Author Archives: Mario Perrazzino

Montreal Canadiens new jersey designed for the 2016 Winter Classic

This season’s NHL 2016 Winter Classic will feature two Original Six clubs; Montreal Canadiens vs Boston Bruins, to be played on January 1st, 2016 in Foxborough, MA (home of the Super Bowl Champs New England Patriots).

As is always the case with the Winter Classics, teams unveil specialized jersey designs for the events.  In the past, teams have worn retro jerseys, or have altered their current design.

The Boston Bruins jersey is a throwback to their 1924 logo and dropped the brown colour in favour of their current black.


For the Montreal  Canadiens, the game will mark the third time the Canadiens have played an outdoor game in recent years.   In 2003, the Canadiens particpated in the first Heritage Classic vs the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton.  The Canadiens opted to showcase their 1946 White jersey.  In 2009, the Canadiens again played in the Heritage Classic, this time in Calgary, and the Canadiens opted to wear their 1976 throwback white jersey.


But this season marks the first time the Canadiens will participate in the Winter Classic.  and for that, the Canadiens went will a special design, incorporating four different jersey features from their 100+ storied history.

Last week was the big reveal as the Canadiens unveiled their 2016 Winter Classic jersey.


The 2016 World Classic jersey incorporates the following:

#1) The Blue stripe is a shade of blue inspired by the first Canadiens jersey worn after their founding in 1909 (See 1 below).

#2) The CH logo is the inverted colors they have worn for the past 90 years.  Or a liking to the 1921-22 jersey they wore.

#3) The sleeves have an image of the globe, the same type of globe the Canadiens wore on their 1924-25 jersey to denote World Champions.

#4) The new jersey also has a red collar reminiscent of that worn first work in 1945-46.

See image below for a snapshot of the 4 main features of the 2016 Winter Classic Montreal Canadiens jersey.


This marks the NHL’s 8th Winter Classic, and the second time a Canadian team takes part.


Best Regular-Season Wins Ever Made By Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are Canada’s oldest Hockey team. From their formation in 1909, the idea behind the franchise was to represent Canada, and more specifically Quebec’s, Francophone community.

With more Stanley Cups than any of their rivals, in their instantly recognisable bleu, blanc et rouge ( red, white and blue colours), the Canadiens, also referred to as The Habs, are one the game’s biggest names.    As the Montreal Canadiens embark on their 107th season, here is a quick look back at some of their biggest and most important regular season wins over the years.


Toronto St. Pats, 1920

Way, way back in January 1920, player coach Newsy Lalonde set the tone for a remarkable few months when he hit two during the opening period of the match against Toronto St. Pats meaning The Habs left the rink with a 6-1 lead. Lalonde wasn’t done there though as hit a further three in the game’s second period and another in the last as The Canadiens ran out 14-7 winners.


His six goals that night, at their then home the Mount Royal, still stands as a Habs record and has only been equalled elsewhere on seven other occasions. The 21 goals scored that night is also a still standing record, although one that was equalled by the Edmonton Oilers in 1985.

 Quebec Bulldogs, 1920

In January of the same year, The Canadiens scored a still standing 16-3 win over fellow Quebecois The Bulldogs. Strangely, The Bulldogs, who had been formed ten years previously, dissolved that year and, apart from their unfortunate moment, have long been forgotten.

On the night, Bulldog’s keeper Frank Brophy was spared no mercy as Didier Pitre, Odie Cleghorn, Harry Cameron and Newsy Lalonde scored three or more each. Amos Arbour added two goals of his own in a game that, with a thirteen goal gap, remains the largest victory margin in franchise history. The team have never bettered the seven goals in a single twenty minute period they notched up that night, although they have matched it a further six times.


Fancy a punt on the pucks?

Many, many Canadian dollars are waged on the outcome of Hockey games, and in particular Canadiens’ matches, each year. In a game well known for its fiery confrontations, plenty of Ice Hockey fans want to add to the thrill of a sixty minute match by “making things interesting” and adding a bet or two.

Due to Canada’s regionally administered gambling laws, the easiest way to have a bet on the hockey match is by betting online. This can be done safely and securely by following this link where they have listed the best bookmakers for any Canuck that wants to wager on the Canadiens.


New York Rangers, 1944

The New York Rangers were on the receiving end of hockey perfection back in March 1944 when then coach Dick Irvin oversaw an 11-2 thrashing in one of The Habs greatest ever performances. In the last game of what had been an excellent season for The Canadiens, Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach and Toe Blake, known collectively as “The Punch Line“, all combined to score and put The Rangers brutally to the sword.


That performance capped a remarkable season for The Habs as they went the entire season undefeated at their home The Forum which, to this day, no other team has achieved. Across their 25 home games that season, they scored 141 ties, conceding only 50 with over twelve matches claimed by four or more goals.


Boston Bruins, 1955

While not being the highest scoring match in Habs’ history, this night back in November 1955 is significant for a player performance and the fallout thereafter. Jean Béliveau’s scored a remarkable hat trick in under a minute, 44 seconds to be precise – the fastest in Canadiens history.  However, all three goals occurred during the same power play while the Boston Bruins, two goals ahead at the time, had two men in the serving time in the sin bin. The following season a rule changed was proposed that allows players serving minor penalties to return to play after a single goal has been scored in the power play. Unfortunately for the Bruins that was a season too late as “Le Gross Bill” completely turned the game around with three scores in the power play before adding insult to injury by netting a fourth before the end in a 4-2 win for the Canadiens.

Washington Capitals, 1977

On the final day of the 1976-77 season the Canadiens played host to the Washington Capitals in a game that would do justice to what had been a remarkable campaign. True to form, they smashed their visitors 11-0 to extend their unbeaten run at home to 34 games, setting an all-time record. Guy Lafleur, Bob Gainey, Steve Shutt and Guy Lapointe all hit the net on the night.

During that run, they managed to win six games by more than four goals, scoring 205 times, while restricting visiting sides to bag a measly 75 goals against them. Their one home defeat at The Forum that year, against the Boston Bruins, gave them a NHL record for fewest home defeats since the league’s inception more than fifty years previously.

Buffalo Sabres, 1988

With two games left in the season, Canadiens sniper Stephane Richer had 45 goals, and was chasing that elusive 50 goal plateau.  With a home and home weekend set of games against the Buffalo Sabres to conclude the season, Richer scored  hat-trick scoring three goals in a 9-4 romping over the Sabres.  The next night, Richer was still two goals short of 50 goals, and sure enough Richer scored two goals against Tom Barrasso, becoming the 6th Canadien player to reach the 50 goal plateau.

New York Rangers, 1989

On February 4, 1989, the New York Rangers played the Montreal Canadiens.  The game marked the return of Guy Lafleur but in a  NY Rangers uniform.  Lafleur had previously retired as a Canadien back in 1985, and made a successful comeback in 1988-89 with the NY Rangers.  Although Lafleur thrilled fans with a pair of goals, the Canadiens, trailing 5-2 in the game, rallied back with the help of Shayne Corson’s hat-trick, to prevail 7-5.

Quebec Nordiques, 1991

The game marked Guy Lafleur’s final game at the Montreal Forum as Lafleur, now playing with the Quebec Nordiques, had announced he was retiring for good after the season.  Although the Canadiens won the game 4-3, fans will remember the game as Guy Lafleur’s scoring his last goal in the NHL.  (And I was there in person to witness it!!)

Dallas Stars, 1996

March 11, 1996 is a date that will forever be enshrined for Habs fans.  It marked the final game played at the Montreal Forum, the home of the Montreal Canadiens for 23 of their 24 Stanley Cups.  The Canadiens beat the Dallas Stars 4-1, but it’s the closing ceremonies that fans will always remember capped off with a 6 minute standing ovation to their legend, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard

New York Rangers, 1996

March 16, 1996, the Montreal Canadiens inaugurate their new home, the Molson Centre as the Canadiens beat the NY Rangers winning 4-2.

Ottawa Senators, 2002

April 9, 2002, Ottawa Senators visited Montreal but the 403 victory of the Canadiens was overshadowed by the return of  the Canadiens’ Captain Saku Koivu, who returned to play after battling stomach cancer the previous 6  months.  Koivu was welcomed back to an 8-minute standing ovation.

Colorado Avalanche, 2007

October 21, 2007, the game marked the return of their former MVP goalie Jose Theodore, who was traded the previous season to Colorado.  The Canadiens trailed 3-0 at one point, when the comeback began.  Canadiens went on to win 8-5, capped up by Craig Rivet, a stay at home defenceman, scoring on a breakaway when he came out of the penalty box.

New York Rangers, 2008

February 19, 2008, Habs treated their sell-out home crowd with what is the greatest comeback in Canadiens history.  The Canadiens were losing 5-0, and with the 2nd period winding down, Michael Ryder scored two goals within a 5 minute span, trailing by three goals heading into the third period.  Two goals within a nine-second span, cut the Rangers lead to 5-4, and Alex Kovalev scored on a Power Play to end the game 5-5 in regulation.  The five-minute overtime settled nothing.  And the game went to a shootout.  Saku Koivu scored the lone goal in the shootout, and Christobal Huet stop all three shooters he faced including Jaromir Jagr, as the Canadiens capped off their biggest come from behind victory in club history.







Habs 2015 Training Camp Timeline

Timeline of the Montreal Canadiens 2015 Training Camp:

September 10:  Canadiens annual golf tournament at Laval-sur-le-Lac Sept. 10.

September 11 -16:  Canadiens Rookie Camp.  26 players invited to Canadiens Rookie camp which includes a  rookie tournament  from September 11-13, in London, Ontario.

Full roster of rookie participants

The list includes the Canadiens last three first round picks ; Noah JUULSEN (2015), Nikita SCHERBAK (2014), and Michael McCARRON (2013).  The Canadiens have also invited four players as rookie try-outs;  Markus EISENSCHMID (C), Dryden HUNT (C), Angelo MICELI (C), Michael McNIVEN (G).

September 17:  Start of Montreal Canadiens main camp, with team medicals.

September 18:  Canadiens training camp begins with on-ice sessions at Brossard Training Facility

September 20:  Canadiens team scrimmage Red vs White at the Bell Centre at 1pm.

September 22:  Canadiens first pre-season game of 2015 with Toronto Maple Leafs at Canadiens at the Bell Centre.  Get tickets here at below face-value.

October 3:  Canadiens’ training camp ends, with last cuts announced.

October 7:  Canadiens start their 2015-16 season on the road vs Toronto Maple Leafs.

Habs off-season digest, August 4

It appears the Canadiens are set for training camp and they have signed all their RFAs and made a small splash on the UFA market.

July 13:  Canadiens sign UFA – D Ryan Johnston (free agent) 

Defenceman Ryan Johnston was an invite to Habs development camp, and he impressed the Canadiens so much that the Canadiens signed him to a two-year, entry-level contract.  he’s coming through the NCAA college ranks, having played with Colgate University.

July 14:  Canadiens re-sign RFA Micheal Bournival

Michael Bournival is coming off an injury filled season where he suffered two concussions and never really recovered from the first.  Bournival signed a two-way contract that will pay him $600K if he plays in the NHL.  Read article here

July 15:  Canadiens re-sign RFA D Jarred Tinordi

Jarred Tinordi has fallen in the Habs depth charts amongst young defenseman.  Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu have passed him.  Tinordi re-signed for a two-way, one year contract ($850.5K in the NHL).  Should Tinordi not make the club with the Canadiens in October, he needs to clear waivers to be sent back to the AHL.

July 24:  Canadiens sign draft pick Dan Audette.

The son of former NHLer and Canadien, Donald Audette, Dan Audette was drafted in the 5th round, 147th overall, in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.  Donald Audette signed an entry level deal with the Canadiens.

July 24:  Canadiens sign UFA Alexander Semin

The Canadiens finally got a top 6 forward.  Well at least they are hoping they did.  Alexander Semin became a UFA this summer after Carolina bought him out   Semin signed a one year deal with the Canadiens and will make $1.1M with the Canadiens.  Semin will wear #13.  Hear conference call

See Hockeydb stats:


July 29:  Canadiens and Bruins unveil their Winter Classic logos.

The Canadiens will be introducing another jersey this upcoming season.  Already the  Canadiens announced that their game-day jerseys will now feature laces at the collar.  But they also unveiled their 2016 Winter Classic jersey, opting to wear a re-make of their 1922-24 jersey.  Read story here.


July 30:  Canadiens sign RFA Alex Galchenyuk to a Bridge deal

Finally, the biggest wait of the off-season finally happened.  The Canadiens and Alex Galchenyuk finally agreed on a two year deal.  Galchenyuk will get $2.5M in 2015-16 and $3.1M in 2016-17.  read Pat Hickey’s column here.

July 30:  P.K. Subban training with Ben Johnson

Yes it’s true.  Subban teaming up with notorious Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson in hopes to get faster and be more agile.  See TSN story here.  Not to be outdone, former Canadian sprinter Bruny Surin has also reached out to P.K. Subban to offer his help.

August 1:  Canadiens will permanently close their Canadiens Hockey Hall of Fame on August 30th.

The short-lived temple of Canadiens’ memorabilia will be no more after August 30th.  The Canadiens announced that they need the space currently occupied by their Hall of Fame, is needed  for renovations to take place in order to “… enhance the fan experience at the Bell Centre in 2015-16 and beyond.”  It’s not too late to visit the Canadiens’ shrine.  For the month of August until it closes, price of admission to visit the Canadiens Hall of Fame is free.  Read story here.


Enjoy the summer!


Looking for Montreal Canadiens merchandise,  check out

Habs off-season digest, July 16

It’s been almost three weeks since my last post.  In that time the NHL held its NHL Draft and Free Agency has begun.  Not to mention the Canadiens held their Development Camp.

June 26:  NHL Entry Draft

1st Rnd – 26th overall
3rd Rnd – 87th overallLUKAS VEJDEMO - C (Sweden)
5th Rnd – 131st MATTHEW BRADLEY - C (WHL)
6th Rnd – 177thSIMON BOURQUE - D (QMJHL)
7th Rnd – 207thJEREMIAH ADDISON - LW (OHL)

June 27:  Canadiens modify their ionic jersey

The Canadiens announced they will modify ever so slightly their jerseys for the 2015-16 season.  The changes include:

• Hexagonal copper grommets and white laces

• All-white collar

• the collar will have  “LNH” for Ligue Nationale de Hockey.

The last time the canadiens modified their jersey was back in 2007.  And the Canadiens had laces on their jerseys from the 1940s to 1974.


June 28:  Canadiens buy-out P-A Parenteau

In a move to get some much needed salary cap relief, the Canadiens bought out the final year of P-A Parenteau’s contract.  Parenteau was scheduled to earn $4M in 2015-16.  he will get $1.33M for the next two seasons instead.  On top of his salary that he will get with Toronto Maple leafs as Parenteau signed with Toronto on July 1st.

June 30:  Habs sign a pair

On the eve of Free Agency, Habs signed restricted Free Agents Brian Flynn and extended the contract of Greg Pateryn.  Flynn signed a 2 years, $1.9M , whereas defenceman Pateryn earns an extension.  Already signed for 2015-16 at $562.5K, Pateryn will make $800K for 2016-17, and 2017-18.

July 1:  The start to Free Agency Frenzy

Turns out it was not much of a frenzy for Habs fans and especially for Habs GM Marc Bergevin.  Bergevin did not sign any free agents, instead opted to trade Brandon Prust to the Vancounver Canucks for Zack Kassian and a 2016 5th Round Pick.  This marks Kassian’s third organization in his young career.  The tarde makes the Canadiens younger, and saves on the Cap.

Tale of the tape:




Brandon Prust was shocked hearing about the trade while vacationing in Rome with his fiancée MariPier Morin.  In fact this was their last tweet just prior to finding out about the trade.

Brandon prust went on to thanks the Canadiens.


July 1st:  Habs sign UFA defenceman Mark Barberio

Montreal local boy mark barberio signed as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens.  Having come up with the Tampa bay organization, Bareberio, 25 years old, has already appeared in 103 NHL games.  Barberio signed a 1 year, 2-way deal with the Canadiens.

Mark Barberio

Defense — shoots L
Born Mar 23 1990 — Montreal, PQ
[25 yrs. ago]
Height 6.01 — Weight 185 [185 cm/84 kg]
Drafted by Tampa Bay Lightning – round 6 #152 overall 2008 NHL Entry Draft

July 5. Montreal Canadiens held their Development camp.  

In total 43 players were invited to camp including their recent first round pick Noah Juulsen, and first round picks from 2013 (Michael McCarron)  and 2014 (Nikita Scherbak).

Amongst the other players also getting added attention were, Sven Andrighetto who played 12 games with the Habs in 2014-15.  Daniel Carr, Charles Hudon.

Dave Stubbs reports from Habs dev Cap.  Read story here.

List of players that were invited to Development Camp.


The Canadiens also announced the re-signing of the following

July 2Christian Thomas - F1 year, 2-way deal ($600K - NHL)
July 2Noah Juulsen - F3 year entry level deal ($2.775 / 3 years)
July 13Ryan JohnstonUFA, Habs development camp, 2 year-2 way ($680K / season - NHL)
July 14Michael Bournival - F 1 year, 2-way deal ($600K - NHL)
July 15Jarred Tinordi - D1 year, 2-way ($850K - NHL)

July 10:  Max Pacioretty suffers knee injury, out 12 weeks

Seems Max Pacioretty always has an injury to overcome.  Luckily this happened during the off-season while doing dry-land cross-fit like training.  No surgery required, but he’ll miss all of training camp.  Read story here.

July 12:  The oldest living Canadien, Bob Fillion celebrates his 95th birthday.

Fillion played in 327 games all with the Canadiens  between 1943-1950.  As posted by Dave Stubbs…

And finally, still no news on Alex Galchenyuk.  the last remaining RFA for the Canadiens as the Canadiens are trying to get him to sign a 2 year bridge deal, as they currently have just over $7 million in cap space remaining.

Happy Summer!




Habs Off-Season Digest, June 24

It’s been a while since I last posted an update as we head to the 2015 NHL Draft and July 1st UFA signing (which this year will not be much of a frenzy).

June 1st:  In the taking care of business department, Habs re-signed Gabriel Dumont and Morgan Ellis to one year,two-way deals.  Both played in the AHL last season and Dumont did get a taste of the NHL  with 3 games played.  Read Gazette story here.

June 13:  Seems RFA defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is here to stay.  2014-15 was his breakout season appearing in 64 GP.  He signed a two year, $2 million deal in what many say is a bridge deal because when the deal expires in 2017, Beaulieu will still be a RFA.  Read story here.

June 15:   Torrey Mitchell decided to take the home town discount agreeing to a 3 year, $3.6 million deal with the Canadiens.  Mitchell was eligible for UFA come July 1st, but after bouncing around San Jose, Minnesota, Buffalo and Montreal these past four seasons, looks like he opted for stability and re-signed.  Read Dave Stubbs’ story here.

Torrey Mitchell’s Conference Call

June 18:  The 2015 Pre-season schedule is already out.  It all begins Sept 20 and Habs will play a total of 8 games before they drop the puck to start the 2015-16 season on October 7 in Toronto.

Pre-season Schedule



June 22:   Well look who finally decided to pop the question?  Habs Brandon Prust finally proposed to long-time girlfriend, TV personality MariePier Morin choosing to pop the question in Italy.  Read story here.


June 22:  Alex Galchenyuk is a RFA and has decided to fire his agent Igor Larionov, who works along with Ian Pulver.  Not sure what to read into this, but it appears Galchenyuk was unhappy with his ice time and didn’t like the fact that his agent was going to bat for him.  Galchenyuk has now turned to Pat Brisson to represent him.  Pat Hickey discusses Galchenyuk in his column as his former agent Larionov has a few words for Galcheyuk.

June 22:  In August 2016, the World Cup of Hockey will return and Hockey Canada named Doug Armstrong as Team Canada GM.  Amongst Armstrong’s extensive team to pick the roster is Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin.  Read story here

June 24:  According to Richard Labbé of LaPresse, the Canadiens have made qualifying offers to their 6 RFAs; Alex Galchenyuk, Jarred Tinordi, Brian Flynn, Magnus Nygren, Christian Thomas and Michaël Bournival. A formality if they wish to retain them.  LaPresse story here.

June 24:  NHL Awards Show turned into the Carey Price Show.  Carey Price picked up 4 awards; Ted Lindsay Awarded to MVP as chosen by the players.  The Vezina Award for top goalie.  The Jennings Trophy (shared with the Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford for allowing the fewest goals.  Both Montreal and Chicago allowed 189 goals).   And finally, Carey Price won the Hart Trophy as league MVP.  Carey Price and PK Subban were also named to the 2014-15 Post-Season 1st Team All-Star.  Read Montreal Gazette`s summary here.


Habs re-sign D Jeff Petry to 6 years / $33M


Chalk up another smart move by Habs GM Marc Bergevin.  At the 2015 trade deadline, Bergevin picked up a player, who arguably, was the biggest fish on the trade market in defenceman Jeff Petry from the Edmonton Oilers.

And now , two and a half months later, Bergevin was able to convince Petry to re-sign with the Habs, in a year with a weak free agency pool, where Petry could have done really well for himself out in the open market.

That’s not to say Petry took a home team discount, because he didn’t.  Habs were able to re-sign Petry for 6 years, $33M.

The $5.5M average cap hit breaks down per year as follows:


The deal includes a No-Trade Clause.  And once again, to acquire Petry from the Edmonton Oilers didn’t cost the Canadiens any assets.  Only two draft picks.  2015’s 2nd Round Pick and a conditional pick which becomes a 2015 4th Round Pick.

Personally I am surprised by the signing because I thought  Petry, an American from Michigan, would sign with a team like Detroit.  And the fact that at the age of 27, at his peak of his career, I am surprise he would forego his UFA opportunity.

Jeff Petry Stats
Born Dec 9 1987  -- Ann Arbor, MI 
Height 6.03 -- Weight 196 -- Shoots R

Selected by Edmonton Oilers round 2 #45 overall 2006 NHL Entry Draft

                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
2005-06  Des Moines Buccaneers       USHL   48    1   14   15   68  11   2   5   7   8
2006-07  Des Moines Buccaneers       USHL   55   18   27   45   71   8   0   6   6  10
2007-08  Michigan State University   CCHA   42    3   21   24   28
2008-09  Michigan State University   CCHA   38    2   12   14   32
2009-10  Michigan State University   CCHA   38    4   25   29   26
2009-10  Springfield Falcons         AHL     8    0    3    3    2  --  --  --  --  --
2010-11  Oklahoma City Barons        AHL    41    7   17   24   18   6   0   1   1   4
2010-11  Edmonton Oilers             NHL    35    1    4    5   10  --  --  --  --  --
2011-12  Edmonton Oilers             NHL    73    2   23   25   26  --  --  --  --  --
2011-12  Oklahoma City Barons        AHL     2    0    1    1    2  --  --  --  --  --
2012-13  Edmonton Oilers             NHL    48    3    9   12   29  --  --  --  --  --
2013-14  Edmonton Oilers             NHL    80    7   10   17   42  --  --  --  --  --
2014-15  Edmonton Oilers             NHL    59    4   11   15   32
2014-15  Montreal Canadiens          NHL    19    3    4    7   10
2014-15p Montreal Canadiens          NHL    12    2    1    3    4
         NHL Totals                        314   20   61   81  149

Current statistics as of 2015-05-30

Jeff Petry addressed the media via a conference call following the announcement on June 2nd.


Jeff Petry also took to twitter to post:

As did Jeff Petry’s wife, Julie.  Suffice to say they are both excited to be part of the Montreal Canadiens organization for the next 6 years!



Habs Off-Season Digest, May 28

A quick summary of the Montreal Canadiens related news this past week.

May 22: Canadiens prospect Charles Hudon, who played for Hamilton Bulldogs last season with 19G, 38A for 57 points in 75 games, has hopes to make the big club next season according to LaPresse.  Please read Richard Labee’s story

May 25:  The Montreal Gazette picked up a instagram posting by Carey Price’s wife Angela Price, of the couple enjoying their Italian vacation.  Carey Price’s vacation Twitter Photo

May 27:  Montreal Canadiens prospect Michael Mc Carron of the Oshawa Generals is making an impression at the Memorial Cup.  Read story here

May 27:  Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson expressed optimism with the Canadiens despite being eliminated in the 2nd round of the playoffs.  Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette reports

May 27:  When Guy Lafleur speaks everyone listens.  Lafleur mentioned that the Canadiens next captain should be Brendan Gallagher. And he goes on to say that Alex Galchenyuk should play centre.  Guy Lafleur discusses the Habs

May 27:  Habs GM Marc Bergevin announces the promotion of pro scout Vaughn Karpan to the position of Canadiens Director of Pro Scouting.  Read Pat Hickey’s column

May 28:  The St. John’s Ice Dogs, the new home of the Canadiens top AHL farm club, unveiled their new colours adopting the bleu-blanc-rouge of the CH.  The Ice Dogs new jersey will be unveiled in the coming weeks.   Read story here

May 28:  Sportsnet looks at what Habs GM Marc Bergevin’s off-season game plan is.  Read Eric Engels’ story

Habs off Season Digest, May 21

From time to time I will post an update of Habs related news during the off season.

May 15: Hamilton Bulldogs’s Assistant Coach Stephan Lebeau will not be returning with the Canadiens organization, LaPresse reports (Please read: Habs do not renew Stephan Lebeau’s contract) . Hamilton Bulldogs will relocate to St. Johns, NFLD beginning next season to become the St. John’s Ice Dogs.

May 16: Are the Habs in the Kerby Rychel sweepstakes? The Blue Jackets centre is rumoured to be shopped around by the Columbus. Please read: Are the Canadiens After Rychel

May 20: Habs prospect Artturi Lehkonen, drafted in the same draft as Jacob de la Rose, has decided to spend another season in Europe. Lehkonen, who plays left-wing and hails from Finland was the 55th overall pick in the 2013 entry draft, and will play another season in the Swedish Elite League. Please read: Habs Prospect staying in Europe

May 20: Restricted free Agen Gabriel Dumont still hopes habs will make him a qualifying offer to retain his rights. Otherwise he will become a UFA. Dumont’s agent has yet to hear from Bergevin. Please read: Gabriel Dumont ponders future

May 20: Jacob de la Rose underwent successful wrist surgery on May 20th at the Montreal General Hospital. Rehab is expected to last three months and he should be ready in time for training camp in Spetember.
Please read: de la Rose has successful wrist surgery

May 21: Add the name of Michaël Bournival who hopes that the Canadiens will make him a qualifying offer this summer, as he too is a RFA this off-season. Bournival suffered two concussions during the season and only now declares himself fully healed from the head injury. Please read: Bournival recovers from concussion

Is this the end for the Montreal Canadiens 2015 Playoffs Run?

The Montreal Canadiens started the 2015 NHL Playoffs with great promise. Having finished first in the Atlantic division during the 2014-15 season, most pundits expected the Canadiens to go far in these playoffs. They started Round 1 of the playoffs against the Ottawa Senators jumping to a 3-0 series lead in the best of 7 series, finally winning it in 6 games. Now halfway into the 2nd Round, many have lost hope. With the Canadiens trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 in games in the best of seven Divisional Final, few expect the Canadiens to even win another game. And revised their predictions too as Tampa Bay are favorites to win the series, despite the fact Montreal started with home ice advantage.
Going into the series, both clubs finished with 50 wins. However Habs head coach Michel Therrien kept telling everyone that his team were the underdogs. Tampa finished the season with the most goals for with 262 goals whereas Montreal finished with 221. Defensively Montreal had the edge with 189 goals against compared to Tampa’s 211.
Time and time again, teams with the most defensive record don’t do particularly well by the time the playoffs come around. Habs GM Marc Bergevin will keep preaching that “you win with defence”. But the truth of the matter is, whenever the playoffs roll around, everyone buckles down and plays defence. It’s easier to teach players how to play defensive systems than it is to teach how to score. To score in the NHL you need natural talented abilities. Abilities that Tampa are blessed with in Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov. Montreal’s only pure goal scorer is Max Pacioretty.

Michel Therrien’s strategy was to copy what the 2014 Stanley Cup winner Los Angeles Kings did during the 2013-2014 season where they lead the league in goals against during the regular season playing a committed game of defence. And lead by forwards Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, the league’s best defenseman in Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick in goal, helped propel the Kings to win their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.

And who could blame Bergevin’s and Therrien’s strategy for these playoffs. Along with their sniper Pacioretty, the Canadiens soon to be crowned 2014-15 Vezina Trophy Winner in Carey Price, who is also a finalist for league MVP. They have Norris Trophy finalist P.K. Subban on the back end. Unfortunately for the Canadiens during the 2015 Playoffs, the Canadiens were not blessed with the same commitment to defence. And they lack natural ability to finish their scoring chances as their offense has sputtered, and their 2015 Playoffs Power Play is a woeful 3.8%, a problem they have struggled with for over a season now.

There is not much left in the tank it seems for the Canadiens to go further than they did last year in the playoffs. During the off season Bergevin and Therrien need to re-think their strategy because obviously with their current roster, they can’t get to the finish line.