me and says, “Sir, the pleasure is all mine”.

Just pure class.

I went on to ask him, what was the most prized memorabilia he was parting with from his auction.  His answer?  The 1971 Canadiens white jersey he last wore during the 1971 Stanley Cup Finals.  His last Stanley Cup ever.

RIP Monsieur Béliveau.

Tale of the Tape: Rene Bourque for Bryan Allen

taleofthetape1

In less than 2 weeks Marc Bergevin continues to shape the Montreal Canadiens into his vision.

Having first traded Travis Moen to Dallas, Bergevin unloaded Rene Bourque to Anaheim.  In both deals Bergevin obtained depth defenceman in Sergei Gonchar and Bryan Allen.  But more importantly both these defenceman are in their final years of their contracts.

Thereby Bergevin has shaved $5M off next year’s salary cap.

Tale of the Tape
taleofthetape

Last week, Rene Bourque was demoted to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs.  Bourque will join Anaheim immediately.  This is the second trade Bergevin swung with Anaheim.  Ealier this summer Bergevin traded Louis Leblanc to Anaheim, who is currently playing for Anaheim’s farm club in Norfolk.

Bryan Allen will join the Canadiens in time for Saturday’s game vs the Boston Bruins in Boston.  Allen will wear #6.

Montreal Canadiens changeover stats from one season ago

blog_20141007b

As the Montreal Canadiens embark on a new season, it is always interesting to see how many new faces are in the Canadiens line-up as opposed to one year ago, and compared to end of last season.

In 2013-14, the Montreal Canadiens started the season on October 1st against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Gone are veterans Josh Gorges (Buffalo, via trade), Raphael Diaz (Calgary, UFA), Francis Bouillon (UFA).  Although Douglas Murray started last season on Injured Reserve, he was still with the club.  But Murray too is a UFA and no longer with the Montreal Canadiens organization.

Safe to assume that the Habs defence heading into 2014-15 are younger and quicker.  In their places, the Canadiens added Mike Weaver (acquired at trade deadline and re-signed UFA from last year), and Tom Gilbert (UFA from Florida).  Although both  Nathan Beaulieu and Jared Tinordi started with the Canadiens last season, they were often sent down to the minors once the injured players returned.  Expect both Beaulieu and Tinordi to stick with the club all season.

Up front, four players that started with the Canadiens last season are no longer with the club.  Gone is the team captain Brian Gionta (Buffalo, UFA).  The role of enforcer seems to be a dying breed nowadays in the NHL as George Parros wasn’t retained and he’s still a UFA and most likely won’t play another NHL game.  Ryan White too was signed as a UFA with the Philadelphia Flyers.  And during the off-season Daniel Briere was traded to Colorado for P-A Parenteau.

Tomas Vanek, who was a Marc Bergevin’s prized trade deadline acquisition last season, signed with Minnesota as a UFA in the off season.

Other than P-A Parenteau, new faces with the Habs from a year ago include Dale Weise (a trade deadline pickup from last year), Manny Maholtra (UFA, Carolina) , and 22 year old Jiri Sekac, a UFA from the Czech Republic.

In goal, at the end of Training Camp, Peter Budaj was shipped off to the Winnipeg Jets organization to make room for for newly appointed back-up Dustin Tokarski, who saw action as Carey Price’s replacement during last season’s playoffs and supplanted Budaj in the process.

To conclude, the number of new faces from start of last season; 7 (Tokarski, Gilbert, Weaver, Parenteau, Weise, Sekac, Mahotra).

The number of new players from end of last season; 4 (Gilbert, Parenteau, Sekac, Mahotra).

 

blog_20141007

For Habs tickets, click here.

For Habs merchandise, click here.

 

The FAQs about the Montreal Canadiens TV for 2014 -15

blog_20131007

I want to preface this blog posting my thanking Steve Faguy and his numerous blog postings on this subject that helps explain the impact of the new NHL TV rights deal which will change the landscape of hockey viewing in Canada.

It is only now, a few days prior to the start of the 2014–15 NHL hockey season, that fans in Canada are coming to grips with what the new TV deal with Rogers means for them.

In the past, catching a Canadiens game on TV followed a simple script.  In English, all Saturday games were on CBC.  For fans out West, all they had to do was tune to CBC-Montreal on their cable or satellite guide and watch the game.  For mid week games, if fans lived east of Pembroke or Belleville, ON, and had Bell-TV or Bell Aliant, they had access to the TSN-HABS channel.  If they didn’t, no worries, RDS carried all the games, so Habs fans simply had to add RDS to their TV package, and voila, all 82 games were at their disposal.

Well those simple days are over.

Rogers was awarded the national TV rights to NHL broadcasts, in English.  And TVA was awarded the same package in French.   In essence here are the details on what it means to the average viewer.

Rogers and TVA Sports have national rights to every Canadian hockey team. with a minimum of 22 Saturday games, and all the playoffs games.  Each team can negotiate a temperate regional TV deal for the remainder 60 games.

The Canadiens have English and French language deals differ slightly.  So I will explain each.

Here is the complete Montreal Canadiens broadcast schedule.

English:

This seasons marks the first time in the history of the Montreal Canadiens that all 82 games will be televised in Engllish.  Because the Canadiens were late in finalizing a regional TV deal, Rogers increased their national rights package to 40 nationally televised Habs games.    It breaks down as follows:

National

  • 22 Saturday games on Hockey Night in Canada (first four are on City-TV).  HNIC refers to either CBC, Sportsnet E/O/W/P, Sportsnet One, or Sportsnet 360.  Prior to the games played, Rogers will announce which channel will be showing the game.
  • 4 Sunday games on City-TV
  • 2 Sunday games on Sportsnet E/O/W/P
  • 1 Monday game on Sportsnet One
  • 6 Wednesday games on Sportsnet E/O/W/P
  • 4 Thursday games on Sportsnet 360
  • 1 Friday game on Sportsnet E/O/W/P

Regional

In August, the Canadiens reached a three year deal to broadcast 42 games Regionally on Sportsnet East (37 games), and City-Montreal (5 games).  John Bartlett leaves TSN690 radio to handle the play by play duties for Habs regional broadcasts.  He will be joined by former NHLer jason York.  These games will be blacked out to viewers west of Pembroke or Belleville, ON.

To determine which regional network you are part of, enter your postal code here.

French:  

TVA Sports is the national broadcast rights holder for all Saturday night games:

National

  • 1 Wednesday night game (Opening game October 8)
  • 21 Saturday night games.

Regional:  The Canadiens French language regional rights were awarded to RDS, whom the Canadiens have had a long history with.  However, in the past RDS had a special exemption with the NHL, allowing RDS to broadcast all national and regional Habs games across Canada because RDS had the rights to both National and Regional NHL games.  With TVA Sports being awarded the national rights, RDS loses that exemption,  meaning fans living outside the Canadiens regional zone will no longer be able to catch Habs mid-week games on RDS.

 

So how can fans living West of Pembroke and Belleville watch Canadiens games?

Answer:  For starters, for HAbs fans across Canada, the 40 nationally televised games, they need to have the following channels ; CBC, Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet360, and City-TV.

For the remainder 42 Habs regional games, fans can subscribe to NHL centre Ice for $200.

OR

Rogers recently announced that all Habs regional games will be available via online streaming on NHL GameCentre Live for $60.  They will have a choice to watch those games in French (RDS) or English.  NHL GameCentre live is available via online streaming.  Do not confuse NHL Centre Ice with NHL GameCentre Live.  NHL Centre Ice is offered to cable and satellite providers.  At the moment, none of the TV providers (Rogers, Bell, Shaw, Videotron, Cogeco, etc.)  are offering the $60 Habs online streaming package on their NHL Centre Ice offerings.   This offering will be available closer to the start of the season.  Click here.

Others have asked, what if they subscribe to TVA Sports, will they be able to catch the Canadiens games?  Answer:  The 22 games that TVA Sports carry will also be available in English on either CBC/Sportsnet/Sportsnet One/ Sportsnet 360, or CITY.

if you have any questions, drop me a line and I will try to answer you.

 

For Habs tickets, click here.

For Habs merchandise, click here.

 

 

Future is bright, but no guarantees

20140610

The Montreal Canadiens were eliminated by the New York Rangers in the 3rd Round of the 2014 NHL Playoffs.

And at the conclusion of every season, Habs management holds a post mortem on the season and the playoffs run.  What struct me most from Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin’s press conference was that only two seasons removed, 4 of the 8 teams that made the playoffs then, did not qualify in the 2014 playoffs; New Jersey, Florida, Ottawa, and Washington failed to make the 2014 playoffs.  That’s a 50% attrition rate!

One can argue Habs are on the rise, and those 4 teams were on the demise.  Perhaps.  But another telling stat, in the last 10 years, only two teams played in back-to-back Conference Finals.  In 2006 and 2007, the Buffalo Sabres appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Losing both times.   In 2008 and 2009, the Pittsburgh Penguins appeared in Conference Finals, winning both, and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they won the 2009 Stanley Cup.

But as the Canadiens move into the 2014 off-season, many questions lie unanswered.

1) How much term will Restricted Free-Agent P.K. Subban be offered?

2) What to do with Free Agents Andrei Markov and Brian Gionta?  Re-signing Markov means one less spot avilable for Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi or Greg Patteryn.   Do Habs re-sign Brian Gionta, or seek an upgrade via free agency?  Is Dale Weise a cheaper alternative to Gionta who is 35, and on the decline of his career.

3) Tomas Vanek?  Seems that ship has sailed as Vanek let it be knows he will test free agency.

4) And a surprise find during the 2014 playoffs, the rise of Dustin Tokarski.  Do Habs part ways with Peter Budaj in 2014-15, who has one year left on his contract at $1.4M.

Answers to all these questions will begin to take form on June 27-28; NHL Draft Day, and on July 1st, Free Agency Frenzy day.

For Habs merchandise, click here.

 

What’s in a Canadiens Number? 2013-14 edition

numbers_2013-14

Every season, I post a Blog of the new numbers worn that season.  This season waited until the last month to compile the 2013-14 edition where there have been 13 jersey number changes/additions from one season ago.

First let’s start off with a number switch from last Season.

#24 – Jarred Tinordi:  Last season Jarred Tinordi wore #42 because #24 was taken by Jeff Halpern.  Tinordi’s dad, Mark Tinordi wore #24 for most of his career.   This season, with Halpern a UFA and not re-signed by the Canadiens, #24 became available again and Tinordi wore it from the start of training camp and ever since he was re-called from Hamilton.

Now let’s look at all the new numbers for 2013-14.

#48 – Daniel Brière:  The Canadiens big splash in the off-season Free-Agent market was signing Brière to a two year contract. Brière has been wearing #48 since his days with Buffalo.  #48 was first worm back in the 1930’s, and then for fifty years, no one wore it until Canadiens current Assistant Coach Jean-Jacques Daigneault wore it for 7 seasons with the Habs (1989-96).

#15 – George Parros:  George Parros was acquired in the off-season from the Florida Panthers.  This marks the first season Parros wears #15 in his 9 year NHL career.  Fifty-two other players wore #15 prior to Parros.  Amongst which Bobby Rousseau in the 60’s.  Former Habs GM Rejean Houle from 1976-’83.  And Bobby Smith from 1983-’90.  #15 was last worn last seaon by Petteri Nokelainen.

#6 – Douglas Murray:  Douglas Murray was another off-season Free Agent acquisition my the Canadiens.  It marks the first time Murray wears #6 having worn #3 with both San Jose and Pittsburgh.  Number 6 was first worn during the 1911-12 season.  In total 36 players wore it before Murray.  Some notable names include Howie Morenz in his rookie season wore it briefly before he switched to #7.   Toe Blake wore it for 11 seasons in his playing career as a Canadien.  Ralph Backstrom wore it the longest over a span of 13 seasons (1958-71).  More recently Pierre Mondou (1977-85), Russ Courtnall (1988-92), Oleg Petrov (1992-96), and Jaroslav Spacek was the last Canadiens player to wear it  (2009-12).

#49 – Michael Bournival:  The Canadiens rookie Michael Bournival made the team out of training camp this season.  Bournival wears #49, a number that hasn’t been worn since Brian Savage wore it from 1993-2002.  Bournival becomes the third player to wear #49; Brain Savage and Luc Gauthier (1990-91) were the others.

 #82 – Patrick Holland:   As a mid-season call-up by the Canadiens, Patrick Holland played his first 5 games in the NHL.  Holland was given #82, the same number he wore at training camp.  He joins Donald Audette as the only other Canadien to wear #82.

 #57 – Martin St-Pierre:  As a journey-man centreman, St-Pierre got called up to the NHL this season having last played in the NHL for the Ottawa Senators in the 2009-10 season.  For his one game with the Canadiens this season, St-Pierre wore #57.  The number was first worn by Chris Murray back in 1994.  The last Habs player to wear #57 was Blake Geoffrion before a head injury, while playing with the Canadiens farm club during last season, forced Geoffrion to retire.

#28 – Joonas Nattinen:  As another one game call-up by the Canadiens, centre-man Joonas Nattinen wore #28 which was first worn in the 1976-77 season.  One time 50 goal scorer Pierre Larouche wore #28 from 1977-82.  Eric Desjardins wore it between 1988-95.   Other notables include Craig Conroy for one season, 1994-95, Dainus Zubrus  in 1998-99.  And most recently Kyle Chipchura , 2007-09.

#60 – Christian Thomas: Christian Thomas was acquired in trade with the New York Rangers during the off-season.  Thomas was called up for two games.  He wore #60.  Only two players wore it before him,  Jose Theodore wore it for ten seasons (1996-2006).  And Aaron Palushaj wore it for his one season with the club, 2011-12.

 #35 – Dustin Tokarski:  As a fill in for injured Carey Price following the Olympics, Tokarski got two starts with the big club.  He was given #35.  Surprisingly #35 was first used by Mike McPhee from 1983-92.  When Tomas Plekanec first broke into the NHL he wore #35 from 2003-07.  Three other goalies have used #35; Andy Moog, Stephane Fiset, and Alex Auld was the last goalie to wear it.

# 22 – Dale Weise:   Dale Weise was acquired prior to the trade deadline date from Vancouver.  Weise wore #32 with the Canucks but that number is  taken by Travis Moen.  So Weise settled for #22.  Its been used 35 times prior.  Among which John Ferguson 1963-71, and Steve Shutt 1972-85.  It was last used by Tomas Kaberle in 2011-13.

#43 – Mike Weaver:  As a trade deadline acquisition from Florida Panthers, Mike Weaver was able to get the number he wore when he first broke into the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2002.,  Weaver also wore #43 with the L.A. Kings, St. Louis Blues, and with the Florida Panthers.   Weaver becomes the fourth Habs player to wear #43.  He joins Benoit Brunet, Andrew Cassels, and Patrice Brisebois as the only players ever to wear #43 with the Canadiens.

#20 – Thomas Vanek:  Acquired on trade deadline day, Thomas Vanek had to find a new number seeing the only number he’s worn in the NHL, #26, is used by Josh Gorges.  So Vanek settled for #20. It’s a number that has been widely used in the Canadiens 100+ years of history.  Sixty different players have worn it prior to Vanek arriving.  Pete Mahovlich wore in the longest between 1969-78.  Jean Beliveau wore it briefly when he was first called up from the Quebec Aces, wearing it in the 1950-51 season.  Guy Carbonneau too wore it when he was first called up back in 1980 before he switched to #21.  Richard Zednick wore it over a span of 6 seasons 1990-96.  And Colby Armstrong wore it last season, his only season with the Canadiens.

For Habs tickets, click here.

For Habs merchandise, click here.

 

Will GM Bergevin deal or no deal

Wednesday March 5, at 3PM ET is the NHL trade deadline.  Many fans (and players) will be anxious to learn if Habs GM Marc Bergevin will be a buyer or seller at the trade deadline.  But anyone can spin any potential deal as a benefit to the club.

These are the players that might be involved should a deal go through:

Andrei Markov (D); a UFA after this season.  Apparently Habs offered him a 1 year extension.  Markov wants three years.

Brian Gionta (RW);  a UFA after this season.  Does he want to return to New Jersey after this season if he doesn’t re-sign with Montreal?  Does Habs GM have Gionta on his long-term plans?

Lars Eller (C/F); after a promising start playing with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, Eller’s play has gone downhill.  People questioning his hockey IQ.  But he does have up-side.

Rene Bourque (LW/RW); Bourque has two more seasons after this at $3.33M cap-hit. what you see is what you get with Bourque.

Travis Moen (LW); A Stanley Cup veteran with Anaheim, he can give a team some added depth.

Daniel Briere (C/LW); Don’t look now but Briere is making the most of his ice time scoring 11 goals in 50 games.  He has one season remaining at $4.0M.

Francis Bouillon (D); The Canadiens have a backlog of defenceman in Hamilton and Bouillon could be used for depth for another team.

Louis Leblanc (F); Buried in the minors, Leblanc is a RFA after this season and could use a fresh start with another organization.

The Canadiens have been quasi active over the last few years at the trade deadline.  Last season at the trade deadline, Habs GM Bergevin picked up Davis Drewiske (D) from LA Kings in exchange for 2013 5th Rnd Draft Pick (Patrik Bartosak, G).  Drewiske has been injured all of 2013-14 and was sent to Hamilton (AHL) today after clearing waivers.

2012

Back in 2012, in then GM Pierre Gauthier’s last role with the club, he traded Andrei Kostitsyn to Nashville for 2013, 2nd Round Pick (Jacob de la Rose, LW).  And leading up to the trade deadline dealt Hal Gill to Nashville for Blake Geoffrion (F), Robert Slaney (F) and 2012, 2nd Round Pick (Dalton Thrower, D).

2010

In 2010’s trade deadline, Habs traded Matt D’Agostini (F) to St. Louis for Aaron Palushaj (F).

2008

Back in 2008, GM Bob Gainey at the time, dealt starting goalie Cristobal Huet to Washington for  2009, 2nd Round Draft Pick (traded to Atlanta, Jeremy Morin – LW), handing the starting goaltending reigns to rookie Carey Price.

 

For Habs tickets, click here.

For Habs merchandise, click here.

 

 

20140219

 

Heading into the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, the Montreal Canadiens were represented by 7 players.  Through the Quarter Finals, only three players remain; Carey Price and P.K. Subban for Team Canada, and Max Pacioretty for Team USA.  Meaning the Montreal Canadiens will have at least one representative for the Gold Medal match on Sunday Feb. 23, as Canada and USA square off in the Semi-Finals on Friday February 21.  Team Sweden plays Team Finland in the other Semi-Final match.

So far, Carey Price is the only Habs player who has distinguished himself in these games, has posted 3 wins, and a GAA of 0.99 and SV% of 0.941.

As for the other Habs, well P.K. Subban has only played in one game.  Tomas Plekanec, although picking up 4 points in 5 games, did all he could captaining an ageing Czech Team.  Peter Budaj, playing for Slovakia where their coach totally mishandled the goalkeeping duties, posted a poor GAA of 4.53 in parts of 2 games.  Max Pacioretty looks to be nursing a bruise (sustained from his last NHL game prior to the Olympics).   And Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin proved to many that Russia really needs to start developing defenseman to be considered an elite team.

Below are the stats of Canadiens players through the Quarter Finals.

20140219c

 

For Habs tickets, click here.

For Habs merchandise, click here.

 

 

habsinsochi

Montreal Canadiens sending 8 players to the Olympics

habsinsochi

This past week was the deadline for Hockey Federations participating in the Winter Olympics  in Sochi to submit their team rosters.  The Montreal Canadiens will have 8 members going to Sochi.

They are:

Canada: Carey Price (G), P.K. Subban (D)

Czech Republic: Tomas Plekanec (F)

Russia: Andrei Markov (D), Alexei Emelin (D)

Slovakia: Peter Budaj (G)

Switzerland: Raphael Diaz (D)

U.S.A:  Max Pacioretty (F)

For Peter Budaj, Tomas Plekanec, and Raphael Diaz, these Olympics will mark their second consecutive Olympics they will participate in.  For Carey Price and P.K. Subban, this marks the first time members of the Montreal Canadiens make Team Canada since 1998 when Shayne Corson and Mark Recchi participated.  1998 was also the year NHL players first took part in the Olympics.

With 8 members of the Habs going to Sochi, only Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and St. Louis Blues have more players than the Canadiens going to the Olympics, with each team sending 10 players.

At the beginning of the season I predicted up to 10 Canadiens could be going to Sochi.  But Alex Galchenyuk was deemed too young by Team USA and left aside.  And Lars Eller, by far the best player for Team Denmark, well it never dawned on me that Team Denmark’s hockey team did not qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Below is the complete Schedule for Ice Hockey sport at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

 

PRELIMINARY ROUND

Group A
Russia
Slovenia
Slovakia
United States
Group B
Austria
Canada
Finland
Norway
Group C
Czech Republic
Latvia
Switzerland
Sweden
WED, FEB 12
1 21:00 C Czech Republic vs. Sweden
2 21:00 C Latvia vs. Switzerland
THU, FEB 13
3 12:00 B Finland vs. Austria
4 16:30 A Russia vs. Slovenia
5 16:30 A Slovakia vs. United States
6 21:00 B Canada vs. Norway
FRI, FEB 14
7 12:00 C Czech Republic vs. Latvia
8 16:30 C Sweden vs. Switzerland
9 21:00 B Canada vs. Austria
10 21:00 B Norway vs. Finland
SAT, FEB 15
11 12:00 A Slovakia vs. Slovenia
12 16:30 A United States vs. Russia
13 21:00 C Switzerland vs. Czech Republic
14 21:00 C Sweden vs. Latvia
SUN, FEB 16
15 12:00 B Austria vs. Norway
16 16:30 A Russia vs. Slovakia
17 16:30 A Slovenia vs. United States
18 21:00 B Finland vs. Canada

QUALIFICATION PLAY-OFF

TUE, FEB 18
19 12:00 tbd
20 16:30 tbd
21 21:00 tbd
22 21:00 tbd

QUARTERFINALS

WED, FEB 19
23 12:00 tbd
24 16:30 tbd
25 21:00 tbd
26 21:00 tbd

SEMIFINALS

FRI, FEB 21
27 16:00 tbd
28 21:00 tbd

BRONZE MEDAL GAME

SAT, FEB 22
29 19:00 L27 vs. L28

GOLD MEDAL GAME

SUN, FEB 23
30 16:00 W27 vs. W28

For Habs tickets, click here.

For Habs merchandise, click here.

Habs Prospect Zach Fucale, does he have a bright NHL future?

Watching the World Juniors Championships during these past two weeks, I can’t stop to wonder about what future Team Canada’s starting goalie Zach Fucale might have in the NHL.  Drafted in the 2nd round, 36th overall in last year’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, Fucale started the 2013-14 Under-19 tournament as a backup to Jake Paterson.  But after two games, Fucale has started in every game and is headed to the medal games this weekend with Team Canada looking for Gold.

Looking back at the past 10 years of World Junior Championships, the biggest goalie names to come out of Team Canada have been the Pittsburgh Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury (2004), the Canadiens’ Carey Price (2007) and Toronto Maple Leaf’s  Jonathan Bernier (2008). All three have already had distinguished careers in the NHL.  Fleury has won a Stanley Cup in 2009 and has over 270 wins already in his career.  Price has been the Habs #1 goalie for 4+ seasons already has 160+ wins.  And this season Bernier is now solidifying himself as a #1 starter in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Being part of Team Canada doesn’t guarantee success.  Since 2008, the jury is still out on which goalie will have a bright future in the NHL.  Back in 2010 Martin Jones shared Team Canada’s goaltending duties with Blues’ prospect Jake Allen, and this season Jones started his NHL career winning his first 8 starts with the LA Kings.  He’s since lost 3 games but might just be the next big goalie name since Price/Bernier.

Other names to look for in the coming years are Bruins prospect Malcom Subban (Team Canada, 2013), and perhaps Habs very own Zack Fucale.  But let’s give Fucale five more years before we measure his true potential.

For Habs tickets, click here.

For Habs merchandise, click here.