Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs face Wings, Bergevin testing the waters?

The Canadiens visit Detroit tonight, having beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, 2-1 in a shootout. The Canadiens should have been able to take care of Toronto in regulation - though they have had a tendency to play poorly against weaker teams this season - but an injury to Sergei Gonchar, and 17 minutes in penalties to Nathan Beaulieu, meant the Canadiens played much of the game with four defencemen, with PK Subban and Andrei Markov both logging over 31 minutes. Beaulieu had a bit of a coming out party, showing of his smooth skating and his penchant for the rough stuff, as he came to Gonchar's aid and fought David Clarkson. Beaulieu has a crisp first pass and a good shot - he's going to be a good defenceman for a long time. 

Speaking of defencemen, the Habs were apparently interested in Cody Franson, who was dealt by Toronto to Nashville on Sunday. As you may recall, Montreal had tried to swap Josh Gorges for Franson in July, only to have Gorges block the trade to the Maple Leafs. Given the injury to Gonchar, and the play of Tom Gilbert and Mike Weaver this year, it's safe to say Marc Bergevin is on the lookout for defensive help, with some speculating the Habs could be looking at Edmonton's Jeff Petry. Bob McKenzie of TSN has mentioned Montreal is dangling Lars Eller and Alexei Emelin, looking to make a hockey deal versus a rental. Could a swap with Edmonton be a fit? A player like Jordan Eberle would certainly help solidify Montreal's top six. Would the Oilers be interested in Jarred Tinordi or Greg Pateryn? Either of these Habs prospects could be available, and a package-type-deal might work.

Bergevin is also looking to fill a spot in his top six up front, which is why Eberle would fit. I've said before, and I'll say it again, if Ryan O'Reilly was avaialble, he'd be a perfect fit, and worth what it would cost to get him. The Canadiens also have Jiri Sekac in the fold, who will be a healthy scratch again tonight. Sekac has looked good at times when he's been given an expanded role, but he's lost ice time of late to players like Michael Bournival and Christian Thomas. Is it possible the Habs are showcasing youngsters like Thomas and Bournival, trying to make a deal? Will Sekac slot back in once the deadline passes?

Carey Price will be in net again tonight, and Manny Malholtra looks like he's staying in up front. It's also worth noting Lars Eller and Alexei Emelin played much longer minutes than normal on Saturday, so the Habs may be trying to showcase them as well. Will they play key roles again tonight? How will Markov bounce back, at 36 years old, after 31 minutes against Toronto's top lines on Saturday?

Puck drop is at 7:30. Enjoy.  

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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