Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs head West, prepare for reinforcements

The Montreal Canadiens hit Anaheim this evening as the struggling Ducks look for a rare win. As everyone knows, rumours of change are swirling in Anaheim, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a move if the Ducks drop this one to the Habs. That said, it’s also a big game for the Habs: Louis Leblanc makes his Canadiens debut.

Leblanc, the Canadiens first round pick in 2009, slots in for his first NHL game, and has been practicing with Lars “ill timed penalty taker” Eller and Travis “trigger” Moen on a possible third line. However, as everyone knows, with Jacques Martin coaching, he could be on the first line by the second period, or he could be nailed to the bench. You just never know. Leblanc has been a solid addition to the Hamilton Bulldogs this year, second in team scoring in his first year as a professional after spending 2010-11 with the Montreal Juniors. The Habs haven’t exactly developed a plethora of first round draft picks in recent years (David Fischer anyone?), so anytime one makes his debut, let alone a hometown boy, it’s a pretty big deal.

Also slotting in for the Habs, maybe, possibly, is Andrei Markov. He didn’t practice this morning, but tonight was the date rumoured as his likely return. Should he slot in, we know one thing: he’ll be well rested. After all, Markov has basically had two full seasons off. My money is on Markov not playing. Remember, the Canadiens play again tomorrow night, and I have to believe he’s more likely to play in the second game.

Peter Budaj gets the start, with Carey Price fresh to go tomorrow. In the interim, I am interested to see what happens in Anaheim. And Calgary. And Columbus. And Long Island. We’re past the quarter pole, and a lot of teams are struggling mightily, yet there has been nary a trade. In the words of Jack Nicholson, something’s gotta give.

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com