vendredi 31 mai 2013

Report: Canadiens to part ways with Michael Ryder



Source : theglobleandmail.com

It appears Michael Ryder will be allowed to walk away from the Montreal Canadiens this summer.
According to a report in Le Journal de Montreal, Ryder's agent says the 33-year-old forward does not factor into general manager Marc Bergevin's offseason plans.

Ryder, who was in the final year of a two-year, $7-million contract he signed in 2011, is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 5.

Ryder had 10 goals and 21 points in 27 games with the Canadiens after being acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars for Erik Cole. In the playoffs, he tallied one goal and one assist in the opening round loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Originally drafted by the Canadiens in 1998, Ryder spent his first four NHL seasons with the squad before joining the Boston Bruins as a free agent in 2008. Two years later, he was on the Bruins Stanley Cup winning team.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, signed forward prospect Tim Bozon to a three-year contract.
Bozon had 36 goals and 91 points and was plus-37 in 69 games for the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League this season.




The 19-year-old was drafted 64th overall by Montreal in 2012.

Bozon was born in St. Louis, where his father Philippe Bozon played for the Blues. The six-foot-one 185-pound forward played for France at the recently completed IIHF world championship, where he had one assist in five games.

In two seasons with Kamloops, he had 162 points in 140 games and was plus-64.

Canadiens : Lafleur appuie Price



Source : Rds.ca



Guy Lafleur ne s'en fait pas pour la santé mentale de Carey Price. Le démond blond n'estime pas que le jeune gardien du Canadien compose difficilement avec son statut de vedette à Montréal.

« Ça me surprendrait que ça l'affecte au point où il ressent réellement une pression additionnelle », a affirmé Lafleur, jeudi, dans le cadre de la remise des Prix d'excellence et de mérite portant son nom.

À lire également

L'attaquant Patrick Delisle-Houde, des Redmen de McGill, et le défenseur Charles-David Beaudoin, des Voltigeurs de Drummondville, sont les récipiendaires des Prix d'excellence Guy Lafleur, octroyés depuis 28 ans aux jeunes hockeyeurs étudiants émérites.

L'attaquant Alexis Guilbaut, des Lauréats du cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe, a reçu le mérite Guy Lafleur.
Lafleur sait de quoi il parle puisqu'il a eu à composer avec le statut de vedette dès ses premiers coups de patins dans l'uniforme du Canadien, dans les années 1970.

Il a été l'idole d'une génération de partisans du Canadien. Dans ses plus belles années, partout où il allait, il ne passait pas inaperçu et il était très sollicité.

« Ce n'est pas difficile de faire sa bulle, a-t-il repris. La couverture médiatique est peut-être plus importante de nos jours. Carey est plus susceptible d'être reconnu dans les lieux publics, mais ça fait partie du métier. Les gens sont sympathiques, c'est le fun. Les gens te donnent énormément d'attention, et toi en retour par ta gentillesse tu dois redonner à ton public. Ça vient naturellement. Et quand tu veux avoir la paix, tu restes chez toi. C'est comme ça que je vois ça.

« Les gens me disent toujours: 'tu dois être tanné de te faire achaler tout le temps'. La journée que je ne me ferai pas achaler quand je vais sortir, là je vais me poser des questions. Je vais être pas mal inquiet », a-t-il résumé, en s'esclaffant.

Admettant qu'il s'attendait à ce que Price soit meilleur en séries éliminatoires, Lafleur a souligné qu'on doit faire preuve de patience dans son cas parce qu'il n'est âgé que de 25 ans.

« Il n'a pas encore atteint le sommet de son art. Les gardiens âgés de moins de 25 ans comme lui sont peu nombreux dans la Ligue nationale. Il va revenir plus fort. Le directeur général Marc Bergevin et l'entraîneur Michel Therrien vont l'aider à augmenter son niveau de jeu. Ils vont lui permettre d'acquérir plus de confiance et de maturité. »

Lafleur, qui ne recule jamais devant une question des journalistes, s'est par ailleurs dit très heureux pour Patrick Roy.

L'ancien gardien vedette vient d'accepter les postes d'entraîneur et de vice-président des opérations hockey avec l'Avalanche du Colorado.

« Patrick ne visait pas uniquement un poste d'entraîneur, comme on le laissait entendre. Il voulait plus de latitude sur le plan décisionnel et il a eu ce qu'il voulait au Colorado. Il connait bien l'organisation parce qu'il a évolué là-bas. C'est une belle occasion pour lui. C'était le moment pour lui de tenter sa chance dans la Ligue nationale, après 10 ans passés dans la Ligue junior du Québec. »

Interrogé au sujet du redressement du Canadien cette saison, Lafleur a souligné le bon travail qu'a fait Bergevin et le virage jeunesse que l'organisation a orchestré.

Lafleur s'est dit particulièrement impressionné par Alex Galchenyuk.

« C'est important dans le hockey d'aujourd'hui de permettre aux jeunes de cheminer à leur propre rythme, a-t-il opiné. Le Canadien l'a fait cette saison avec Galchenyuk et Brendan Gallagher, et on ne cache pas qu'on va miser de plus en plus sur les jeunes à l'avenir. »

jeudi 30 mai 2013

Habs : Gionta still leading by example



Source : Montrealgazette.com

Brian Gionta will turn the corner into his fifth season with the Canadiens this September, and he knows no better than the rest of us whether he’ll be in Montreal for a sixth.

“How I’ve always dealt with it, including the last years of my deal in New Jersey, is I just go out and play,” Gionta said this week at the Habs’ Brossard training facility for a daily session of biceps tendon surgery rehab treatment.

“I don’t worry about it, I let my agent take care of it. That’s just my personality. I’m not the guy who’s going to get caught up in stuff and worry about it. Things work out for a reason. They happen the way they’re supposed to.”

Of any contact to this point with Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin:

“No, there’s been none,” Gionta replied, not that there’s anything whatsoever revealing about that.
Gionta, 34, signed with Montreal on July 1, 2009, his five-year, $25-million contract bringing him to town as part of the free-agent armada that docked in then-GM Bob Gainey’s massive Habs retooling.
Gionta was named the club’s 28th captain on Sept. 29, 2010, the position having historically sat fallow for a season as team management and head coach Jacques Martin had the dressing room led by committee through 2009-10.

Two hundred and 22 games played with the Canadiens since his arrival, an even 250 counting the postseason, Gionta well knows the business of hockey.

He’s worn just two NHL jerseys — that of New Jersey for 473 games, beginning as a 23-year-old rookie in 2001-02, and then the Canadiens. It was with the Devils in his sophomore season that he won his Stanley Cup.

For 170 games with Montreal, regular-season and playoffs, Gionta has been captain both by the letter on his jersey and his actions on the ice, where he has played much taller and heavier than his advertised 5-foot-7, 175 pounds.

“I don’t think things will change too much,” Gionta told a media crowd upon being introduced as captain. “I’m a leader by example on the ice. There’s a good group of core guys on this team who can do a majority of the leading. That’s still going to be the case.”

Much of that core has changed in the nearly three years since Gionta spoke those words. But veterans who departed for elsewhere have been replaced. And Gionta still leads by example.

“I love the captaincy. I’m very honoured to have it and I try to do what I can,” he said this week. “I try to leave everything on the ice every night.

“I’m not a ‘show’ person. I don’t have to prove things. I don’t do things to say, ‘Hey, this is why I’m doing it.’ I am who I am. I don’t need to go down the bench and whisper in someone’s ear to prove it to a camera. I play and that’s it.”

Gionta has ridden the roller coaster that is hockey in Montreal. He went three rounds deep into the 2009-10 playoffs; lost a seven-game, overtime-decided series the following year to Boston, the eventual Cup champion; endured the 2010-11 disaster of dented bodies and dysfunction; then was part of the remarkable turnaround of this season, which ended on a personal low when he tore a biceps tendon in the first postseason game against Ottawa.

If Gionta is surprised by the dramatic about-face of this season, following the world’s longest funeral of 2010-11, he’s not letting on.

“It started when Mr. Molson made changes,” he said of owner Geoff Molson’s bold hiring of Bergevin as GM last summer. “(Molson) made decisions that I’m sure are really tough in the business. He put people in place who were great, and it trickled down from management.

“Marc has been great right from the start. He has a player’s perspective, he played the game for a long time. He understands what guys you need in the room.

“Michel was great,” Gionta added of head coach Michel Therrien. “He brought in a system that everybody bought into and played. That’s why you saw the success we had. It doesn’t matter what system we had — as long as everybody’s doing it, it’s going to pay off.”

Gionta described 2010-11 as “a bad year, an off year,” the season that was called a lot worse by many.
“But we always believed in the guys in the room,” he said. “Everybody kind of wrote us off (this season) and didn’t expect much from us, but we expected what we achieved.

“That’s why I was so disappointed at the end of the year (falling in five games to Ottawa). We’re a last-place team last year, then we finish on top of our division and go to the playoffs. People said,
‘That should be a good year.’ Well, it was disappointing. We should have gone further.

“The success starts with leadership at the top. Mr. Molson has invested in having a great team and Marc is the guy who will do that.

“I’m confident that this is just the start of it. It’s not a fluke thing that we bounced back. It’s getting the right guys in that room. It’s character guys. You see the transformation and it will only continue.”

Time will tell whether Gionta, having been a part of this team’s recent checkered past, will be here for what seems to be a promising future.

Hockey, this captain has learned, is too rugged a game to be played with a crystal ball.

Canadiens : Plus dans les plans



Source : Rds.ca

Michael Ryder ne serait pas de retour avec le Canadien la saison prochaine selon le Journal de Montréal.






Marc Bergevin aurait informé l'agent de Ryder que l'ailier droit de 33 ans ne faisait plus partie des plans de l'équipe.
Ryder deviendrait donc joueur autonome sans compensation.
Il a amassé 21 points en 27 matchs avec le Canadien, après son acquisition des Stars la saison dernière.

mercredi 29 mai 2013

Marc Staal: Eye won't be the same



Source : Espn.com



Marc Staal said he does not expect his injured right eye to ever make a full recovery, but he does expect to resume playing at the highest level possible.

The New York Rangers' 26-year-old defenseman sustained a small tear in his right eye after taking a puck to the face in a game against the Flyers March 5. He missed 27 regular-season games and 11 playoff games as a result.

"It's probably not going to be 100 percent," Staal said of his injury, "but that's not to say it's not going to get a lot better. It's still improving."

Asked about his potential to get back to playing at the level he was playing before suffering the injury, Staal said: "My belief is that once everything settles down and I get comfortable with it, I'll never have to be asked about it again. I don't think it'll be an issue."

Staal said the injury was frightening and admitted that he immediately wondered whether it could threaten his career.

"Scary injury," he said. "One of the first things, when you're sitting on the table, going through your head is if you're going to be able to see again. I was fortunate it wasn't worse."
Rangers. Islanders. Devils. If you want hockey information, ESPNNewYork.com has you covered. Blog

Though Staal did return for one game -- Game 3 of the team's first-round series against the Capitals -- he still struggled to adjust to some lingering issues.

Pressure in his eye spiked and dropped, causing Staal dizziness and disorientation. Staal also said that his eye would, at times, cramp up and cause him headaches.
"It would be tough to get through a practice, never mind a game," Staal said.

Those issues resurfaced after he tried playing, and despite tinkering with different medication and eye drops, Staal didn't feel comfortable enough to return.

Staal, who also missed half of last season with a concussion, believes having time off during the summer will help.

The loss of Staal was a costly one to the Rangers, who rely on his steadying presence and size on the back end.
"When Marc Staal was injured -- and he's had a tough couple of years here -- he was playing his best hockey I've seen him play since I've been here," coach John Tortorella said. "That hurt us."
Staal, who now wears a long visor to protect his eye, said he recently voted in an informal NHLPA poll in favor of mandatory visor use.
He used to be in favor of grandfathering the rule in, but now thinks it should be implemented across the board.
He was not wearing a visor when he sustained the injury.
"Having gone through what I did," Staal said, "I don't want anyone else to do that."

Patrick Roy : Une attitude de gagnants



Source : Rds.ca



Patrick Roy a officiellement été présenté dans ses nouvelles fonctions d’entraîneur-chef de l’Avalanche du Colorado et il s'est dit heureux de réaliser un autre rêve.

Cette conférence de presse attendue a été présentée en direct sur RDS Info et le RDS.ca. Notre collègue Renaud Lavoie a dévoilé que Roy avait eu des contacts avec André Tourigny, Benoit Groulx, Martin Laperrière et Mike Keane pour des postes d'adjoints à ses côtés.

À l'image de sa personnalité, Roy n'a pas tardé à insister sur l'attitude à prôner pour son équipe.
«C’est certain qu’on ne peut pas gagner la coupe Stanley tous les ans, mais nous aurons une attitude d’une équipe qui veut la gagner», a affirmé Roy, fidèle à son caractère exigeant.

À lire également

À propos de son équipe, Roy a utilisé l’exemple de Jarome Iginla qui a choisi de quitter Calgary pour Pittsburgh afin de pouvoir soulever le précieux trophée du championnat.

«C’est ce que je veux voir dans l’avenir, entendre des joueurs dire qu’ils veulent jouer au Colorado avec (Gabriel) Landeskog, (Matt) Duchene et compagnie pour avoir la chance de gagner la coupe Stanley», a-t-il évoqué.

Pour les partisans, le défi personnel et non l'argent 

Roy a obtenu un contrat non garanti de quatre saisons (avec une option pour une cinquième année) pour sa première tentative comme entraîneur dans la LNH. Il ne serait donc pas payé s'il est congédié et il a admis qu'il aurait accepté l'aventure même s'il n'avait pas hérité d'un mandat dans les décisions hockey.

«Je ne suis pas ici pour l’argent, je suis là pour les partisans et l’organisation. Je veux aussi me prouver que je peux accomplir le même travail qu’à Québec avec les Remparts», a argué Roy.

Note intéressante, Roy sera celui qui discutera avec les autres équipes de la LNH pour effectuer des transactions.

À la fin du point de presse, Roy a offert l'une de ses meilleures réponses quand il a été questionné sur le fait que les meilleurs joueurs ne font pas nécessairement de bons entraîneurs.

«Je ne suis pas nerveux à propos de cela. En fait, je suis surpris qu’on ne m’ait pas posé une question à propos de mon manque d’expérience.

«Je peux vous dire que j’ai trouvé une statistique intéressante, 100% des entraîneurs de la LNH ont été des recrues à un certain point dans leur carrière», a-t-il rappelé avec confiance.

Sans surprise, il a dû expliquer pourquoi il n'avait pas accepté ce rôle en 2009 et son explication était pertinente.

«Je pense que le moment est parfait cette fois. Je n’étais peut-être pas si prêt pour ce poste en 2009 dont en raison de ma situation familiale. Mais j’ai beaucoup appris et évolué dans les dernières années comme entraîneur et directeur général. Comme entraîneur, je trouve qu’on fait souvent l’erreur de vouloir aller trop vite», a dévoilé Roy qui est heureux d’avoir pris son temps.

De bons mots pour les gens du Québec et de Québec

Il a tenu à rassurer les partisans très rapidement à propos de son travail comme entraîneur.
«Je vais amener la même passion que lorsque j’étais joueur», leur a-t-il lancé comme message.

«Je souhaite remercier tous les partisans de Québec et du Québec pour leur soutien. Je réalise un rêve et je me sens privilégié de pouvoir amorcer cette nouvelle étape en sentant votre appui», a exprimé
Roy en français avant de répondre aux questions.

Josh Kroenke, Patrick Roy et Joe Sakic. (Source d'image: Getty)Il n'a pas hésité à admettre que la réalité sera différente de celle vécue derrière le banc dans la LHJMQ.

«Je comprends que je devrai apporter quelques ajustements, mais l’important demeure de bien se préparer. Au niveau junior, j’ai utilisé mon expérience de la LNH et des méthodes de mes meilleurs entraîneurs», a convenu Roy.

Plusieurs joueurs de l’Avalanche étaient présents pour l’appuyer dont le capitaine Landeskog, Paul Stastny et le gardien Jean-Sébastien Giguère.

Roy était entouré par Joe Sakic (vice-président exécutif des opérations hockey) et Josh Kroenke, le président de l’équipe. Il fera aussi équipe avec le directeur général Greg Sherman pour redorer le blason de l'Avalanche.

Jeudi dernier, l'Avalanche a confirmé que l'ancien gardien de but étoile avait accepté de prendre les commandes de l'équipe. Roy, qui est accueilli avec enthousiasme au Colorado, a aussi obtenu son mot à dire dans les décisions hockey de l'organisation.

Au cours de la dernière saison, l'Avalanche a conclu le calendrier écourté au dernier rang de l'Association Ouest ce qui lui permettra de bénéficier du premier choix au repêchage du 30 juin. Tout indique que le défenseur Seth Jones sera sélectionné par Roy et son entourage, mais la performance de Nathan MacKinnon au tournoi de la Coupe Memorial fait probablement réfléchir les dirigeants de la LNH.

Roy, qui est âgé de 47 ans, dirigeait les Remparts de Québec dans la Ligue de hockey junior majeur du Québec depuis 2005. Il a présenté une fiche de 307-128-32 dans ces fonctions et il a notamment remporté une Coupe Memorial.

mardi 28 mai 2013

Habs sign two Swedish draft picks



source : Montrealgazette.com

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced the signings of two Swedish draft picks on Tuesday: defenceman Magnus Nygren and forward Sebastian Collberg.

The club also announced that defenceman Alexei Emelin underwent successful reconstructive surgery on the ACL and MCL in his left knee and that his recovery is estimated at six months. Emelin suffered the injury when he collided with the Boston Bruins’ Milan Lucic in the first period of a game on April 6 at the Bell Centre. The surgery was delayed to allow the swelling in Emelin’s knee to subside.

Nygren, 22, was signed to a two-year contract after playing 51 games with Karlstad Farjestad in the Swedish elite league. He led all defencemen with 13 goals and had 32 points, to go along with a plus-11 and 49 penalty minutes and won the Salming Trophy as the league’s top defenceman. The 6-foot-1, 191-pounder was selected by the Canadiens in the fourth round (113th overall) at the 2011 NHL entry draft.

Collberg, 19, signed a three-year contract after playing 35 games with the Frolunda Indians in the Swedish elite league, posting 6-3-9 totals with six penalty minutes. The 5-foot-11, 181-pound right-winger also played in 15 games with Orebro HK in Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan, posting 6-2-8 totals and two penalty minutes. He finished the season in Hamilton, playing two games with the AHL’s Bulldogs.

Collberg was also part of the Swedish team that won a silver medal at this year’s world junior championship, posting 4-2-6 totals in six games. He was selected by the Canadiens in the second round (33rd overall) at the 2012 NHL entry draft.

Canadiens : Le CH coupe les ponts avec Archambault



Source : Rds.ca

Le Canadien de Montréal a décidé de ne pas offrir de contrat à Olivier Archambault qui sera donc éligible au prochain repêchage de la LNH, le 30 juin.

C'est le journal L'Express de Drummondville qui a été le premier à annoncer la nouvelle qui a plus tard été confirmée par l'agent d'Archambault, Normand Dupont, au RDS.ca.

Les équipes de la LNH ont jusqu'au 1er juin, soit deux ans après avoir repêché un joueur, pour lui offrir un contrat, sinon le joueur peut être repêché à la séance de repêchage suivante.

Le Canadien avait fait d'Archambault son choix de quatrième ronde en 2011. En 64 matchs cette saison, l'ailier gauche a récolté 32 buts et 34 passes pour un total de 66 points en 64 matchs dans l'uniforme des Voltigeurs de Drummondville.

lundi 27 mai 2013

Habs : Shane Churla leaves Dallas Stars for Montreal



Source : starsinsideedge.com

Shane Churla, who has been an amateur scout with the Dallas Stars since 2005, is heading to the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs announced today that Churla has accepted a position with the team as chief amateur scout.

Churla’s been one of the Stars’ key amateur scouts over the past several years. I put together a story on his transition from player to scout last summer and you can read that here.
Here’s the release from the Stars on Churla’s departure.
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that Shane Churla has accepted a position with the Montreal Canadiens and will join Montreal as a member of their amateur scouting department, effective immediately.
“Shane played a major role in our Amateur Scouting department and we want to thank him for his eight years of dedicated service to the Dallas Stars organization.” Nill said. “We also want to congratulate Shane on his promotion to Montreal and wish him only the best in his future endeavors.”
Churla, 47, has worked with the Stars since 2005 in the role of amateur scout. He was responsible for helping identify and evaluate draft-eligible players along with contributing feedback and input to the overall draft preparation process.
 
As a player, Churla skated with the Stars organization for eight seasons (1988-96) and has appeared in 488 career NHL games with five different clubs (Hartford, Calgary, Minnesota/Dallas, Los Angeles, New York Rangers) tallying 71 points (26G-45A) with 2,301 penalty minutes.

Canadiens : Churla devient dépisteur en chef



Source : Rds.ca

 Le Canadien de Montréal a annoncé lundi l'embauche de Shane Churla au poste de dépisteur en chef, niveau amateur.

Il travaillera avec le groupe de Trevor Timmins qui possède le titre de directeur évaluation et développement.

Churla, 47 ans, a œuvré au sein de l’organisation des Stars de Dallas dans le rôle de dépisteur au niveau amateur.

Choix de sixième ronde des Whalers de Hartford en 1985, Churla a évolué dans la Ligue nationale pendant 11 saisons, portant les couleurs des Whalers, des Flames, des North Stars/Stars, des Kings et des Rangers. En 488 matchs, il a inscrit 26 buts tout en récoltant 45 mentions d’aide en plus d’amasser 2 301 minutes de punition.


vendredi 24 mai 2013

Patrick Roy, new coach for Avalanche, returns to Colorado to turn around team






Source : Denverpost.com

When the Avalanche needed a final piece for its roster in 1995 to become a championship club, it looked toward Quebec at Patrick Jacques Roy. Eighteen years later, the Avs look to Roy to lead them back to glory, this time as their coach and vice president of hockey operations.
The Avs again imported one of Quebec's biggest treasures, naming Roy their sixth coach in team history.

"This is an unbelievable day for me," Roy said in a team news release. "It's a new and exciting challenge that I am really looking forward to. I would like to thank Stan and Josh Kroenke for this opportunity as well as Joe Sakic for the trust they are putting in me. Almost 10 years to the day that I announced my retirement as a player, I am back in Denver and hope the fans are as excited as I am."

Because Roy remains in Florida, where he has a second home, and because of the holiday weekend, the Avs will not introduce him at a news conference until next week.

Even though Roy received the front-office title, it will be Sakic, named executive vice president of hockey operations two weeks ago, who has the final say on personnel matters.

"All along, Patrick was our top candidate," Sakic said in the news release. "Patrick has a great hockey mind. There is no one more passionate about this game. He will bring that winning attitude to our dressing room."

Not long after he took over in his new role, Sakic set his sights on Roy — despite originally saying he didn't want to hire a coach from junior hockey, where Roy has coached and been general manager since 2005 with the Quebec Remparts. Sakic quickly amended his words, however, saying the field for a coach was wide open and Roy would be an attractive candidate.

Sakic flew to Roy's offseason home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where the
deal essentially was hashed out. Roy, 47, becomes the most high-profile coach in Avs history as a Hall of Fame goalie who won four Stanley Cups (two with the Montreal Canadiens, two with the Avs) and a record three Conn Smythe Trophies in three decades (1986, 1993 and 2001). He compiled a 307-128-32 record with the Remparts, including a Memorial Cup championship in 2005. As he was known as a player, Roy has been a fiery coach in Quebec, with some occasional headline-grabbing because of his temper. But just as when he was a player, he has been known for winning.
"It's going to be good for all the young guys that we have. That's what the team needed," said Avs forward P.A. Parenteau, a Quebec native. "He's a proven winner. I'm really happy."
Playing goalie with Roy looking over your shoulder might be daunting, but Avalanche veteran 
Jean-Sebastien Giguere — who grew up idolizing Roy — welcomes the challenge.

"I'm really looking forward to working with him as my coach," Giguere said. "I watched him growing up, and I played against him, and now I get to play for him. It's very exciting. And in all seriousness, I think he'll be good for (Semyon Varlamov) too. To have a man like him giving you pointers as a goalie, that's not too bad."

Former Avs defenseman Adam Foote said he was "just so happy for Colorado hockey fans" with the hiring of his former roommate.

"The special part about Roy is, he's ready," Foote told KKFN 104.3.
"He's spent almost a decade with his family in Quebec. It's such good timing for Patrick, and Joe made the right call."

Roy inherits a team that finished last in the Western Conference, a draft lottery team three of the past five seasons. It has 22 players signed for next season, at a salary cap-averaged payroll of about $56 million — about $9 million under the cap.

"He's been successful as a coach and a GM," former University of Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. "They're starting to put some of the pieces back in place that were here during the glory years of the Avalanche, and Patrick is another one of those key pieces."

Roy retired from the Avs in 2003 with 551 regular-season wins and 151 playoff wins. He becomes the first Hall of Fame goalie to coach an NHL team.

"This move instantly reinvigorates the fan base in Colorado," said former DU and Avalanche winger Mark Rycroft, now an analyst with the Altitude television network. "In my mind, to bring back a legend, a guy that's got some real experience coaching, it's a home run."



Patrick Roy fait le saut



Source : Rds.ca

Patrick Roy est le nouvel entraîneur de l'Avalanche du Colorado selon une exclusivité annoncée par Gaston Therrien à RDS. De plus, Roy occupera le poste de vice-président aux opérations hockey.

L'ancien gardien vedette partagera ce deuxième rôle avec Joe Sakic. Il était au coeur des rumeurs depuis quelques jours et il avait refusé l'emploi en 2009.

En raison d’un long week-end aux États-Unis, la conférence de presse sera présentée la semaine prochaine.
«C’est une journée magnifique pour moi», a commenté Roy.

À lire également

«C’est un nouveau défi excitant pour lequel je suis emballé. Je voudrais remercier Stan et Josh Kroenke pour cette occasion en plus de Joe Sakic pour sa confiance envers moi.

«Environ 10 ans après l’annonce de ma retraite, je suis de retour à Denver et j’espère que les partisans sont aussi excités que moi», a-t-il ajouté.
Roy quitte donc son poste d'entraîneur des Remparts de Québec, mais il demeure l'un des propriétaires.

RDS avait confirmé mercredi que Roy avait rencontré Sakic.

«Depuis le début du processus, Patrick était notre premier candidat et nous sommes heureux de sa réponse positive. Il possède une excellente connaissance du hockey en plus d’être un très bon entraîneur et on ne peut pas trouver quelqu’un de plus passionné que lui», a détaillé Sakic.

Ce qui attend Roy au Colorado

L'Avalanche est à la recherche d'un entraîneur-chef depuis le congédiement de Joe Sacco, le 28 avril dernier.

Quelques minutes après la primeur de RDS, l'Avalanche a confirmé la nouvelle via son compte Twitter.

Roy, qui est âgé de 47 ans, dirigeait les Remparts de Québec dans la Ligue de hockey junior majeur du Québec depuis 2005. Il présente une fiche de 307-128-32 depuis qu'il s'est joint aux Remparts, et a notamment remporté une Coupe Memorial.

L'Avalanche a conclu la saison au 15e et dernier rang de l'Association Ouest, après avoir affiché un piètre dossier de 16-25-7. Elle détient le premier choix de la prochaine séance de repêchage de la LNH, qui aura lieu le 30 juin.

mercredi 22 mai 2013

Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 NHL Awards



Source : hockeywriters.com



The Montreal Canadiens jump from 15th place in the Eastern Conference and 28th overall in 2011-12 to winning the Northeast Division, securing the second seed in their Conference and finishing fourth overall was something that nobody in the hockey world saw coming. Their success in the standings was impressive, but what was equally as impressive – if not more – was having three members of the organization get nominations for hardware at the 2013 NHL awards.

Any player, coach or GM will tell you that personal acheivments mean nothing compared to finding success as a team. However, having not one or two, but three potential award winners is a sure sign that Habs GM Marc Bergevin – who is one of the candidates himself – is taking a step in the right direction with this franchise.

I’m going to take a look at the three members of the Montreal Canadiens who have been recognized by the league for their success in the shortened 2013 season as well as who they are up against to try to give you an idea as to who is likely to find themselves winners at this years NHL awards ceremony.

Calder Trophy

Brendan Gallagher could be the Canadiens first Calder Trophy Winner since Ken Dryden in 1970-71 (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Brendan Gallagher, Montreal’s fiesty rookie forward is up against Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks and Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers for the Calder Trophy which is given to the league’s top rookie.

Gallagher finished the season third among rookie scorers with 28 points in 44 games behind Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers and Jonathan Huberdeau who each tallied 31 points. Gallagher’s 15 goals were second to only Yakupov whose hat-trick in the Oilers final game propelled him to 17. In the plus/minus category, Gallagher was fifth with a +10. Saad finished first with a +17 rating and Huberdeau was a -15.

Brandon Saad had the luxury of playing on the league’s top team with a star studded roster that included the likes of Jonathan Toewes, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp as well as a one two punch in goal of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery. Huberdeau didn’t have the all star support that Saad enjoyed but was given the oppurtunity to play top six minutes averaging 16:55 minutes of ice time per game, first among rookie forwards who have played at least ten games.

Gallagher on the other hand had a team that had plenty of depth but no player even remotely close to the talent that Toewes and company possess. As for time on ice, the Montreal rookie played an average of 13:51 minutes per game, placing him 13th among rookie forwards with at least ten games under their belt.

Considering the success he found with the limited time awarded to him, and the success he helped his team acheive, Gallagher should come away as the 2013 Calder trophy winner.

James Norris Memorial Trophy 

P.K. Subban is up against Ryan Suter and Kris Letang for the Norris Trophy (Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE)

The Norris trophy is awarded to the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the best all-round ability in that position. There is no surprise that P.K. Subban of the Canadiens was named as one of the three finalists along with Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota wild.

Subban finished the year tied in first for points among blueliners with Kris Letang, each notching 38 points. Suter wasn’t far behind as he tallied 32 points of his own. Subban’s eleven goals were second to only Mike Green’s 12 he scored with the Washington Capitals. Seven of those goals were scored on the powerplay, ranking him second in that category behind fellow Canadien Andrei Markov.
Kris Letang’s +16 rating is tops among the three finalists followed by Subban with +12 and Suter with +2.

Suter played the toughest minutes as he averaged 27:16 minutes of ice time per game. Letang’s 25:38 minutes per game place him seventh in the league and Subban’s 23:14 minutes put him in 35th place in the NHL. The lack of minutes may be what cost Subban the Norris.

It can be viewed as more impressive that Subban put up such good numbers without being on the ice as much as his competition but many feel that his reduced time on ice implies he can’t handle the minutes of a top tier defenseman. Suter never tired and put up quality numbers on a team that failed to make it to the post season. Krist Letang played very respectable minutes and managed as many points as Subban despite playing seven less games.

P.K. Subban definitely had a great season but I would be surprised if he took home the Norris Trophy. Suter seems to be the favorite but my money would be on Kris Letang coming out on top.

Jack Adams Trophy

The Jack Adams award is given each year to the league’s top Coach. Michel Therrien lead the Canadiens to the top of the Northeast Division and second place in their Conference just one year after the Habs found themselves in the Eastern Conference and 28th overall. Therrien got the best out of Lars Eller and handled the development of rookies Brendan Gallagher (up for the Calder) and Alex Galchenyuk quite impressively.

These are just a few of the reasons that Therrien is nominated for the…..what’s that? Therrien isn’t a finalist for the Jack Adams? Really?

Bruce Boudreau and Joel Quenneville of the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks you say? 
hmmm… Both deserving I guess, much better teams to guide than Therrien had, but what can you do.
Winner: Paul MacLean of the Ottawa Senators

General Manager Of The Year

Marc Bergevin (right) is nominated for the GM of the year (Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE)
It’s pretty clear what this award is given out for. What should be just as clear is that Marc Bergevin of the Canadiens will be named the league’s top GM in 2013.

Ray Shero of the Pittsburgh Penguins did a heck of a job at the trade deadline when he acquired Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow and Douglas Murray without giving up a single roster player. By doing so he made a Stanley Cup competitor out of a team that beforehand was merely just a…Stanley Cup competitor.

Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks avoided off season stress when he re-signed forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. There’s no question that losing either player would impede the team’s chances of repeating their success from this season (second in the Western Conference) in the near future. Signing Swedish goaltender Viktor Fasth was a move that payed divedends as Fasth posted 15 wins and an impressive .921 save percentage. The signing of Sheldon Souray is nothing to ignore either as the 36 year old defenseman finished with a +19 rating while playing just under 21 minutes per game.

When Bergevin hired Michel Therrien as the Montreal Canadiens head coach there were many skeptics. Therrien however, made Bergevin look like a genius as he brought the Habs to the top of their division while at the same time earning a nomination for the Jack Ad….oh wait no, sorry I keep thinking that the NHL’s top coach in 2013 was nominated for the award given out to the league’s top coach. My Bad. Nevertheless, Bergevin proved to be right in his choice.

When P.K. Subban held out at the beginning of the season, Bergevin didn’t budge. After missing six games, Subban eventually gave in to Bergevin and signed a two year contract worth $5.75 million, an amount nobody expected the eventual Norris Trophy candidate would accept.

Signing Brandon Prust proved to be very beneficial to rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk as well as the whole team and he filled the team’s need for a penalty killer and good face off man by bringing Jeff Halpern back to the team late in the season.

Many were disappointed in Bergevin’s lack of action of trade deadline day, but made one of the best trades of the year earlier on when he somehow managed to talk Dallas Stars GM at the time Joe Nieuwendyk into taking Erik Cole in return for Michael Ryder and a 3rd round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft. A straight up swap of Ryder for Cole would have already had Bergevin come out on top of that deal, pulling off a draft pick as well was just a work of art.

Having fou.. three members of the Canadiens organization named as finalists for awards this year is enough to give hope to a city that has been losing for too long. Having two out of the three who will more than likey win shows that Bergevin’s goal to return the winning culture to Montreal is one that is very reachable.

Canadiens : Price a autant besoin d'aide que Fleury



Source : Rds.ca



Les directeurs généraux les plus efficaces sont très souvent ceux qui voient loin devant eux. Le pionnier sur ce plan a été Sam Pollock qui effectuait des transactions capables de lui rapporter des dividendes deux ou trois ans plus tard.

Le plus bel exemple de cela est survenu en 1970 quand il a échangé Ernie Hicke et le premier choix du Canadien aux Golden Seals de la Californie en retour de leur premier choix et d'un défenseur, François Lacombe, qui n'a jamais porté le chandail montréalais.

Tout indiquait que les parents pauvres de la ligue occuperaient le dernier rang du classement à la veille du repêchage de 1971, dont les deux joueurs les plus convoités étaient Guy Lafleur et Marcel Dionne. Celui qu'on surnommait le Godfather voulait s'approprier une future grande vedette. Grâce aux Seals, il a obtenu le premier choix de la ligue et s'en est servi pour réclamer en Lafleur, l'un des plus grands Glorieux de la riche histoire du Canadien.

Au fil des ans, d'autres directeurs généraux ont posé des gestes qui ont valu leur pesant d'or. Ils l'ont fait pour assurer le présent, pour mieux planifier l'avenir ou pour améliorer leurs chances de remporter une coupe Stanley qui était à leur portée.

Ce printemps, on s'est demandé pourquoi Ray Shero, déjà à la tête d'une puissance dans la ligue, a sacrifié un choix de première ronde, deux choix de deuxième ronde, un choix de cinquième tour, deux pâles espoirs dans des collèges américains et Joe Morrow, un défenseur de 20 ans réclamé en première ronde en 2011, tout cela pour obtenir Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow et Douglas Murray.

La réponse est claire. Les Penguins se voient offrir la possibilité de mériter une deuxième coupe Stanley en cinq ans. Rien ne dit quand une occasion comme celle-là se représentera. Alors, Shero a jugé bon d'y mettre le prix pour éviter que la coupe lui échappe.

Grosse acquisition à petit prix

Il y a un an, Shero a posé un autre geste, quasi anodin celui-là, qui pourrait s'avérer plus profitable que l'acquisition d'Iginla, de Morrow et de Murray ensemble. Il a obtenu pour une chanson celui qui est devenu la grande vedette de son équipe dans les séries, Tomas Vokoun.

Depuis huit ans, la cage des Penguins est défendue par un jeune et brillant gardien de but, Marc-André Fleury. En principe, une organisation est en voiture pendant 12 à 15 ans avec un gardien de ce calibre. Le problème, c'est que Fleury semble éprouver autant de problème avec la pression de gagner à tout prix que Carey Price. Au cours des deux derniers printemps, Pittsburgh a été éliminé dès le premier tour, d'abord en sept matchs par Tampa, puis en six parties par Philadelphie. Total combiné de buts accordés par Fleury durant ces 13 matchs : 43.

En juin dernier, Shero a compris qu'il ne pourrait pas continuellement s'en remettre à Fleury pour aspirer aux plus grands honneurs. Il est donc allé chercher à Washington une police d'assurance qui joue actuellement les héros.

Sur le coup, on n'a pas très bien saisi ce qu'il tentait de faire. Avec un gardien qui lui coûtait déjà 5.5 millions $ par saison, comment pouvait-il demander à Vokoun, qui avait été un gardien numéro un à Nashville, en Floride et à Washington et qui avait joué en moyenne 60 matchs par saison au cours des neuf dernières années, de venir réchauffer le banc à Pittsburgh?

La réponse, on l'a obtenue durant la série précédente contre les Islanders. Les Penguins semblaient menacés de subir une autre élimination rapide en première ronde, le genre d'échec qu'on ne peut se permettre avec des Crosby, des Malkin, des Letang, des Kunitz et des Dupuis dans la formation. Surtout pas après avoir acquis trois joueurs établis pour s'assurer de gagner la coupe. Or, s'il avait fallu que cette série contre les étonnants Islanders nécessite un septième match, compte tenu de la nervosité très évidente de Fleury, on aurait peut-être assisté à la répétition du scénario des deux dernières années.

Vokoun est entré dans cette série de brillante façon. Depuis qu'il a remplacé Fleury, les Penguins ont repris le contrôle de leur destinée. En cinq matchs, il en a gagné quatre. Son pourcentage d'efficacité est le meilleur des séries, un mirobolant ,949. Il occupe aussi le premier rang pour la moyenne de buts accordés par partie (1,61). La prétendue police d'assurance de Shero a pris la forme d'une bouée de sauvetage.

Si Carey Price profitait du même soutien?

Vous voyez où je veux en venir? Carey Price vient de participer aux séries pour une cinquième fois en six ans. À sa toute première expérience, il a remporté une série contre les Bruins. Il n'a pas gagné depuis. Les signes de faiblesse qu'il démontre sont inquiétants. Il a même admis avoir de la difficulté à cohabiter avec la pression de Montréal. Est-ce la pression du milieu dans lequel il évolue qui le paralyse ou la pression tout court?

On comprend Marc Bergevin de s'être porté à sa défense dans son bilan de fin de saison. Avait-il d'autres choix? Price représente le pain et le beurre du Canadien. C'est par lui que le succès arrive ou que l'élimination survient. Dans les circonstances, ce n'était pas le moment de l'accabler davantage.

Il n'y a aucun gardien dans les réserves du Canadien capable de prendre sa place. Quant à une transaction, faut oublier cela. Il faudrait que Bergevin obtienne un autre gardien dans l'échange. Or, aucun de ses homologues ne lui refilera un gagnant potentiel du trophée Vézina. Il échangerait donc un problème pour en obtenir un autre. Pas vraiment la solution.

Les Penguins de Pittsburgh offrent à Bergevin une piste de solution en ce moment. S'il doit garder à son service un gardien appelé à flancher dans les moments cruciaux, aussi bien dénicher au plus tôt un substitut expérimenté prêt à le relever à tout moment. Peter Budaj, on vient de le voir, n'a pas le physique de l'emploi dans ce genre de situation.

Si le patron du Canadien pouvait dénicher quelque part un second gardien capable de jouer le rôle de Vokoun, il rassurerait beaucoup de monde. Le gardien tchèque, ex-choix au repêchage du Canadien en 1994, n'a coûté à Shero qu'un choix de septième ronde. Et il seconde Fleury au salaire très raisonnable de 2 millions $.

Plus chanceux que ça, tu gagnes la coupe. Ce choix de septième ronde était le prix à payer pour un gardien qu'il espérait pouvoir garder au bout du banc. Les prouesses de Vokoun risquent maintenant de le faire passer pour un génie.

Pareille aubaine ne se trouve pas au coin de la rue, je l'admets. Cependant, il faudra bien se prémunir un jour contre les hauts et les bas de ce gardien fragile sous la pression. Price est costaud, fort physiquement, jeune et durable, mais il en faut davantage pour être un sauveur. Ce n'est jamais bon signe quand un gardien a plus besoin d'un psychologue que d'un entraîneur personnel.

 



mardi 21 mai 2013

Nashville Predators : Fans make record donations to charities



Source : tennessean.com

There were worries that the huge, oversized check on stage at Bridgestone Arena on Monday going to charity might not have been as big this year.

But Nashville Predators fans, through the Predators Foundation, managed to help give enough to surpass the prior year’s haul, a feat achieved every year since it was founded 15 years ago. On Monday, the foundation presented 113 checks to Tennessee nonprofit organizations to help them carry on their missions.

“This year going into the season we were pretty worried for obvious reasons,” said Predators President Sean Henry, speaking in front of more than 300 people at Bridgestone. “We had the lockout, we had a shortened season, and we really thought this was going to be the year that we were not going to be able to surpass last year’s $350,000 or $360,000.”

This year’s total: $405,000.

The money will go to charities such as Habitat for Humanity, Centerstone of Tennessee and The Arc Williamson County, which serves families with disabled children. For many of the nonprofits, every penny counts in a struggling economy.

Kim Stringfield-Davis, executive director of the 23rd District Child Advocacy Center, made no bones about how hard it has been to maintain funding over the past few years.

“Very difficult,” she said. “Obviously the economic downturn has hit nonprofits hard.”
Her organization helps children who are abused and neglected in Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys and Stewart counties, where many of the children they are serving come from meth homes.

The Predators Foundation also is helping to fund Pavlov, a trained half-golden retriever, half-lab who comforts children who have to talk to police or testify in court.

Henry said he was happy to be giving out more money than any previous year, and that their success is testament to Nashville’s giving spirit.

“For that we’re very, very proud. It really shows what a great place Nashville is, and more importantly how special our fans are and their support for our organization,” he said.

Avalanche : Les rumeurs s’intensifient



Source : Rds.ca



Les rumeurs concernant l’embauche de Patrick Roy comme entraîneur-chef de l’Avalanche du Colorado s’intensifient.

Son frère cadet, Stéphane Roy, a déclaré au Denver Post que l’ancien gardien de la LNH serait « à finaliser les derniers détails d’une entente » avec l'équipe où il a remporté deux coupes Stanley, lundi en soirée.

Patrick Roy, prochain entraîneur au Colorado?

Stéphane Roy a d'abord annoncé la nouvelle sur son compte Facebook. Il a ensuite réitéré ses propos lorsqu'il a été rejoint par téléphone par le quotidien. Il a également dit que son frère « était à la recherche d’un nouveau défi ».

Toujours selon le frère du gagnant de quatre coupes Stanley, Joe Sakic aurait passé les derniers jours en compagnie de Patrick Roy à sa résidence de Palm Beach Gardens en Floride.

L’Avalanche n’a pas confirmé la nouvelle. Le principal intéressé n'a pu être rejoint au téléphone lundi soir, ni le vice-président aux opérations hockey de l'Avalanche Joe Sakic. Si l'entente s'avérait être véridique, Roy succéderait donc à Joe Sacco, qui a été congédié le 28 avril.

Roy, qui est âgé de 47 ans, dirige les Remparts de Québec dans la Ligue de hockey junior majeur du Québec depuis 2005. Il présente une fiche de 307-128-32 depuis qu'il s'est joint aux Remparts, et a notamment remporté une Coupe Memorial.

L'Avalanche a conclu la saison au 15e et dernier rang de l'Association Ouest, après avoir affiché un piètre dossier de 16-25-7. Elle détient le premier choix de la prochaine séance de repêchage de la LNH, qui aura lieu en juin.

lundi 20 mai 2013

NHL Playoff Capsules



Source : Nhl.com

Colin Greening scored 7:39 into double overtime, and the Ottawa Senators rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins that cut their series deficit to 2-1 on Sunday night.

Daniel Alfredsson got Ottawa even 1-1 by scoring a short-handed goal with 29 seconds left in regulation, just after the Senators pulled goalie Craig Anderson for an extra skater.

Anderson made 49 saves, including 18 after regulation. Tomas Vokoun stopped 46 shots for Pittsburgh and took his first loss (4-1) since taking over for No. 1 Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series will be in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Tyler Kennedy scored with just over a minute to play in the second period to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. That goal stood up until Alfredsson tied it.

BRUINS 5, RANGERS 2

BOSTON (AP) — Johnny Boychuk broke a tie midway through the second period, and Boston scored two goals in the third to beat the New York Rangers and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Boychuk's third playoff goal made it 3-2 at 12:08 of the second. Brad Marchand, whose overtime goal won the opener, and Milan Lucic stretched the Bruins' lead in the final period.

Boston rookie Torey Krug scored the first goal before Ryan Callahan tied it for the Rangers in the first period. Gregory Campbell made it 2-1, and New York pulled even again on Rick Nash's goal in the second.

Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series will be played in New York.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, last year's Vezina Trophy winner, had his second straight tough game after posting consecutive shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of the first round against the Washington 
Capitals when the Rangers faced elimination.

Tuukka Rask was solid for Boston, stopping 35 shots.

Patrick Roy avec l'Avalanche?



Source : Rds.ca

Patrick Roy serait un candidat sérieux au poste d'entraîneur-chef de l'Avalanche du Colorado selon ce qu'ont rapporté le Denver Post et CBC, dimanche.

L'ancien gardien de but de l'Avalanche s'était fait offrir le poste en 2009, mais il avait préféré demeurer à la barre des Remparts de Québec dans la Ligue de hockey junior majeur du Québec.

À l'époque, ses fils Frédérick et Jonathan s'alignaient avec la formation. Lorsqu'il a refusé le poste, il avait dit espérer que l'Avalanche lui ferait une autre offre dans le futur.

Le vice-président aux opérations hockey de l'Avalanche, Joe Sakic, n'a pas voulu confirmer qu'il avait rencontré Roy à ce sujet. Ce dernier n'a pas été rejoint par le Denver Post.

Roy, 47 ans, maintient une fiche de 307-138-32 avec les Remparts depuis 2005. Il a également remporté une coupe Memorial.

En conférence de presse, Sakic avait déclaré qu'il n'embaucherait pas d'entraîneurs en provenance des rangs juniors, mais il a récemment indiqué qu'il serait ouvert à l'idée.

dimanche 19 mai 2013

Habs : Diaz still skating at Worlds



Source : montrealgazette.com

The sophomore season of Canadiens defenceman Raphael Diaz began with great promise, coming on the heels of an excellent, even dominant 32 lockout games played with his hometown Swiss League’s EV Zug.

Having missed the final 17 NHL games of 2011-12 with a groin injury, the defensively reliable 27-year-old worked himself into terrific off-season shape and arrived back in Montreal ready to improve upon his eye-opening rookie year.

With a goal and 12 assists in the Habs’ first 19 games of 2012-13, Diaz fashioned himself into an important part of coach Michel Therrien’s blue-line corps during and after P.K. Subban’s contract holdout.

And then he plunged into a black hole on Feb. 25 in Ottawa, concussed when he stumbled and fell into an Ottawa Senator, his opponent’s boot coming up to sledgehammer him beneath the jaw.
It took Diaz 25 games on the sidelines to recover before he scrambled through the final four games of the schedule to get up to speed for his first NHL playoffs.

And then, in Game 1 against the Senators, came his infamous so-called suicide pass to Lars Eller, leading to the horrifying check inside the Montreal blue line that bloodied and concussed the Canadiens centreman.

Diaz’s remarkable hockey season will end in Stockholm on Thursday or Saturday or Sunday, depending on how far sensational Switzerland makes it in the world championship. The Swiss, 7-0 heading into the medal round, are seeking their first podium finish since 1953 — though you could argue the squad also finished last that year in a three-team tournament.

First up for Diaz’s Switzerland is Thursday’s quarter-final against the Czech Republic squad of Canadiens centre Tomas Plekanec (8:30 a.m., TSN, RDS), the winner advancing to Saturday’s semifinal round.

Of course, the NHL teammates — opponents for a game — would rather be skating in North America. But with the Canadiens eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs a week ago, Diaz and Plekanec gratefully accepted national-team invitations to participate in the Worlds; this is Diaz’s third participation in the global tournament, the seventh for Plekanec.

“It’s really big, it’s a big thing in Switzerland if not so much over here,” Diaz said last Saturday, preparing to head to Stockholm.

“Here, the attention is on the NHL playoffs. In Europe, there’s no more hockey, just the Worlds.
“I learned a lot of things again this year. I want to go and show my best hockey and support my teammates from Switzerland.”

Diaz spoke of the Canadiens’ impressive start, the Habs 12-4-3 during his portion of it. And he pulled back the curtain on his concussion, his first in the NHL and second of his professional career.

“The whole team had a good start, it was really nice,” he said. “And then I had the concussion and was out two months. I couldn’t do anything but wait for it to get better.

“It wasn’t easy to come back in the same shape. I played a few games before the playoffs and, of course, we were disappointed with the tough loss (eliminated by Ottawa in five games).”

Unlike many who suffer concussions, Diaz recalls his in vivid detail, remembering how he tried to brace himself as he fell then being slammed in the head by the leg/skate of a Senators forward.

“It was a one-on-one battle,” Diaz said. “I was protecting myself to fall on my hands when from out of nowhere, his leg or skate hit me in the jaw. It was kind of a knockout.”

Well, not exactly. Diaz finished the game, playing a season’s second-high 23:34, with an assist in the Canadiens’ 2-1 shootout loss.

“I knew something was not right, with headaches,” he said. “I trained the next day but I didn’t get a lot of sleep and I didn’t feel better. There were headaches and pressure in the head and sometimes dizziness.”

The Canadiens immediately shut him down, sidelining him for 25 games from Feb. 27 through April 18.

“It wasn’t that fun,” Diaz said in understatement. “You are at home, you can do nothing. You want to do anything to keep in shape but it’s it’s like your head says, ‘No, that’s too much,’ with the headaches and pressure.

“So you stop and then you wait and wait and wait and then you go back and try again. You want to come back as soon as possible. It was a process with ups and downs.

“I’m not really a patient guy,” Diaz said, smiling. “What was nice was the help I got from teammates, guys who have dealt with the same thing the last couple of years, Max (Pacioretty) especially. At some points, it was really frustrating.”

Diaz couldn’t watch TV or read; he just did a lot of nothing, waiting for symptoms to subside. When he could watch hockey, it was for a single period to start, graduating to two.

“I’d come here (to Brossard), hang out with the guys for an hour, then go home and relax. Maybe
even go for a little walk,” he said.

There was almost no time to get up to playoff speed in his four games before the postseason.

“The playoffs were a great experience,” said Diaz, whose 22:22 average per game trailed only P.K. Subban’s 23:56 and Andrei Markov’s 23:53.

He didn’t register a point and was minus-4, but had a team-high 17 blocked shots with his 11 hits trailing by one the leading defence total of Jarred Tinordi; Brandon Prust’s 19 led the team.

“I learned a lot of things. It was awesome in the Bell Centre, the crowd was so loud,” Diaz said. “The intensity is really high during the season but in the playoffs it’s like two steps more.”

Diaz’s postseason is best remembered by many for his Game 1, up-the-middle pass to Eller, the latter crushed blindside by Ottawa’s Eric Gryba, his season violently ended.

In the words of Senators coach Paul MacLean post-game, it was Diaz’s pass, not so much Gryba’s hit, that caused Eller’s injury, a charge that infuriated the Canadiens and set the tone for the bitterness of the series.

Eller, and Therrien, refused to blame Diaz.

“I feel really bad for him,” Eller said of Diaz last Saturday, speaking at his dressing-room stall almost directly across from the defenceman.

“It’s not his fault. Definitely not his fault, not at all. If he feels guilty in any way, he shouldn’t. People don’t understand how fast it happens out there and you have a split second to make a decision. It’s just that fast.”

Diaz, obviously, feels terrible that Eller was injured, though at first he wasn’t aware of the blame assigned by MacLean.

“I didn’t watch TV all day (the next day). I’m more a guy who wants to focus on his own preparation,” he said. “But then I heard stuff like (MacLean’s).

“This is a pass I do all the time. Of course, you don’t want to do that to your teammate, absolutely not. I also think it was a bad hit. I’m glad it’s over.”

Diaz will take little time off after the Worlds, resuming off-ice training before lacing his skates in August. He’ll study DVDs of this season to see where he can improve his game for his third NHL campaign.

And Diaz expects to be back in Montreal next month to attend his first Formula One race. He’ll probably find his way onto Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, seeing that Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen lives in the canton of Zug that Diaz calls home and, as a fan of the EV Zug team, has served as a club ambassador.

The plan this summer is to build on the foundation Diaz has poured, on and off the ice, returning stronger physically and mentally and eager to finally play a full season.

“I was expecting (the physical battles), absolutely,” he said of the rugged postseason that ended too soon. “There was a lot of hitting. It was a great experience for my first playoffs.

Canadiens : Robert Mayer resterait dans l'organisation



Source : Tvasports.ca

Le gardien de but Robert Mayer aurait finalement choisi de demeurer au sein de l’organisation du Canadien de Montréal, selon ce qu’a rapporté le quotidien suisse Le Matin, vendredi.

Mayer aurait choisi de rompre son contrat avec le HC Bienne, qui évolue dans le Championnat de hockey suisse. Le gardien tchèque avait paraphé une entente avec l’équipe en février 2013. Le pacte ne comportait toutefois aucune clause échappatoire, selon le quotidien, ce qui pourrait entraîner une action en justice contre l’homme masqué de 23 ans.

Après avoir passé la saison avec les Bulldogs de Hamilton, dans la Ligue américaine de hockey, Mayer a agi à titre de substitut à Peter Budaj pour le cinquième match de la série opposant le Canadien aux Sénateurs d’Ottawa. Carey Price souffrait alors d’une entorse à un genou.
En 38 matchs avec les Bulldogs, Mayer a compilé une fiche de 16-17-3, avec une moyenne de buts alloués de 2,93 et un taux d’efficacité de ,908.