Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Hall of Fame night

Great to see Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin and Adam Oates get into the Hockey Hall of Fame. My appearance Friday on XM's The War Room focused on hall of famers - who should be there that isn't, who is there that shouldn't be, etc. These are the great bar stool debates that take place city to city across North America. Some of my favourite conversations with friends have surrounded this topic. It's a neverending source of entertainment. While I believe Sundin may have been called a tad early - after all, Pavel Bure had to wait quite a while - all four of these men are widely deserving of a spot at Front and Yonge in Toronto. However, so are a few others. 

I could rattle off many names of players I think belong in the hall, and many of them likely will get their place sometime in the next decade or so. But one name sticks out amongst all others as belonging, and it still upsets me that he isn't there: Pat Burns. Among the best coaches ever to walk the bench in the NHL, Burns was a phenomenal leader, a motivator with a proven track record, winner of 3 Jack Adams awards in 3 different cities, a Stanley Cup champion, and a class act. As you know, Burns has now passed away, but his legacy remains, and he should, without question, have a spot in the hall of fame. Why he isn't there bothers me to this day, and it is an issue I very much hope the selection committee rectifies as soon as possible. 

Otherwise, a good year and a solid class. The hall should also be inducting more women, another area, like Burns' ommission, that puzzles me to no end. Why did they begin inducting women and then, for no apparent reason, stop? Surely there are many worthy of the honour.

I wish answers to these questions were available, but alas the cloak of secrecy under which the selection committee operates ensures no explanation will be given. So we'll just have to wait another year. Hopefully we'll have actual hockey being played by then. 

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The Upper Canadien on XM NHL tomorrow

Tomorrow, I have the distinct pleasure of one again joining Mick Kern and Peter Berce in the War Room for the War Room Review on SiriusXM NHL satelitte radio. We'll be talking all things hockey, perhaps legal, and...who knows, maybe we'll have a deal to end the damn lockout. Seems unlikely, but one can hope.

11 am tomorrow. Tune in, and feel free to comment. We'll try to get a copy of it up on the Korner after the show. 

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Lockout, aka job stealing, time

So that's it folks, It's lockout time. I'm not going to wax poetically on the thought of a lockout, or assign blame, or complain about it. But I would like to mention one distinct point that I believe is not elaborated on nearly enough by the mainstream media.

Starting today, scores of NHL players will sign to play in Russia, Sweden, Finland and beyond. Guess what that means? They're taking jobs away from hard working, less talented players who make their living playing 15 or 20 years in Europe, and feed their families based on their output. For every NHLer that goes to Europe to make, what to him is meagre dollars, a longstanding European professional is out of luck. It's bad enough that club employees, waiters, waitresses, parking attendants, and many, many more are drastically affected by the NHL lockout in NHL cities; however, it's even worse when extremely wealthy "union" members head to other leagues on another continents to steal the jobs of the hard working players that have been loyal to their European organizations.

So shame on the NHLPA for not discouraging this, and even moreso on the players for practicing it. They are harming families across Europe, simply to pad their pockets a bit more while they wait out what is a ridiculous and infantile labour situation. The only NHLer I ever heard mention it was Georges Laraque. It's an inconvenient truth that is conveniently ignored but everyone involved. 

Just my take, but one that I do not believe is discussed enough. And now, we wait. 

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And now a distraction from lockout talk: Subban rumours

Well, it was only a matter of time until the trade rumours really started, given that PK Subban still has yet to sign with the Habs. 

 

Slam.ca is reporting that the Philadelphia Flyers have asked about a deal involving Subban, and ony can only wonder if this is the first step before a potential offer sheet to the restricted free agent. You'll find a link to the article here

 

As you'll see, the article speculates that Sean Couturier would likely be a central piece going back to the Habs. While there is no doubt that Couturier would provide much needed size, speed, youth and physicality down the middle, taking Subban out of the Habs already thin defensive core could be a death blow to any playoff chance they have in whichever year the NHL decides to play. But hey, at least we've got a rumour to chew on that doesn't involve revenue splits and dollar figures. 

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Subban signing close: TVA Sports

TVA Sports reports this evening that a contract between PK Subban and the Montreal Canadiens is close to complete. Few other details have emerged, but you'll find a translation of the article by clicking here.

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Subban speaks, Bourque on the mend

In what has been a down time of late for Habs fans and hockey fans the like, two bits of news today from Montreal. The first, which you've likely already heard, is that Rene Bourque tore his abdominal wall and will be out the next 8-12 weeks recovering. 

The second bit of news is, well, it isn't really news at all. However, it's an interview with PK Subban, in which he details his intention and desire to stay with the Canadiens.  The interview was conducted by venerable Montreal journalist Abe Hefter, and can be listened to in full at the link below:

http://abehefter.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/pks-message-to-habs-fans-nhl/

For the record, I still believe PK will sign, and soon. However, the CBA business may need to be sorted out first, in which case, soon could turn into a while. 

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No news is Habs news…

It’s been a slow news month and a half for the Habs, other than the odd contract signing and personnel addition. Two predictions: 1) I think the NHL and NHLPA will settle soon. I just can’t believe the owners would risk alienating fans with another lockout. 2) PK Subban will sign soon. With the Canadiens. Just a hunch. But I think it’s coming.

Until then, a good article from today’s Montreal Gazette on the state of the Canadiens and Quebec born players (a somewhat hot topic during an election campaign):

Without the French factor, the Canadiens just aren’t the same

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Habs news: Max Pacioretty extension

As being reported by various hockey personalities on Twitter, including Brian Wilde of CTV, Max Pacioretty has signed a 6 year contract extension with the Habs. Details to follow.

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The latest on Subban

The bad: still no contract, still open to an offer sheet. The good: he says he doesn’t want to leave Montreal.

Subban optimistic he’ll have long career with Habs

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Shane Doan visiting Montreal

Well now this is getting interesting, isn’t it? NHL veteran power forward Shane Doan will visit the city of Montreal next week, according to various media including TSN. Montreal is said to be one of the teams Doan is seriously considering playing for, and it’s worth mentioning that Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is Doan’s cousin. Now, is Doan really thinking about a Montreal tour of duty, or is he simply driving the price higher? Only time will tell.

Report: Free agent Doan to visit with Canadiens next week

Consider this, however: the Habs have $6 million in cap space, and Shane Doan would likely cost between $5 and $6 million a year, on a 3 or 4 year deal. However, the Habs also have Scott Gomez, Tomas Kaberle, and Rene Bourque on the roster, and all are players that could very well be exiled to Hamilton of the AHL next season, should it be necessary.

Would Doan be a good addition to the Canadiens? He’d certainly provide second line depth, something sorely lacking in the absence of Gomez, the departure of Andrei Kostitsyn, and the lack of scoring provided, at least thus far, by Lars Eller. Some will say this is a building year and the Canadiens shouldn’t be adding Doan-type players. To me, that’s a fatuous argument.  The NHL is parity central. Every team has a shot. If you can add a player of Doan’s skill and experience, you jump at the chance.

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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

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