Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Montreal Canadiens
Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:22 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 3:08 pm
 

Predators trade for Gill, send Geoffrion to Habs

Gill was a member of the Pens' 2008-09 champion team. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Now the trades are starting to roll in. Took a while.

The Nashville Predators acquired defenseman Hal Gill and a future fifth-round draft pick from the Montreal Canadiens on Friday in exchange for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney and a second-round pick.

Gill has been one of the few names figured to for sure be on the trading block in what has been a pretty quiet trade season so far. A veteran defenseman on a team that's has sunk out of the race who doesn't have a contract after this season? Of course there would be demand for him.

His addition makes the Predators even tougher to attack. With already the best pair of defensemen in the game with Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, Gill brings another strong defensive presence. He comes into a situation that's good for him where he won't be asked to play top pairing minutes. He's only averaged 16:44 per game this season.

“Hal Gill brings our team a number of elements -- size, penalty-killing ability, depth on defense and playoff experience,” Preds GM David Poile said. “He has won a Stanley Cup and played a combined 69 playoff games over the last four years, experience that significantly benefits our team.”

Interstingly, most have been thinking that the Preds needed to upgrade on offense. But realistically, they needed help on the back end as well. The Preds are actually 11th in the league in goals per game with 2.77, equal to the Rangers and Capitals. Defensively they are again 11th in goals against per game, not where you expect a Barry Trotz team to be.

"We felt that we needed to get some veteran experience," Poille said. "I think with Hal Gill we got everything we were looking for."

Some are going to speculate if this means anything for Suter and/or Weber. Stop that. Gill is 36 with no guarantee of being in Nashville next season. If anything, this only helps Nashville's situation with their top defensemen, it shows a commitment to winning and doing it now. They are buyers in an attempt to go for it.

The return package to Montreal isn't too shabby for a 36-year-old rental player. Of particular interest is Geoffrion going to the Canadiens. Of course that's where his legendary grandfather Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion made his Hall of Fame career. Oh, and his great grandfather was Howie Morenz.

NHL Trade Deadline
More NHL coverage

Talk about a legacy and pressure. Geoffrion goes from playing for his hometown team in Nashville to playing for his grandpa's team in Montreal. That's quite a pill to swallow, as he noted via Twitter.

"Wow..what a day...its bitter sweet, going to miss my hometown of nashville, but going to where it all started with my family...MONTREAL!!!"

It seems like a pretty good deal for the Preds to me. You get a good defenseman to help position the Preds for a deeper run this season and they give up a couple of mid-level prospects and a second-round pick. Geoffrion could still develop into a top-six forward, but so far he hasn't been able to show it for the Preds. In the last two seasons he has 22 games in the NHL with six goals and five assists, only three assists in 22 games this season.

The asking price could be pretty big in return. At first brush it looks like a pretty expensive sell and it could prove to be. But the jury is still out on Geoffrion -- granted, he's 23 -- and Slaney while second-round picks very often don't turn to be that big, as Adam Gretz pointed out today.

But if you want to get something you have to give up something.

"The parity that we have in the NHL right now is as close as it's been ... you have to be willing to pay a price to get what you want," Poile said. And he did.

Let's hear your verdict: You like it?

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

Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:31 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 4:41 pm
 

No suspension for Brad Marchand

By: Adam Gretz

The NHL has decided Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand will not be suspended for a clipping incident that took place during Wednesday's game in Montreal.

This decision is probably a surprise to some given that Marchand was suspended five games for clipping Vancouver's Sami Salo earlier this season (to be exact, it was just last month). Same player, same type of play. Seems reasonable to expect some sort of supplemental discipline. But that's not going to be the case.

The NHL's Vice President of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan, briefly addressed the play on Twitter Thursday afternoon and said, "Like all penalties on the ice, not all 'clips' rise to the level of supplemental discipline. This check by Marchand was delivered to the upper thigh/hip and not the knee area. We don't like it, but not SD."

"Not SD," of course, refers to no supplemental discipline.

Here is the play one more time in case you missed it the first time around:



It's fair to point out that this clip and the earlier play that did result in a suspension may not be exactly the same. But if there is going to be a criticism of the decision (and there is always a criticism of the league's decisions when it comes to disciplinary matters) it's that Shanahan admitted that the league didn't like it -- it, of course, being the hit. Coming from a player that was suspended for a similar play just one month ago.

If nothing else, that's going to bring up even more questions about consistency and NHL discipline. Seems like we've been down that road before.

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Marchand called for clipping
Marchand suspended 5 games for clipping
Marchand excused from Cup DVD filming  for drunkenness
More NHL Discipline news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 12:40 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 2:22 pm
 

Habs fans cheer Chara being hit by puck

By Brian Stubits

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara just doesn't seem to have a whole lot of luck playing in Montreal.

You don't really need a reminder of what happened last season, but just remember how he checked Max Pacioretty and sent the Canadiens forward into the stanchion, resulting in a broken neck. It got so ugly that Montreal police debated for a long while whether or not to press charges on Chara or not. Eventually the answer was no.

As a result -- and being the Bruins captain -- they aren't fond of Chara in Montreal, the Habs fans aren't. So it shouldn't surprise that the Habs fans at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night experienced a little schadenfreude when Chara took a puck to the face.

It was an errant clearing attempt from Tomas Plekanec that caught Chara up high and left him bloodied. While Plekanec was checking up on Chara, the crowd was releasing some pent-up frustration.

Some are going to call it Montreal Typical of the fans to cheer an injury, no matter the player and trash the Habs fans. I've already seen plenty of it. But it's a bit understandable. Fans take it personally when players are injured on their favorite teams and they feel like the offender got away with it. It doesn't quite sit right with me to cheer an injury, but it's understandable.

Chara did return in the game, but his luck didn't get much better. He made an awfully careless play in his own end that led to Erik Cole's equalizer before the Bruins eventually won in a shootout.

H/t to Backhand Shelf

More from Eye On Hockey

Pacioretty carted off the ice
Chara not charged for hit
Marchand called for clipping Wednesday

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

Posted on: February 15, 2012 9:58 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 4:17 pm
 

Brad Marchand called for clipping Alexei Emelin

By Brian Stubits

Brad Marchand should probably expect another call from Brendan Shanahan in the near future.

In what was a chippy and penalty-filled affair between the Bruins and Canadiens on Wednesday night -- is there any other kind of meeting between them? -- Marchand was called for a two-minute minor for clipping Alexei Emelin. If that sounds familiar, it should. He was suspended five games earlier this season for clipping Canucks forward Sami Salo.

Here's a look at the play in question from this week.

Under most circumstances, this probably wouldn't warrant much attention from the league. But considering Marchand just recently was punished for breaking the same rule and the league frowns upon repeat offenders, this should at the least get a phone call.

In this case Marchand doesn't have much of a defense for going low, there was no threat of a hit coming from Emelin in this case. There's little doubt that he went very low, making plenty of contact below the waist on the check. But Emelin wasn't hurt on the play like Salo was and I suppose Marchand could say that it was just him slamming on the brakes.

Marchand is one of those players who plays on a fine line at all times and will cross it now and again. He admitted that he has to be reeled in from time to time. At the least, I'd expect Shanahan to do just that in this case if not more.

More from Eye on Hockey

Marchand suspended five games for clipping
Marchand was excused from DVD filming for drunkenness

More NHL Discipline news

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


Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:08 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 12:20 pm
 

A look at the NHL playoff bubble

Can the Islanders pull off a miracle run? (Getty Images)

Pucks and Numbers:
a weekly statistical look at what's happening around the NHL. This week: A look at the playoff bubble and what the teams on it need to do to make the postseason


By: Adam Gretz

Recent hot streaks by the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning have sparked some playoff hope for their respective fan bases. On the other side, a recent slump that's come in the form of a 9-game losing streak has left some wondering if the Chicago Blackhawks could, amazingly, find themselves on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture when the regular season comes to a close.

Anything is possible, but even though there appears to be a large number of teams that are still "in" the playoff race, the harsh reality is that even a two or three-game deficit (four or six points in the standings) is a lot to overcome. It doesn't seem like it should be, but it is.

A couple of months ago I looked at how a slow start is extremely damaging to a teams playoff chances sooner than you might realize, and as the days of the regular season start to fall away those deficits become even more daunting. I mentioned on Twitter earlier this week that since the start of the '05-06 season there have only been two teams that managed to overcome a 5-point deficit this late in the season (the '06-07 Rangers and the '08-09 Blues) to qualify for the playoffs.

Ninety-five points is usually a safe bet to get your team into the playoffs, so with that in mind, let's take one more look at what each of the bubble teams will need to do over their remaining games to reach that level. Of course, it is possible for a team to make the playoffs with fewer than 95 points, and that may in fact happen this season, especially in the East, but I'm simply going with the number that tends to be a near automatic playoff berth.

Let's start with the Eastern Conference...

Eastern Conference Playoff Race
Seed Team Games Remaining Pts Needed Record Needed
7 Ottawa Senators 23 29 13-7-3
8 Toronto Maple Leafs 25 33 15-7-3
9 Washington Capitals 26 34 15-7-4
10 Winnipeg Jets 25 37 17-5-3
11 New York Islanders 26 39 17-4-5
12 Montreal Canadiens 25 40 18-3-4
13 Tampa Bay Lightning 26 41 18-3-5
14 Buffalo Sabres 26 41 18-3-5

Incredibly, Washington and Winnipeg still have an outside shot (at this point, a very outside shot) at winning the Southeast Division, which speaks more to the quality (or lack of it) of the division than anything else, but that hope of a Division title gets smaller with each loss. Once you get past Washington in the No. 9 spot the remaining teams have almost no margin for error.

The Canadiens? Better start praying. The Islanders, for example, have been playing some pretty great hockey recently, especially veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, but does anybody believe they have a 17-4-5 finish in them?

Even if it only took 90 points to reach the playoffs, they would still need a 15-7-4 finish.

Now, a look at the Western Conference...

Western Conference Playoff Race
Seed Team Games Remaining Pts Needed Record Needed
6 Chicago Blackhawks 25 30 15-10-0
7 Los Angeles Kings 25 30 15-10-0
8 Phoenix Coyotes 25 32 15-8-2
9 Calgary Flames 25 33 15-7-3
10 Colorado Avalanche 25 35 16-6-3
11 Dallas Stars 26 36 17-7-2
12 Minnesota Wild 26 37 17-6-3
13 Anaheim Ducks 26 40 20-6-0

When you look at in terms of how many games these teams need to win the rest of the way, the playoff races may not be as deep as they appear to be. When you get right down to it, there might only be four teams (Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Calgary) in the West fighting for three playoff spots.

Minnesota would need to play almost as well as it did in October through December to get back into the top-eight, which shows just how far that team fell over the past month-and-a-half. After 30 games the Wild had the best record in the league. Just 26 games later they're going to need to play like the best team in hockey for the remainder of the season just to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Bruce Boudreau has certainly helped get Anaheim going back in the right direction, but he's going to need to turn water into wine to get Anaheim, as well as its played in recent weeks, into the playofs this season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 14, 2012 7:04 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 7:09 pm
 

Tuomo Ruutu expected to miss 3 weeks

CarolinaHurricanesBy: Adam Gretz

Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu has been one of the most talked about players leading up to the Feb. 27 deadline, perhaps illustrating just how little intrigue there has been this year (well, until the Rick Nash reports surfaced on Tuesday).

General manager Jim Rutherford recently expressed an interest re-signing Ruutu, but no matter what happens on the contract/trade front over the coming weeks the forward isn't going to be playing for anybody in the near future. The Hurricanes announced on Tuesday that he is going to miss the next three weeks after suffering an "upper body injury" during Monday's 5-3 win in Montreal.

That timetable will keep him out of the lineup until after the trade deadline. That doesn't mean a team still can't make a move for him, but the injury and Carolina's apparent interest in re-signining him may have pretty much removed Ruutu's name from the trade market.

The 28-year-old forward has 17 goals and 30 points in 57 games this season. He's currently in the final year of a three-year contract that pays him $3.8 million per season, and is eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer if a new contract isn't signed before July 1.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:49 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 12:34 am
 

George Parros scores first goal since 2010

By: Adam Gretz

It didn't get quite as much attention as the goal-scoring drought that Montreal's Scott Gomez was riding, going a full calendar year without scoring, but Anaheim's George Parros entered Friday's game in Detroit without a goal since December 1 ... of 2010. Because Parros isn't one of the highest paid players in the league and playing in the hockey madhouse that is Montreal, his run of 84 regular season games (89 games if you include the playoffs) without a goal kind of slipped under the radar.

Also because he's known more for using his fists (and for having what is perhaps the best mustache in the league) than he is for scoring goals.

Still, that's a long time between goals and on Friday during Anaheim's 2-1 shootout loss to the Red Wings (a game that saw the Red Wings extend their home winning streak to 19 games) Parros finally found the back of the net, using his skate to re-direct a pass from Rod Pelley past Joey MacDonald. The play had to be reviewed to confirm that it wasn't a kicking motion (and it wasn't).



The role Parros plays for the Ducks is pretty easy to see when looking at his career numbers, and since his last goal he only played about six or seven minutes per night and had been involved in over 15 fights, racking up 170 penalty minutes while recording just 26 shots on goal.

His goal on Friday was the 17th of his career.

Also at Eye On Hockey

Gomez finally ends his goal drought
Gomez: by the numbers

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:30 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Jets look to carry 'mo' to Pitt

Winnipeg is only three points behind Florida and Washington in the Southeast. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Weekend Schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

WASHINGTON -- Here we are in mid-February and the Winnipeg Jets are still lingering right there in the playoff picture, just outside the East's top eight (even closer to the Southeast Division lead). That's how crucial Thursday night's Houdini act was in Washington, to take two points from a game that was seemingly lost.

The next question becomes how they can follow that up?

Winnipeg finishes off a travel-heavy stretch this Saturday in Pittsburgh against the Penguins. It will be their eight road game in their last nine overall, a crucial stretch in their season that many thought would bury their playoff hopes. I admit, myself included.

Instead, they were given a golden opportunity with a lucky bounce to pick up some serious steam for a playoff push.

"We have a big game in Pittsburgh," forward Bryan Little said on Thursday after the 3-2 win in D.C. "If we get a couple points there it would be a great road trip for us."

And it would bring them some strong momentum into a home-heavy stretch they are about to hit.

"We've been playing well at home all season, so we'd be really pumped with that," Little said.

That's why the game against the Pens is so big. It would more or less signify that the win in Washington was a springboard to launch them into their homestand. But any sort of momentum gained from it is for the most part lost with a flat showing in the 'Burgh.

"We've won two in a row now," said Evander Kane, who has played two games since returning from a concussion. "We have to be able to put together strings together and long winning streaks because that's how you're going to make the playoffs."

That's the goal, obviously, bring the playoffs back to the 'Peg. Maybe the White out too. So what better way to head into a stretch where nine of their next 10 are at the friendly confines of MTS Centre than a win in Pittsburgh?

They'll be taking on a Penguins team that will get a lift courtesy of a returning player. No, not Sidney Crosby, but instead Jordan Staal. Coach Dan Bylsma announced on Friday that Staal will be back in the lineup after dealing with a nagging knee issue.

So it's up to you Jets, make that win in Washington really count.

What the Devil has gotten into them?

The New Jersey Devils aren't just hanging around in the playoff race like the Jets, they are climbing into the conversation for home-ice advantage in the first round.

In a rarity, the Devils actually lost in a shootout on Thursday night to the St. Louis Blues. It brought an end to New Jersey's five-game winning streak but extended their points streak to eight games.

The catalyst in the run has been not only the stellar play of Ilya Kovalchuk, but Zach Parise's outburst. With his name being talked about as a possibility in trade discussions, Parise has only shown why teams would love to have him -- including the Devils, of course. In the last six games he has six goals and two assists. Not too shabby.

In case you haven't checked the standings in a while -- here's our nifty Playoff Race -- the Devils have jumped over the Penguins for the time being in the Atlantic Division race and are just three points behind the Flyers.

You have to like the odds of their points streak being extended to nine on Saturday. That's when they'll play the Florida Panthers at the Rock, the fourth and final meeting between coach Peter DeBoer and his former team from Florida. Seeing how the Devils have looked strong in winning two of the three from the Cats and would have taken the other if not for a complete meltdown in the third period, it doesn't seem like this is the time they will be stopped in their tracks.

Add in Florida being 1-6-4 in its last 11 road games and, well, you can see where this is going.

Chicago blues

It's high time the Blackhawks find themselves again. They are mired in a stretch that could be too difficult to overcome when it comes time for seeding in the Western Conference, especially if it continues.

In the midst of a nine-game road trip that still has five more stops to go, the Blackhawks are reeling. They've lost six in a row, picking up a point in only one of those losses. You wouldn't figure the next four games being in San Jose, at Phoenix, in Nashville then at the Rangers will make it much easier, particularly with the Sharks and Coyotes coming back-to-back this weekend.

It seems preposterous, but a couple more games and all of a sudden the Blackhawks are going to find themselves in a serious fight for a playoff spot period, let alone the seeding.

As big as the one Friday night in San Jose is, that game in Phoenix will be particularly big as the Coyotes have made a little surge in recent days and have climbed into the eighth spot in the West. It could pull Phoenix to within three points of Chicago if their skid continues.

Fifth time's the charm?

The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will have their fifth of six meetings this season on Saturday in Philly, a little matinee.

Despite it being their fifth game of the series, it's actually the first that will be played at Wells Fargo Center. So maybe that will be what the Flyers need to get off the Rangers schneid. They have been on the losing end of all four games so far.

There likely won't be any Ilya Bryzgalov in net again, though. And that's not because he's being benched, enjoying some nice tea in his thermos. Instead, he's enjoying some tea in his thermos because he's ill and, you know, people suggest you drink tea.

Obviously it hasn't mattered who has been in net for the Flyers this season, they haven't been able to figure out the Rangers yet. A game like Saturday's is huge for confidence, if not the standings.

Oh, and if you like fights, this might be your game. Last weekend's matchup broke out into an MMA show.

Mr. 1,000

It feels like we've had a lot of players hitting the 1,000 game milestone this season, doesn't it? On Thursday night Chris Neil of Ottawa celebrated entering four-digit territory. On Friday night it will be Tomas Holmstrom's turn.

The longtime Swedish Red Wings forward has obviously seen some good times in Detroit throughout his career. That tends to happen if you stay in a Wings uniform long enough. He'll be honored for that when the Ducks visit the Joe.

On the ice, this is actually quite the matchup. The Wings are still riding this ridiculous home winning streak, up to 18 games now. The Ducks, meanwhile, have come flying up from the basement and are now within eight points of a playoff spot in the West, still a long way to go but better than before. They are 11-2-2 in the last 15.

So don't be surprised if this is the team that's finally able to upset Detroit in Detroit and spoil the fun of Holmstrom's night.

We're going streaking!

Here is a look at the streaks -- both good and bad -- heading into the weekend.

Montreal Canadiens: Yes, that's right, the Habs are on a winning streak. They take a three-game run to their rivals in Toronto.

Vancouver Canucks: Remember when they were behind Minnesota in the Northwest? Me neither. They have a 15-point lead and carry a three-game win streak into Calgary on Saturday.

Coyotes: I said they've been on a run lately and that means they have a league-high four straight wins. Only Chicago awaits this weekend.

Blackhawks: See entry above: Six straight losses. Will they keep counting? Trips to San Jose and Phoenix on the docket.

Minnesota Wild: They have slipped out of the top eight in the West now having lost three consecutive games. A visit from Columbus is next on Saturday.

Ryan Miller: OK, I never put players on here, but Miller deserves a spot. The Sabres goalie has been much-maligned but he has turned a corner of late. He's on the run of his career. No, really. From Mike Harrington at the Buffalo News.

"Ryan Miller's 0.95 GAA and .969 save percentage over the last five games are the best in his career for any five-game stretch."

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