Tag: montreal canadiens

Why Is NO ONE Talking About The Montreal Canadiens?

The biggest WAGON in the NHL right now the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens are one point behind the Maple Leafs for the second spot in the Atlantic division. They are on a three-game winning streak, 8-1-1 in their last ten games and have pushed the Bruins into the Wild Card race now with their latest win on home ice vs the Central division leading Jets. That was a dominating 5-2 Canadiens win. A win that should perhaps make you re-think this Canadiens team right now.

The Canadiens came into the season projected by many reporters to be a middle of the pack, borderline at best wild card team this season. They came out the season shocking many, putting themselves on the radar and the talk early in the season was these Canadiens are not that bad perhaps. Then they fell off everyone’s radar and it seems like no one is talking about them even though they have been extremely consistent all season.

Kevin Allen of USA Today projected the Canadiens to be 28-41-13 with 69 points, the Hockey Writers website projected the Canadiens to finish 7th in the Atlantic division. But after all is said and done and we are now 60 percent of the season played and 55 games in (for Montreal) they are 31-18-6 with 68 points. They have a 17-10-3 home record, 14-8-3 road record and a +11 goal differential. They rank 13th in goals for (167) and 20th in goals against (158), 14th in goals per game (3.04) and 22nd in goals against per game (2.87). Even despite the 30th ranked power play (13.0) and 21st penalty kill (79.0) the Canadiens have been one of the most consistent and surprising teams this season.

A lot of this success rides on a healthy Carey Price, 40 games played a 23-13-4 record a 2.52 goals against, .916 save percentage and 3 shutouts is helping the Canadiens play consistent. Along with Max Domi’s team leading 47 points in 55 games, Jonathan Drouin’s 46 points in 55 games (not to mention a four point night vs Winnipeg Thursday), Philip Danault 40 points, Tomas Tartar 39 points, Jeff Petry 37 points, Brendan Gallagher 35 points, Shea Weber return and 20 points in 31 games. Overall the Canadiens are getting much needed and consistent production from their top two players, support from the surrounding cast like Tartar, Gallagher, Danault, the rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s 27 points (current 4-game goal streak).

The Canadiens are getting the production they need from the right guys. They have finally seen Drouin do what they brought him here to do, Domi’s confidence and obvious liking of the switch to Montreal is paying off. Kotkaniemi playing well his first year is big, Gallagher playing consistent, the addition of Tartar, Danault having a big year. Two defenseman that are playing like top defenseman in the league and a healthy Price is the recipe for the Canadiens success.

If the season were to end right now they would be playing Toronto first round. Not an easy match up but it is not like they cannot upset the Leafs first round. The Canadiens are going to make the playoffs and they will be a very tough first round opponent. Either way first round exit or not the Canadiens are and have exceeded expectations this season and NO ONE is talking about it. Where are the WAGON shirts for the Canadiens @SpittinChiclets ?

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Moment to remember: Alex Ovechkin paid tribute to Carey Price and it was truly WONDERFUL!

Yesterday we might have seen something, that is pretty rare in the NHL nowadays. In the current mode of fans complaining about lack of battles and fights, it is important to recognize that terrific games and moments are here thanks to great personality and character of the players.

We saw that yesterday and even watching ten times myself since it happened, I may probably never regret watching it over and over again. Alexander Ovechkin had the corner picked with just few seconds to go in a tie-game and Carey Price just stone cold, robbed him, maybe even more than that. No one could believe it.

Ovechkin just realized, that he should pay respect where it’s due and simply clapped his hands towards Price and tapped Canadiens goaltender on his way by. What an outstanding moment. Main star of the NHL claps his hands towards another star. Something that is probably seen just in tennis, which is a sport of gentlemen.

Hockey is definitely not a sport for gentlemen, hockey without contact would not be hockey anymore. But only if everyone showed that kind of respect and recognition just like “Great 8” did last night. NHL would be much more respectable and nicer. Great moment from Ovechkin too, who did not break his stick of showed his frustration, but offered an amazing reaction, which leads the way all around the globe today.

It is the month of November, when every NHL team joins the campaign of NHL fights cancer. It is also a very genuine moment, when the fans should not complain about lack of fights, because that is not the most important thing. And Ovechkin – Price moment only justified the need for more respect in this league. We all know and feel that moments like one from Bell Centre yesterday are well needed in the world of hockey.

New York Rangers; Neil Poink coast to coast game-winning goal gave Rangers fan and their grandfathers life again

The Rangers are on a four-game win streak. Save this post because we may never see those words written again this season. They are on quite the high, beating Anaheim, San Jose, Buffalo and Montreal makes this team now 7-7-1 with 15 points in 15 games. This was better than how they started last year and everyone thought they were a playoff team last season.

Let’s get to the real reason behind this article, the Real Deal Neal Poink going coast to coast for a game winner vs Montreal Tuesday night is something Ranger fans have not seen since Martin St. Louis tucked one under the bar vs Montreal in the playoffs in 2014. Anyways, this goal, alone may be the highlight of the Rangers season and the one thing Ranger fans can boast about. It did more than just win the game it gave some life to Ranger fans and the players. It showed the fans that this whole rebuilding thing and playing young players is exciting.

Look, Ranger fans are used the 33-year-old free agent signing that has very little life left in him but since he scored 25 eight years ago it qualifies as a good signing. They are used to go all in or nothing every season and playing more tenured players and not allowing rookies/second year players to see much time. In New York we are used to a culture that jumps at the big name and big buzz coming to the team. No one is used to guys like Neal Poink or Brett Howden, the Rangers fans are not used to not seeing a big star in the line up. While sure they have Mika Zibanejad but he still finding his way onto the team and in the league and Kevin Shattenkirk(he’s alive?) but quite honestly no Ranger is fan is used to these no name, young players doing the work and doing it well. And while yes, Filip Chytil has not seen his chunk of time lately, it is ok, it is a slow process, they called up Lias Andersson as well the other night. This is going to be a very interesting, heart wrenching yet exciting year I believe.

For a Ranger fan who watched them win for a long time it is honestly nice to see Brett Howden with 9 points on the year and Neal Poink with 8 points, it is refreshing to see these young names making an impact on the team. Showing the process is working and it may be slow, it may be a little painful but there will be moments like Tuesday night where Ranger fans will be able to show some pride for their team and yell their lungs out at the Garden.

The Impact of Pacioretty to Vegas, Karlsson to San Jose

What has happened over the last few days in the hockey world, Erik Karlsson finally got traded, Max Pacioretty is out of Montreal, Oliver Ekman Larsson and Justin Williams were named captains, Henrik Zetterberg’s career is over. It has been a whirl wind of emotions for hockey fans lately. 

Patches lands in Vegas, flying high (literally)

First off the Pacioretty trade. Marc Bergevin has to be up to something to dismantle this Canadiens team. First Subban, now Pacioretty what is he up to? Anyways, the Canadiens received Tomas TatarNick Suzuki and a 2019 2nd round pick for Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty has now been enjoying his time in Vegas as he should, being that he has left that dumpster fire of a team in Montreal to join the former Western Conference champs and Stanley Cup contenders. The Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights with this trade now have Pacioretty paired with Paul Statsny and Alex Tuch, how can this not work out. How can Pacioretty not be happy? Look, he gets the pressure of the Montreal media off his back, he is not the center of attention in Vegas, the “C” is now more so he does not have that added pressure and he is a second liner… To close the case here take a look at some of the things Max Pacioretty has already been up to in Vegas since the trade… 

Let’s just say Pacioretty did not mind the move to Vegas too much it seems. But what does this do for the Golden Knights? Well they add a veteran 30-goal scorer and with this move Pacioretty may be due for 35+ this year, just saying. It adds some more fire power to an already electric Vegas offense, you have Marchessault, Smith, Karlsson on top of Pacioretty that is a solid mix to some scoring and play making forwards. Either way this puts Vegas right where they should be a top contender for the Western Conference again and inch closer to the Stanley Cup…

Karlsson is OUT of OTTAWA! 

Goodbye Ottawa and Eugene Melnyk, what a clown that owner is. First off the whole thing that went down over the summer with Hoffman and Karlsson and Melnyk barely said anything and all he did was get ripped off in a trade for Hoffman. Then the whole mid-year controversy between Karlsson and Melnyk where Karlsson did not even feel comfortable being around is own owner. Terrible. Anyways, he is out of another Atlantic dumpster fire and heading to a Pacific division team. What does this do for the Sharks, well. First the Sharks did not have to trade any core guys, they gave up two solid prospects and a few draft picks but to not really downgrade your roster a ton and a receive the best defenseman in the league is a win. The Sharks gave up Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, Rudolfs Balcers, Josh Norris, 2019 2nd round pick, 2020 1st round pick, 2021 2nd round pick(turns into a first if San Jose gets to Stanley Cup this year). So the fact the Senators gave up their best defenseman and received just one defenseman in return is brutal. 

Erik Karlsson San Jose Sharks

Anyways, the impact this has on San Jose is immediate you have guys like Joe Thornton who have been around the game for a decade coming out and saying this is “f***ing incredible” for the Sharks. Now you have, Brent Burns a Norris trophy winner, Erik Karlsson and Marc Edouard Vlasic an unbelievable top three, to add in Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun. This blue line is loaded with all types of weapons, shut down d, offensive power, you name it this blue line has it. It also gives reassurance to Brent Burns and the Sharks forwards as well, Burns has been that puck moving guy on that back end for a while now anytime you get someone else who can do it helps out. Sharks forwards will be receiving break out passes galore with Burns, Vlasic and Karlsson coming their way. Not to mention a power play one consisting of Karlsson-Burns-Kane-Pavelski-Couture, my god… need we say more? It really make San Jose automatic Cup contenders and now battling for that pacific division with the other team on this article, Vegas. 

 

NHL Power Rankings: From 31 on up…

As the season comes around and we get started on predicting how teams will finish at the end of this season. Around this time is always a perfect time to go into some power rankings and team preview talk. For starters we will go over 5 teams each day until every team is covered. Therefore we will be starting with the 31st ranked team to the 26th.

31. Ottawa Senators: 

NHL Ottawa Senators

This team is a mess, they have very little going for them this season. Besides Brady Tkachuk who is still unknown if he is going to play major juniors or crack the roster, the Senators summer has been a disaster. Between the Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson tirade, Hoffman getting shipped out of Ottawa, Mark Stone contract issues, Cody Ceci contract issues, Craig Anderson saying he basically does not care for drama, essentially saying the team is all drama. And the worst of it all the future of Karlsson being clear as day that he does not want to remain a Senator. I would be surprised if the Senators finish anywhere higher than 29th place, I am going with 31st for Ottawa because based off their forward and offensive depth along with an aging goaltender. You cannot win games with the roster Ottawa has.

Their key acquisitions: Signed Paul Carey and acquired Mikkel Boedeker in trade.

30. Montreal Canadiens: 

Much like the Senators the Canadiens have nothing going for them. Shea Weber is out for 4-6 weeks, Max Pacioretty situation only seems to be getting worse. They lack a ton of depth on the wings and their draft pick this year raises some concern. Without Weber, this teams number one d-man is Jeff Petry. On top of that, Carey Price has been battling injuries for forever now, whatever it is, it seems the superstar goaltender just can’t fight it. Without Price 100 percent, Weber out for an extended period of time and Pacioretty seemingly on the way out, what does this team have going for them? Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin and Max Domi? They traded away Alex Galchenyuk this offseason for Domi so it is not like they upgraded by any means. They have very little offensive weapons and an aging blue line. This team is destined for an even worse finish than last year.

Key acquisitions: Xavier Ouellet signed, signed back Tomas Plekanec, signed Joel Armia.

29. Vancouver Canucks: 

NHL Vancouver CanucksThey are a young team, there is nothing to be worried about right now they have some of the best prospects in the league and plenty of talent on the roster right now. Due to the division they are in, their depth across the board and age level/experience the Canucks are just not there yet. They have a lot to look forward to in Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, Quinton Hughes, Jonathan Dahlen and if their number one goalie prospect Thatcher Demko pans out they should be fine. The Canucks also have Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund and Sam Gagner. They have a lot of depth honestly it’s that their scorers and top guys are young, they have no goaltending and their defense is very weak.

Key acquisitions: Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller, Antoine Roussel.

28. Detroit Red Wings: 

The Red Wings are much like the Canucks they have a lot of young talent but, their defense is weak and their goaltending is too inconsistent. They have a ton of prospects ready to emerge in the league, with already some established young forwards in Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, Matrin Frk, with Filip Zadina and Evgeny Svechnikov on the up the Red Wings just need to figure out their goaltending and defense. Niklas Kronwall has expressed this is his last year, they lost a defenseman to free agency this offseason and also Henrik Zetterberg will be out for this entire season and possibly forever it seems like. The Red Wings are 3-4 years away from being a solid team again.

Key acquisitions: Tomas Vanek signed, Jonathan Brenier signed, Chris Terry signed.

27. Arizona Coyotes: 

NHLImproving, but not there just yet, the Coyotes finished 29th last season, not the usual 30, 31st, which is good! They made a serious push at the end of the season last year and could possibly carry that momentum into this year. The Coyotes have a very young and inexperienced team on the front end, their back end is more veteran, solid guys who have been around awhile. The Coyotes have a lot to look forward to in Barrett Hayton, Pierre-Oliver Joseph, Lawson Crouse and goalie Adin Hill. As well hoping Dylan Strome can finally crack the roster this year and be on the team for good. With Strome, Clayton Keller, Alex Galchenyuk, Derek Stepan, Michael Grabner, Brad Richardson, Richard Panik, Vinnie Hinostroza the Coyotes have talent on the front end. With Oliver Ekman Larsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jakub Chychurn, Alex Goligoski they have the depth all around they just need a goaltender and some consistency.

Key acquisitions: Michael Grabner, Alex Galchenyuk, Vinnie Hinostroza.

26. New York Islanders: 

The Islanders are going to be without their captain and superstar for the first time in 9 -years that is going to be difficult to adjust to, we cannot expect this team to look to Matthew Barzal the same way they did in John Tavares. Tavares was the mold to this team and without him the first season will be rough. Plus the Islanders lack a great deal of defensive depth and goaltending consistency. They took a gamble on Robin Lehner but who knows with him. They have talent upfront and in the system but I just think anytime a top player and one of the best players in the league leaves his home the team struggles a bit. Barzal, Josh Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Andrew Ladd will have a ton more responsibilities. Luckily the Islanders did get a new coach in Barry Trotz and new General Manager in Lou Lamoriello, whom have signed a ton of veteran depth like Tom Kuhnhackl, Vlatteri Filppula, Matt Martin and Leo Komarov it will help but with little goaltending and Nick Leddy, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock holding down the blue the Islanders are in for a different type of season.

Key acquisitions: Leo Komarov, Vlatteri Filppula, Tom Kuhnhackl, Robin Lehner, Matt Martin.

Robin Lehner expected to be a free agent, Sabres looking to trade down in NHL draft, Eric Gryba out in Edmonton

A lot of Buffalo Sabres news. As it came out a little while ago, the Sabres have said they will not be offering Robin Lehner a contract, therefore, he will be a UFA come July 1st. Robin Lehner was sent over from Ottawa to Buffalo in 2015. The Sabres acquired Lehner and David Legwand while giving up a 1st round pick that was later used to pick Colin White.

Lehner posted bad numbers last year with a 14-26-9 record with a 3.01 GAA and a .908 SV percentage. The Sabres saw a solid year out of Lehner during the first two years he was here but expecting him to really come into a starting role the 26-year-old goaltender failed to meet the Sabres standards and will now be a free agent in the coming days. Lehner is still relatively young with plenty of years in him and the chance to crack an NHL roster as a starter. Some teams that may use Lehner’s services are the Islanders, Blackhawks, Stars, Red Wings, Montreal, Ottawa, Rangers. Lehner is a sure backup goaltender and a fringe starter, therefore, either of these teams could make sense.

Lehner’s career numbers are 72-97-35 with a 2.82 GAA and .915 SV percentage. Let’s see where the 26-year-old goaltender lands int he coming weeks.

More Buffalo news…

More news out of Buffalo is that they are extremely interested in trading down to the Canadiens number three pick, while also rumoring to give Montreal Ryan O’Reilly. Essentially a deal could like the Sabres receiving Max Pacioretty, the 3rd overall for Ryan O’Reilly and their first overall pick. A lot of chatter has come out about this. And if the Sabres do this and miss on Dahlin it may be the biggest mistake in their franchise history essentially.

Gryba Out

Minor news out of Edmonton is that Eric Gryba was placed on waivers with the intention to buy him out. Gryba is 30-years-old on a $900,000 deal which ends at the end of the 2018-19 campaign. Gryba has tallied 14 points in 104 games. Since coming to Edmonton Gryba has yet to play a full season and has really failed to be a solid sixth defenseman for the Oilers. The positive for Gryba is that most defenseman and players who leave Edmonton end up doing fine and he is also 6’4 230 lbs a lot of NHL teams wouldn’t mind that demeanor on the blueline.

Where Paul Stastny may land come July 1st, Ryan O’Reilly seeing interest from numerous teams

Paul Stastny was sent to Winnipeg during the trade deadline, where he spent 19 games recording 13 points, but during the 2017-18 season, Statnsy recorded 53 points in 82 games. Even as Stastny has reached his mid-thirties he is still a very reliable number two center among most NHL teams and after spending the last 3.5 years in St. Louis and playing in two playoff rounds with Winnipeg. Statsny may be returning to the team that drafted him back in 2005. It has been rumored that Colorado is the destination for Statsny. With Colorado’s 22 mil in cap space and Statsny’s projected 6.5-7 mil contract, the Avalanche would be able to afford him. But the other teams interested like Montreal(14 mil cap space), Winnipeg(20 mil cap space) and St. Louis(12 mil cap space) do not appeal to Statsny as much as Colorado does. Colorado is a familiar home for Statsny,  and he knows he has a top two role in Colorado. I think we see Statsny return to Colorado and play it out there, he will be put in a great situation to be a veteran face for a young team, earn a solid amount AAV wise as well as still be of contribution on the top six and help this Colorado team out.

O’Reilly out in Buffalo? 

Some other shocking news is that Ryan O’Reilly has gained some serious interest from the Blues, Hurricanes, and Canadiens. It is clear the Blues and Canadiens need a center(stated above their desire in Statsny). Anyways Ryan O’Reilly did come out later in the year and say how he was unhappy in Buffalo and was not enjoying the game because they were doing so poorly. O’Reilly has spent the last three years in Buffalo after coming over from Colorado in 2015, where he spent 6 years with the Avalanche who drafted him in 2009. O’Reilly despite not “enjoying” the game tallied 61 points in 82 games this season with 37 assists and 24 goals. O’Reilly has been a CONSISTENT 55 plus point player since the 2011-12 season, proving to be a sure top two center on any NHL roster. The tricky part for teams interested in O’Reilly is that one it will cost a 2nd round pick or 1st, an NHL ready player and a prospect, along with the fact O’Reilly still has 5 years at 7.5 mil left on his contract. Therefore a team will for sure have to eat at least half or more of that contract. O’Reilly is a solid center that can play on any top line with any two people lined up next to him, his better fit would probably be in Carolina or St. Louis. The situation is not great in Montreal right now, this news is still new, so well wait and see what comes out on the 27-year-old established center.