Archive for the ‘Montreal Canadiens’ Category

The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will renew their Original Six rivalry tonight in the season opener.

The Maple Leafs are expected to have Ben Scrivens between the pipes against the Canadiens Carey Price, who will wear this new mask for the 2013 season.

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Fun fact: Scott Gomez' shadow makes more money than the average Canadian.

In the end, the Montreal Canadiens did what they had to do with Scott Gomez.

It wasn’t pretty, and it’s not even exciting. Unfortunately, Habs’ general manager Marc Bergevin wanted to get Gomez’ $7.4M cap hit off the books in preparation for next season’s reduced salary cap. Scott Gomez is a walking fracture who had three stints on the injured reserve yesterday. A new term I heard during yesterday’s NFL games was “physically compromised”. It goes without saying that if the Habs have intentions on buying him out this season, letting him play with the abuse he suffered last season would be a mistake—if he gets hurt, he can no longer be bought out, and there’s only a short window where compliance buy-outs won’t count against the cap. Presumably, Bergevin has written off this year but wants the team to compete next season.

Still, it seems like the worst possible thing the Canadiens could do with the second best centreman on their hockey team. Montreal told Gomez to stay home yesterday, meaning they’ll eat all of the salary and cap hit this season while Gomez eats cheetos, thinking about his crimes. His only crime was being offered millions of dollars to play hockey by Glen Sather, and he won’t be able to do that anymore.

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Vague headline, but that’s basically where we’re at in terms of real, hard facts on this one (courtesy a translated RDS report). But hey, let’s kick the idea around anyway.

One of the reasons it’s come up, from what I gather, is that the Canadiens think PK and his boisterous, jovial personality would clash with Michel Therrien, the Habs (frequently surly) new bench boss. If true (as was suggested in that RDS piece) this is terrible, stupid reasoning.  Read the rest of this entry »

(Graig Abel, Getty Images)

P.K. Subban has a lot he could be worrying about right now. Still a restricted free agent, his contract negotiations with the Montreal Canadiens have stretched into September with seemingly no resolution in sight. The two sides are reportedly at odds over contract length, with Subban seeking a long-term deal similar to those signed recently by young stars like Jeff Skinner, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle and the Canadiens aiming for a two-year deal similar to the second contracts signed by Carey Price and Max Pacioretty.

Adding to that stress is the potential of the new CBA changing the rules on restricted free agency, which might make it even more imperative that he get a long-term deal done now before those new rules kick in. Of course, that might be some time given the state of the ongoing CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA. Subban might not need to sit out training camp like Drew Doughty did last season while awaiting a contract extension, as training camp might end up cancelled.

Instead of worrying about all of that, however, Subban is focusing his attention on a much more worthwhile endeavour: lending his time and support to a new initiative to equip and pay registration fees for over 1000 young hockey players who might otherwise face difficult financial barriers to playing the game they love.

“I haven’t been worried about it [negotiations] all summer,” said Subban when I spoke to him yesteday. “I’ve been focusing on this program launching and I’m just happy that it’s here now. We can talk about the lockout all we want, but this program really is about the kids that are being locked out of opportunities to participate in hockey because of their financial situation.”

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Ideally, you’d like your ab muscles to “look ripped,” not “be ripped.” According to multiple reports, Rene Bourque shredded some abs the wrong way while training during the off-season and had to have surgery today.

Ab tears are brutally painful (up there with broken ribs – every cough is affected), and with the core being such an exceptionally important area of the body for hockey players, this should seriously set him back. The report says he’ll be out 8-to-12 weeks, but “out” doesn’t do justice to core injuries, as the healing is slow, so you find yourself set back quite a ways when you do return.

Bourque is coming off a disappointing season with the Habs after being shipped over in the trade for Mike Cammalleri, tallying five goals and eight assists in 38 games. For a guy who was looking to have a big bounce-back year, this is some pretty disappointing news.

Ah well. At least he’s got that whole lockout thing to buy him some time. Sigghhhh.

ESPN does a yearly feature over in their neck of the woods called “Uni Watch” wherein they rank the quality of uniforms across the four major North American sports. Conveniently, they’ve broken down the rankings into league sections as well so we can see where the World Leader in Tebow scores the NHL’s threads.

List below the jump.
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I want to step away from lockout or contract talk and simply discuss a concept in hockey I like.

When analyzing teams throughout the season, I often like to look at “goal differential” rather than points pace. I think the quality of a team is reflected in how many goals they score, and how many they give up. Over a large span of games, the amount of goals and goals given up can predict how many wins a team will earn.

This is mostly a baseball concept, but it has been applied to other sports. Primarily basketball, but the MLB.com standings page will allow you to look at predicted wins and losses based on the formula, which is as follows:

In baseball, they score runs. In hockey, you score goals (unless you’re Scott Gomez. Hey ho!). Using the same formula, let’s look at, say, the Anaheim Ducks over the last three seasons. They’ve won 128 out of 246 games, for a winning percentage of .520. They’ve doing this scoring 722 goals including shootout wins, and allowing 724 including shootout losses.

722 ^ 2 / ( ( 722 ^ 2 ) + ( 724 ^ 2 ) ) = .499

So it isn’t too far off. A winning percentage of .499 would equal roughly 123 wins, which is just five below the predicted total.

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