Tag:Montreal Canadiens
Posted on: April 26, 2011 9:25 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 10:49 pm

Quick whistle negates Brian Gionta goal

Brain Gionta and the Montreal Canadiens got hosed by one of the worst -- and possibly laziest ---  calls of the playoffs. 

Gionta shot the puck between two Boston Bruins defenders in the first period of Tuesday's Game 6, a routine shot that goalie Tim Thomas should have handled easily. Maybe referee Kevin Pollock thought so, too. He blew the play dead even as the puck lay in front of Thomas’ leg pad before Gionta poked it into the net. 

Since the play was blown dead, it was not reviewable. Here’s the rule out of the NHL rulebook:
31.2 Disputes - The Referees shall have general supervision of the game and shall have full control of all game officials and players during the game, including stoppages; and in case of any dispute, their decision shall be final.

As there is a human factor involved in blowing the whistle to stop play, the Referee may deem the play to be stopped slightly prior to the whistle actually being blown. The fact that the puck may come loose or cross the goal line prior to the sound of the whistle has no bearing if the Referee has ruled that the play had been stopped prior to this happening.

“We’ve all been victimized by that sort of play,” said recently retired referee Kerry Fraser, now an analyst on TSN. “When you blow the whistle prematurely, you want to suck the wind right back out of it. It doesn’t work.”

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 21, 2011 11:19 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2011 2:35 pm

Ference gives Montreal crowd a salute, fined

Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was fined $2,500 for his post-goal celebration in the second period of Game 4 on Thursday. 

Cameras caught Ference flip the Bell Centre crowd the bird after he scored to make it a one-goal game. The Bruins eventually won the game, 5-4, in overtime to even the best-of-7 series at 2-2. The NHL announced the fine -- the largest allowed under the collective bargaining agreement -- on Friday. 

The Globe and Mail reports what what CBC analyst Glenn Healy said after the gesture and whether punishment was warranted: 
“It’s what he does after he scores the goal that enrages me,” Healy said. “Andrew Ference, you better get ready to open up your wallet because this little act here after you scored the goal ... isn’t called for.”

There's also the possibility of a suspension. The NHL suspended Canadiens defenseman James Wisniewski, who was then with the New York Islanders, two games for an obscene gesture in October.

Since this is family website, let's just say Wisniewski's gesture was just slightly more graphic than what Ference did Thursday. 

Here's a look:

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 18, 2011 12:52 pm

Boston's Zdeno Chara likely back for Game 3

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, out Game 2 of the first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens due to dehydration, appears to be back in the lineup for tonight’s tilt at the Bell Centre. 

"I can’t say at this point that (Chara) is definitely going to be in, but he looked much better this morning," CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty reported on Twitter

Chara spent Friday night in the hospital for treatment of what the team described as “a bug.” He took part in warm-ups before Game 2, but was scratched and the Bruins went on to lose, 3-1. Boston trails 2-0 in the best-of-seven series entering tonight’s game. 

This is the first time the Bruins have played in Montreal since Chara’s check of Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty, a Habs forward, broke a bone in his neck and suffered a concussion after his head bounded off a divider between the benches. Chara was ejected but not suspended for the March 8 collision, which angered many Canadiens fans and led to police to look into the incident. 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 12, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 7:36 pm

Preview: No. 3 Bruins vs. No. 6 Canadiens

It's a heated rivalry carrying over to the playoffs as Original Six teams Boston and Montreal face off. Of course the underlying current will surround Zdeno Chara returning to Montreal for the first time since his check sent Max Pacioretty into the partition by the benches and set off a national debate. The Canadiens got the better of the season series, winning three of four games. The Bruins seem to be better across the board, but that's why they play. The intensity of the rivalry can even the ice.

Here's the breakdown.

Forwards: There's a lot to like about the Bruins up front, but you can't really feel the same about the Habs. With David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton -- living up to his potential since moving to Boston -- the B's pack quite a punch. Don't forget about wily veteran (yes, he's earned that title) Mark Recchi, who has a knack for performing in the playoffs. And, for the most part, the Bruins are healthy. The Canadiens, meanwhile, can't match up with Boston's depth, but have capable-enough players. With Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta out front, Montreal can be dangerous. Then there's Scott Gomez, who has been booed by the Habs fans a good chunk of his time in Quebec, and for good reason. He just had the lowest-scoring season of his career and put up a team-worst minus-15.

Edge: Bruins

Defensemen: Boston has probably the game's best defenseman in Zdeno Chara. Not only did he provide 14 goals and 44 points this year, he also led league with a plus-33 rating. He's as fierce a defenseman as you'll find. Add in Dennis Seidenberg and Tomas Kaberle for some offensive prowess with Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference for solid defense, and you have a nice corps. The Canadiens are about equally balanced after adding James Wisniewski to their blue line in the offseason. He joins Roman Hamrlik and rising star P.K. Subban for some offense in the back while Hal Gill helps anchor the defensive prowess.

Edge: Bruins, by the strength of having the best player among the group

Goalies: Tim Thomas had another stellar season, quietly setting the NHL record for highest save percentage in one season, breaking Dominik Hasek's mark with a .9381 mark (Hasek's record was .937 in 1998-99). While other goalies have had nice seasons, the Vezina should be locked up for Thomas. Backup Tuukka Rask had a fall-back season, going a disappointing 11-14-2 for Boston. Montreal no longer has last postseason's darling in Jaroslav Halak, and it made plenty nervous to turn the keys over full-time to Carey Price. But he alleviated many of the concerns by putting up the best season of his career while carrying the load with 72 games. It's been a pleasant surprise for a promising goalie that had been a bit underwhelming in his career up until this season.

Edge: Bruins

Special teams: Under Jacques Martin, the Canadiens have been a potent team on the power play. This year was no exception. The Habs were the seventh-best unit with a man up compared to Boston's 20th-ranked group. Likewise, they are the better team on the penalty kill, also coming in at seventh (Boston checks in at 16th). This could be a major key to the series. If penalties become a factor, the ice might tilt toward Montreal, because as good as the Bruins were this season (league-leading plus-58), they are susceptible in the special teams.

Edge: Canadiens

-- Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: April 11, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 12:58 pm

Chara won't face questions from Montreal police

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will not have to worry about talking to the police when the team’s first-round series shifts to Montreal. 

Boston GM Peter Chiarelli told reporters on a conference call that he’s been assured there won’t be any “Montreal investigation” distractions, according to CSN New Englands’s  Joe Haggerty. It’s unclear where exactly the investigation launched in the aftermath of Chara’s check of Habs forward Max Pacioretty stands. 

The March 8 collision sent Pacioretty off a divider between the benches at the Bell Centre, resulting in a broken bone in Pacioretty 's neck and a concussion. Pacioretty was stretchered off, although he has returned to some light skating in recent days. It's unlikely Pacioretty will make it back for the playoff. 

Chara was given a major interference penalty and a game misconduct, but was not suspended by the NHL. That caused an immediate uproar in Montreal and the police began a probe to see if Chara committed any crimes with his check. 

Game 3 of the series next Monday will mark the first time the Bruins have played in Montreal since the incident. 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 1, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 3:52 pm

Pacioretty skates briefly before Habs practice

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, injured in a gruesome collision with a padded stanchion on March 8, skated for about 20 minutes before his club’s practice on Friday. 

Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and a broken vertabra in his neck in the collision, the result of a check from Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. Chara not suspended for his role in the incident, a decision that didn’t sit well with Habs fans, and prompted politicians and sponsors to question the NHL's approach to head injuries.

Montreal coach Jacques Martin told reporters afterward that the short session at the team’s training facility in  Brossard, Quebec, was the start of his rehab, The Canadian Press reports . Pacioretty’s agent, Alex Schall, said earlier this week that it’s unlikely Pacioretty will return this season. 

Here’s a clip of Pacioretty’s return to the ice:
Posted on: March 25, 2011 3:09 am
Edited on: March 25, 2011 11:53 am

Morning Skate: Fireworks lacking in Beantown

The sequel is never as good as the original. In the case of the Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens, the last one wasn't that good either.

Thursday's “rematch” between the Canadiens and Bruins again wasn’t competitive, not that many remember Montreal eased to a three-goal win on March 8. No, that game was all about Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara's check that sent Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty off a padded divider between the benches. The collision left Pacioretty with a broken bone in his neck, a concussion and a good portion of Quebec in an uproar.

It was payback time Thursday, right? Not quite. Chara, who was not suspended for the collision with Pacioretty, was the games No. 1 star with three assists as the Bruins extended their Northeast Division lead with a 7-0 victory. On a night that featured three shootouts in games that will help determine the postseason order, what transpired at TD Garden wasn't nearly as compelling. 

There were a couple roughing penalties and Montreal’s Paul Mara and Boston’s Gregory Campbell were sent to the box for fighting, but those things happen in just about any blowout.

"We just went out there, we were focused on doing it right," Bruins coach Claude Julien told CSN New England. "And for us, it's a win that we needed, for all the right reasons, standings and everything else. I think our guys felt good about our performance tonight, and rightfully so."
Line Changes

Even as police in Montreal investigate whether Chara violated any laws with his check a couple weeks ago, Boston authorities won’t be involved this time --- unless somebody wants to file a missing team report. The Bruins dominated in every facet, including nearly doubling up the Habs with 41 shots on net. Boston goalie Tim Thomas, one of the leading candidates for the Vezina Trophy, made 24 saves for his eighth shutout of the season. 

There was a confession after the game, but nobody was Mirandized. 

Veteran Bruins forward Mark Recchi told The Boston Globe he intentionally tried to take the heat off Chara when he told  a sports talk station that Montreal embellished the severity of Pacioretty’s injuries, comments that drew strong rebuke from the Habs’ locker room earlier Thursday. 

"Well, I have to be honest with you guys, I wanted to take the heat off Zee for a day,'' Recchi told reporters afterward. "I'm a big boy. And I think anyone who knows me, knows that I have great respect for the Montreal organization. I played five years there. I have great respect for Doctor [David] Mulder, the medical staff there.

"I had five great years there,'' Recchi said of his time in Montreal. "I took the pressure off Zee. In 22 years, I've respected all my teammates, all the players I play against. My record has shown that. For 22 years. I just took the pressure off Zee for one day, I'm a big boy, I can handle that.''

Chara told The Globe he appreciated the gesture: 

"I obviously don't know exactly all the comments,'' Chara said of the remarks Recchi made on 98.5 The Sports Hub. ``But he's such a great teammate and such a respected guy and leader. It's a thrill to have him. We all learned so much from him. He's obviously the next Hall-of-Famer and such a classy guy. Like I said, I can't thank him enough to be my teammate and be part of this team, and helping all of us to be better.''

HILLER PULLED IN RETURN: Jonas Hiller, who hadn’t played a game since Feb. 13 as he was sidelined with vertigo, lasted only 11 minutes, 39 seconds into Thursday’s game in Nashville. He allowed three goals on nine shots before Dan Ellis was tapped to enter the game. Ellis actually took the loss in the Preds’ 5-4 victory. 

"I didn't think he saw the puck," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told Eric Stephens of The Orange County Register. "I understand his first game back, it's not easy to pull him. In my mind, you don't do that against him. You do it for the rest of the team. That's what I always say."

Pittsburgh 2, Philadelphia 1 (SO)
Ottawa 2, NY Rangers 1 (SO)
Atlanta 2, NY Islanders 1
Boston 7, Montreal 0
Nashville 5, Anaheim 4
St. Louis 4, Edmonton 0
Toronto 4, Colorado 3   Phoenix 3, Columbus 0 
Los Angeles 4, San Jose 3 (SO)

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 24, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 4:52 pm

Playoff Watch: Bruins, Habs set for rematch

WHO CAN CLINCH: No new teams can clinch tonight. 

ALREADY IN: The Vancouver Canuck, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Montreal Canadiens (40-27-7) at Boston Bruins (40-22-10), 7 pm ET

This game would certainly have importance even if Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara’s check didn’t leave Montreal Canadeins forward Max Pacioretty with a broken bone in his neck and a severe concussion the last time these two teams met. The Bruins lead the Northeast by three points over the Habs, who are 4-1-0 against Boston this season. 

The reaction (overreaction?) by Montreal fans after Chara was ejected -- but not suspended -- over the incident on March 8 has quieted some since it became known that Pacioretty could make it back for the playoffs. Then Boston forward Mark Recchi goes on a sports talk radio station this week and says the Canadiens “embellished it a little bit.”

Still, there’s not likely to be the revenge-filled fracas that was the Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Islanders game on Feb. 11, which resulted in 23 games worth of suspensions. NHL commissioners Gary Bettman already warned Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier against such an incident happening tonight, TSN.ca reports. 

“Everybody talks about revenge and what’s going to happen – and the build-up,” said Milan Lucic told CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty. “I’m sure they’re saying the most important thing for them is getting the two points, and I’m sure for them the most important is getting the two points because they’re right behind us in the standings.”

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Anaheim Ducks (41-27-5) at Nashville Predators (39-25-10), 8 p.m. ET

This game could mark the return of Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who missed 15 consecutive games and 17 games total with vertigo. He was activated Wednesday and backed up Ray Emery in the Ducks’ 4-3 OT victory over Dallas. Hiller was a contender for the Vezina Trophy before his bout with dizziness forced him onto the IR. The Preds will counter with Pekka Rinne, whose goals-against average (2.07) is second only to Boston’s Tim Thomas this season. 

GOLF WATCH: The Ottawa Senators will need a victory to avoid elimination. The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers are already mathematically eliminated. 

-- A.J. Perez

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