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Category: Montreal-Canadiens

Eric Belanger, Political Pawn?

Many Canadiens fans seem to be perplexed, and some outraged, with the fact the Habs signed Jeff Halpern last week for $600,000 and this week Eric Belanger signed in Phoenix for $750,000. Despite the fact that Belanger apparently had a deal that fell through with Washington, and therefore wasn’t really shopping himself until this week, Habs fans are furious that GM Pierre Gauthier would sign Halpern at such a salary when Belanger was technically available for the meagre sum of $150,000 more. Further complicating the issue in public forums, a politician in Quebec this week suggested, and I am paraphrasing here, that Anglophones were taking over the club, phasing out the Francophone players. Apparently, the Habs are a “tool of Canadian federalism.” The reasoning? Federalists and English Canadians see the Habs as a symbol of Francophone Quebec - apparently, if English Canada can make the Habs English enough, the separatist cause will fail for good.

Yeah, because that makes sense.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: belanger, halpern, parti+quebecois

O Captain, Where Art Thou?

Pierre Gauthier met the media yesterday and his words on the captaincy were interesting. Gauthier acknowledged that a captain will be named before the season begins, and he seemed to praise, amongst others, Mike Cammalleri for his leadership last season. Gauthier also noted that the Canadiens had a better idea of their identity and, after last season’s playoff run, what they are able to accomplish. Personally, I wish people had probed more on the idea of change – after all, the Canadiens changed most of their scouting department, their assistant GM, their strength and conditioning coach, and due to Guy Boucher’s leaving much of the AHL organization changed as well. Gauthier did mention this and said it was normal when coaches leave for many different positions in that realm to shift.

Fair enough.

But why all the scouting changes? Gauthier was Gainey assistant for many years – if all these changes needed to be made, why didn’t Gainey make them? If Gauthier is the camel, what was the straw? The Canadiens draft record has, for the past few years, been fairly strong: no super stars, but many solid NHLers. Why make such sweeping changes to amateur scouting when this is the case?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cammalleri, gauthier, gionta, scouting

Let The Players Vote For The Next Montreal Captain

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

Head coach Jacques Martin says he will name a captain before the Canadiens open the regular season after discussions with other off-ice officials. Bad move. Coaches and/or general managers don’t select captains. Players do. It’s the players who know better than any coach which player they want as a leader on and off the ice. I can’t think of a single instance when Canadiens players were not asked to vote for their captain.

The responsibility can entail a lot of distractions in a Canadian city, which is why Roberto Luongo decided to relinquish the captaincy in Vancouver yesterday after only two seasons.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Have The Canadiens Lost Their Identity?

from Don MacPherson of the Montreal Gazette,

After saying in an interview on the Télé-Québec program Les Francs-tireurs that he’s not a paranoid conspiracy theorist, Curzi went ahead and spun a beauty about a federalist plot involving the owners of the Montreal Canadiens that had everything except black helicopters.

“It’s not by chance” there are now so few French-speaking Quebecers on what was once the team of Maurice Richard, he said.

“The people who are federalists and the people who don’t wish Quebec to become a country, who don’t wish French to flourish, they know very well that you must take over a certain number of symbols of identity. And me, I believe there’s been a taking possession by the federal power over the Canadiens club.”

As a result, the “value of identity” that was “fundamental in a national sports team” had been “evacuated” from the Canadiens.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The best of the rest - UFAs play the waiting game

In the summer of inaction we saw Kovalchuk sign, unsign, and then sign again. We saw players head to Russia. We saw Canadiens forward Glen Metropolit, and Islanders stalwart Richard Park head to Switzerland. But more than anything, we saw unrestricted free agent after unrestricted free agent after – wait for it – unrestricted free agent remain unsigned. And don’t even get me started on the RFA players still sitting at home without a contract. 

So who’s left?

Without further ado, The Upper Canadien presents the best of the rest – ten players left as unrestricted free agents who could step in and make a difference across the NHL.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: guerin, nolan, theodore, tucker, ufa

Solid Signing For Montreal

Jeff Halpern is a solid signing for the Montreal Canadiens (and, finally, the Canadiens have gotten back at the Tampa Bay Lightning for raiding them this summer…sort of, as Halpern ended the year a King). Over my past few blogs, and just this morning, I’d mentioned three or four names as guys I felt would really help the third and fourth line of the team: Bill Guerin, Owen Nolan, Darcy Tucker and Ryan Johnson. Well, Halpern brings less offence than the first two, less grit than Tucker, and less shot blocking than Johnson, but he’s a poor man’s answer for all four – and with less than $2 million in cap room left, the Habs needed a poor man’s answer.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+halpern

Halpern To The Canadiens

MONTREAL—Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced Tuesday the signing of free agent forward Jeff Halpern to a one-year contract (2010-11). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Halpern, 34, split the 2009-10 season between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Los Angeles Kings playing a combined total of 71 games and recording 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists). He also amassed 39 penalty minutes while averaging 14:30 of time on ice. Halpern fired 71 shots on the opposing goal, scored two powerplay goals and tallied one game-winning goal.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+halpern

Canadiens summer in review - any moves left? NHL News and Notes

In retrospect, the Montreal Canadiens off-season largely consisted of four events: 1) Halak for Eller, 2) Carey Price re-signed, 3) Sergei Kostitsyn shipped to Nashville, and 4) uh, the signing of Alexandre Picard. Not the most thrilling free agency period for Habs fans, but it wasn’t for most teams. The Ilya Kovalchuk contract debacle seemed to put many free agents in a holding pattern, as teams were hesitant to commit without knowing the full scope of the market. Regardless, the important question is: are you happy with the Montreal Canadiens moves this summer? Do you think the Canadiens can compete in 2010-11? The core of the team remains the same, yet important cogs such as Dominic Moore and Glen Metropolit are gone (interesting Metropolit footnote: he flourished on the power play last year, leading the Canadiens in PP goals. Now he’s playing in Switzerland. That’s the “new” NHL for you). Furthermore, the man between the pipes has changed, as playoff hero Jaroslav Halak was jettisoned in favour of the promise within Carey Price…or something like that.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Bolts Beat, 09/03/10: With Special Guests Steve Downie and Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski

In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat (and the show’s debut here at Kukla’s Korner), JJ and co-host Mike Corcoran visit with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steve Downie to discuss last season’s individual success, off-season training with Gary Roberts, rivalries and much more. Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski drops in as well and touches on Ilya Kovalchuk, the recent Mt. Blogmore series, the newly rekindled bloggers/main stream media access debate and gives his opinion on how the Lightning might fare in 2010-11. Finally, Tampabaylightning.com contributor Mark Pukalo steps into the studio to add his two cents while helping to answer questions from The Bolts Beat mailbag.


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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carter+ashton, dana+tyrell, ilya+kovalchuk, james+wright, jaromir+jagr, steve+downie, steven+stamkos, teddy+purcell, zenon+konopka

Canadiens find a Price they like

I came in from swimming to a radio report I’d been waiting, nay hoping for, and was surprised to find it validated many a media members comments from the past few weeks. The reason I was most excited? I can finally stop using puns involving the word price. Yes, Carey Price is again the starting goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens, and all it took was a contract of two years at a total cost of $5.5 million.

This suggests a number of things. Firstly, many pundits in the past two months were correct: the deal would end up being two years. Why? Well, Price likely wanted one year, to prove he was better and could start a full slate of games, and the Canadiens likely wanted a longer deal, seizing the opportunity to lock Price up when his, er, price was rather low due to last year’s lackluster performance.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price

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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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