3-10-14: Thomas Vanek is an intriguing acquisition for Montreal and should help immediately. However, he’s going to be UFA at year’s end and already said he wants to test the market. The Habs gave up next to nothing for the Austrian sniper so the deal can’t hurt. As of now, the Bruins are in charge of the Atlantic Division. If the playoffs ended today, Montreal would face the Rangers in the first round. The Canadiens are good, but not good enough to beat Boston or Pittsburgh.
3-3-14: The Habs picked up five out of six points, going beyond regulation in all three of their games played this past week. Chasing down the Bruins for the division lead seems like it will be difficult, but home ice in Round 1 is attainable. Don’t expect Montreal to make any significant moves besides trying to re-sign impending UFA Andrei Markov. How Carey Price performs after winning gold in Sochi will be interesting to watch from here on out.
2-10-14: The Habs have figured things out after struggling throughout January. They have gone 5-1-1 in their past seven games and have won three straight going into the break. Montreal will be active come trade deadline and they could certainly use some scoring help up front. The Canadiens look to be a lock for the playoffs right now, but will need to play well from here on out if they want a shot to overtake Tampa and Boston in the Atlantic.
2-3-14: Michel Therrien's Canadiens are doing their best to get him fired. The club's defensive game has fallen apart and its offensive creativity has been sputtering as of late. Montreal's underlying numbers have fallen off dramatically and the team has just two wins in its last eight contests. I would not be shocked if the Habs do indeed fire Therrien. The problem is who could replace Therrien? There are not many French-speaking coaches out there currently.
1-27-14: Panic mode has set in for Habs fans, where the Canadiens have lost four straight games and have one victory in regulation in their past 11 games. Montreal remain in control of the first wild-card spot in the East, but if they continue to play like they have over the past month, it will be a temporary position Since Carey Price was named to the Canadian Olympic team on Jan. 7, he is 2-5-0 with a 4.13 goals-against average and .880 save percentage. Yikes!
1-20-14: The Habs are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games played. The team still sits above the pack of teams fighting for the postseason and its lead on Toronto for third in the Atlantic has narrowed to just four points. While Montreal seems to suddenly be in some danger from the pack, a strong run could yet propel the club to first in the Atlantic. The Habs are two points back of second-place Tampa Bay and four behind first-place Boston.
1-13-14: The Habs have been hovering around .500 for about a month and they are 7-6-2 in their past 15 games. They have been outscored 42-31 over that time A stretch like that is perfectly acceptable for staying in the top eight in the East as Montreal is only three points back of Boston for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Danny Briere has two goals and one assist in his past 13 games, all coming in one game.
1-7-14: Montreal has one win in its last four games, a streak that follows a stretch of three wins in four games. Despite playing .500 hockey of late, the Habs have an eight-point cushion on a playoff spot and are only one point behind Tampa Bay for second in the Atlantic Division. Sophomore Alex Galchenyuk seems to have hit a bit of a rough patch of late. He has just two points in his last 10 games and has gone minus-seven in that span.
12-30-13: The Canadiens have been hovering around .500 over the last three weeks. The Habs are 4-4-0 in their past eight games. Life is still pretty good in Montreal. Montreal is five points back of first-place Boston in the Atlantic and have breathing room between them and the non-playoff teams in the East. The Canadiens are 10-2-1 against the Metropolitan Division. Based on points percentage, it's the best mark in the league against the Metro. Carey Price looks to have inside track to start for Team Canada at the Olympics.
12-23-13: After winning four straight to start the month of December, the Canadiens have traded wins and losses Montreal's playoff situation is pretty good. The team sits only three points out of first place in its division and has a four-point lead on the fourth-place Detroit Red Wings. Why defenseman Douglas Murray continues to play for the Habs blows my mind. The Swedish veteran has no points and a minus-11 rating in 21 games this year.
12-16-13: The Habs have dropped three out of their last four games, including a lousy 2-1 home loss to the Florida Panthers on this past Sunday. The Canadiens offense has gone dry. They have scored only three goals in their past four games. Montreal has three tough Western Conference opponents in Phoenix, St. Louis, and Nashville this week. The Canadiens will play their league-high 21st home game of the season this week and will follow that with a six-game road trip.
12-9-13: The Canadiens had a perfect week going 4-0, playing four games in six days. Collecting all eight possible points pushed the Habs up the Eastern Conference standings and the club is now just a single point behind Boston for the top spot. Daniel Briere has been a disappointment since signing with Montreal this summer. His numbers are unimpressive (10 points in 21 games) won’t cut it in Montreal and he's just plus-one on a plus-20 team.
12-2-13: The Habs picked up wins this past week over Buffalo and Toronto and dropped a shootout game to the Capitals. Five of Lars Eller's seven goals came in the first five games of the season, meaning he's tallied just two in his last 22 contests. Montreal is 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and would be a wildcard team in the East should the playoffs begin today. Not many people thought the Canadiens would be a factor this season; however they’re showing otherwise.
11-25-13: The Habs currently occupy the fifth place spot in the Eastern Conference and would be wildcaed playoff team if the season started today. Montreal was perfect on the week picking up wins over Pittsburgh, Washington, and Minnesota. P.K. Subban’s 20 points lead the team and quietly Alex Galchenyuk is having a stellar sophomore season. The former number three overall pick in 2012 has 16 points in 24 games played. He could be considered for Team USA in the upcoming Olympics.
11-18-13: The Habs picked up three points last week. Their lone win came against Columbus with backup Peter Budaj between the pipes. The Habs were out-shot 79-51 in their two losses with Carey Price in net. Price only gave up one goal in each contest. I think it’s pretty clear now that Price should be the favorite to start for Team Canada in Sochi. His save percentage is now .936, which trails only Josh Harding among Canadian netminders.
11-12-13: P.K. Subban should not be a happy camper right now. Despite leading the Habs in points, shots, and assists, head coach Michel Therrien has benched the Norris Trophy winner multiple times in recent games. Some have even questioned whether or not he should make Team Canada’s Olympic roster. The talk of Subban not making Team Canada is preposterous and Montreal better pay Subban the money he wants before he walks away to a rival team.
11-5-13: The Habs went 2-2 this week, which is not bad given they had two back-to-back games and three of four games on the road. Montreal is now tied with Boston for fourth in the Atlantic Division. One bright spot for the Canadiens has been all-world defenseman P.K. Subban. Subban is currently second in the NHL in defenseman scoring behind Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson. Subban has 14 points in 15 games played. It’s still early, but it looks as if Montreal will be in a dogfight to make the playoffs this season.
10-29-13: The Habs have dropped two of their last three contests towards the end of their five-game homestand. Their lone win came in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks where Carey Price stopped 31 shots thrown his way. P.K. Subban leads all NHL defenseman in points with 11 and is averaging over 25:00 minutes of ice time a game. You have to remember the Habs are only paying him $2 million this year. They must sign him to a bigger extension now.
10-21-13: Carey Price should be the starter for the Canadian Olympic team at Sochi. His play early on is indicative of that and who else is really out there. Luongo? Smith? The Habs have allowed only 15 goals against on the year. The biggest concern for Montreal is injuries. Danny Briere joins Max Pacioretty, Alexei Emelin, George Parros, and Brandon Prust to the list of injured players. Their offense has been relatively quiet the past few games.
10-14-13: The Habs are once again a top 10 possession team this season. Scoring for the Canadiens this season has primarily come from the line of Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, and Lars Eller. The trio has combined for nine of Montreal’s 17 goals this season. Carey Price has been stellar this season. David Desharnais, who is being counted on this year, has failed to register a point. Max Pacioretty still doesn’t look comfortable after sustaining a wrist injury opening night.
10-7-13: Habs fans can breathe a bit easier after a disappointing opening-night loss to their hated rivals from Toronto. They had a nice bounce back win against the Flyers. Carey Price has looked stellar in his two starts and should be the favorite to start in goal for Team Canada at the Olympics.
8-22-13: The Canadiens are a tough team to read entering the 2013-14 season. They jumped out to a torrid start last year but slumped down the stretch and were bounced in the first round by Ottawa in five games. The addition of Daniel Briere in the offseason via free agency offsets the loss of Michael Ryder to the New Jersey Devils. Be sure to circle Dec. 5 on your calendar as the Habs play host to their archrival Boston Bruins. Montreal hosts the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks on Jan. 11, which is always entertaining.
8-21-13: Montreal has signed 23-year-old goaltender Dustin Tokarski to a one-year, two-way contract. The last time Tokarski played in the NHL was with Tampa in 2011-12 when he went 1-3-1.
Canadiens 2013 NHL Draft Summary:
Pick #25: Michael McCarron, RW
Pick #34: Jacob de la Rose, LW
Pick #36: Zachary Fucale, G
Pick #55: Artturi Lehkonen, LW
Pick #71: Connor Crisp, LW
Pick #86: Sven Andrighetto, RW
Pick #116: Martin Reway, LW
Pick #176: Jeremy Gregoire, C