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Found 16 results

  1. My Lock for Rookie of the Year Elias Pettersson has taken the NHL by storm. Three goals and two assists in his first two games in the NHL. Canucks fans haven’t had a dynamic player like this since Pavel Bure dawned the skate logo. Still some work ahead of them in this rebuild. But, with the likes of Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Quintin Hughes, Bo Horvat, and Thatcher Demko in the organization the light is at the end of the tunnel for a franchise who was one win away from the Stanley Cup in 2011. Surprising Habs I know it is only two weeks into the season for the Montreal Canadiens… that being said they took the Toronto Maple Leafs into overtime… (and deserved to win too). Saturday night they handled the Pittsburgh Penguins with ease in a dominating 5-1 win. They look a lot faster this year with some injected youth (Kotkaniemi, Armia, Domi,). Carey Price has looked like vintage Carey Price early in this season and that is great news for Habs fans. Can they keep this up? Probably not. But at the end of the day the Canadiens will go as far as Price takes them. Marchand the Rat The RAT was back at it again. This time I don’t have a problem with what Brad Marchand did. In a 6-0 game against the Washington Capitals, and the Boston Bruins. Lars Eller skated by the Bruins bench and taunted the team during a fly by on the 7thgoal. The next shift Brad Marchand took matters into his own hands and went after Eller and got some punches in. Could he have handled it in a different way? 100%. But… growing up you are taught to never show up the opposing team doesn’t matter what the score is. After this incident Lars Eller for sure will think twice before taunting the bench. Toews is Back Jonathan Toews is RED HOT to start the season 5 goals, 1 assist in 3 games to start the season. Last year he scored a respectable 20 goals (his lowest total in his career). Toews returning to high 60- mid 70-point total this year would go a long way for a Black Hawks team. The Hawks are off to a surprising 2-0-1 start to the season. Also getting Corey Crawford back soon. Many have them in the basement of the powerful Central division. Including myself. Tom Wilson enough said… Tom Wilson was suspended 20 games by the NHL earlier this week. This this the 4thtime Wilson has been disciplined. So as a repeat offended I have no problem with a 20 gamer. Obviously, he hasn’t learned his lesson. With the suspension Wilson will forfeit over a million dollars in salary. He has appealed the suspension. What are your guys’ thoughts on the hit? Yes, Oskar Sundqvist shouldn’t have cut into the middle…. but Wilson didn’t need to drill him in the head. I’m glad the NHL finally sent a message to the rest of the teams that stuff like this is going to warrant a lengthy suspension.
  2. Vancouver Young Talent Shines The preseason could not be going any better if you are a Canucks fan. Preseason is a showcase for young prospects, and in Vancouver the young prospects look amazing………Olli Juolevi is staking claim that he will be a solid NHL player, but then there is the man…Elias Pettersson! Wow is this guy impressive. He is doing everything… He is flashy, he is exciting, and more importantly he is making players around him look like superstars – right Sven Baertschi. Leafs Tire Pumping The Maple Leafs will be good, but back the wagons up Leafs fans. The season has not started. I know..I know… Tavares has two goal in his first game… I think there is a lot more ahead for this team. They will be good, but relax Leafs fans… You’re not cup contenders… and honestly, I hope you prove me wrong. Domi Disgrace The first preseason game that new Montreal Canadiens center was in turned out to be a disaster. Domi tried baiting Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad into a fight. Ekblad would not give Domi the satisfaction of the fight – in return Domi sucker punched him in the face. Not the showing the Habs fans expected or wanted. Well maybe it was not too bad. Below is a press release from the NHL: NHL PRESS RELEASE Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason for roughing Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad during NHL Preseason Game No. 29 in Montreal on Wednesday, Sept. 19, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today. The incident occurred at 0:56 of the third period. Domi was assessed a match penalty as well as a minor penalty for roughing. For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link: https://www.nhl.com/video/t-277440360/c-61189703. The suspension shocked me and frustrates me. I ask the NHL, is it really a penalty to punish a guy with preseason games. No regular season games, none. So Domi gets to practice and relax and prepare for the regular season without having to worry about in significant pre-season games. Look out NHL, you quickly set the suspension bar for the season, and it is low.
  3. Captains Head West… In a one-week span (during the offseason) two Eastern Conference team captains head to the Western Conference. The first trade took place on September 10th. The Montreal Canadiens sent captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights. In return the Montreal Canadiens received Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki, and a 2019 Second Round Pick. If that was not enough the Ottawa Senators sent their captain Erik Karlsson and Francis Perron to the San Jose Sharks in a monster deal. In return the Senators receive a large package of players – Josh Norris, Chris Tierney, Rudolfs Balcers, Dylan DeMeio, Conditional 2020 1stRound Pick, Conditional 2019 2ndRound Pick, and 2 more Conditional Picks. Well my takes on this – take #1 – With Karlsson and Pacioretty traded now we can all talk about the game instead of them, for that I am thankful -- Montreal was forced to move Pacioretty, their return. Not too bad. I think it will pay off for Montreal in the future, and honestly, I think Pacioretty will not have an easy time playing in the physical Western Conference. As far as the Karlsson trade…. He is one of the best defensemen in the NHL so no matter what you get in return it will look like garbage. Ottawa is a mess, and this is par for the course. The Western Conference just got better. Drug Policy The NHL is not running and hiding from the fact that marijuana is becoming legal in some US states and may just become legal in all of Canada. They laid down the law by saying that they will not be changing any of the leagues drug policies making it still an illegal substance. Great move NHL. I am with you on this one. Crawford Is Out Just when things could not get worse in Chicago they did! Corey Crawford is very doubtful for the start of this season. I also don’t think I am going out on a limb by saying that I would not be at all surprised if he did not play a game this season. It is scary how quickly things fell apart in Chicago. Bobrovsky Wants Big $ Columbus looks to be in goalie trouble. Sergei Bobrovsky heads into the final year of his contract and things do not look optimistic. Bobrovsky wants to be the top paid goaltender in the league and I am not sure that Blue Jackets management is on that some page. I ask the question, should he be the highest paid goalie in the league? I guess my answer would be no, he is good but not that good. I would feel a lot different if he had some playoff success under his belt. Prayers to Humboldt We close the chapter on the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. No this does not mean we will forget or that we will quit praying for them. It just means that it is time for us to let players, families, friends and Humboldt the privacy to move on. The first game back for the Humboldt Broncos was last Wednesday night. It was exciting, it was emotional, it was amazing. Amazing to see a community come back together doing what they love…watching hockey. The ceremony was heartbreaking but yet amazing. I pray for the families. I will never forget this tragic accident and I will always pray for everyone involved. Prayers to Humboldt….
  4. It finally happened! Max Pacioretty, 29, was dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights, in exchange for winger Tomas Tatar, top prospect Nick Suzuki, and a 2019 2ndround draft pick. The Knights acquired Tatar in a trade with the Detroit Redwings back in February, paying a steep price to. A 2019 1st, 2nd, and 3rdround pick, for a guy who was a healthy scratch in 12 of Vegas’s playoff games last year. It makes you scratch you head around the thought process GM George McPhee had with this trade. The Knights lose Neal, and Perron in Free Agency and add Paul Stansty, and Max Pacioretty, not bad for a team who went to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. Montreal trades their beloved captain and get prospect center depth they have lacked for years. With Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, and Poehling, the future center depth is starting to become more clear for the Habs. Pen to Paper Winnipeg Jets star winger, Blake Wheeler got a huge pay day last week. The 31-year-old signed a 8 year/41 million dollar deal, an average salary of 8.25 per season. Wheeler, coming off a dominant campaign last year where he set career highs in assists (68), and points (91). The Jets now have Schifele, Wheeler, Hellebyuck, and Ehlers all locked up for the next six seasons. The Jets are due is pay Kyle Connor, and stud Patrik Laine big bucks next season. Are the Jets the next dynasty on the rise in the NHL? Stevie Why? A shocking development on twitter saw TSN’s Bob Mackenzie tweet out this this AM; https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/status/1039560936208576512. With training camp right around the corner its rare you see something like this. Yzerman had this to say on his departure from the team; “[I believe in] doing what I think is the right thing,” Yzerman told reporters on Tuesday. “I believe I’ve done that. In that sense it made it an easier decision. It’s what’s right for the Tampa Bay Lightning and what’s right for me personally and professionally.” The Lighting are the odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup this year and Steve Y has been a huge part of that. As Advertised Vancouver Canucks top prospect Elias Petterson did not disappoint this year at the Penticton Rookie Showcase. The 5thoverall pick in 2017, showed his elite release scoring four goals and tallying 3 assists in the two games. Coming off an MVP season in the SHL and becoming the youngest player in SHL history to lead the league in points, Petterson is showing the Canucks Brass that they made the right choice going off the board to select the 6’ 2 170-pound Center. Nurse Holding Out? Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse are far apart in negotiations, and with training camp a few days away, it makes you wonder if both parties will get it done in time for the regular season. A contract holdout is the last thing the Oilers need, they lost Andrej Sekera for the season with a torn Achilles. That being said big contracts to Lucic, Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, and Draisaitl, are making it tough to pay the Restricted Free Agent. If I had to guess I would say Nurse makes around 6 million with his new deal. The Oilers got some work ahead of them! Ramsey… This guy Lol When Jacksonville Jaguars Cornerback Jalon Ramsey said he could crack an NHL squad if he had 6 months to train, I laughed. First of all, the guy as never skated in his life. Ever. NHL players didn’t hold back when asked about it. “Good luck, no chance” a few players said. I think a NHL player would have far more success on a football field, compared to a football player on ice, that being said I would love to see Ramsey attempt to skate. For now, stick to football Mr. Ramsey
  5. Most great players have at least one signature moment they are remembered for. Maurice Richard is remembered for his 50 goals in 50 games. Ray Bourque is remembered for jubilantly hoisting the Stanley Cup at the very end of his Hall of Fame career. Ken Dryden will always be remembered for leading his team to the Stanley Cup title and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy before his Calder winning rookie campaign. It is most unusual to find a case in which one of the greatest players in history is most remembered for his role in a loss. Yet, that is exactly what happened to Vladislav Tretiak. It is easy for those of us who have lived most – if not all – of our entire lives in North America to forget that hockey exists outside of the NHL other than World Championship and Olympic tournaments. Yet, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of the best players in the world were trapped in Eastern Europe and had no chance to play in the NHL even if they so desired. Unfortunately for Tretiak, that also means that he is best known to many North American fans for being pulled late in the first period of the “Miracle on Ice.” In the 1970's, many in North America – particularly in Canada – refused to believe that Soviet players could compete with top NHL players. Those critics were proven wrong by the Summit Series tournaments in 1972. While some predicted a Canadian sweep of the USSR in 1972, the Soviets stunned the Canadian all-stars by winning the first game. In fact, after a 3-1-1 start for the Soviets, the Canadian team had to scramble to win the last three games to salvage the contest. Even then, the Soviets nearly managed to salvage a win or a tie in the series before a final game three-goal third period for Canada capped off by Paul Henderson’s famous goal with 34 seconds remaining. Tretiak later called Henderson’s goal, “the most maddening of all goals scored on me in hockey.” In the rematch tournament in 1974, Tretiak and the Soviet team got their revenge, demolishing Canada 4-1-3. One Soviet player that was thrust into the limelight by those two tournaments was Vladislav Tretiak. Tretiak’s stellar play was a one of the biggest reasons for the success of the USSR team, which, while a surprise to many in North America, was expected by some who were familiar with Tretiak. Billy Harris, a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup three-peat of 1962-64 was the coach of the Swedish national team in 1972 predicted that the Soviets would win the tournament, based largely his impression of Tretiak. Ironically, while his prediction was incorrect in 1972, he was the Coach of Team Canada in the 1974 edition of the tournament. While the Summit Series performances may have been the best of Tretiak’s career, simply due to the level of competition, by no means do they represent the entirety of his international achievements. Over the course of his career, Tretiak backstopped the Soviet Union to a win the 1979 NHL Challenge Cup, a gold medal in the 1981 Canada Cup, thirteen World Championship medals (ten gold, two silver, one bronze), as well as three gold and one silver Olympic medals. With such a record, it is no surprise than NHL teams were desirous to have Tretiak. Knowing that bringing Tretiak to North America would be a difficult task, however, no NHL team chose to spend a draft pick on him until 1983. That year, the Montreal Canadiens selected him with the 138th overall pick. Montreal GM Serge Savard worked aggressively to strike a deal with Soviet officials to allow Tretiak to make a move to Canada, but was unsuccessful. Tretiak regrets that he was never able to play in the NHL. “I would have loved to play in the Forum. I was hoping to one day play in the NHL. I would have liked to do it even for just one season. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. I regret not having the chance.” One cannot help but wonder how the history of the NHL might have changed had Savard been successful. Tretiak was only 31 in 1983. It is not inconceivable that he could have played through 1986 and 1993 when the Canadiens hoisted the Stanley Cup. Would the Canadiens have still won those Cups? Would they have won more? What would that have meant for Patrick Roy? The next year, having been denied his chance to fulfill his dream of playing in the NHL, and exhausted by the grueling schedule of the Soviet National Team, Tretiak retired from hockey. While not as well known in North America as he might have been, Vladislav Tretiak had established himself as one of the greatest netminders in the history of the sport. In 1989, he became the first Soviet player elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was selected as the goaltender of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Centennial Team. To many on this continent, Vladislav Tretiak is either unknown or little known. As such, he may often be left out of discussions on hockey history. Whether he is ever acknowledged by the masses or not, Tretiak’s talent is still undeniable. Where the NHL is concerned, he may well be “The Best That Never Was.”
  6. Wayne Gretzky named him to his All-Time All-Star team and he is the highest scoring defenseman to ever dawn the Montreal Canadiens jersey, yes Larry Robinson has had quite the career. The Great Defender: My Hockey Odyssey with Kevin Shea takes readers through the life of the Hall of Fame defenseman from his days as a kid growing up on a small farm outside Ottawa. Robinsons recalls his upbringing through junior hockey, to his all-star career in the NHL, wearing the maple leafs for Team Canada, to life after the game. Robinson was lucky enough to win the Stanley Cup six times as a player and three more times as a coach. He is among the league’s greatest defenders to ever lace them up, something that he has never quite been able to grasp. Something he reflects upon when he recalls the Canadiens 75th anniversary season where he was named to the Habs All-Time Dream Time. “When I look on it now, I was there with Aurele Jolait and Dickie Moore and Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau and Doug Harvey and Jacques Plante. Those are frigging icons! I was thinking, ‘What’s this little farm boy doing up with all these guys?’ It was amazing.” What is made very clear in the book is just how respected and down to earth Robinson was during his career. He never took anything for granted, he had a blue-collar work ethic (which he picked up growing up on the farm), and he was a natural leader. He wasn’t afraid to get his team pumped with a big speech or even a dance around the dressing room in nothing, but his jockstrap. “(‘Flashdance: What a Feeling’ by Irene Cara) came on… To break the tension, I started dancing to the song with nothing on but my jockstrap. I went flying from one end of the room to the other, doing my best Jennifer Beals impression… it was a thing that I did just to loosen everybody up – and then we went out and won the game.” The, now associate coach with the San Jose Sharks, after all has been said and done is a family-man at heart. He has been attached to his wife Jeanette since he was a teenager and he now takes pride and makes it an opportunity to spend time with his family, including grandchildren. Robinson has won many Cups and a Norris Trophy, but his family has been his biggest prize. “Jeanette has been my rock. She Still is. We’ve been blessed with two wonderful children, Jeffrey and Rachelle. They may be the greatest gifts of all… they have blessed us with three wonderful grandchildren, whom we adore.” Robinson had his number 19 raised to the rafters in 2007, he made the playoffs in each of his 20 seasons in the NHL, and holds the all-time record for plus minus with a plus-793 (a record that may never be beat). He was one of the greats and his book lets readers now just what it is like to grow up a fan-favourite for arguably the most historic franchise the NHL has ever known. Follow me on Twitter @Craig_Hagerman Photo Courtesy of Amazon.
  7. Tomas Plekanec scored his second goal of the game with just 40 seconds left in regulation to lift the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the season opener Wednesday. Plekanec was the recipient of a lucky bounce that saw his winning goal deflect off the skate of Leafs rookie defenceman Stuart Percy and past Jonathan Bernier. The goal was a heartbreaker to Leafs fans affter Morgan Reilly tied the game with 2:19 left in the third on a fluky goal that got through Carey Price. Plekanec led the way for the Canadiens with his first two goals of the season while Alex Emelin and P.A. Parenteau finished the night with two helpers a piece. The Maple Leafs found themselves in a hole early on in the game when Max Pacioretty cut through the Leafs blueliners and snuck a wrist shot under the catching arm of Bernier. The goal came on the Habs first shot of the game. The buds would battle back to tie it after Nazem Kadri deflected the Brandon Kozun wrist shot over the catching-glove of Carey Price. The assist was the first career NHL point for Kozun, who cracked the opening day lineup after having a stellar training camp. The goal came with a little controversy as Kozun appeared to be offside on the play. With 40 seconds left to go in the period the Maple Leafs capitalized on the power play on an impressive effort by Stuart Percy. Percy dumped the puck into the corner and was able to beat the Canadiens defenders to the puck before centering it to a wide-open Tyler Bozak who slipped the puck between the legs of Price to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead heading into the second. The assist was also Percy’s first NHL point. However, the Leafs would see their lead disappear in the second after Plekanec was able to split the Leafs ‘d’ for a breakaway and slide a backhand under the pads of Bernier. The game would remain tied until midway through the third. After the Leafs were caught running around in their own end, the puck came out to former Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban, who fired a wrist-shot blocker-side on Bernier. Price made 24 saves on 27 shots for the win while Bernier turned away 28 of the 32 shots he faced in a losing effort. Despite some impressive debuts from their rookies the Maple Leafs seemed to fall into old habits for much of the game Wednesday. The Leafs struggled to get the puck out of their own end on many occasions and at times it seemed like a daunting task just to get the puck to centre ice. Both Randy Carlyle and newly acquired defenceman Stephan Robidas believe the buds got away from their game plan midway through the second period and it showed. Despite leading the team in ice time Wednesday playing 23:31, it seemed like the Leafs plan to relieve Dion Phaneuf of some of his defensive responsibilities was in effect. The Leafs brought in Robidas and Roman Polak in an attempt to stabilize the back end while also giving more responsibilities to youngsters Reilly and Jake Gardiner. Phaneuf finished the night with one assist and a -1 rating. The Leafs will be back in action Saturday night when they welcome Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Air Canada Centre. While the Canadiens now head to Washington to face Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals tonight. Photo Credit: Canadian Press/ Frank Gunn Follow me on Twitter @Craig_Hagerman
  8. Hi there folks. The dog days of summer are finally winding down, and I hope you all enjoyed your summer as much as I did. But, with the NHL season looming, the leaves on the trees will soon fade to brown and the lights in the arenas will turn on and our favourite superstars will hit the ice once again. The Montreal Canadiens enjoyed an offseason that could be be described as "transitional". We all knew Brian Gionta likely wouldn't be brought back and we'd have a new captain for this season, but the real surprise came when Gionta's apparent successor, Josh Gorges was traded to Buffalo a day after Gionta signed with the Sabres. Personally I am a Gorges fan as he gave his heart and soul to the Habs, but unfortunately the way Gorges plays, it tends to wear you down faster and it showed in the Eastern Final against the New York Rangers. Saying that, he will bring great leadership to the Sabres along with sturdy defensive capability and Sabres fans are going to love him. Who do I think will be named captain? P.K Subban is an easy choice but I think choosing him right now would put too much pressure on the young superstar. It would make sense though, and I feel like if that's the way it plays out then it would work out fine, but there is always that possibility that Subban could crumble under the microscope. Brendan Gallagher is also a name that I've been seeing pop up in articles about the vacant captaincy and I'd be fine with that choice. He is a tenacious forward who is his coach's favourite player and the opposing coach's most hated, He drives the net like a bat out of hell and doesn't back down from anything, all while being a smart and efficient player. Super friendly with an infectious smile off the ice, he'd be a perfect choice if it weren't for his mere 2 years of NHL experience. Then again. the Colorado Avalanche named Gabriel Landeskog captain just before his second year and they experience tremendous success last season. But to me the obvious choice is Andrei Markov. The long time Canadiens defenceman just signed a new deal this summer that will likely take him into retirement so it would make perfect sense. The offensive minded Markov will be playing full time with P.K Subban this season so it seems, so his offensive numbers should rise, especially if he his named captain considering he is often labeled as more of an "on-ice leader" as opposed to a "locker room guy". His shy demeanor may have had something to do with him turning down the offer to become captain in 2010, but general feeling is he would accept the offer this time around. There are other candidates like Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec out there, but Markov or Subban would be my first two choices. 2014 Draft Picks: 26th overall: Nikita Scherbak, RW 2015 Team: Saskatoon Blades (WHL) 6-2 174lbs Projection: Top 6 forward Scherbak was expected to be picked in the top half of the draft but fell to the Habs at 26th. He was an outstanding offensive player in his first year with the Saskatoon Blades, leading the rookie scoring race by 19 points and at the same time leading a sub par Blades teams in points. 73rd overall: Brett Lernout, D 2015 Team: Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 6-4, 205lbs Projection: 6-7 defenceman This is a player that the Canadiens have been needing to draft for a long time. A hulking defenceman who clears the crease, has a big shot, can hit and is just a nasty competitor who is difficult to play against. Trevor Timmins (Canadiens director of Amateur Scouting) felt so highly about this prospect that the Canadiens flipped two picks (3rd & 4th round) to the Arizona Coyotes for the pick (3rd round) used to select Lernout. 125th overall: Nicholas Koberstein, D 2015 team: Olds Grizzlys (AJHL) 6-2 190lbs Projection: solid NHL defenceman Kobserstein won't be rushed to turn pro, that's for sure. The 18 year old defender will play this season with the Grizzlys before heading off to the NCAA's Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks in 2016. 147th overall: Daniel Audette, C 2015 team: Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) 5-8, 168lbs Projection: depth/AHL forward At first glance, Audette is a very small centre with flashy offensive talent. Timmins felt that the organization could not overlook his talent despite his small stature or the team could miss out on another possible Brendan Gallagher-type prospect. 177th overall: Hayden Hawkey, G 2015 team: Omaha Lancers (USHL) 6-1, 180 lbs Projection: solid NHL backup Hawkey was the USHL goaltender of the year and the first goalie in 12 years to have a sub 2.00 goals against average in the USHL. This was another selection with a five-year development plan. Timmins likes the fact that the young netminder was returning to the Omaha Lancers for another year at the junior level before heading to Providence College in 2015-16 207th overall: Jake Evans, C 2015 team: Notre Dame FIghting Irish 6-3, 200lbs Projection: 4th line centre The last pick for the Canadiens at the draft, Evans hopes to hone his skills over the next four years at Notre Dame. Timmins believes this prospect will evolve into the type of player that teams need in order to win championships: character, determination, grit and difficult to play against. 2014-2015 Roster: Additions: P.A Parenteau, Manny Malholtra, Tom Gilbert, Jiri Sekac Subtractions: Daniel Briere(COL), Brian Gionta(BUF), Josh Gorges(BUF), George Parros, Douglas Murray, Thomas Vanek(MIN), Devan Dubnyk, Ryan White(PHI), Francis Boullion LW C RW Max Pacioretty David Desharnais P.A Parenteau Alex Galchenyuk Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher Brandon Prust Lars Eller Rene Bourque Michael Bournival Manny Malholtra Dale Weise Extras: Travis Moen LD RD P.K Subban Andrei Markov Alexei Emelin Tom Gilbert Nathan Beaulieu Mike Weaver Extras: Davis Drewiske, Jarrod Tinordi Starting Goalie: Carey Price Back Up Goalie: Peter Budaj 3rd String: Dustin Tokarski Remember how I described the Habs' offseason as transitional? Well one look at the depth chart and you'll see why. Montreal will heavily rely on their young guns this season as studs Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher should see jumps in their point categories this season as they look to accept more offensive burden. Rene Bourque was great in the playoffs, but if he doesn't contribute at the same pace then I'd expect a trade in order to fill the spot on the right side, or Bourque could be moved for a pick or a prospect to allow Jiri Sekac some NHL minutes. The former KHL winger was a highly sought after free agent this summer before he decided to sign with the Canadiens. Sekac is said to have NHL level talent with decent defensive ability and he will get a great chance to make the team through training camp, but I suspect he will be sent to Hamilton so he can adjust to North American style ice. Look for Sekac to be called up should there be an injury or trade. I like the addition of P.A Parenteau too, as he will be looking to bounce back from an injury plagued season. Manny Malholtra was brought in to bring some character and grit to the 4th line, but Malholtra's value really shines through at the faceoff cirlce as he is one of the NHL's best in that category. The departure of Josh Gorges opens up some room on the left side, meaning Alexei Emelin can return to his natural position. Canadiens will need to rely on young Nathan Beaulieu to play consistently during the season, something he did in the playoffs. Beaulieu's growth between the playoffs and this season may really relieve the burn of the Gorges trade. Also look for him to play some power play time with Tom Gilbert on the 2nd defence pairing. Gilbert had a rebound season in Florida last year after jumping from Edmonton to Minnesota. With Gilbert, the Habs get someone who can play the right side of the ice naturally and play on the 2nd powerplay pairing (last season it was Emelin-Boullion- ouch). Right now, I am uncertain about Gilbert because he's been shaky in the past and we don't really have anyone else who can come up right now and play those minutes besides Beaulieu, who is a rookie. It's never really a problem when you have 3 good goalies. If it is, then it's a really good problem to have. Carey Price is the undisputed starter of this team and is a superstar in his own right. Peter Budaj was extremely helpful when called upon, and Dustin Tokarski was lights out in the playoffs after Price went down. I think we will see Tokarski start with the Hamilton Bulldogs this year but I don't think the Canadiens would be hesitant to trade/waive Budaj if he was outplayed in training camp. Awards & Highlights: Carey Price: Olympic Gold Medalist, named best Goaltender of Tournament by IIHF P.K Subban, Olympic Gold Medalist, signed 8 year $72m contract in August 2014 Tomas Plekanec: Named captain of Czech Men's Olympic Ice Hockey team Max Pacioretty: Named to USA Men's Olympic Ice Hockey team Peter Budaj: Named to Slovenia Men's Olympic Ice Hockey team Acquired Mike Weaver from Florida Panthers Acquired Dale Weise from Vancouver Canucks Acquired Thomas Vanek from New York Islanders Projection: I'm horrible at predicting the standings, but I'll give it a shot anyway. I think the Canadiens will finish 2nd in the Atlantic division this year under the Bruins and ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs Until next time, Habsguy26
  9. Tonight Buffalo will have another shot to tie the idle 8th Washington Capitals. Another team they are creeping closer is the Ottawa Senators. A win tonight puts Buffalo 4 points behing Ottawa, within yelling distance. Ottawa plays Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Winnipeg in their next three (at Winnipeg). Right now though the focus remains on Washington. Tonight division rival the Montreal Canadiens come into the FN Center. Buffalo has won 4 of the 5 meetings this season. The last game was a 3-2 OT win. Tyler Myers returns tonight after being suspended from a hit on Scott Gomez in that Montreal game. Buffalo went 1-0-2 in the games Myers was out. Montreal comes in 4-3-4 in their last 11, and by no means are a push over. Buffalo got a small break last meeting with Peter Budaj being in goal. No such luck tonight Carey Price will be in goal tonight for the Habs. A little bit of surprising news came out today in the morning skate Patrick Kaleta will not play tonight because of another injury. Also Nathan Gerbe will again be out of the lineup tonight with a strained muscle. To replace PK36 Buffalo has called up Travis Turnbull from Rochester. Turnbull is having a career year with 27 points in 53 games (12 g 15 a). Turnbull is more of the grinder type that is being brought up to handle any possible ruckus the Habs try to throw out in response to the Myers hit on Gomez (wouldn't Habs fans be happy Gomez is out?). With Myers back Ruff has to make a decision on who to play as the 6th defenseman Sulzer or Weber. Some people thought Buffalo would roll with 7 D, however Ruff already said Turbull is playing so Weber or Sulzer has to come out. My money is on Weber sitting. Miller in goal obviously. The FN Center should be rocking tonight with 8th place on the line and half of the arena full of Habs fans. With it being 80 degrees in Buffalo on March 21st, you can smell the playoff hockey in the air. Projected Lineup: Foligno-Ennis-Stafford Vanek-Hodgson-Tropp Leino-Roy-Pominville Myers-Leopold Ehrhoff-Sulzer Regehr-Sekera Miller (Enroth)
  10. The Sabres have 3 games this week 2 at home and 1 on the road. If the Sabres want to stay in the race they need to win all 3. Tonight it starts with a visit from the Montreal Canadiens coming off a 4-1 against the struggling Nucks in Vancouver Saturday. Wednesday the Avalanche visit the FN Center and Buffalo then takes a trip to Sunrise to play the Panthers in a BIG playoff type game. All three games MUST win in my opinion. Buffalo received no help on the scoreboard last night with 2-0 wins by both Florida and Washington. They sit 4 points out of 8th going into tonight's game. Buffalo had a big comeback win in Ottawa Saturday. The Sabres never lead until the end of shootout when Tyler Ennis sealed the bonus point. Marcus Foligno played in his second NHL game Saturday as well and was a way different player than I saw early in the season. He was physical and scored his first NHL which was huge to tie the game at 3 with less than 10 minutes remaining. Miller again held his team in until they were able to get the equalizer late in the 3rd. Miller will be the reason Buffalo does or does not make the playoffs, no doubt about it. Montreal comes in a winner of two in a row, but still sit in last place in the East with 64 points. The Habs got a big boost Saturday with the return of oft injured defenseman Andrei Markov. Markov brings some stability to the Habs blue line. The question is how long will he stay healthy? Max Pacioretty comes in still red hot, along with Erik Cole. Those two players have carried most of the Habs scoring all year, last time Buffalo played Montreal in the Bell Centre, Erik Cole was a force with multiple scoring chances on Miller. On the injury news for Buffalo some good and bad news. Good news Vanek and PK36 will be good to go tonight. On the bad side Andrej Sekera was diagnosed with pneumonia and is out indefinitely. The Sekera news made the acquisition of Alexander Sulzer that much more important. Matt Ellis is always at for the fore-seeable future with a knee injury. Foligno will stay in the lineup to take the spot of Ellis. No scoreboard watching needed tonight, that will resume tomorrow with the Caps, Leafs, and Panthers all in action. Lineup tonight should be interesting Leino played on the top line with Hodgson and Pominville, Boyes was on the second line. With Vanek returning tonight it will be interesting to see how Lindy shuffles everything up. Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville Foligno-Ennis-Stafford Leino-Roy-Gerbe Tropp-Boyes-Kaleta Myers-Leopold Sulzer-Ehrhoff Weber-Regehr Miller (Enroth) Prediction: Buffalo NEEDS to score goals. Montreal could be a tired team after a west coast trip and playing in Vancouver Saturday. 3-1 Buffalo, Sabres got to have it.
  11. Hey guys, this is another one of my old blogs.. tell me what you think! *With the preseason in full gear, we have gotten to see a preview of what to expect in this defining 2012 NHL season. I know that lately my blogs have been focused on all 30 teams, but today I'm just going to talk Habs. This blog will be (obviously) about what I expect from the players (stat wise) and the team's opening night lines. Also, I'll write a blurb on a few of the rookies and their performances so far this preseason, and when you can expect them in a Habs uniform full time. So without further ado, here we go! Forwards 13 Mike Cammalleri- 35 G, 30 A - 65 P, +10, 10 PPG X factor - Goal totals are expected to rise this year with Cammy apparently being in the best shape he's been since he scored 39 in Calgary. 72 Erik Cole- 20 G, 38 A - 58 P, +4, 9 PPG X factor - Has performed well in the preseason so far. No reason to expect any less from Cole, who is in the first year of a 4 year, 18M pact with the Habs. 52 Mathieu Darche- 10 G, 10 A - 20 P, -5, 0 PPG X factor - Not very impressive on paper, but considering he will be playing on the fourth line, and that he is 34, these numbers aren't bad. You can't win if you don't have a Darche like player on your team. He'll be as valuable as anyone this season. 51 David Desharnais- 13 G, 28 A - 41 P, -1, 2 PPG X factor - Desharnais could see himself playing on the second line if Gomez/Eller falter this season, and if that happens, you will see steady numbers from the 5'7" centre. 81 Lars Eller- 5 G, 17 A - 22 P, -6, 1 PPG X factor - I can see Eller sticking in the bottom nine all season. He just doesn't seem to have the drive, in my opinion. Expect to see low totals again this season. 21 Brian Gionta- 30 G, 19 A - 49 P, +13, 12 PPG X factor - Our captain is poised for another solid goal scoring season. He scored 29 last year, and with no changes to the second line, there is no reason to not expect any more or less. 11 Scott Gomez- 9 G, 37 A - 46 P, -9, 3 PPG X factor - He looked good in his first preseason game last night against Ottawa. If this is some kind of window to the future, you may see a mediocre season from Gomez. Still not worth 7M, but he's (kind of) getting there. 46 Andrei Kostitsyn- 18 G, 17 A - 35 P, +3, 7 PPG X factor - A few nights ago, we saw that AK46 still has that wicked wrister that we know him for, but I still don't think he will finish the season with Les Canadiens. He and maybe a prospect/pick will be traded at the deadline for _______ (fill in the blank in the comments!!) 32 Travis Moen- 4 G, 13 A - 17 P, -6, 0 PPG X factor - One of my personal favourites, Travis Moen is the kind of player we love. A big guy, solid hitter and won't back down from a tussle (although I noticed that after his eye injury last season he didn't drop the gloves at all). He'll be a solid third liner. 67 Max Pacioretty- 23 G, 34 A - 57 P, + 16, 8 PPG X factor - He shows great chemistry with Brian Gionta, and he will be a Masterson Canidate this year. The fact that the guy is still walking is a miracle, let alone playing hockey, at a high level I may add. Look for a big year from Patches. 14 Tomas Plekanec- 19 G, 53 A - 72 P, + 17, 4 PPG X factor - This will be a defining season for Plekanec, who signed a big six year deal back in 2010. He is labeled as a good second line centre, but a decent first liner. Though he scored 70 points in 09-10, he fell back to 60 last year. Injury depending, we may see Plekanec have his best year yet. 53 Ryan White- 5 G, 10 A - 15 P, -8, 0 PPG X factor - I am a big fan of this kid, and unfortunately we may see him being the odd man out. But, you may see him take a roster spot half way through the season. Keep your eyes on this guy. Defense 17 Chris Campoli- 5 G, 18 A - 23 P, -4, 2 PPG X factor - Not a bad pick up yesterday by Pierre Gauthier. Insurance if Emelin or Spacek don't pan out or if Markov gets injured. He will have a decent year this year. 74 Alexei Emelin- 2 G, 9 A - 11 P, +3, 0 PPG X factor - The Russian import who was taken by the Habs in the third round of the '04 draft will finally be making his NHL debut at the age of 25. He will bring part of what we lost in James Wisniewski (Columbus, 6 years, 33M), which is a physical edge but unfortunately he does not bring the kind of offensive talent that Wiz had. 75 Hal Gill- 1 G, 7 A - 8 P, -2, 0 PPG X factor - He is great in the locker room, and solid defender. But, every rose has it's thorn. Gill is aging, plus he was slow on his feet to begin with. He was re-upped for this season, but it looks like it may be his last, at least with Montreal anyways. 26 Josh Gorges- 3 G, 13 A - 16 P, + 11, 0 PPG X factor - He is coming back from a major injury and he looks better than ever. He'll play 20 minutes every night, and will be quarter backing the first P.K unit. 79 Andrei Markov- 12 G, 47 A - 59 P, +19, 8 PPG X factor - Like Gorges, Markov is coming off a major knee injury, and though he may miss the first week of the regular season, we will probably see the old Markov that we know and love. 6 Jaroslav Spacek- 1 G, 13 A - 14 P, -4, 0 PPG X factor - He's lost some weight this past offseason, and he is faster. He actually won a footrace against Sabre Speedster Nathan Gerbe. I actually did a double take. He'll kind of bounce back from last year's bad season. 76 P.K Subban- 21G, 38 A - 59 P, + 23, 14 PPG X factor - Love him or hate him, Pernell-Karl Subban is a budding superstar. Barring a sophomore slump, expect him to pull off HUGE numbers. He'll get a big contract next summer too. 68 Yannick Weber- 2 G, 18 A - 20 P, -1, 1 PPG X factor - Weber has the potential to be a second pairing defeseman, but right now he may be on the outside looking in due to the strong play of Emelin. Goaltenders 30 Peter Budaj- 7 W, 11 L, .912 SV%, 2.89 GAA X factor - Budaj may be a step down from Alex Auld (Ottawa, 1 year, 1M) on paper, but Budaj has the potential to be a great back up for Carey Price. Expect to see an OKAY season. 31 Carey Price- 38 W, 26 L, .925 SV%, 2.25 GAA X factor - Remember last time his preseason debut was horrible? Just chill out guys. Carey will be as good, if not better than he was last season. Maybe, just maybe, we can see a Vezina nomination. 2011-2012 Starting Line Up LW- 13 Mike Cammalleri C- 14 Tomas Plekanec RW- 72 Erik Cole LW- 67 Max Pacioretty C- 11 Scott Gomez RW- 21 Brian Gionta 'C' LW- 32 Travis Moen C- 51 David Desharnais RW- 46 Andrei Kostitsyn LW- 52 Mathieu Darche C- 81 Lars Eller RW- 53 Ryan White LD- 79 Andrei Markov 'A' RD- 74 Alexei Emelin LD- 76 P.K Subban RD- 26 Josh Gorges LD 6 Jaroslav Spacek RD- 75 Hal Gill 'A' 7th D - 68 Yannick Weber Starting Goaltender - 31 Carey Price Back Up Goaltender - 30 Peter Budaj Rookies Brenden Gallagher- I think he has the potential to be a top line forward. But for now, he will be returned to the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, where he will tear it up again. I think you will see him in the NHL full time before you know it, in about two or three years. Nathan Beaulieu- I like this kid's game. I can't believe we got him at 17th overall this past draft. He was expected to go in the top 10! He has a good, if not really good first pass, and his shot from the point is pretty good. Expect him in the NHL in 2013-2014. Jarred Tinordi- He has had a shaky preseason so far, but hey, its his first pro experience. He's a big kid, with a good stick. His skating could use work, but other wise a solid prospect. Rookie year could be 2014-2015. * Montreal Canadiens skaters through 59 games: Forwards 13 Mike Cammalleri- 13 G, 15 A - 28 P, -11 *Traded to Calgary for F Rene Bourque, Peter Holland and a 2012 2nd round pick* 27 Rene Bourque- 16 G, 5 A - 21 P, -4 72 Erik Cole- 22 G, 22 A - 44 P, +10 52 Mathieu Darche- 5 G, 7 A - 12 P, 0 51 David Desharnais- 11 G, 32 A - 43 P, +10 81 Lars Eller- 12 G, 10 A - 22 P, +5 21 Brian Gionta- 8 G, 7 A - 15 P, -7 * 31 GP* 11 Scott Gomez- 2 G, 7 A - 9 P, -4*29 GP* 46 Andrei Kostitsyn- 12 G, 12 A - 24 P, -6 32 Travis Moen- 9 G, 7 A - 16 P, -3 67 Max Pacioretty- 24 G, 21 A - 45 P, +1 14 Tomas Plekanec- 12 G, 29 A - 41 P, -14 53 Ryan White- 0 G, 1 A - 1 P, +5 *2 GP* Defense 17 Chris Campoli- 2 G, 4 A - 6 P, -2 *21 GP* 74 Alexei Emelin- 2 G, 2 A - 4 P, -4 75 Hal Gill- 1 G, 7 A - 8 P, -7 *Traded to Nashville for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney and a 2012 2nd round pick* 26 Josh Gorges- 2 G, 10 A - 12 P, +15 79 Andrei Markov- 0 G, 0 A - 0 P, 0 *0 GP* 6 Jaroslav Spacek- 2 G, 7 A - 9 P, +1 *Traded to Carolina for Tomas Kaberle* 22 Tomas Kaberle- 2 G, 14 A, - 16 P, -4 76 P.K Subban- 3G, 20 A - 23 P, +5 68 Yannick Weber- 4 G, 12 A - 16 P, -2 Goaltenders 30 Peter Budaj- 2 W, 6 L, .906 SV%, 2.73 GAA 31 Carey Price- 22 W, 29 L, .917 SV%, 2.37 GAA *9 losses in Overtime/Shootout* Okay guys, what did you think of that? I obviously had some big expectations of this year's Habs at the start of the pre-season, but now all that has faded. I really just want a high draft pick.
  12. Hey guys. You may remember my very first topic on this site was about how the Canadiens could be fixed. I suggested either we get a new coach, acquire a top 3 scorer, or a tough guy. Well, unless you've been hiding under a rock, Jacques Martin was fired earlier this year and replaced by Randy Cunneyworth, and Michael Cammalleri was traded to Calgary for Rene Bourque (during a game I may add). Under Cunneyworth, Montreal is 6-14. Before they fired Martin, they were 13-12-7. This was obviously a panic firing by Gauthier, and both he and Cunneyworth are expected to be let go by the end of this season. If I were the Molson brothers (I can dream) I would let Cunneyworth come back as an assistant, but I would look externally to find a new head coach. ​Habs potential coaching candidates: 1) Patrick Roy This would be my number one choice, hands down. Roy, who currently owns, manages and coaches the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League said he’s open to the possibility of returning to the organization where he began his NHL career. Patrick is a great candidate for the Habs' coach for plenty of reasons. He feels he owes the team after leaving so dis-gracefully, He'd be great for Price(and Budaj), he is currently leading the Remparts to a 33-14-5 record, and he just so happens to be french. The Hall of Famer would definitely be a great hiring for the Habs, as a fan, I hope they come to terms. 2) Guy Boucher??? This is a little less crazy as it sounds. The Lightning are having a sub par year, and Steve Yzerman is a new GM who could pull the trigger on a panic firing. Boucher would certainly have no issues coming back to his roots. The former Adams Trophy candidate is well known for his defensive styled hockey, and his 1-3-1 forecheck trap that had the league scratching their heads. He is also french! 3) Clement Jodoin Jodoin is currently the head coach of Montreal's AHL affiliate, The Hamilton Bulldogs. But before that, Jodoin had an impressive run in the QMJHL as head coach of Sidney Crosby's Rimouski Oceanic going 151-95-8-5. He has won a total of 3 CHL coach of the year awards ( with Halifax, Lewiston and Rimouski) and will forever be a great coach in the QMJHL history books. I know I said Montreal should look externally, but Jodoin has paid his dues and deserve a great of chance as any other candidate. He is also french. 4) Randy Carlyle Yes, that Randy Carlyle. The 1981 Norris Trophy winner could be a dark horse in the running for the next coach of Montreal. He won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007 and he coaches fast pace, crash the net styled hockey; the style of coaching all Habs fans having been dreaming about. Being a former defenceman, and coaching a few great defencemen (Pronger, Niedermayer etc.) his hiring could be beneficial for young defencemen P.K Subban, Alexei Emelin, and Raphael Diaz, who all appear to have great futures with the Habs. And no, he does not speak french, but it should (but it won't) be the last thing the Molson brothers look for. Top candidates for the next GM 1) Patrick Roy Need I say more? If Roy takes our coaching job, his title would likely include GM and Team President. 2) Pierre McGuire Although he was born in New Jersey, McGuire can speak fluent french. The current NBC analyst was named specifically by colleague Pierre LeBrun as a potential candidate for the GM job in Montreal. McGuire won two Stanley Cups as a scout and assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992. He then joined the Hartford Whalers as an assistant coach and was later named assistant general manager. In 1993 he was named head coach, leading the team to a 23-37-7 record in the 1993–94 after replacing current Flyers' GM Paul Holmgren in mid-season. Holmgren replaced McGuire as head coach following that campaign. McGuire is a liked and respected figure around the NHL and would probably make a good GM. 5 players that would help the Montreal Canadiens tremendously: 1) Andrei Markov and Brian Gionta The two players that would help us out the most are already under contract with us. Gionta, our captain, hasn't played a game since January 10th, and hasn't had a point since December 6th. He has 15 points on the year after a 29 goal, 47 point season last year. Granted, he has only 31 games under his belt this year but for 5 million bucks, his performance has to be better than 0.5 points per game, or he will be traded or bought out. Markov on the other hand, hasn't played since November 13th, 2010. His last point was on November 11th. He signed a new deal with Montreal last summer, and it has since been highly criticized because he has yet to have even a full practice. He was expected to be ready for the start of this season but there was a set back. Then, it was expected he would return in early January, but obviously nothing has happened. That was the last we've heard of Markov. He is a key contributor to our powerplay and was one of the reasons we had a strong one in the late 2000's, and may be the sole reason why our powerplay is dead last today. Extremely similar to the Indianapolis Colts' situation with Peyton Manning, Markov could be the teams' MVP without even playing a single game. 2) Johan Hedberg Peter Budaj has done a fine job this season, but if Carey Price is having one of those games where he just doesn't care (been a few this year) I'd feel better having 'Moose' coming in instead of Budaj. Hedberg is without a question the best true backup goalie in the NHL (by that I mean goalies who couldn't be a number 1 somewhere else, like Schnidner and Harding) and would be a valuable asset to any team. 3) Jeff Carter I'd love to have Jeff Cater. Who knows where he'll be traded at the Deadline this year, but its certain that he will not be a Blue Jacket come February 27th. It would probably take a roster player, a prospect and a pick and if Pierre Gauthier wants to keep his job, he will put an offer in. Carter would help Montreal tremendously, and he'd be our number 1 centre for years to come. Plus, he'd score a few goals. The main problem in Montreal could be though, the Montreal night life. 4) Manny Malholtra I don't think any rumours have surfaced that Malholtra is on the trading block, but he would be a great pick up for Montreal. We could use a centre who can win a bunch of faceoffs, and Manny is among the best in the league at doing that. 5) George Parros (taken from my debut topic)It's not like he would be difficult to obtain (likely a low draft pick, 4th round at the highest, or a minor leaguer.) Also, the dude can play hockey. Sure, he only has 16 goals and 30 points in 378 games, but in those 378 games, his +/- is +11. That's pretty good for an enforcer last time I checked. He's one of the best fighters in the NHL, very respected league wide, good locker room guy, he has a degree from Princeton, AND, he has a sweet stache. What's not to love? Make it happen PG!!! Okay guys so there it is. This blog is coming off a huge 5-0 win over the Leafs, so I hope I don't jinx anything! Happy Hockey P.S If you haven't already, don't forget to go check out "Trade Wars". Its a series of blogs that I and another member by the name of HF101 collaborate on and it really is fun. The link will be at the bottom. <Trade Wars> http://www.hockeyfor...guy26-vs-hf101/ <Twitter> https://twitter.com/#!/allanrayer
  13. Believe it or not the Sabres are fielding their opening night lineup for the first time since the October 15th contest (4th game of the year) against Pittsburgh. The only players that will be missing from the lineup will be Jochen Hecht and Brayden McNabb. Things should get interesting when McNabb is ready to go tomorrow. Gragnani and McCormick will be the healthy scratches tonight. Tonight the Sabres will visit the Bell Centre in an effort to begin the second half push and win back to back games for the first time since November 9th. The Habs come in with 47 points 2 ahead of the Sabres and come off a beat down of the Wings on home ice before the all star break. Ryan Miller will man the goal for the Sabres tonight looking to tie Dominik Hasek in all time wins by a Sabres goalie. Miller will need to build on his strong performance in Newark for Buffalo to have any shot at a run to the playoffs. Tyler Ennis will make is long awaited return to the lineup tonight, however it will not be at wing. Ennis is expected to be the pivot man on a line with Stafford and Gerbe. Ennis played center at Medicine Hat and Portland. We will see how long Ruff sticks with him in the middle. I'll take the under on the over/under 3 shifts. It also appears Luke Adam will make his return to the middle between Pominville and Vanek. This is Adam's chance to make his mark on his coach again or he will end up in Rochester very soon. The Adam's family line was one of the top lines in hockey to begin the season. I hope they regain their form. I think Buffalo needs this one tonight because tomorrow night in Buffalo King Henrik and the 1st place Rangers will be no easy task. Expected Lineup: Vanek Adam Pominville Gerbe Ennis Stafford Boyes Roy Leino Kaleta Gaustad Ellis Myers-Sekera Ehrhoff-Regher Leopld-Weber Miller (Enroth) Predicition: Hard fought battle between two desperate teams. I think a healthy Buffalo and solid Ryan Miller squeezes out a 3-2 W.

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