Of the nine Canadiens players who were facing unrestricted three agency at the end of the year, five have received contracts for the coming season. The Canadiens re-signed three of them. Mathieu Darche, Andrei Kostitsyn, Chris Campoli and Jaroslav Spacek are still awaitiing offers.
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While the Canadiens need to address depth issues in their goaltending, the future of the Canadiens defense is promising. Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges are the anchors of a defense that broke in two rookies last year – Alexei Emelin and Raphael Diaz last season. P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber were in their second seasons, Behind that, a very deep farm system.
Questions and answers on an off day for the Canadiens – Is P.K. Subban a serial “slew footer”? Andrei Kostitsyn’s future in Montreal, if any. The size and length of Carey Price’s next contract? the next coach of the Canadiens. and Michael Cammalleri leaves Montreal under a undeserved cloud. Read all about it.
Andrei Markov practiced this morning in a white jersey for the first time in just over a year. The white jersey meant he had been cleared for full contact scrimmaging with his teammates. He made the trip with the team to Carolina but it’s unlikely he’ll be cleared to play in a game for another two weeks or so.
According to Jacques Martin, the Canadiens gave up too many scoring chances to the Islanders last night. Hal Gill was in hospital because of an infected lacteration on a leg and won’t be available for tomorrow night’s game against a New York Ranger team that has won it’s last seven games.
Michael Cammalleri is a “possible” participant in tomorrow night’s game in Pittsburgh and a “probable” for Saturday night against Toronto. At the same time defenseman Hal Gill is set to celebrate his 1,000th regular season NHL game.
With only two players under contract, and as many as nine possiblities, Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier is going to have an interesting off-season configuring his defence for next season. Jaroslav Spacek and P.K. Subban are set for the coming season. Josh Gorges is a restricted free agent. Markov, Wisniewski, Hamrlik, Gill, Mara and Sopel are all unrestricted. Gauthier is going to have to decide who to let go and with whom to negotiate.
When the Canadiens win, for the most part the pattern is clear. Get an early lead and turn the game over to Carey Price. In the three game road trip Price dealt with 117 shots and allowed three goals. In each of the games the Canadiens had 2-0 leads.
There will be no complaining about Scott Gomez after this game. He was outstanding from start to finish along with his linemates, Brian Gionta and Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty scored twice and was a big part of Hal Gill’s second goal in two games, screening Dwayne Roloson on the 50 foot slapshot.
Pierre Gauthier was criticized for failing to make a trade deadline deal to bolster the Canadiens offense. Leading up to the deadline he had a more pressing problem. Because of injuries to his defense, the top penalty killing team in the NHL had slipped to tenth ranking in just nineteen games. Gauthier went to work and landed two veteran defensemen who were a very large presence in last night’s win in Atlanta.
The Canadiens will spend most of the next week in Western Canada starting tomorrow night with a game in Edmonton. Spacek has been left in Montreal to undergo treatment for an unspecified lower body injury. Hal Gill is with the team but is not expected to play until at least Sunday in the Heritage Game at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium.