Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: pk subban
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman penned an absolutely fantastic feature article discussing the trio of moves that shook the hockey world on June 29th, 2016, and his article's more than worth your time:
Did they know? Did Marc Bergevin, Peter Chiarelli, David Poile, Ray Shero and Steven Stamkos know they were going to set the NHL on its ear one early summer afternoon?
“We knew what we were doing but had no idea what everyone else was up to,” New Jersey GM Shero said last weekend. “You know this is going to get out, so we’re trying to get hold of Adam Larsson. All of a sudden, you hear the other moves, and you’re like, ‘Holy (Bleep).’”
“July 1 is a landslide, but you expect it,” said Chiarelli, Edmonton’s President of Hockey Operations and GM. “The last thing you’re thinking about is someone else’s deal. We had the TV on, and the moves came across the ticker. I did a double-take. Wow.”
“In my world, none of that other stuff mattered,” laughed Poile, Nashville’s President of Hockey Operations and GM. “I still don’t know the order of the three moves.”
At 2:34 p.m. ET on Wednesday July 29 — seven minutes after intense speculation about Taylor Hall hit Twitter — his trade to the Devils for Larsson was a reality. It’s almost impossible to believe there could be a bigger one-for-one deal in the same afternoon, but 17 minutes later came an absolute blockbuster: Shea Weber for P.K. Subban.
Then, at 2:57 p.m., word came that #Stammergeddon was over. Steven Stamkos stayed in Tampa.
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Tags: adam+larsson, david+poile, edmonton+oilers, marc+bergevin, montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, new+jersey+devils, peter+chiarelli, pk+subban, pk+subban, ray+shero, shea+weber, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, taylor+hall
From the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle:
It was a Stanley Cup party that had surprisingly little to do with hockey.
Held at the posh Forest Hill mansion of entrepreneur Michael Kimel, Phil Kessel’s night with Lord Stanley’s silverware last week was a well-organized to-do, with valet parking and a heavy security presence at the front door.
What the Pittsburgh Penguins star’s celebration didn’t have was many fellow players. No current members of the Toronto Maple Leafs were present, and former captain Dion Phaneuf – who flew in for the celebration from his off-season home in Prince Edward Island – was the only former teammate.
A rowdy P.K. Subban, meanwhile, showed up hooting and hollering at around midnight, still wearing a cowboy hat from his introductory press conference in Nashville that afternoon.
But that was it, in terms of NHL star power.
According to those who attended, Kessel wanted his Stanley Cup party to be a thank you to the other friends he made in Toronto, many of them from the hospitality industry. He was a regular at some of the higher-end restaurants in the downtown, and it was there that he first met many close friends during his six years playing for the Leafs.
From Sportsnet's Luke Fox:
It’s a strange sight.
P.K. Subban is hustling up ice, spinning and slipping blind, backhanded passes thwack on the tape of soon-to-be goal scorers. He’s falling, laughing, and trying to trip contest-winning hockey hopefuls at Gatorade’s GCamp. He’s playfully battling Sidney Crosby, a fellow sponsored athlete, in the corners and dangling around teenagers that idolize him. Chirping, smiling, high-fiving — all gestures as blockbuster-sized as his trade one month ago. In short, P.K. is being P.K.
So that’s not the odd part. It’s what he’s wearing.
Aside from a G-splashed white-and-black sweater, Subban’s dekes and circle-backs are coloured in navy and gold. He’s rocking his official Nashville Predators helmet, gloves and pants. After nearly a decade representing Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, the visual is jarring.
“Very strange for me to see something like that happen,” Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty tells Sportsnet at GCamp, thinking back to one of hockey’s most climate-altering one-for-one trades in history. “P.K. is the person I got drafted with. He was the only remaining player I got drafted with.”
Leading off a 1 AM-posted edition of "30 Thoughts" (I guess it's been that kind of day for Elliotte Friedman, too):
On a crazy day where Steven Stamkos signing in Tampa Bay could arguably be the third-biggest hockey story, the most unanswered question has to be: “Why couldn’t Montreal and Edmonton work out a Taylor Hall-P.K. Subban deal?”
The Oilers sure could’ve used Subban. We knew they were talking last week. Montreal initially asked for Leon Draisaitl, the No. 4 pick at Friday’s draft and more. That “more” included either Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse, plus something else. I can’t nail down what that “something else” was, but it was not insignificant. It was a big price to pay, and Edmonton did not want to do that.
According to several sources, there was another possibility — without Draisaitl. Was Hall there? I can’t say for sure. But I do think he’s got fans in the Montreal organization. So, why didn’t it happen?
Here’s a quote from a GM on a different team: “How much are you paying Connor McDavid in two years? If you’re budgeting for $10M-11M, that’s $19M-$20M for him and Subban. Can you do it under this tighter cap?”
I would suspect that’s the reason.
With McDavid’s next contract potentially massive, Peter Chiarelli looked elsewhere. The Hall-for-Adam Larsson deal saves Edmonton more than $1.8M in cap room. No doubt that’s why it was a one-for-one trade. New Jersey GM Ray Shero could say, “I’m adding salary, I’m not giving up anything else.” He took a hard line.
From an article titled, "Canada might be the loser on seismic NHL day," by the Toronto Star's Bruce Arthur:
It was the Canadiens who registered the most seismic day, though. In Montreal, it’s been an open secret that coach Michel Therrien never meshed with Subban. He would tell people that he believed he could never win a Cup with P.K., and the snubs — some ice-time battles, the triple high-five controversy, giving the captaincy to Max Pacioretty, the way teammates voted for Pacioretty over Subban for the community-minded King Clancy award this year — piled up. GM Marc Bergevin is said to be very close to Therrien; they are not just colleagues, but great friends, down to their families. Bergevin wanted to go to arbitration rather than pay Subban, but was overruled by the owner. Not this time, though.
“Too much personality,” a former Canadiens teammate said. “Saw it firsthand. They hated how much fun he had. The fact that he never sulked and pouted, win or lose, just bugged them, I guess. It made no sense to me, either.”
“I think it was blown out of proportion because of Montreal, the market we’re in,” Bergevin said. “We always look to make a story where there isn’t any. Yes, P.K.’s different, we’re not going to hide that, but there was never an issue, never a problem. I fought with my teammates in practice. It happens all the time.”
Not many believed him.
PK Subban was stretchered off the ice in Montreal after an accidental collision with Alexei Emelin:
added 11:53 pm, here's a better video of the incident from Sportsnet:
TSN's Travis Yost examines the "$6 million AAV club" of defensemen's respective impacts upon their employers, and he comes to the following conclusion(s):
1. It’s difficult to really find a beef with Erik Karlsson winning last season’s Norris Trophy. His team was significantly better by all three metrics with him on the ice (each comfortably clearing our above-referenced averages for the $6-million AAV Club). What’s interesting, though, is just how similar two defencemen – Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang, and Florida’s Brian Campbell – look here. Letang was having an absolutely monstrous season for the Penguins and had the raw point totals that voters love before his season was cut short due to injury. Say what you will about his sometimes-wild, sometimes over-tempo style of play – it clearly has a beneficial impact on Pittsburgh, much like Karlsson has for Ottawa. As for Brian Campbell, I recall a time when the general consensus about his contract was “it’s a disaster, and he’s borderline untradeable”. He’s been a machine for a few years now, though it's fair to wonder if his age – he turned 36 last May – is going to start having a depreciable impact.
From the NHL:
NHL ANNOUNCES 2014-15 ALL-STAR TEAMS
LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2015) -- Left wing Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who earned his seventh career berth on the First All-Star Team, heads the list of players voted to the 2014-15 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Also a three-time honoree on the Second Team, Ovechkin’s 10 career postseason All-Star Team selections are the most among active players.
Six of Ovechkin’s seven career First Team berths have come at left wing (he was voted to the First Team at right wing in 2012-13). The only left wings in NHL history with more First Team selections are Bobby Hull (10) and Ted Lindsay (eight).
Joining Ovechkin on the First Team are three first-time selections: goaltender Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, center John Tavares of the New York Islanders and right wing Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers. The squad also features a pair of defensemen who have been selected to the First Team for the second time, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens.
Among those named to the Second Team is Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, voted to his fifth career postseason All-Star berth (3 First Team, 2 Second Team). Defensemen Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators both have landed a spot on the Second Team for the second time, while Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn, Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk and St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko are making their first career appearance on the Second Team.
Voting for the All-Star Team is conducted among representatives of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, carey+price, devan+dubnyk, drew+doughty, erik+karlsson, jakub+voracek, jamie+benn, john+tavares, pk+subban, pk+subban, shea+weber, sidney+crosby, vladimir+tarasenko
Among the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' Sunday notes:
Word is that Mike Babcock is pushing for [Mark] Hunter to be named general manager of the Leafs. Brendan Shanahan would be wise to look elsewhere. Shanahan needs Hunter to find players. A general manager won’t be able to spend the kind of time scouting that the Leafs require to properly rebuild. Hunter may want the job but the practicality of it doesn’t make sense...
Those who say this is the last shot for the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t really paying attention. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith — the best 1-2-3 in hockey — are signed through 2023. Corey Crawford is signed until 2020. Marian Hossa is signed through 2021. Niklas Hjarmalsson is signed until 2019. So if you lose a Patrick Sharp here, a Brad Richards there and sign Johnny Oduya, Brandon Saad and Brent Seabrook to new deals, there’s no reason this kind of success can’t continue for several more years...
Two more things on Keith: 1) His cap hit is $5.5 million, making his contract one of the best in hockey. By comparison, the Dion Phaneuf contract looks ridiculous. 2) Should the Blackhawks win Saturday night, Keith may be the leading candidate to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, but he’s not a Norris Trophy finalist. For the record, he was on my ballot, ahead of both P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson, who are up for the award.
If Steve Yzerman can juggle the salary cap prudently, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be Stanley Cup contenders for years. Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn are all 25 and under. And figuring they pick up some assets for the disappointing Jonathan Drouin, that should make them even stronger...
When Brian Lawton tried to acquire defenceman Tomas Kaberle when he was general manager in Tampa, the Leafs first asked for college kid Alex Killorn. That conversation didn’t last long.
Simmons continues, discussing the usual potpourri of sports topics...
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Tags: alex+killorn, brad+richards, brandon+saad, brendan+shanahan, brent+seabrook, chicago+blackhawks, dion+phaneuf, duncan+keith, erik+karlsson, johnny+oduya, jonathan+toews, marian+hossa, mark+hunter, mike+babcock, nikita+kucherov, niklas+hjalmarsson, ondrej+palat, patrick+kane, pk+subban, pk+subban, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs, victor+hedman
Among the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' mostly Maple Leaf and/or Toronto-centric Sunday sports notes:
Mark Giordano’s season-ending injury has complicated voting for the Norris Trophy. Somehow, between Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, the alleged embellisher P.K. Subban, Ryan McDonagh, the re-emerging Erik Karlsson and Duncan Keith, it’s a tough ballot to figure out. Said a pro scout: “If I’m voting the first half of the season, I’m voting Giordano. If I’m voting the second half, I’m taking Karlsson. He’s back skating like he was before injury. But if I’m voting for the whole season, Weber is the pick. He does everything well."
The Minnesota Wild are 14 games over .500 with Devan Dubnyk in goal and nine games under .500 in games he hasn’t played. The Coyotes were two games over .500 in games Dubnyk played in Arizona and are now 31 games under .500 without him. Can you say Hart Trophy candidate — just after Carey Price?
Mike Santorelli has been a disaster in Nashville thus far: He has one assist in 14 games with the Predators. No doubt he’s regretting walking away from that multi-year offer in Toronto.
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Tags: carey+price, devan+dubnyk, drew+doughty, erik+karlsson, hart+trophy, mark+giordano, mike+santorelli, minnesota+wild, phoenix+coyotes, pk+subban, pk+subban, ryan+mcdonagh, shea+weber
Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox's "Headlines" included a discussion of a possible suspension for Tyler Toffoli, PK Subban's 3rd fine for diving (Cox notes that the "divers' list" doesn't roll back to zeroes for the playoffs, either), a discussion at the GM's meetings of making the All-Star games teams' more meaningfully-picked than the fantasy format, Cox reporting that Mike Richards is working out in LA to potentially rejoin the team, and it wouldn't be CBC/Sportsnet if Cox didn't address the Maple Leafs' signings of Nikita Soshnikov and Casey Bailey:
As for the coach's challenge, as Sportsnet's Mike Johnston notes, no flags will be thrown on the ice (or anything else):
If and when the NHL implements a coach’s challenge it will work differently than what we see in the CFL and NFL.
For one, there won’t be any flags tossed onto the ice.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, challenges will work the same way timeouts work. After contact in the crease during a goal or when a player is penalized (or not penalized) when a puck goes over the glass, the coach will call the referee over to the bench or the official will look to the bench and ask if the coach would like to use a challenge.
“You can’t have certainty on this, but the type of situation which this is intended to address is the puck goes in the net, nobody makes a call but it turns out there was contact that nobody saw,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said last week. “It would be an attempt to get the better call, but it would ultimately still be the official’s call and it would still be his judgment.”
I believe this falls into the propagana line category, but Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin did address the status of restricted free agent-to-be PK Subban while attending the NHL Awards. NHL.com's Dan Rosen spoke with Bergevin on the red carpet:
"He's a big part of our team, and we'll make sure he's with us for a long time," Bergevin said Tuesday from the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he was a finalist for the GM of the Year Award.
Bergevin also believes defenseman Andrei Markov is a big part of the Canadiens. He proved it by re-signing the 35-year-old defenseman to a three-year contract Monday. Bergevin said Markov told him before negotiations began that he wanted to remain with the Canadiens.
"Our fanbase, the Montreal Canadiens fans, should be proud that Andrei not only said [he wanted to be back], but he followed through," Bergevin said. "What he did [Monday] to stay with us, to me, should make our fans feel great about Andrei Markov that he wants to remain a Montreal Canadien."
Bergevin said he has gotten the same sense from Subban. Now it's about ironing out a new contract.
I kind of "stole" the prime quotes from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column for my Malik Report overnight entry, but I smiled broadly and nearly laughed out loud form the Blog Cave while reading Holland tell Matheson the same dang thing--almost word for word--that Babcock's been repeating to journalists and radio talk show hosts who can't or won't believe that Babcock will remain with Detroit when he can coach anywhere he wants after his contract's up a summer from now:
“I don’t believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence … I believe he’s happy in Detroit, but there are options,” said Holland, whose contract is also up next July, but will certainly get a new one from owner Mike Ilitch.
Holland has got the Red Wings into the playoffs in each of his 17 seasons. There were three Stanley Cup championships in 1998, 2002 and 2008, plus a Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Late-season rallies were required to keep a 23-year playoff streak alive while the Red Wings integrated lots of young players — Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurko, Danny DeKeyser — into the lineup each of the last two years.
“Two years ago, we won our last four games to get into the playoffs. This year, we got in again (despite a terrible run of injuries),” said Holland. “Mike’s a tremendous coach, if not the best coach in the league, then one of the best.”
Matheson's main column focuses on Babcock and Holland, but he also included this nugget of wisdom from Ottawa Senators assistant coach Perry Pern (regarding Barry Trotz's attempts to get Alex Ovechkin to "buy in" to playing defense, as Matheson addressed in a Sunday afternoon column):
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, barry+trotz, detroit+red+wings, george+mcphee, julien+brisebois, ken+holland, kris+letang, marian+hossa, mike+babcock, montreal+candiens, perry+pearn, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, pk+subban, pk+subban, ray+shero, washington+capitals
Oh, P.K. Subban, never change:
The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins opened their second-round series with a wild and woolly affair that ended in a 4-3, double OT win for Montreal, thanks to this slapper through traffic from PK Subban:
The goal was a power play marker, too...
What happened to the accounting firm that handles the sealed envelope?
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban made a modest return to action on a perfect Super Bowl weekend. He was neither a commanding presence nor a step out of place, but rather one of a half-dozen blue-liners who contributed to a sweep of the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators.
And there’s not a thing wrong with that.
It’s just a shame, if you’re to believe one Hockey Night in Canada panellist, that Subban is disliked by everyone on his team, a young man who is profoundly troubled by the frosty shoulder of his teammates.
Presumably, this sadsack outcast dried his tears long enough to share meals Saturday and Sunday with Brandon Prust, then watch the Super Bowl at Josh Gorges’s home on Sunday with the rest of the Canadiens.
But we’ll come back to that.
MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Monday the signing of defenseman P.K. Subban to a two-year contract (2012-13 to 2013-14). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
His stock is falling with each Canadiens win.
Make no mistake about it — the Canadiens could be a better team with Subban filling one of the top four defence spots. But there’s no guarantee and Subban’s position becomes more difficult with each day he remains unsigned.
In an interview with colleague Dave Stubbs, Subban said he wants to be compensated for what he brings to the team on and off the ice. It’s seem a fair request, but the reality — as we pointed out here a week ago — is that life isn’t fair.
Young players like Subban have little in the way of bargaining power. The National Hockey League collective bargaining agreement limits what players can earn in their first three seasons. After that, many teams offer “bridge” contracts that give a player a chance to prove he deserves a rich, long-term deal in his third contract.
"I think it's ultimately heading toward a trade. They're just too far apart on the term of the contract - P.K. wants long, the Canadiens want two years - and they're probably at least $2.5 to $3 million per year apart on where they want to be. Ultimately I think this ends up in a trade."
-Bob McKenzie of TSN. Read more on the Subban situation at TSN.
It’s St. Valentine’s Day, and the Montreal Canadiens sit tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
Not bad for a team many wrote out of the playoffs before the season began.
Even more impressive when one considers that the Habs are only one point behind Boston for third. This Canadiens team is achieving far beyond the expectations of many.
After 50 games, the Montreal Canadiens have 27 wins. Points in ten of their last 12 games. Not bad. Yet they sit perilously close to being outside of the playoffs: three points separate them from the ninth place Carolina Hurricanes. Considering the injuries they’ve sustained thus far, management has to be happy with the team’s performance; however, health, and potential roster changes, are likely going to make or break the Habs chances for a playoff push in 2011.
I can’t recall a period that went as badly for the Montreal Canadiens. Certainly not one where they had the lead. Montreal leads after one, yet lost three players to what could be serious injuries. Mike Cammalleri was checked, somewhat questionably, and went headfirst into the boards. Although he didn’t appear to hit his head, it looked like he may have hurt his wrist. He has not returned. Soon after, Max Pacioretty took a blistering James Wisniewski shot off the chest or upper arm, and late in the period PK Subban took a hard shot off his leg. Brian Gionta also took a Hal Gill clearing shot off his face, but he was able to shake it off and stay in the game. Add to all that the fact that the Habs are battling a vicious flu bug, and this does not bode well for Montreal.
On the plus side, David Desharnais scored his second as a Canadien, and he is looking better every game as he becomes comfortable in the NHL. He may be small, but he goes right to the net in traffic - and that’s where he’s scored his first two NHL goals.
Lars Eller looked great tonight – he scored a goal! – and the Montreal Canadiens notched a victory over the Calgary Flames, albeit one that should have been easier.
A 4-0 lead dwindled to a 4-2, and then Calgary tied it up in the third period. The collapse followed yet another late second period goal, which begs an important question – what is with all the late period goals the Habs have given up this year?
I’m back from a wonderful vacation to Atlantic Canada, and the Habs are back from their worst road trip in a couple of years. While I wasn’t able to see all the games (hiking Newfoundland took priority - my Lord is it beautiful! Anyone living out there is very, very lucky), I saw enough to know the Canadiens are in trouble. That’s obvious to anyone, as they’ve fallen from the top of the Eastern Conference to eighth, and four points away from losing their playoff spot.
So what’s a General Manager to do?
As you’ve undoubtedly read by now, the Canadiens acquired defenceman James Wisniewski from the New York Islanders for a 2nd and conditional 5th round pick. My initial reaction? Great move. The Habs deal a valuable pick, yes, but they add a key piece for more than half the season. This isn’t a deadline pick-up - they’ll have The Wiz for fifty games this year.
Wisniewski brings a right handed shot, a power play presence, and solid, physical play to a defence sorely lacking in all three categories. It also creates a logjam, as the Canadiens now have seven serviceable defencemen.
What happens with PK Subban? How about Yanick Weber, who has been a solid call-up in his slate of appearances?
It’s been a busy day and week, and I’ve *just* gotten my computer back, but a quick summary before tonight’s game:
Dustin Boyd has been sent down to the AHL. He won’t be back - the Habs don’t want to end up paying half of his salary for the rest of the year.
Jaroslav Spacek is extremely slow. Will Jacques Martin scratch him tonight? He can use the excuse that Spacek is still hurting from the Clarke MacArthur beatdown of Saturday. We shall see.
This is a big one for the Habs. They shutout Vancouver. They beat San Jose. They beat Philadelphia. They’ve taken the Bruins. They dominated Phoenix.
Can they defeat the Red Wings?
I’ll admit it, the Wings are THE team to beat. Each and every year. Sure, the Penguins are good, Philadelphia is good, San Jose is often great until April, but the Wings are the pinnacle. They are in a class of their own.
New Jersey almost always beats Montreal. It’s a pattern going back over a decade. Tonight, the Habs rolled over the Devils, 5-1, after the Devils beat the Habs just weeks ago. The difference? Marty Brodeur two weeks ago, Johan Hedberg/Mike McKenna tonight. A goal ten seconds in, and another just a minute later. Great play by Lars Eller. Extremely strong play by Yannick Weber. All this depsite a press-box seat for the Habs most talented player (arguably) PK Subban.
Oh, and Carey Price? Bang on. Yet again. Almost got a shut-out. The best NHL hockey he’s ever played has been this season.
It’s Grey Cup Sunday, and this is the one weekend all year that the Habs take the backseat to the Montreal Alouettes.
But I’m not much of a football fan, so I’m still talking hockey.
The Canadiens had a so-so weekend, falling to Atlanta on Friday (Pavelec is a heckuva goaltender) while defeating Ryan Miller’s Sabres 3-1 Saturday, beating one heckuva goaltender.
And who won the game Saturday? Carey Price. While he lost the shutout with a minute to go, he sports a GAA of 1.95, even more impressive when you consider that he has started 22 games - of which he has one 14, more than he won all of last season.
The Canadiens got the job done Saturday night, beating Ottawa 3-0 and securing Carey Price’s first shutout in almost two years (the last, for those wondering, was November 11th, 2008, against those same Senators). This was a good night for Montreal fans, a true team effort highlighted by two goals from Andrei Kostitsyn and, finally, a goal for the hard-working Benoit Pouliot.
Let’s take a look at Montreal’s efforts thus far in the faceoff circle, which currently have them a disappointing 19th league wide. Jeff Halpern has been a pillar of consistency, as expected, and is currently sporting a 60% faceoff win percentage. However, after that, things get dim. Tomas Plekanec checks in at a mediocre 48%, Scott Gomez is just behind him at 47%, and the recently scratched Dustin Boyd is down the ranks at 40%. Occasional centre Max Lapierre checks in at a reasonable 44%.
Game four of the pre-season saw the Canadiens win 4-3 and even their record at 2-2, as a Koivu and Brunette-less Minnesota Wild were held to a meager fourteen shots by a stifling Canadiens defence.
The Habs dominated most this game, holding a shot advantage of 22-5 through the second period. Alex Auld played the entire game, looking good for most of it despite a lack of action and the .786 SVP on the night. Without question, the prettiest goal of the game was scored by Minnesota’s Justin Falk, who capped an impressive end to end rush by splitting the defence and beating Auld to his right.
For the Habs, Dustin Boyd stood out, playing an effective two-way game while scoring a goal for the second game in a row. Boyd stands out for his effort, which is consistent shift to shift, and the energy and poise he brings to the bottom six. If this brand of play continues, Canadiens fans will very soon forget the name Sergei Kostitsyn.