Posted on: March 1, 2012 9:29 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 9:40 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Thursday's game between the Minnesota Wild and Montreal Canadiens featured some pretty bizarre moments, but the highlight of the night just might have been Alexei Emelin executing a perfect, textbook hip check on Erik Cole.
Cole, of course, is Emelin's teammate, and he was sent flying after the Montreal defenseman whiffed on his intended target -- Minnesota's Nick Johnson -- resulting in Cole doing a complete front-flip.
And they say the hip check is a lost art.
Cole eventually returned to the game and seemed to OK, which is good news for him and the Canadiens.
One of the other noteworthy moments in the game took place late in the first period when Montreal forward Ryan White went a little crazy and started throwing punches at Stephane Veilleux as he was being held by Chris Campoli. White recorded 22 penalty minutes in the first period, including 17 for his series of punches (which you can watch by clicking right here).
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Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:48 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:30 pm
There's no time quite like the present. Isn't that what they say?
The present now just happens to be trade deadline month in the NHL. The actual day isn't for another few weeks, Feb. 27, but the whole month will be full of he said/she said, rumors that make you say hmm and others that make you say huh?
It seems like it's been a while since there were some real blockbuster deals looming in the NHL. It's not often there are teams willing to move the big names, the star players. That doesn't mean there weren't some key trades made, evident after the fact. In all, there were four players traded last February that were in the All-Star Game this season -- Joffrey Lupul to the Maple Leafs, Brian Elliott to the Avalanche, James Neal to the Penguins and Dennis Wideman to the Capitals.
There were certainly other moves that were crucial too. Just look at what the Bruins did, acquiring Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley last February, all important to their run to the Stanley Cup last season and in the case of Kelly and Peverley, the Bruins' push this season.
But none of those really stole the show. Not the way this year has the potential to. Or at least had until recently.
A little more than a week ago it looked like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Tim Gleason and maybe even Shane Doan were possible targets to move. Circumstances have changed or the teams have reaffirmed those guys aren't on the move.
Because of parity across the league partly as a byproduct of the points system in place today, there are a lot less sellers. Despite the odds of teams being five or more points back making the playoffs being long, clubs often times refuse to give in and admit they should reshuffle their organization.
It ends up with teams that should be looking to add, teams that shouldn't be looking to do anything and some teams that should probably be looking to sell all thinking the same: Let's add.
"Right now there are different teams trying to make a trade, but the problem is there are only two or three teams that are even willing to make a trade for a draft choice or prospect, meaning they don't think they are going to make the playoffs," Nashville GM David Poile told NHL.com. "What I want now versus what I can later are two different things because of the parity you have in the NHL.
One team that is painfully aware it doesn't stand a shot this season is the Columbus Blue Jackets. They are 11 points out ... of 29th place in the league. It's 23 points to the eighth seed in the West. After an offseason that saw them acquire Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski, that's a horrible disappointment. You know what that means ...
Yes, the Jackets will be sellers. And, even though they acquired him just seven months ago, all indications are that they would like to part ways with Carter. It's really been a wash of a season for him, fighting through injuries but still only scoring 10 goals with seven assists in 30 games.
“There’s talk about a lot of guys [in here] right now. Our team, with the way the season has gone -- the injuries, the standings, and stuff -- I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anybody on our team if they end up [in rumors],” Carter told the Columbus Dispatch.
The massive hurdle with Carter is figuring out how movable he is. His contract runs through the 2021-22 season with an annual cap hit of $5,272,727 (courtesy of Cap Geek). For a player that's been snake-bitten by injuries this season and hasn't seemed to want to be where he is at all this season, that becomes a tough sell, especially when you consider what the Jackets will want in return. They need everything, but primary concerns are in net and getting better on the blue line.
Still, he's only 27 and has shown with his time in Philadelphia that he can contribute a lot offensively. This will be the first season since 06-07 he didn't score at least 29 goals and more than 50 points. There could be some GMs out there willing to take the risks for the potential, which is still high.
If it does happen, it will be a not-so classic case of buy high, sell low for Columbus -- granted, low with Carter is probably still kind of high. That's not the best way to move on up in the world.
A good chunk of the rest of the Columbus roster will be available if anybody wants to take a shot, too. They'd probably love to move Steve Mason, but it's tough to envision anybody wanting him at this point. Rick Nash and Wisniewski are probably untouchables, Nash being the heart and soul of the otherwise faceless franchise and Wisniewski being the biggest player at their position of need. But the other guys like Antoine Vermette, Vaclav Prospal and more? Take your best shot.
"I've heard rumors I'm going to every team in the NHL," Ruutu told Chip Patterson of the News & Observer this week. "I must be really playing well."
Obviously Ruutu isn't going to get people's gears going, but he could be a good addition for somebody, assuming the price is right. It's unlikely he's going to give any team top-six production, but he's not worthless either. One of the concerns is that he becomes a UFA this offseason, so it could be a rental situation.
The potential is endless, though. The Canucks have some expendables in their quest to bolster the roster for this year's push. Mason Raymond is a target of many. Some still think they should move Cory Schneider, perhaps the hottest backup goalie in the league. The Stars have to decide what side they're on, and if it's the seller side, Brenden Morrow could be up for grabs. The Canadiens have Travis Moen, Hal Gill and Chris Campoli. The Oilers could move Ryan Smyth again. It goes on and on.
Of course we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brian Burke always seems to find a way to get in the big trade action.
But it will probably all come back to the biggest, most obvious seller of them all in Columbus.
Tags: 2012 Trade Deadline, Antoine Vermette, Brenden Morrow, Brian Burke, Brian Stubits, Carolina Hurricanes, Chris Campoli, Columbus Blue Jackets, Cory Schneider, Dallas Stars, Hal Gill, James Wisniewski, Jeff Carter, Mason Raymond, Montreal Canadiens, Rick Nash, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Suter, Shane Doan, Steve Mason, Tim Gleason, Toronto Maple Leafs, Travis Moen, Tuomo Ruutu, Vaclav Prospal, Vancouver Canucks, Zach Parise
Posted on: December 5, 2011 5:27 pm
The honeymoon for Brendan Shanahan is over, the grace period gone. Now he's beginning to feel some of the blow back that Colin Campbell put up for years.
Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty just finished serving a three-game suspension for an open-ice hit that left Penguins defenseman Kris Letang with a broken nose. He wasn't overly pleased with the punishment from the start, and now he is getting in a little war of the words with the discipline boss.
From the Canadian Press, Pacioretty insisted Monday that Shanahan compared the hit to the Cooke hit, something Pacioretty doesn't feel was fair.
“We didn't bring it up, [Shanahan] brought it up,” Pacioretty said. “You can ask my agent [Alec Schall]. He was on the phone. Ask the GM [Pierre Gauthier]. It happened.
“In the back of my mind it's a completely different hit. Savard's a lefty coming across. He has no idea Cooke's coming from the other side of the ice. I'm not trying to get into comparisons, but they [the NHL] compared it to that and we compared it to [Tampa Bay's Ryan] Malone on [Montreal's Chris] Campoli."
Hey Max, I don't see the problem in the NHL comparing it to the Cooke-Savard incident. After all, Cooke received no punishment (it's never too late for some Colie humor).
"Every hit's different. That's what makes this tough," Pacioretty acknowledged. "There is always going to be that grey area. They're doing the best they can to crack down, but it's not consistent.”
For what it's worth, Shanahan denied making a connection between the two hits in a radio interview. Although he didn't go so far as to say Pacioretty was intentionally lying, just that he was probably a bit emotional and took things the wrong way.
Welcome to the job where you can never please anybody, Shanny.
H/t to Pro Hockey Talk
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: December 3, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 2:54 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Andrei Markov's return to the Montreal Canadiens lineup is being delayed once again, as it was announced by general manager Pierre Gauthier on Saturday that the defenseman will undergo another "minor surgery." He is expected to miss "a few more weeks."
Markov hasn't played for the Canadiens this season and hasn't appeared in a game since mid-november ... of 2010. Since the start of the 2009-10 season he's been in Montreal's lineup just 52 times due to various injuries, including the knee injury that's kept him on the shelf for the first two months of this season.
Even with all of the injury problems in recent years the Canadiens had faith that he would be able to help them not only this season, but also in future seasons, signing him to a three-year contract extension over the summer worth $5.75 million per season. Needless to say, it hasn't worked out to this point. And that has been the theme of the Canadiens 2011-12 season, especially on the blue line, as their defense has been crushed by injuries all year.
Along with Markov, the team has also been without Jaroslav Spacek, Hal Gill and Chris Campoli for extended periods of time, and it's obviously had a rather large impact on the on-ice product. Montreal enters play on Saturday at the bottom of the Northeast Division with a 10-11-5 record, while also winning just three of its past 10 games.
Its power play, which is quarterbacked by Markov when he is in the lineup, is currently 26th in the NHL converting on just 11.8 of its chances.
More Montreal Canadiens News Here
Posted on: October 24, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 3:17 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Finally, some good news for the Montreal Canadiens. Well, some potential good news anyway.
When the Canadiens take on the Florida Panthers on Monday night they will be getting one of their injured defenseman back as Jaroslav Spacek is expected to be in the lineup for the first time since the second game of the season when he went out with a rib injury in a 5-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets.
The Canadiens, plagued by injuries for much of the season, especially on their blue line, haven't won since that night in Winnipeg and carry a five-game losing streak into Monday's home game with the Panthers. That losing streak has caused a bit of a panic in Montreal, and head coach Jacques Martin seems to be sitting on the hot seat whether it's justified or not. When you've been without two of your top defensemen for all but two games of the season, as well as missing players like Michael Cammalleri and Chris Campoli, some struggles should be expected. Maybe not as many as they've had over the first two weeks, but some.
In the absence of Markov and Spacek a lot of the pressure has fallen on P.K. Subban and he's struggled so far, recording just two assists in seven games. A disappointing start for a player that scored 14 goals to go along with 24 assists as a rookie just a year ago.
Peter Budaj is expected to start in goal for the Canadiens, giving Carey Price the night off. Scott Gomez, out with an upper body injury, is not expected to play.
In other news, the Panthers will be without Mikael Samuelsson in this game as he's still in Vancouver dealing with some soreness according to TSN's Darren Dreger. Samuelsson, of course, was acquired over the weekend, along with Marco Sturm, in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for forward David Booth.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: October 20, 2011 10:32 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 10:37 pm
By: Adam Gretz
PITTSBURGH -- In what seems to be a nightly routine for the Montreal Canadiens, they lost another player to injury on Thursday night.
On the same night they had one of their leading offensive players, Michael Cammalleri, return to the lineup, the revolving door of injuries continued to swing during their 3-1 loss in Pittsburgh. Center Scott Gomez left the game early in the first period after playing just a little over two-and-a-half minutes.
He did not return, and head coach Jacques Martin said after the game that it was an "upper body injury" and that he will be re-evaluated on Friday.
The veteran center has been logging around 17 minutes of ice-time per game this season for the Canadiens but has recorded just one assist through their first five games of the season. At various points thoughout the night the Canadiens were down to just 10 forwards as Gomez's injury was joined by brief absences by Max Pacioretty and Andreas Engqvist. Both players eventually returned.
"Obviously he's a big part of the team," said Canadiens forward Brian Gionta of Gomez. "But they're [Pittsburgh] missing some big guys, too. Injuries are not an excuse."
Excuse or not, the Canadiens have definitely had the injury bug take a bite out of their lineup in the early parts of the season. Cammalleri's return on Thursday was just his third game of the year. He said he felt OK in his return and that he will "have to get used to it a little bit, but it felt good." They've also lost a number of defensemen to injury including Jaroslav Spacek and Chris Campoli. Campoli managed to play just one game after he was signed to help add depth to their already depleted blue line.
Andrei Markov, the team's best defenseman, has yet to appear in a game this season -- after playing in just seven a year ago -- due to complications from his offseason knee surgery. The Canadiens are now 1-4-1 on the young season, but we also haven't had an opportunity to see them at full strength.
Posted on: October 8, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 3:04 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The Montreal Canadiens picked up Chris Campoli in an effort to boost their depth on the blue line, in large part because veteran Andrei Markov is still having some complications with his knee injury that sidelined him for much of last season. Unfortunately, the signing of Campoli, which took place just two weeks ago, has only managed to add to their injury problems on defense, as the veteran managed to make it through just one regular season before having to be sidelined himself.
According to head coach Jacques Martin, Campoli could be out of the lineup for "months" as a result of a lower body injury he suffered in Montreao's season-opening 2-0 loss to Toronto on Thursday. He played just 11 minutes and was reportedly spotted on crutches after the game. There's no word yet as to what sort of injury he suffered, but based on the potential timeline for his return it's obviously a serious one.
He was availablle as a free agent after the Chicago Blackhawks walked away from him in arbitration, allowing him to hit the open market. He remained unsigned until Sep. 26 when the Canadiens signed him to a deal worth a little over $1 million. He recorded four goals and 17 assists with the Senators and Blackhawks last season.
The Canadien's depth on the blue line is going to get a serious test in the early going until Markov is ready to return, and all of the pressure will fall on P.K. Subban, Jaroslav Spacek, Hal Gill, Josh Gorges and Yannick Weber to carry the workload.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: October 3, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 9:03 pm
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.
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.