The Upper Canadien
These are the quietest days of the year for hockey, and the Montreal Canadiens are no exception. I got nothing. Nada.
Except the news today, via Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette, that neither Brent Sopel or James Wisniewski received a phone call from the Habs after the season. Not even a thank you.
Sopel, as you have probably read, recently signed in Russia. Wisniewski is ready to ply his trade as a Blue Jacket.
But no contact from the Habs at all?
Josh Gorges gets inked for one year. I had figured they’d try and go longer term, but no, one year, $2.5 million. Pretty reasonable if you ask me.
The Canadiens also added two assistant coaches, promoting Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur from Hamilton. Clement Jodoin returns to the fold to coach the Bulldogs.
What does this all mean?
It’s 9 pm and 45 Celsius outside with the humidity. We Canadians sure do like our extremes.
Speaking of extreme, I know this isn’t Montreal Canadiens related, but it’s too good to pass up. The link below leads to, perhaps, the greatest Stanley Cup celebration photo of all time - and a pretty good story to boot. Ok, maybe not the greatest photo. The strangest? Regardless, well done Tomas Kaberle. More power to him. He won the Stanley Cup. He can do whatever he wants.
40+ with the humidity today, and a serious lack of Habs news lately other than the jettisoning of Mathieu Carle to Anaheim. Can we expect another move or two from GM Pierre Gauthier before the heat subsides? My theory is yes.
So the frenzy has come and gone for Les Canadiens, and the outcome, surprisingly, isn’t all that bad. I’m actually pretty impressed with Pierre Gauthier. He went out and got, arguably to be sure, the best free agent available. Not only that, he identifies the immediate need of the team: a power forward. When’s the last time you can say the Habs did that?
Canadiens fans wait patiently as Jaromir Jagr, apparently, moves closer to his decision. Will it be Pittsburgh, Detroit - or Montreal? And if not Jagr, who else might the Habs go after to,or row during the frenzy?
I’ll be posting my reactions after the ball drops at noon. My off-season post gave some idea of what I would be were I in charge. Size, grit and scoring are the three things the Canadiens need more of. Let’s see what Mr. Gauthier can do.
A few quick notes as we head towards the frenzy on Friday:
For anyone interested, my appearance earlier today on XM NHL’s Warm Room Review with Mick Kern. We chat all things NHL, including free agency, awards, Habs and trades.
(An aside before I digress into off-season discussion: I will be joining Mick Kern on the War Room Review tomorrow on XM NHL Satelittle Radio at 11 AM EST. Tune in for some free agency discussion as we review the NHL season that was. )
Andrei Markov is a Montreal Canadien for three more years. Was there ever any doubt? Yes, there was, given the two major knee surgeries in a year and two consecutive seasons plagued by injuries. However, Markov is an elite defenceman, and injuries or not, he was a player Pierre Gauthier could not allow to leave for nothing. Markov is back, and Montreal’s defence remains a strength on a team of questions. Looking for answers? Here’s the Upper Canadien’s off-season game plan for the Montreal Canadiens.
As per the Team 990’s Tony Marinaro, and as seen on RDS’s webpage as of a few minutes ago, the Montreal Canadiens and Andrei Markov have agreed on a two year deal worth $11.5 million.
More information available (en Francais) here: Markov returns for two years?
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? firstname.lastname@example.org