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Tag:Montreal Canadiens
Posted on: October 9, 2011 8:54 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 8:56 pm
 

Habs' Cammalerri, Spacek injured in win over Jets

By Brian Stubits

It wasn't all good for the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night in Winnipeg.

They played the ultimate party poopers and tried their best to wreck the atmosphere in the Hangar (as they are starting to call the MTS Centre). It was a sounds 5-1 win for their first two points of the season. However it cost them a couple players, perhaps for some time.

Mike Cammalleri, who will go down as the first player to score an NHL goal in the MTS Centre, left the game soon after. It was a scary situation as he returned to the bench and immediately was looking to get off the ice, clearly in same pain. Since there is no exit from the bench but instead in the corners, he had to have play stopped before he could leave. Eventually he was helped off the ice in a hurry, favoring his leg.

As you can see, he was slashed by the skate of teammate Yannick Weber. TSN says the cut is likely going to sideline Cammalleri for up to two weeks.

Also in the first period, the Canadiens lost Jaroslav Spacek for the remainder of the game with what was described as an upper-body injury. If he's out for any time at all, it's going to hurt the Habs. They are already thin on defense with Chris Campoli's injury and Andrei Markov still not back as he recovers from a knee injury that cost him the end of last season. They just can't really afford for much more to go wrong with the defense at this point.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 9, 2011 7:57 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 9:07 pm
 

Jets loss can't dampen party mood in Winnipeg

By Brian Stubits

Hockey is back in Winnipeg. On Sunday, that's all that mattered as the Jets were outworked and beaten by the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 in their first official game as the Jets since 1996.

But that's hardly enough to damped the mood in the 'Peg. For now it's still the honeymoon. But when the joy of the pregame celebrations wore off, it was clear that this is still the Thrashers team that only made the playoffs once in franchise history. There will be more growing pains. But these will be the most pleasant pains I think any fan base has ever gone through.

The game was particularly tough on Jets defenseman Johnny Oduya. There's no doubt that he gets the status as the goat for the first game back in Manitoba. He turned the puck over not once but twice in his own defensive zone, leading to the Habs' first two goals of the night.

More on Canadiens-Jets

Again, though, that was an afterthought. The Canadiens could have won 17-1, the fans would have loved every second of it. The place got especially buzzing after Nik Antropov put himself in Winnipeg lore by scoring the first goal for the "new" Jets. For a minutes after, it was as good as it got all game. The Jets were buzzing, the electricity was back in the building and hit a high after Winnipeg's Mark Stuart lit up Canadiens captain Brian Gionta.

On Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, there were plenty of thanks being given. Get this: Commissioner Gary Bettman, who once ripped a franchise away from the 'Peg and shipped it to Phoenix, wasn't even booed.

"It wasn't personal then and while frankly I'm happy to have been a part of the equation that restored the team, the credit goes to the people in Winnipeg without whom this wouldn't be happening," Bettman said.

They were raucous before the game began. The only thing that could quiet the crowd was a touching tribute to the late Rick Rypien, who played with the Manitoba Moose and signed with the Jets in the offseason before committing suicide this summer. His mother came onto the ice to drop the ceremonial first puck. The emotion was oozing from the arena.

After that it was mostly all joy. However you couldn't help but feel for the fans back in Atlanta.

That, of course, is the byproduct here, that fans of the Thrashers -- and there were fans of the Thrashers -- are left in the dark. If they had the stomach to watch the game, it had to be gut-wrenching. Jets fans know the feeling, though, and can empathize. It's just that now that's over, and "Go Jets Go" chants fill the arena once again.

They were so appreciative in Winnipeg for this game and the return of hockey, every soul stayed in their seats and gave a standing ovation for the final minute. Of a 5-1 loss.

The official three Stars of the night were listed as Tomas Plekanec, Carey Price and Antropov. But if you polled everybody in the arena on Sunday, the obvious answer for the first star is Mark Chipman, the man most responsible for bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 3:02 pm
 

Betts claim by Habs reversed, sent back to Flyers

By Brian Stubits

Blair Betts is back as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers after his waiver claim by the Montreal Canadiens was reversed.

Because of an injury to his shoulder that he sustained in the 2009-10 playoffs and continued to bother him throughout last season, the Habs are sending him back to Philly by the NHL. He had to sit the Canadiens' first game in Toronto as a result of the bum shoulder.

In doing so, the NHL cited a bylaw that states "a player acquired by waiver claim is not physically fit at the time the claim is made. The Member Club making the claim may refuse to take an assignment of such player's contract and the request for waivers shall be cancelled."

"While it is clear that both clubs have acted in good faith in this unique situation [waiver claim], I am not prepared to dispute the conclusion of the Montreal club doctors that Mr. Betts was physically unfit to play at the time of the claim," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Therefore, it is my decision that, per league bylaws, the appropriate resolution to this matter is to restore the parties to the position they were in prior to the waiver claim on Oct. 5."

“After the waiver claim, Montreal exercised their right to a physical examination of Blair,” Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement. “Apparently, they found something that concerned them and had asked the league to void the waiver claim. Blair is back on our roster as of today.”

With Betts going back to Philly, it causes a little consternation for Holmgren and his contract limit and salary cap. Betts is making $700,000 while the Flyers only have about $65,000 in available room, according to Cap Geek. So Holmgren will have to do something, likely leading to a little shuffling on the roster to get back under. It shouldn't be an issue before the Flyers play another game, but it's some necessary house cleaning for Holmgren.

Also, it brings the Flyers to the maximum 50 contracts once again. While that isn't a problem quite yet, it could be once/if rookie Sean Couturier plays in his 11th game. That will make him contract No. 51, so something will have to give.

In the end it could be a nice break for Philly, who might like to have a tough defensive forward at the ready for a call-up if a seemingly thin PK unit needs some killers. That's assuming, of course, Betts is ready enough to go. Moreover, they would probably welcome him in the faceoff circle.

“I happen to think a lot of Blair as a penalty killer, good faceoff guy,” Holmgren said after waiving Betts. “He’s really an ideal fourth-line guy and the fact that some of those young guys were utilized killing penalties in the preseason, I think some of the guys that we acquired in the summer or through free agency or trade can fill that role too. We’ll see.

“Blair’s obviously been a big part of things over the last couple years. It was a difficult conversation with him today.”

At the same time, it's a tough decision for the Canadiens. The addition of Betts was a very quiet, but solid addition for them and he figured to add to their usually always solid special teams.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 11:11 pm
 

Don Cherry sounds off on hits, ex-fighters

DC1By: Adam Gretz

You can probably count Don Cherry as one person that is not a fan of the way Brendan Shanahan is running the NHL's discipline machine.

During his first Coach's Corner of the season on Thursday, Cherry, wearing what appeared to be his best Christmas-themed suit (pictured), sounded off on a number of topics, including the early suspensions handed out during Shanahan's watch, the people that tried to connect the deaths of Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien to fighting, and ex-fighters that have blamed post-retirement off-ice problems on fighting.

When asked by his longtime on-air partner, Ron MacLean, if he liked Shanahan's approach to discipline (such as the videos explaining each suspension) Cherry quickly pointed out that he hasn't seen any and doesn't want to, which is kind of like complaining about a book and then refusing to read it.

One of the first points he made was a reference to last year's incident that involved Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara hitting Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty into the turnbuckle along the bench area in Montreal. Cherry went back and looked at the previous game between the two teams and showed how, after scoring a goal, Pacioretty gave Chara a shove and warned young hockey players to "never push the defenseman" after scoring a goal because "they always remember."

The next game, of course, involved Pacioretty leaving on a stretcher. When MacLean asked if Cherry felt that incident was premeditated, he simply responded with, "All I'm saying is he ticked him off and he got it the next game. Leave the defenseman alone after a goal because they always feel it's their fault."

From there, the segment focused on the bad precedent Shanahan is setting by giving players an excuse to not hit their opponents.

He then ran a highlight package of former New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens crushing people throughout his career -- including his now famous hits on Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya -- and asked how many games Shanahan would have suspended Stevens for those plays.

The answer, of course, is probably quite a few games because many of the hits he featured are now illegal. Rules change. The game changes. Things that were legal 10 years ago no longer are.

He saved his strongest words for the end of the segment when discussing fighting, calling out the people that used the deaths of Boogard, Belak and Rypien as an excuse to push their anti-fighting agenda, and that they all "should be ashamed" of themselves. He closed by calling out former fighters Stu Grimson, Jim Thompson and Chris Nilan as being "turncoats and hypocrites" for suggesting fighters can be more prone to drug and alchohol abuse.

Said Cherry, "You guys, you were fighters, and now you don't want guys to make the same living you did."

You can see the entire seven-minute segment over at CBC.

Photo: CBC

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:28 am
 

Price to support breast cancer research with mask

By Brian Stubits

The thing I love most about goalie masks is that they allow the players to express themselves in so many ways thanks to the help of talented designers like Dave Arrigo.

Earlier this week we showed you one of Arrigo's designs for Coyotes goaltender Jason LaBarbera. His mask will feature a year-long tribute to armed forces, in particular former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman. Now here's another worthwhile creation by Arrigo, this time for the Canadiens' Carey Price.

The mask features an homage to Price's Native ancestry background growing up in British Columbia. On either side of the mask is a the face of an elder tribe member. In the center of the mask is the Canadiens' classic logo laid over a dream catcher.

Most notably, though, is the base color of pink. That will match Price's equipment for the month of October, which is breast cancer awareness month. Starting on Oct. 6 the mask will go up for auction and bidding will be closed at the end of the month. The proceeds will go to cancer research.

It's a terrific gesture by Price and considering how crazy (we mean that in a completely positive way) the Habs fan base is, I'm sure it will fetch a good amount of dough for a good cause. I'm just hoping the mask gets a serious cleaning before being sold. As somebody who plays in net, I can attest to the foul smell that inhabits a used goalie mask. It's rather nauseating.

But it's a lot easier to stomach knowing the helmet was put to good use (stopping pucks) and a good cause.

Photo: davearrigo.com

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 3, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 9:03 pm
 

Bolts' Malone not suspended for hit on Campoli

By Brian Stubits

Ryan Malone of the Tampa Bay Lightning has escaped the Shanaban from Brendan Shanahan.

The forward's hit in question occurred in a game against the Canadiens' Chris Campoli where the principal point of contact was the head. However, Shanahan concluded no punishment is forthcoming, saying this was his "most difficult [decision] to date."

Here is Shanahan's video detailing the ruling.

Now here's Shanahan's explanation given to NHL.com as to why Malone won't be sidelined for those who can't listen to the video.

“We felt that this hit was the most challenging one so far in this preseason for the Department of Player Safety to evaluate,” Shanahan said. “In the end, we felt that Malone had committed to the hit when Campoli was upright. However, when the contact was made, Campoli's head position significantly changed just prior to the hit.

"There are elements about the hit that we don't like -- specifically, the principal point of contact being the head and that it was not a full-body check. But the overriding factor in our judgment was that Campoli's loss of the puck and subsequent bending forward for it just prior contributed significantly, if not entirely, to those elements."

Count Campoli among the surprised at Shanahan's ruling.

"Somewhat surprised I guess. Haven't heard officially but if that's the case I'm surprised."

I think this ruling gives hope to a lot of people out there afraid the NHL is going too far. It shows that Shanahan and crew are taking a very close look at each play and trying not to take the hitting out of the game, something a lot of people are afraid will happen. By doing this, it shows it will be more than knee-jerk reactions to game misconducts.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 29, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 4:27 pm
 

Northeast Division Preview: Champ B's still tops

By Brian Stubits

For the first time since the 1993-94 season began, the reigning champion resides in the Northeast Division after the Bruins ended their Cup drought with a thrilling run through the postseason. The even better news for Boston (but not so awesome for the rest of the division) is that the Bruins are back almost completely intact.

No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champions since the Red Wings in 1997 and 98. Only two other teams have made it back to the Finals a year after winning in that time, the Stars in 1999 then 2000 and once again the Red Wings (2008, 09). There's a reason for it, the fabled championship hangover.

But in hockey, I think it plays a bigger part than any other sport. The offseason is as short as it gets, the playoffs as long and grueling as any of the major sports. The Bruins lifted the Cup in the middle of June and reported back to camp in early September. All the while they were enjoying a whirlwind of a summer that included plenty of partying and celebrating a title. The Blackhawks admittedly struggled with it last season (although the roster being ripped apart didn't help matters). If only getting rid of it were as easy as taking a couple Tylenol and drinking Vitamin Water.

If they do look sluggish and lethargic to start the season then the Buffalo Sabres will be ready to pounce on the opportunity. They are hockey hungry in Buffalo these days with hope their Sabres can become power players in the East. As for the other three in the division, the East's Canadian coalition? Well they will all be hoping to resurrect their glory days.

You can't exactly count out the Canadiens and Maple Leafs from the division crown, but this likely is a two-horse race in the Northeast.

Now we'll just have to wait and see how the Bruins respondin their quest for another Cup.

Northeast Division (predicted order of finish)

Boston Bruins: Why mess with a good thing? That's an easy philosphy to live by when you are coming off of claiming the Stanley Cup. Really, the only new additions they have to work into the fold are Benoit Pouliot as a bottom-six forward and Joe Corvo on the blue line. With the solid support all around them of a close-knit group, they should be able to seamlessly slide in and fill the voids left by Tomas Kaberle, Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder, the only pieces to the championship puzzle missing.

One thing I'm not sure many people realize, but this team is very young in addition to being super talented. There are still five players just among the forwards who will be restricted free agents when their contracts run out. The defense is a bit more grizzled, however, and that's where a good chunk of the leadership comes from, of course including captain Zdeno Chara.

There might be a slight sense of urgency for the B's to repeat as champs as they will have a lot of work to do to keep the team together as 10 of their regulars don't have contracts beyond next season. But GM Peter Chiarelli seems to be preparing for that well, saving the B's cap space to maneuver.

Strengths: What's not to like? They are very balanced as 10 players had more than 40 points a season ago, although two of them have departed (Kaberle and Ryder). Defensively they have plenty of veteran presence and have been a very good unit under Claude Julien. Plus, you know, they have that fella named Chara.

Oh, and how can we make it this far without discussing the team's best player, Tim Thomas? He was simply superb last season and through the playoffs, posting the highest single-season save percentage in league history. It's not as if his backup is chopped liver, either, as Tuukka Rask will be expected to shoulder more of the load for the 38-year-old Thomas this year.

Weaknesses: Despite all of their success when five-on-five, Boston's special teams weren't up to snuff. Without much change in personnel, they are going to have to find a way from within to improve the 20th-ranked power play and 18th-best penalty kill units. The power play was a growing concern in the playoffs, which included an 0-for-21 streak in the opening round win over the Canadiens. They tried all sorts of remedies to fix it, including parking Chara in front of the net, but they found their groove late in the playoffs when Chara and his booming shot returned to the point. Their hope is that success will roll over.

After that, we're just getting picky here. There just aren't too many holes from a team that ranked in the top five both offensively and defensively last season and was the NHL's top plus/minus team. They will have the talk of a championship hangover looming over them for much of the season and they will have the proverbial target on their backs as the champs. Those are hurdles that will be new.

Buffalo Sabres: I'm not sure what fans in Buffalo are more excited about right now: the Bills' 3-0 start or the first full season under Terry Pegula? The Sabres' biggest (and richest) fan ushers in a new era that the fans are still trying to get used to, in a good way: Buffalo is a big spender now. Pegula will make sure of that as he is willing to put his money where his mouth is. And his mouth has expressed some awfully high expectations ... multiple championships.

On that note, the Sabres were active in the offseason, most notably signing Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino to augment the core group that Buffalo has built. But possibly the biggest acquisition they made was the less-heralded of them all, and that was bringing in Robyn Regehr. The stout defenseman should prove to be a great addition as he brings a lot of toughness and all-around defense. Not to mention he will serve as a good influence for assumed partner Tyler Myers, who is in line for a nice bounceback season with more talent with him on defense.

It almost feels like an acquisition, but the return of Derek Roy will be a big boost, too. The front-line center missed the second half of last season due to a quad injury.

Welcome to Pegulaville. Buffalo still can hardly believe it.

Strengths: There is obviously a strong leader, for one. That's a very nice asset to have an owner so willing to win. But beyond him, there's a reason why Buffalo has moved into the conversation to crack the home-ice equation in the East, the new faces likely will make a very good group even better. In particular, the addition of Ehrhoff to the league's ninth-ranked power-play unit will make the special-teams unit a real asset for the Sabres.

Like their division rivals in Boston, as talented as they are all over the ice, their best player probably sits in the blue paint all game long. Ryan Miller didn't have the greatest of seasons last year for Buffalo, but that tends to happen when you come off a Vezina-winning season ... there's only one direction to go. He's still one of the absolute best in the game.

Oh, and the slug logo is gone, wiped away for good. That's positive for everybody.

Weaknesses: The cap situation is a bit troubling. With Pegula's desire to spend, the Sabres actually exceeded the salary cap over the summer, so they will have to be extra diligent with how they manage the roster. Unfortunately, it doesn't leave them much room to try and make any improvements midseason if need be.

Overall, it's not a roster with many holes in it whatsoever. It will just come down to how talented the team proves to be as there are multiple players capable of 50-plus point seasons.

Montreal Canadiens: Last season, without Max Pacioretty or Andrei Markov, the Canadiens captured the six seed in the East and took the eventual champions to the brink. I'm sure this team, almost al of it remains in town, is still stewing over blowing a 2-game lead to its bitter rival in Boston.

I definitely like the signing of Erik Cole in July, he is a solid (and physical) forward who could prove to be one of the bigger acquisitions of the summer for any team. He adds to a good, but not great group of forwards. They are capable, but need to be better than 23rd-best in the league like a season ago.

Where the success of this team will likely hinge is on the blue line. They have a couple of excellent young talents in P.K. Subban and Markov and some solid players behind them like Josh Gorges and Hal Gill.

A few steps toward a return to form for Scott Gomez (just seven goals last season) wouldn't hurt eiher.

Strenghts: Special teams. Under Jacques Martin, the Habs have been good in both departments of special teams, ranking seventh in both phases a season ago. If Markov remains healthy, the power play remains lethal as Subban and him both are excellent with the man up.

It's pretty Wild the goaltending this division features. Like both teams above them here, the Habs have an oustanding man living in the crease. It took fans a while in Montreal, but they finally warmed up to Carey Price, who finally lived up to his expectations last season. Playing a 72-game work load, Price posted a 2.35 GAA and .923 save percentage. The trick will be doing it again, but the safe bet is that he turned a corner and an encore shouldn't be a problem.

Weaknesses: Let's be honest, having to rely on Gomez to anchor a top-six line after a 37-point season doesn't have overwhelming talent. It showed in their scoring totals from last season when they averaged 2.60 goals per game. Cole will help as he not only brings a power game (among the league leaders in hits for forwards) but he can score. They would love to see him at least match his 26 goals from a season ago, that would have been good for second on the team.

A major concern all season will rest on the blue line and the depth there. Adding Chris Campoli after camp began was a nice addition to help with the concern, but they still can't really afford for injuries to set in, particularly for Markov. They just invested in him with a rich contract this offseason, so they are counting on him returning at full strength from the ACL tear and remaining that way.

Toronto Maple Leafs: How much longer will the fans in Toronto put up with a team that can't make the playoffs? The postseason drought stretches back to the lockout as the Leafs have been on the outside each season since. The only other team in the same boat is Florida, and let's just say the fans in Toronto take their hockey a touch more seriously than those in the Sunshine State. There's hope that this could be the season where they break through and return to playoff hockey, but that's a tall order for this group still.

Over the summer, GM Brian Burke really coveted center Brad Richards, but his staff was unable to convince the top free agent to head to Toronto. So as a backup plan he signed Tim Connolly from Buffalo to anchor the team's top line. If healthy, a very big if, Connolly can prove to be a good addition, the Leafs had to get deeper at center. Also, I really liked the quiet addition of John-Michael Liles to the defense.

But not much else will matter if the goaltending situation isn't solved. That has been the achilles heel for years in Toronto, but they think -- or hope -- the answer lies in James Reimer in his first full season in the NHL.

Strengths: As you'd expect for a team built by Burke, they have become a physical bunch in Toronto. The team captain, Dion Phaneuf, is one of the toughest hitters in the league. But there is obviously a danger of that being a weakness if the team is getting sent to the sin bin (or being Shanabanned with the new emphasis on safety) too often.

The second line is probably good enough to be Toronto's No. 1 group. The combination of Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin placed second, third and fourth in the team scoring, respectively. Each had at least 21 goals.

Weaknesses: The problem is, the skill on the team doesn't go much deeper. Only six players on the team last year reached double digits in scoring. The fact is the Leafs have two lines that can hold up with most in the league, but the third and fourth lines are where they feel the drop.

The center position remains a concern. Sure, Connolly was brought in to help that and same with Matthew Lombardi, but you can't be sure what you are getting from either guy from a health standpoint. As mentioned, Connolly has a history of injury issues. He has only played more than 70 games once (2009-10) since the 2002-03 season. With Lombardi, he's coming off a concussion that cost him all but two games last season. If either or both goes down, then Toronto is right back to being razor thin down the middle.

Ottawa Senators: This is odd territory for the folks in Ottawa. Never in the franchise's history have they had to actually rebuild. Since originally building the team in the early 90s, the team had a long, successful run that included a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006-07. A couple of the members from the old guard are still around -- Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, but the majority of the team is in place to win in the future, not necessarily now.

Expect to see a lot of the kids getting burn this season. It appears as though the team's top draft pick this summer, Sweedish center Mika Zibanejad, is going to make the team out of camp. Another coveted prospect, Jared Cowen, is also making a bid for the roster and join David Rundblad among the defensive corps. Nikita Filatov, who hadn't lived up to his perceived potential in Columbus, will also be given a shot to show what he can do. If he fits in and focuses on his game, his addition could prove to be a steal for Ottawa.

While new coach Paul MacLean and GM Bryan Murray are saying all the rights things about this team being competitive this season, it will serve as a good opportunity to get a glimpse of the future.

Strenghts: They didn't score much at all or play defense particularly well, but they were alright on special teams, particularly on the penalty kill, which ranked ninth in the league. Sergei Gonchar can help keep that ball rolling. That will qualify as a positive here.

We'll also throw goaltender Craig Anderson into the category. He wasn't spectacular last season split between Colorado and Ottawa, but he's shown before what he is capable of when he starred for the Avalanche two seasons ago. And his stint with the Sens was encouraging as he was 11-5-1 with his new team.

It speaks well for what is in the system that the team's AHL affiliate in Binghamton won the Calder Cup.

Weaknesses: This says a lot: No player that participated in more than 30 games for the Senators had a plus-rating last season. Chris Phillips was the lowest of them all at minus-35.

This team struggled mightily to score last season and that is unlikely to get easier this time around. Right now there just isn't a heck of a lot of talent to talk about. Spezza was the only player to top the 20-goal mark last year and he barely did so with 21.

The youth is a weakness for now as it will be error prone and show it is green, but the hope is that it turns into a strength down the line.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 26, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Canadiens add Chris Campoli

By: Adam Gretz

Less than two weeks away from the start of the regular season you probably aren't going to find many players still sitting around in free agency that can make a positive impact on your roster for the upcoming season. One of the few exceptions still out there this year was defenseman Chris Campoli, and according to TSN's Bob McKenzie he signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens on Monday afternoon, presumably as some added insurance for Andrei Markov if he's not ready for the start of the season.

Campoli spent the 2010-11 season split between the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks, recording 21 points in 77 games. The Blackhawks, who acquired him in a mid-season trade in exchange for Ryan Potulny and a second-round draft pick, walked away from him as a restricted free agent this summer (he was awarded just over $2 million in arbitration), allowing him to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.

With Markov having a setback in his recovery from a knee injury, putting his status for the start of the season in doubt, combined with the loss of James Wisniewski and Roman Hamrlik this summer, the Canadiens can certainly use some insurance and depth on their blue line, and Campoli can definitely help. Now that Campoli is added to the mix Montreal's defense consists of P.K. Subban, Jaroslav Spacek, Hal Gill, Josh Gorges, Yannick Weber and Campoli, as well as Markov whenever he's ready to return to the lineup.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com