Kukla's Korner Hockey
... while the Canadiens just had their second 100-point season since 1993, they were also a team that ranked in the bottom third in terms of possession and responded to that by signing their coach to a four-year contract extension. For the Habs' sake, they better hope Michel Therrien has some ideas about how to reverse that puck possession trend because if the plan is to rely on Carey Price to play out of his mind in goal, well, it's possible that will work, but it's a risky approach to bank on a goaltending advantage to overcome a puck possession deficit.
-Scott Cullen of TSN in his Off-Season Game Plan for the Montreal Canadiens. Read much more from Cullen regarding the Canadiens.
Markov will be 36 on December 20th.
MONTRÉAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Saturday a four-year contract extension for head coach Michel Therrien (2015-16 to 2018-19).
“We're very happy to have agreed to a contract extension with Michel Therrien for multiple seasons. Michel is an accomplished and experienced coach who has instilled a culture of hard work in our organization while helping develop our young players. Michel and his coaching staff work in a unique and demanding hockey market and the team's success over the last two seasons are a reflection of their excellent work. This decision reflects our desire for stability and consistency within our hockey operations department”, said Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.
Now 50, Michel Therrien has coached close to 1,100 games in professional hockey (592 games in the NHL and 501 in the American Hockey League).
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired center Louis Leblanc from Montreal in exchange for a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Leblanc, 23 (1/26/91), has scored 5-5=10 points with a +4 rating and 32 penalty minutes (PIM) in 50 career NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens. Leblanc made his NHL debut with Montreal in 2011-12, leading team rookies in goals and ranking second in scoring (5-5=10) and assists. The 6-0, 180-pound center also appeared in eight games for the Canadiens in 2013-14, going scoreless with a +1 rating and four PIM.
from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
As much as Vanek disappeared for the Canadiens in the playoffs, Gaborik has grabbed the spotlight. Of course, we always have to clarify that by saying "a healthy" Gaborik has grabbed the spotlight. Still, it's fascinating to watch. And Gaborik, too, is about to be a free agent.
There's no question the Kings will make every effort to re-sign him, but Gaborik still will field offers before making his decision. He is 32 years old. Vanek is 30. For the sake of decision, let's look at some numbers.
Vanek is coming off of a seven-year, $50 million contract originally signed with the Buffalo Sabres. He didn't help himself with his playoff performance, but he is still going to command a long-term deal. Gaborik is coming off of a five-year, $37.5 million contract originally signed with the New York Rangers. With his history of injuries, he won't be able to command a long-term deal.
Let's say they end up with similar money on the open market -- I don't know that they will, but we'll assume that -- but Vanek insists on five or six years while Gaborik will take three years or maybe even two. Does that make it more interesting? After all, the Wild have young players coming up through the pipeline. It might be tough to commit that much money for that long.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
The morning after the Canadiens slipped out of the playoffs, I was bombarded with emails calling their performance “disgraceful” and worse. A team that had surely overachieved in sweeping Tampa Bay and giving Boston the boot had embarrassed the uniform by failing to play like the 1970s dynasty.
Whoa. No one today plays like the ’70s Habs. That’s because it’s a 30-team league with a hard salary cap. You can’t stockpile Hall of Famers the way Sam Pollock did. You can’t fleece half-bright GMs who aren’t doing their homework, because Mike Milbury is no longer on Long Island.
It used to be there were three or four teams with a legitimate chance at a Stanley Cup every season. Now there are as many as a dozen. Never have there been so many good teams. Not great teams, perhaps, but extremely tough outfits: Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, St. Louis, Colorado, Boston, Pittsburgh, the Rangers, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Detroit and Montreal, with a half-dozen others looking to kick in the door.
Success in this league is defined in a different way. No one is going to win six Cups in a decade. Today, a dynasty is a team that has a shot every year for a decade and perhaps wins it two or three times in that time frame: The Blackhawks, in other words.
from the CP at Sportsnet,
Since signing a two-year "bridge" deal that paid him US$3.75 million this season, the 25-year-old, who has become one of the NHL’s best and most entertaining defencemen, is a potential restricted free agent in position to ink a multi-year contract for a king’s ransom with the Montreal Canadiens.
Or he could take a shorter contract and then become an unrestricted free agent.
Subban said he hopes to sign a long-term deal and to stay in Montreal his entire career.
"I’m sure everybody in hockey wants a long-term contract, but for me, it’s not just about that," he said. "It’s about being part of a team that can win a championship, and I believe we have that in this dressing room.
"When it comes to contract stuff, that’s why I hire my agent (Don Meehan). That’s why we pay him. That’s his job and I’ll let him do his job. I’ve done mine, and he’ll do his."
Regarding Vanek's UFA status...
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban may be a divisive figure in hockey circles, but no one can plausibly argue he didn’t carry the mail in the playoffs.
That’s not to say he was perfect – he wasn’t – but Subban was clearly the best defenceman in the Habs’ lineup over the course of the postseason, and one of the top two or three in the league.
Now his general manager is going to have to get off his wallet.
Marc Bergevin will have all manner of subjects to consider this off-season, but it starts with sorting out a new contract for the 25-year-old defenceman.
It’s going to be expensive, perhaps even crazily so – why wouldn’t agent Don Meehan start the discussions at Evgeni Malkin-type money: eight years and $76-million?
Much ink will be spilled over the next few weeks about whether the sides will reach a long-term deal, settle on a one- or two-year pact, or even go the arbitration route, but if Bergevin still has doubts about what Subban can bring, he’s a surpassingly severe judge.
That said, the Subban decision, which is the most important, is also in some sense the easiest: If you’re the Habs, try contemplating life without him.
more Montreal talk...
Catch some of the action from last night's win by the New York Rangers...
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.
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