All Habs Headlines: Friday January 11, 2013
On this day in hockey history… In 1948, legendary Hab captain Toe Blake suffered a career-ending double fracture of his ankle in a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers, thereby marking the end of the club’s renowned “Punch Line.”
ALL HABS HEADLINES
► Hudon Injured… Again: There is no doubt that Charles Hudon is having a phenomenal season in Chicoutimi. He captains the team, plays in all situations, and is producing at a rate which makes him look like a 5th round steal for the Montreal Canadiens.
Unfortunately, Hudon has also been on and off the injured list all season, a problem which also recently caused him to miss the World Junior Championship. He returned to the Sagueneens line-up for the WJC was even through, but now just over three games into his return, it appears Hudon may miss more time. Late in a game against the Quebec Rempart yesterday, an altercation at center ice resulted in the Hab prospect being thrown heavily to the ice, in what was described by some as a nasty play, and he would not return. No word as of yet on his health status.
Read more: Victoire des Sags, mais Charles Hudon quitte la partie (French)
► Meehan, Bergevin Talk Subban: There was another meeting yesterday between Marc Bergevin and Don Meehan, agent for RFA defenseman P.K. Subban, and the two sides indicated they would continue to talk. It has been reported by some that Meehan may be seeking as much as $7.5M annually for his young client, though most agree that would be a significant overpayment at this stage of his career.
Subban stated that he does not want to hold out into training camp, so he hopes to have a deal done before Sunday. With that in mind, even if his agent and Bergevin reach an agreement, no contract could be announced until the NHLPA ratifies the CBA at 8 AM tomorrow.
Read more: Bergevin a rencontré l’agent de Subban (French)
►Habs Show Up in Shape: Training camp weigh-ins may not take place until the weekend, but expect at least two members of the Montreal Canadiens to tip the scales significantly lighter than last season. It was reported yesterday that Tomas Kaberle looked visibly thinner than the few extra pounds he carried last season.
The Czech blueliner confirmed he lost some weight, though he would not reveal how much. Conditioning and off-ice issues were what many pointed to as contributing factors in the sharp decline in his game, so if he can move past them, he may be able to rebound for the Habs and save himself from a summer 2013 buyout.
The other player looking slimmer was netminder Carey Price, who was a little more forthcoming in sharing that he was down to 209 lbs (from 219 lbs). Price believes his new physique will allow him to be more agile in goal, while also better allowing his body to withstand the pressures of what is sure to be a supercharged and intense compact season. The team’s star keeper also stated that shootouts were an area of focus for improvement for him.
There was a minor scare at practice today as blueliner Andrei Markov skipped the second half of the team’s unofficial practice. Habs fans shouldn’t be too worried, however, as Markov only returned to Canada yesterday and thus likely talk off due to jetlag fatigue rather than an injury.
► Gomez Says the Right Things – Action to Follow?: Almost as much as Scott Gomez is known for his struggles on the ice, he is known to give a great quote off of it. Thus it is no surprise that entering what virtually all believe will be his final season in Montreal – if he even spends it there – he is saying all the right things. About last season, rather than talk about his own numbers or injuries, Gomez was focused on the disappointment of not having made the playoffs. About the coming season, rather than look ahead to a possible compliance buyout, he is committed to playing for the Montreal Canadiens and helping the team return to the post-season.
While he has a great attitude, the Canadiens do have a choice to make. There is likely nothing realistic Gomez could do (e.g. scoring 50 or more points in this year’s 48 games) which would stop the team from buying him out next summer. The risk here is that if Gomez suffers an injury, the team will not be able to buy him out. That’s why the New York Rangers are deciding to pay Wade Redden to sit the year out. Should the Habs do the same with the Alaskan enigma? It seems unlikely they will, given Bergevin’s explanation that he’s still part of the team, but training camp should give us a firm answer.
► Kostitsyn Opts to Stay in Russia: While Alex Kovalev will report to the Florida Panthers camp as a try-out, another former Hab that was invited has declined the offer. Rather than attempt an NHL return, Andrei Kostitsyn will remain with the KHL’s Chelyabinsk Traktor where he has scored 12 goals and 20 points in 38 games as a teammate of fellow former Canadien Jan Bulis.
In other former Hab movements, defenseman Paul Mara signed an AHL deal with the Houston Aeros, while centre Corey Locke left the club he had joined this season in Finland, instead signing with Berlin of the German DEL.
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