Category Archives: Montreal Canadiens
The question might not be whom to select in Friday’s NHL draft, but this: To trade or not to trade?
The combination of a relatively even distribution of talent among the first-round prospects, certain needs for teams selecting at the front end and a new collective-bargaining agreement looming has the potential for some big deals this week and into the weekend, when all 30 general managers will be in Pittsburgh, ostensibly to make their teams deeper through the draft.
Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said this past week he has no plans to trade the No. 1 overall pick, but he listened to offers, a new development from the past two seasons, when Edmonton did not hesitate to make Taylor Hall and then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the top selections of 2010 and 2011.
Edmonton — like several teams, including the Islanders — has a crying need for help on defense.
So it might be more of a difference-making forward who gets dealt this week. Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash heads the list, having nearly been dealt at the trade deadline, although he still has a no-trade clause to determine where he’ll go.
The Rangers could be the biggest movers this week. Nash, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks, and defensemen Shea Weber of the Predators and Tobias Enstrom of the Jets could be targets, with the Rangers using their No. 28 pick and/or some of their deep prospect pool to swing a deal.
Under GM Garth Snow, the Islanders have refused to deal picks and/or young players for established NHLers. This year is no different, although Snow is trying hard to land a defenseman to shore up a thin mix. Only Mark Streit, Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald will be back from the team’s regular 2011-12 defense corps.
A restricted free agent such as the Canadiens’ P.K. Subban would have gotten Snow to strongly consider dealing the fourth overall pick, but new Montreal GM Marc Bergevin isn’t moving Subban, according to those who’ve spoken with him.
As an unrestricted free agent come July 1, would Kovalev seriously consider a return to the NHL? And if so, would he have a jersey preference?
“Hopefully, I’ll find an NHL team,” he said. “The preference is always going to be a team I’ve played on (Canadiens, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators) because you know the environment.
“And I’d definitely like to come back to Montreal. They’re all about the young guys, but I can help in all different ways. And I can still play. I have a lot of energy.
“I always think about having left Montreal,” he said of signing a two-year, $10-million UFA contract with Ottawa in July 2009, having played four-plus seasons with the Canadiens.
“You make a mistake in life and you learn from it. I would make a different move if I could have that back.”
That summer, depending on your source, Kovalev agent Scott Greenspun failed to contact the Canadiens before then-GM Bob Gainey began his dramatic rebuilding, or Gainey was so vague about deadlines for the two sides to speak that a phone never rang before he moved.
A free-agent flood poured into Montreal and Kovalev soon was washed down the highway towards Ottawa, leaving a big piece of his heart in Montreal.
Kovy lifted you out of your seat with excitement some nights – ask those who held a spirited rally outside the Bell Centre before he signed with the Senators – and sent you home maddeningly frustrated by his ghostly apparition on others.
But he was never, ever dull, something that’s not changed in the two years he’s been gone. And Kovalev still gets a kick out of being recognized in Montreal, toying with those who think they’ve spotted him as they trail him down the street, their calls to him ignored – just for awhile.
With the draft coming up a week from Friday, there’s a lively debate over whether the Canadiens should try to move up – or down – from their No. 3 position.
Given the talent available this year, No. 3 appears to be a good spot. While there are a handful of players with the potential to be useful NHL players, there’s no Sidney Crosby, no Evgeni Malkin. Nail Yakupov has emerged as the consensus No. 1 prospect, but there’s a case to be made that defenceman Ryan Murray is closer to play in the NHL or that Alexander Galchenyuk would have been No. 1 if he hadn’t been injured.
Because there is little to choose from among the top five prospects, there seems little reason to contemplate giving up an asset to move up.
There might be more of an argument to be made for trading the pick or moving down. But the only way that makes sense is if the Canadiens get an established NHL player in return.
There is some precedent for this route, but it falls into the you-should-learn-from-your-mistakes category.
In 2008, the Canadiens might have had a shot at John Carlson, Tyler Ennis or Justin Schultz, but they traded their first-round puck to Calgary for Alex Tanguay. He was so underwhelming as a Canadien that general manager Bob Gainey let him go after one season.
No matter which way the Canadiens go, the one thing they shouldn’t do is trade defenceman P.K. Subban. I’m sure this idea isn’t being thrown around when Marc Bergevin assembles his braintrust, but the idea seems to have some traction on fan websites and there are a few folks in the media who feel this would be a better team without Subban.
The Montreal Canadiens named Michel Therrien as the team’s next head coach on Tuesday.
The announcement can be seen live on TSN.ca at 2:30pm et/11:30am pt while you can listen to all-day coverage on TSN Radio 990 in Montreal and TSN.ca/Montreal.
Therrien replaces interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth, who was removed from the position by general manager Marc Bergevin on May 2.
The 48-year-old Therrien returns to the Canadiens’ bench for the first time since he replaced Alain Vigneault as head coach during the 2000-01 season. He worked two-and-a-half seasons at the helm before being replaced by Claude Julien in 2002-03.
Therrien then worked in the AHL where he coached the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before being named the Pittsburgh Penguins’ head coach midway through the 2005-06 season. He worked four seasons in Pittsburgh, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007-08.
The Montreal Canadiens followed up a monumental upset by pulling off another, and now the Pittsburgh Penguins are joining the Washington Capitals in sitting out the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Brian Gionta had two power-play goals, Mike Cammalleri scored his seventh goal of a series in which he upstaged Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and the Canadiens built a stunning four-goal lead before beating the Penguins 5-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night.