The Montreal Canadiens have only two defensemen under contract for next season, Jaroslav Spacek and P.K. Subban. There are four unrestricted and three restricted free agents that general manager Pierre Gauthier will have to deal with before the first of July. One of the unrestricted free agents is newcomer James Wisniewski, who has become a fan favourite in the month he’s been with the team. Can the Canadiens sign him for next year or will the salary cap numbers game prevent it.
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P.K. – The Entertainer. Nothing about the way he play hockey fails to attract attention. Especially when he’s got the spotlight in an All-Star game. Two years ago, while with the junior Belleville Bulls he scored the winning goal in the OHL All-Star game. Last year it was that spectacular effort in the AHL All-Star game. Take a look at what he had to offer in the NHL All-Star game.
The Canadiens are part of the NHL’s middle class, that group of ten teams that sits, annually, on the playoff cusp.. They are seventh in the East; a two game losing streak away from ninth. They’re two points behind the sixth place Rangers and two ahead of Atlanta. They hold two games in hand over each of them; which is nice, if they win both games..
Overall, the Canadiens are improved by nine points. Last season at fifty games the Canadiens were a .500 team – 50 points in fifty games (23-23-4). Today they’re 27-18-5 and 59 points. The areas of improvement are subtle. Special teams are running about the same. Individual peformance is, for the most part, about the same but the Canadiens home ice record is markedly better and they’ve allowed twelve fewer goals. As a result, at they’re seventh in the Eastern Conference as compared with twelfth last year at this point
Season Series – Fourth of Four games. Flyers have won two of three. Nov.16 – Bell Centre -Canadiens-3 Flyers-0 Price made 41 saves for the shutout. .Mike Richards calls out P.K. Subban after the game for “having no respect”.Cammalleri, Plekanec and Gionta scored the goals. Gionta also assisted on the other goals. Nov. 22 – @Philadelphia – Flyers 3 Canadiens-2 Flyers come from behind 2-0. Maxim Lapierre scored both early Canadiens goals. Carey Price stopped 42 of 45, Dec. 15 @Bell Centre – Philadelphia-5 Canadiens-2. Van Riemsdyk’s second goal was the game winner. Canadiens came from behind 3-1 to tie the game. Flyers scored two goals in 1:01 of the third to pull away. Subban, Plekanec and Gionta for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens acquired right wing Aaron Palushaj from the St. Louis Blues in return for a struggling Matt D’Agostini in march of last year. A former teammate of Max Pacioretty at the University of Michigan, Palushaj came to the Canadiens organization highly praised fr his on-ice vision and scoring touch. The 5’11”, 183 pound Palushaj
Only in Montreal?
More than twenty thousand fans, mostly kids, came to the Bell Centre this morning to watch the Canadiens practice. In skills competition, Max Pacioretty was the fastest skater, Andrei Kostitsyn and Brian Gionta won the target shooting and Benoit Pouliot had the hardest shot.
Centre Andreas Engqvist logged 6:21 ice time Saturday night against Anaheim, including almost three minutes of penalty killing time, an indication of Jacques Martin’s confidence in his ability. Unfortunately, with Jeff Halpern due to return to the lineup, Engqvist is caught up in the numbers game. Today Engqvist was returned the Hamilton Bulldogs. Ryan White remains with the team for now.
Saku Koivu’s return to the Bell Centre had mixed results. First, his team won the game 3-2 in a shootout spoiling a Canadiens third period comeback. That trumps everything. Before the game Koivu was given a standing ovation and he got another one when Canadiens fans generously voted him the game’s second star. He also assisted on the goal that gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead with seventeen seconds remaining in the second period. But, Koivu also picked up three minor penalties and Max Pacioretty scored on two of them including the goal that tied the game up with 13 seconds remaining in regulation time.
Season Record – Anaheim – 50GP (24-15-9) 57pts. 3rd in Pacific Division. 6th in Western Conference. Canadiens 48GP (27-17-4) 58 pts. 2nd in Northeast division. Sixth in Eastern Conference.
Last Ten Games – Anaheim (7-3-0) Canadiens (7-1-2)
Recently – Anaheim lost inToronto 5-2 Thursday after edging the Senators 2-1 on Tuesday. Canadiens beat Ottawa 7-1 Friday. Lost in Buffalo 2-1 Tuesday in overtime.