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Category: Montreal-Canadiens

Sean Burke Takes Over As Director Of Goaltending For The Montreal Canadiens

MONTREAL - General manager Marc Bergevin announced on Tuesday the appointment of Sean Burke as the director of goaltending for the Canadiens, replacing Stéphane Waite, who held the position since 2013 and was relieved of his duties today. 

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A Struggling Carey Price

from TSN,

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price allowed five goals on 29 shots in Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, dropping his record on the season to 5-4-3.

Price, who has posted a save percentage above .900 just once in his past six starts, said his struggles may be mental after posting .936 save percentage during the Return to Play last summer.

Price has a .888 save percentage on the season with a 3.13 goals-against average - the worst marks of any season in his 14-year career....

Price, who carries a $10.5 million cap hit through the 2025-26 season, has started 12 games this season compared to seven for backup Jake Allen. Allen, 30, has a 4-2-1 record with a .933 save percentage and a 2.14 goals-against average. 

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Coaching Change In Montreal

MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Wednesday that head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller were relieved of their coaching duties with the Canadiens earlier today.

The organization also announced having promoted Dominique Ducharme as interim head coach in addition to the appointment of Alex Burrows to the Canadiens' coaching staff. Luke Richardson and Stéphane Waite retain their respective duties within the coaching group.

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Is Coaching An Issue For The Montreal Canadiens?

After a 5-4 shootout loss to Ottawa,

from Eric Engels of Sportsnet,

Some numbers for you, none of them flattering for the Montreal Canadiens:

One, as in one power-play goal for the Canadiens in their last 21 attempts. Two, as in two consecutive Canadiens losses to the Ottawa Senators, who are bringing up the rear of the all-Canadian North Division. Three, as in three Canadiens losses in four games against those pesky Sens. Four, as in the minimum amount of penalties the Canadiens take per game. Five, as in five Canadiens losses in the last six games. Six, as in six Canadiens losses in their last eight games.

Here’s a big one: 69.5, as in millions. That’s what Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin paid out to Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli to fill three of four needs he had identified going into the off-season. This was after he addressed his most pressing one with the acquisition of backup Jake Allen and just before he solidified the bottom end of the roster with Stanley Cup winners Corey Perry and Michael Frolik.

I might be the world’s worst mathematician, but even I can see this adds up to head coach Claude Julien’s job being in jeopardy. If you think the GM is going to sit on his hands while his team slips further away from an inspiring 7-1-2 start to the season, think again.

Internal expectations were high to begin with, with owner Geoff Molson and Bergevin saying the Canadiens had everything they needed to be a playoff team this year. They were kicked up a notch or two with a season-opening 4-0-2 road trip. And we doubt they’ve dropped off despite this recent skid from first to barely clinging to fourth in the division with a 9-5-4 record.

So the most pertinent question now is, how much time does Julien have left?

continued

Watch the game highlights below.

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The Falling Montreal Canadiens

from Julian McKenzie at the Montreal Gazette,

At this time last month, the Montreal Canadiens were scoring goals (nearly) at will five games in. The fewest they had scored in a game was three.

Montreal’s playing style looked electric. They showed off their speed, they played with aggression, and it looked as if this roster might be a formidable opponent in the North Division, and beyond.

Fine, the jury might still have been out on how they fared against the rest of the league but they at least looked promising.

They looked that way until they first came across the Ottawa Senators at the beginning of the month.

Since then, the Canadiens have won just twice over their last seven games. In that same time span, the Canadiens have started to regress into a team many wouldn’t like to remember: the 2019-20 Canadiens pre-pandemic.

A team that can fire pucks towards the goal, but not turn those opportunities into goals. A team whose special teams don’t inspire much confidence. A team whose defence makes mistakes at inconvenient times. A team that wastes solid goaltending performances.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs vs. The Montreal Candiens Tonight

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

With the Habs and us getting off to a great start, that’s two excited fan bases. We’re aware of that. It’s exciting for us as players too. They’re special rivalries that maybe we haven’t seen a lot of in the last few years," Jason Spezza says.

"We have a chance to kinda reignite those fan bases and the rivalry. As players, that’s a great opportunity.”...

Steel sharpens steel. So, surely the players themselves would like to use this Montreal-Toronto set to measure how good they really are. Right?

“You’re not going to like this answer, but I could really care less about what the Leafs are doing,” Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher said. “They're a very good team. They got their own storyline that they’re following.

“For us, it’s just about playing our game. Obviously, we were disappointed we lost the first game to them. Now it’s a chance to get a little revenge in that aspect.”

Toronto will roll into Bell Centre with two more wins and three more points, but Montreal holds a game in hand and a superior goal differential (+17).

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Talking With Frank Mahovlich

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Imagine being a kid from Northern Ontario, who played hockey, lived hockey and idolized Rocket Richard, and you get called up as a teenager for your first NHL game. And there you are, at Maple Leaf Gardens, all set to face the iconic Montreal Canadiens.

This isn’t a children’s book.

This was Frank Mahovlich’s life.

“Howie Meeker was the coach and, before the game, he looked at me and said ‘You’ll be checking Rocket Richard tonight, ‘A ” the great Mahovlich, now 83 years old, said in a rare and lengthy interview.

“I’m 19 at the time. I think Rocket was 38. I’d read so many books on him. The first time I’m on the ice, Meeker tells me, ‘Don’t let him get away, he’s too dangerous.’

“I’m right beside Rocket at the red line. And everything I knew about him was, if he got the puck at the red line, we were finished. I panicked, of course. I was bigger than him. I wrapped both my arms around him and held on. He got a little frustrated. At one point, we were so close together his nose was touching mine.

“A ‘Let go, kid,’ Richard said.

“And I’m thinking, ‘Rocket Richard just spoke to me. He spoke to me.’

“A ‘Yes Mr Richard,’ I said, and I let him go.”

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Video- Dillon Dube Hit On Jesperi Kotkaniemi

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All Is Well In Montreal

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

The first move was made before the playoffs began, when Bergevin signed brilliant second-round pick Alexander Romanov to a three-year deal that was announced on July 13, 2020.

On Sept. 2, Bergevin sent the first signal that he was playing for real by dealing third- and seventh-round picks in 2020 to the Blues for goaltender Jake Allen and a seventh-rounder in 2022. For the first time since Jaroslav Halak was shipped to the Blues, Carey Price had a bona-fide, blue-chip backup.

On Sept. 12, Bergevin sent a fifth-rounder to Carolina for defenceman Joel Edmundson, a solid, experienced 6-foot-4, 227-pound defender.

On Oct. 6, Bergevin took his biggest off-season gamble, dealing the somewhat enigmatic Max Domi to Columbus for Josh Anderson, a one-time fourth-rounder coming off shoulder surgery and a one-goal season — then signing Anderson for seven years and $38.5 million.

On Oct. 12, Bergevin proved that he wasn’t done. He signed forward Tyler Toffoli, once a key part of the Los Angeles Kings in their championship days, to a four-year, $17-million deal.

All that, and Bergevin managed to keep two of his own key pieces in place, signing Jeff Petry to a four-year extension and Brendan Gallagher to a six-year extension.

Then in December, Bergevin topped it off by signing veterans Corey Perry and Michael Frolik for the taxi squad at $750,000 each for the season.

On digital paper, it looked good. Great, even. But you know what they say about playing the games.

Now the Canadiens have played six games, all part of a season-opening schedule that loomed like the Bermuda Triangle, with six straight on the road and no exhibition games to prepare. They still haven’t lost in regulation.

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Video- Tyler Myers Hit On Joel Armia

Five and a game misconduct for Myers.

 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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