Tag:Montreal Canadiens
Posted on: June 3, 2011 2:48 pm

Jean Beliveau to undergo surgery next week

Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau will undergo a surgery next week to repair abdominal aneurysms, the club announced on Friday.

“We are pleased that Mr. Beliveau is under the good care of Head Team Physician David Mulde,” Canadiens team owner and CEO Geoff Molson. “On behalf of all of our fans, players and the entire Montreal Canadiens family, I would like to wish Mr. Beliveau a prompt and complete recovery.”

The Canadiens said the procedure, known as endovascular surgery, will be minimally invasive and Beliveau will need a few months to recover.

Beliveau, 80, is a frequent visitor to the Bell Centre. He played for the Canadiens for 20 seasons and was on 10 Stanley Cup-winning teams. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

-- A.J. Perez
Category: NHL
Posted on: May 11, 2011 4:04 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 7:01 pm

Potential landing spots for Jagr in NHL

Every offseason since he left for the KHL, rumors constantly swirl in the summer surrounding the possibility of Jaromir Jagr returning to North America.

After his hat trick for the Czech Republic in its shutout of the USA today, the talk is quickly starting again. Now keep in mind, Jagr hasn't played in the NHL for three seasons. So at this point the talk about him coming back could be like years past and just Wild talk from hopeful fans looking for a veteran who might still have some gas in the tank. But he doesn't have a contract right now.

As he told Yahoo! earlier this week:

"I have to see. There is time. I haven't thought about it. My contract just ended, and if I have a good offer [from Avangard] I will certainly consider it. Maybe some other teams will make me offers. As for the NHL, we'll see. I think that if I want to play in the NHL, I will come and I will be able to play in the NHL. I am not saying I will play on the first line, but I will be able to play."

So if he were to return to the NHL, who would be a fit?

Pittsburgh Penguins: There's obviously plenty of nostalgia that could lure him back to Pittsburgh. Plus, once Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are back at full strength, the Pens are instant contenders for the Cup. The Penguins wouldn't need a ton of production, so it could be a nice ease-in situation for him to come back to and not be asked to do too much at this stage of his career. This would seem to be the most likely. Per Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: This likely play out with #Jagr staying in #KHL; #Pens working him back into franchise fold then retiring no. 68, I'm told.

Montreal Canadiens: The Habs make the list because a recent report out of Montreal said the Canadiens would be on Jagr's short list of teams. Part of the allure could be joining fellow Czech Tomas Plekanec, helping Montreal take the next step. The Habs have been getting closer the past few seasons to being a true contender in the East. While Jagr's goal totals are declining, he can still score and is a very capable player, even at 40. He could help them get over the hump.

New York Rangers: The last team he played for in the NHL, New York could certainly be in play. If he were to go to the Rangers, it would likely be for familiarity reasons as much as anything else. He would be brought in with the hopes of being a somewhat significant contributor as the Rangers are a little deficient these days in offensive production.

Washington Capitals: The other team Jagr spent time with in his career, he might be a nice fit back in the Capital. Much as is the case with the Penguins, Jagr wouldn't be called upon to be a big-time contributor. But if there's any team that could benefit from an experienced veteran to help come playoff time, it's Washington. Perhaps he could help the Caps get the postseason monkey off their backs. Of course, you wonder if there would be any ill will between Jagr and Alex Ovechkin after this big hit in the Olympics.

Edmonton Oilers: There was a lot of talk a year or two ago that Jagr could be headed to play in Alberta, but obviously that didn't happen. However, because the team showed serious interest in him then, he might keep that in mind and consider the Oilers. What makes me doubt it is the team isn't anywhere near close to winning and you expect a guy like Jagr to come back with winning a Stanley Cup in mind.

Of course there are a lot more teams that could use a talented vet like Jagr, but you would have to assume these would be the favorites. But since we don't even know right now if he'll return, this is nothing but speculation.

-- Brian Stubits
Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:51 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 3:03 am

Horton delivering first time on biggest stage

It took seven seasons. Perhaps it took the bright lights of the big postseason stage. Or maybe it was just a better supporting cast.

Whatever the answer, the end result is that Nathan Horton has finally begun to show the promise and top-level potential that was seen in him. Because it was Horton, a newcomer to Boston this season, who finished the crazy best-of-7 series vs. the Canadiens with an overtime winner. It was also him who ended Game 5 in double overtime.

Yes, the winger is stepping into the spotlight in his first time on the stage. For years he was lost in hockey purgatory, a.k.a. Florida.

Only once did the Panthers come close to the playoffs, finishing in an eighth-place tie with the Canadiens but losing on a tie-breaker. So perhaps this was some sort of revenge. Doubtful. His memories from his cellar-dwelling days are likely gone. That tends to happen when you move on up to the penthouse that is Beantown for your hockey home.

And, perhaps unfairly, Horton was always seen as bit of an underachiever for the Panthers, somewhat a victim of the high expectations, somewhat of being seen as the most talented player on a constantly underachieving team. He had flashes in his time with the 'Cats, but most felt he was capable of so much more, that he just needed to get out of the losing environment and with some better teammates. Then, many said, he'd flourish.

Well, this is a start. Horton's numbers this season didn't surpass what he had put up in Florida. His 26 goals this season were five below his career high of 31 in 2006-2007. But the weight of his latest goals is something he's never put up before.

"It’s been good [to watch], obviously, when you score two overtime goals in the series. You understand how big a piece of the puzzle he’s been for this hockey club. He had a really good start in the first month [of the season], then he cooled down a little bit," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Game 7. "But what I saw from Nathan from the half-point on until the end was a guy who became a lot more consistent in his game. His preparation was good, whether he scored or not, he was battling. He played hard. I think he’s really grown a lot in the second half."

I'd say so. And it can't be lost on the man coaching on the other bench, Jacques Martin. The Habs coach was behind the Panthers bench for much of Horton's time there before moving into the general manager's chair.

"Right now scoring those two big goals, [which] he’s been saving those for seven years, right?" Julien said. "He has a lot of winning goals in him."

Boston can only hope.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: April 27, 2011 11:33 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 7:58 pm

Boston's Ference not suspended for blindside hit

Boston Bruins forward Andrew Ference --- who donned the black hat and was saddled with a a fine for his single-figured gesture earlier in the series --- added two assists and one questionable hit in his team's 4-3 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of the first-round series on Wednesday.. 

With the puck well up ice about halfway through the third period, when replays showed that Ference delivered a hit to the head of Montreal center Jeff Halpern on the ice and forced a stoppage in play. (No penalty was called on the play.) Halpern was eventually helped off the ice and into the locker room with the assistance of Montreal’s trainer, but he did return. 

Ference had a hearing by phone with NHL officials on Thursday, but the league did not levy a suspension. 

"When it first happened I wasn't (worried about a suspension)," Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said (via NESN). "I thought it was just incidental contact, but when I took a closer look at bit I could see where the league's concerns lie. But when you look at the whole play, we turned the puck over at our blue [line], and when that happens the D are supposed to close off the rim around the wall. 

Ference received a $2,500 fine for giving Montreal fans the finger after a goal last Thursday. The league also decided against disciplining teammate Milan Lucic for his hit on Montreal’s Jaroslav Spacek in Game 6 that drew a boarding major and a game misconduct. 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 27, 2011 10:46 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 4:23 am

Boston needs to solve special teams woes

Nathan Horton’s winner in overtime of Game 7 sprinkled a little detergent on the stain on Wednesday, but the Boston Bruins' dreary special teams play in the first round can't be fully overlooked.

The Bruins were awful on the power play and things weren’t a whole lot better on the peanalty kill, which were both on display as the Bruins advanced to the second round with a 4-3 victory. Boston went 0-for-2 with the man-advantage in Game 7 and finished the series 0-for-21 --- the first time since 1952 (also by the Bruins) that a team failed to score a power play goal in a seven-game series. 

Unlike that series against the Habs 59 years ago, the Bruins are the team that advanced this time. They just may not want to try that again in the next round. 

Boston’s PK wasn’t quite as woeful, but the Bruins still couldn’t kill off a Patrice Bergeron high-sticking penalty by Montreal’s James Wisniewski with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in regulation. Forty seconds later, a one-timer by Habs rookie defenseman PK Subban tied the game and sent the contest  to OT. 

Boston allowed six power play goals in 27 attempts (77.8 percent) for the series, which puts them in the lower half of all first-round teams as the Bruins prepare to face the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. 

--- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 27, 2011 2:26 pm

Report: Lucic not suspended for Game 7

After receiving a game misconduct and a five-minute major for boarding in Game 6, Milan Lucic will not be suspended for Game 7, Nick Kypreos of Rogers Sports net in Canada reports.

It answers a big question that was raised the instant Lucic was sent to the locker room early for his crushing hit on Jaroslav Spacek. Debate has raged since the hit of whether it was the right call or too severe. Either way, it's a moot point now as the series reaches the pinnacle, Game 7 tonight in Beantown.

Lucic was a key player for the Bruins' scoring punch this season, netting 30 goals to complement his 32 assists. But in this series the Habs have done a good job keeping him in check as Lucic has just one assist in the six games with a minus-1 rating and 17 penalty minutes (greatly assisted by the Game 6 misconduct).

The Bruins and Canadiens face off at 7 p.m. ET tonight for the eighth Game 7 in the storied rivalry's history, the most times of any two teams in NHL playoff history. For a breakdown of the game, click here . Watch the hit in question below.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 2:28 pm

Game 7 breakdown: Montreal at Boston

No. 6 Montreal Canadiens vs. No. 3 Boston Bruins

Time: 7 p.m.ET
TV: Versus

Road to Game 7

The Canadiens took the first two games of the series, stealing home-ice advantage and then some. Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal for the Bruins in those two losses, but the Bruins bounced back with 11 goals over the next three games to take a 3-2 series lead with two of the tilts going to OT. Brian Gionta, who had a goal disallowed via quick whistle earlier in the game, scored the winner in Game 6 as the Habs forced a decisive game with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday. He also leads the series in scoring with three goals and six assists.

In net

Carey Price (Montreal) vs. Tim Thomas (Boston): Two of the best goalies of the regular season haven’t disappointed. While they each have a 3-3 record, Price has the edge in the stats department. He has a .942 save percentage and a 1.85 GAA, while Thomas owns a .928 and a 2.16  GAA.

Injury report

The Habs were without defenseman James Wisniewski (apparent back injury) and forward David Desharnais (sprained knee) in Game 6 after each got hurt a game prior. Montreal forward Max Pacioretty remains out with a concussion. The Bruins' only noted injury remains Marc Savard (concussion).

Our picks

A.J. Perez: Take away the fact the Habs scored both their Game 6 goals on 5-on-3 power plays, this series would be over. (Of course, Gionta had a goal needlessly called back, so possibly we’d still be going.) I’m going to have to take Boston, especially if Milan Lucic doesn’t receive a suspension for his boarding of Habs defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.

Brian Stubits: I've been riding with the Bruins all postseason long, no point in jumping off now. This series has not been lacking in intensity, so when it ticks up a notch further, I'm going to like the home team with the raucous arena. It's worth noting that both Game 7s so far have gone to the home team -- also worth noting they were the expected winners, but still. Expect another very tight affair, can't see either team getting away from the other, with the Bruins emerging over the hated rivals from Montreal.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 9:44 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 10:48 pm

Boston's Lucic tossed after charge in Game 6

Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic has all of one point (an assist) in the playoffs, but he really was no use for a good portion of Game 6 on Tuesday. 

Lucic -- the Bruins’ top goal scorer in the regular season -- was tossed 4 minutes, 37 seconds into the second period after an ill-advised check of Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who had just dumped the puck in from the red line. Spacek’s face was toward the boards when Lucic charged into him, the kind of blindside hit that the league has crusaded against in recent months after so many high-profile head injuries.

Spacek, who appeared to have blood coming from his right ear, was helped off the ice with assistance of a Habs trainer. He missed about seven minutes of playing time, but did return later in the second period. 

Lucic received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. Because of the nature of the penalty, the hit will be reviewed by league officials and Lucic could miss Wednesday's Game 7 if supplementary discipline is doled out.

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