Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

A quick note on Cammalleri

Did he say anything out of line? The team has been terrible. Much worse since the coaching change. Any chance of the playoffs is fading fast. Montreal this year has become the hockey equivalent of People Magazine. The tiniest comment from anyone of significance is blown way out of proportion.

Lighten up, people. Cammalleri wants to win just as much as anybody else, if not more. You’ve seen what the guy does in the playoffs, in big games, and through injuries. There is a serious management problem here and it has yet to be addressed.

A sidenote: Yannick Weber made much more controversial comments today about being better than the guys on the ice in recent games - and it goes virtually unreported. That says one of two things: a) the French media has it out for Mike Cammalleri, or b) Yannick Weber is insignificant in the grand scheme that is the Montreal Canadiens. I think it’s a lot more a than b, but that’s debatable.

Now, Boston, let’s see what ya got.

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So this is what it’s like to be a Habs fan in 2012

Brian Gionta: misses 11 games with a groin injury, back for less than two, torn bicep, gone for the season.

Andrei Markov: AWOL.

Scott Gomez: missed 29 games and counting…goals: 0.

And that, folks, is close to $20 million in cap space. Any more injuries, and Randy Cunneyworth will be lacing ‘em up as a player coach.

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Report from Team 990: Chris Campoli dealt to Tampa Bay for a 4th round pick

As heard on the Team 990 on the Canadiens post-game show. Not sure what their source for the rumour is, but they are currently looking into it.

I stress that this is only a rumour at this point, but Campoli has complained recently about his ice time, and as noted many times on Kukla’s Korner the Habs have far too many defencemen on the roster. More to come…

UPDATE: 11:21 PM Team 990 is now confirming Campoli has left the Bell Centre and has NOT been traded. It’s getting to be that time of year, folks. Lots of fun if you’re a hockey fan!

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Habs blow a tire

First off, condolences to the family of Ron Caron. A legend in Montreal, St. Louis, and beyond.

And so, it was fitting that Montreal and St. Louis played on Tuesday night. Or, should I say St. Louis, as Montreal didn’t show up.

This team is as Jekyll and Hyde as the 2009 Habs - a team led by Jaroslav Halak, who defeated this year’s Canadiens on Tuesday night.

I just can’t figure it out. Two inspired efforts followed by…this.

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Big week for Habs

This is a big week, folks. And it’s not just because Van Halen’s new single comes out - thank God David Lee Roth is back - nope, it’s a big week because the Canadiens playoff hopes hinge on the next three weeks, and they need to string some wins together. Two in a row is good, but it doesn’t equal playoffs. As I see it, to get back into it, they need to win 7 of 10. And heck, the Senators just did it, so why can’t Montreal?

Things to watch for

Jaroslav Halak is back tomorrow, a game which will hold sentimentality for just about every Habs fan. That said, I still hope the Canadiens put 5 or 6 b him.


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Eller-ific week for Habs

Well, the Upper Canadien is back from vacation, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the Canadiens appeared to have, finally, started playing the way Randy Cunneyworth wants them to. On Wednesday night, the Habs had a lead, Winnipeg started fighting back, and the old, Jacques Martin-led Canadiens would have collapsed as much as possible in an effort to defend the lead.

The much more bad-ass Randy Cunneyworth Habs? Not so much.

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Habs find another way to lose

The Canadiens blow a 3-1 lead, this time blaming the bounces as the Habs fall to Tampa Bay. Bright spots? Mike Cammalleri seems to be waking up, Alexei Emelin is laying wicked hits left right and centre, and Raphael Diaz has 5 points in his past 2 games.

Downsides? Everything else, led by the usual goal from an ex-Hab, this time former farmhand JT Wyman.

And so the Canadiens drag their corpse of a team towards the new year, as they dangle near the bottom of the standings.

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Habs romp Sens…and everything’s alright?

Listening to the radio in Montreal today, I could have sworn the Canadiens were riding high in the standings, there was no coaching controversy, and the playoffs were around the corner.

As we all know, that’s not the case.

However, the Canadiens did win a game, for the first time in weeks, and Canadiens fans can take some solace in the fact that the team hasn’t quit.

In fact, quite the contrary.

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Winnipeg Massacre?

Ok, that may be overstating it, but it’s 3-0 after two. PK Subban is a healthy scratch. Mike Cammalleri is taking shifts with the fourth line. Randy Cunneyworth looks lost, coaching a team that has given up 16 goals over 11 periods.

Magic solution Tomas Kaberle is, er, not a magic solution.

When was the last time the Canadiens were in this much of a state of flux? How did things turn so quickly? At least Michael Blunden and Carey Price look like they care. They’re effort is obvious. The rest - not so much.

Somewhere, Jacques Martin must be chuckling.

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The Montreal coaching carousel

So when push came to shove, Jacques Martin lasted a shorter time than Guy Carbonneau. Now, as Randy Cunneyworth tries to get his first win as an NHL top dog, we have fans flooding radio shows with comments that make Martin sound like the second coming of Scott Bowman (“why was he fired?? We made a huge mistake!! He was a great coach!” said one caller today, which contradicted calls last week calling for Martin’s head). Yes, Jacques Martin has gone from garbage to hero in a week, and all because he got fired - and spoke French.

Now, a controversy. And it’s getting bigger. Government is weighing in. French papers are putting headlines in English to mock Cunneyworth. Polls say 80% of Quebeckers don’t care about whether the coach wins, but care more about whether or not he speaks French.

And tomorrow, the Canadiens take on the Blackhawks.

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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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