Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Engels of Sportsnet,
Montreal has $65.3 million invested in 19 players for next season and $28.7 million of that is going towards their seven defencemen: P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, Alexei Emelin, Greg Pateryn, Petry and Beaulieu. Assuming the salary cap is set at $71 million for 2015-16, the Beaulieu signing leaves Bergevin with just $5.25 million to sign restricted free agents Brian Flynn, Alex Galchenyuk, Jarred Tinordi, Christian Thomas, Michael Bournival, and unrestricted free agent Torrey Mitchell.
That’s not enough money to go around, let alone leave a cushion for maneuverability. And considering the Canadiens have been in the NHL’s bottom third in offence over the past two seasons, it would only make sense for them to deal from their strongest position to address their weakness.
Gilbert, who’s in the final year of a contract that will pay him $2.8 million, and Emelin, who’s signed for another three seasons at $4.1 million annually are the most likely candidates to be shopped by Bergevin.
Of course, given his stated philosophy, Bergevin may prefer to have as much defensive depth as he can get. If he’d rather keep the blueline he has, the Canadiens could instead decide to move a signed forward or two off the roster.
Tomas Plekanec has one more season on his contract, which comes with a $5 million cap hit, and after a 60-point season as Montreal’s most reliable defensive forward, he’s the type of player a competitive team would offer picks and prospects to acquire.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The way Petry told the story in a conference call Tuesday, he was hooked shortly after he joined the Canadiens from the Edmonton Oilers in a deadline deal.
“From the day I got there, to the playoffs, the environment at the Bell Centre, the players in the locker room and the organization just being first-class. It was a real eye-opener. It all played a big part in my ultimately signing the deal,” Petry said from his home in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield.
Petry was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and he said that it was his intention to test the market when he signed a one-year deal with the Oilers last summer.
“There was consideration before to test the free-agent market, but I knew that Montreal was at the top of the list,” said Petry. “When they approached me and asked if I wanted to stay, it was something that I strongly considered and I’m glad things worked out the way they did. It’s nice to join the team the next six years.”
Petry said Bergevin told him that he wanted him back during the team’s exit interviews last month and that the ongoing negotiations heated up during the past week.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
And in Toronto, former Ducks forward Smith-Pelly tweeted just this:
It was then that the ground opened up and the fires of hockey hell licked at his feet.
By 11 a.m. on Sunday, Smith-Pelly’s wordless, two-keystroke tweet had generated nearly 1,500 retweets and been favourited almost 1,900 times.
His Twitter mentions from Ducks fans, that is, comments tagged to the tweet, referenced his body size, many times; the couch on which he was watching the playoffs; his NHL future; and much, much worse.
“The worst one?” Smith-Pelly said with a laugh, repeating the question 12 hours after the skies had opened. “That I was too bad to be on a (crappy) team, that the Canadiens had lost in the second round. It was hilarious. I thought it was great.”
There’s some history here, of course.
Smith-Pelly, 22, was traded to the Canadiens in late February for forward Jiri Sekac; it was the Ducks who brought Smith-Pelly into the NHL in the second round of the 2010 entry draft, 42nd overall.
“It was my first experience on a winning team. This team has a good core group, which will play into my decision. I’m comfortable in the environment here, and as the younger talent develops, it will only get better,” underlined Petry, who spent close to five seasons with the Oilers before joining the Canadiens. “Everything here was first class. Montreal will definitely have strong considerations.”
While Petry’s play down the stretch obviously caught the eye of his GM, it surely also caught the attention of every other GM league-wide, making the five-year NHL veteran a hot commodity should he test the free agency pool.
Luckily for Habs fans, however, the lobbying campaign may very well end up playing out close to home.
“My wife loves Montreal. There’s so much more going on here than in Edmonton. Everything as a whole has been great here. Ultimately, she’s the boss,” cracked Petry.
more on the UFA players in Montreal...
Marc Bergevin met with the media today and talked about signing Jeff Petry.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
As the Canadiens cleaned out their lockers Thursday in Brossard, Petry talked about the history and tradition of the team and expressed admiration for the structure of the team.
“I’m not going to make a decision in the next few days,” said Petry, who noted that the question of free agency has been bouncing around since he signed a one-year deal with the Oilers last summer.
Petry, who earned a shade over $3 million this season, could be looking at long-term offers for as much as $6 million a year, but he indicated that money is only one factor in deciding where to play next season. Having enjoyed his first taste of playoff hockey — he was the Canadiens’ most consistent defenceman in the postseason — he’ll be looking at teams capable of contending, which will be one point in Montreal’s favour.
There may also be an opportunity for Petry to play in his hometown of Detroit. He said playing for the Red Wings was a dream when he was a youngster, but added that going home would have its “ups and downs.”
more on the Canadiens...
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
The Habs finished second overall in the regular season and the loss to Tampa did not represent a playoff fail. They did beat a very hot Ottawa Senators team. They were up against a speedy, skilled opponent in the Lightning and they showed guts and class to come back from three games down and win two. When you win six games in the post-season, that’s not a fail.
But the window has to be forced open now, the stretch when the Canadiens should have a legitimate shot at winning a Stanley Cup every season from now until the end of the decade with Price in goal.
It won’t be easy. That fact seems to elude fans and commentators alike. There are 29 other teams out there now and at least 15 of them are somewhere between pretty good and outstanding. The Habs lost to a team with two brilliant forward lines, a towering defence and an outstanding goaltender. There’s no shame in that.
Attention now has to turn to beating the Lightning next time. Winning hockey’s ultimate prize involves careful attention to detail, a significant effort to put together a better offence without sacrificing too much on the blue line, finding a specialist to ignite the power play, establishing Galchenyuk at centre....
If you’re inclined to bitch about a 110-point season, look on the bright side: You could be cheering for that debacle down the 401. Now those fans have reason to complain.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
There will be a savage hockey hangover in Montreal on Wednesday, and anywhere the Canadiens are cheered, a pounding in the temples and an emptiness in the heart.
There will be other emotions, too, covering pretty much the full spectrum.
This is how it is when the Habs’ playoff journey hits a screeching halt, as it did Tuesday in Amalie Arena.
The Tampa Bay Lightning was full value for its 4-1 victory, eliminating the Canadiens with a dominant effort in Game 6 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.
Now, 94 games after it began, the Habs are done. They have been knocked out by the clinical performance of the Bolts, who advance to the Eastern final to face the winner of Wednesday’s Rangers-Capitals sudden-death match.
“Um … disappointed. That’s about it,” Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said in the first blush of elimination.
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
One end-of-season request:
Can we stop with the crazy Mike Babcock madness, svp?
Michel Therrien has three years left on his contract.
He coached the Canadiens to the second-best regular-season record in the NHL.
Therrien’s troops rallied from an 0-3 deficit to make a series of it against a superior team.
From training camp through the handshake line in Tampa, the Canadiens displayed nary a hint of internal dissension or dissatisfaction with their coach.
Quite the contrary.
With the exception of a few games – sadly including that steaming pile of brown apple sauce they left on the ice at Amalie Arena Tuesday night – the Canadiens played their asses off for Therrien.
The kindly old coach got everything ANYONE could possibly wring out of the 2014-’15 Montreal Canadiens.
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