MONTREAL, QC. — The last time players with a CH on their chest took to the ice was on April 7. That night Brad Staubitz scored his first goal of the season, an empty-netter. Max Pacioretty was the first star with a two-point night, while Erik Cole potted his 35th of the season. The Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs 4-1.
If you’re like me, that all seems like it happened about 100 years ago. Or perhaps it is just a coping mechanism to push the memories of a terrible season way back into the recesses of the mind.
Without game action to focus on, the void was filled by daily rumors and a steady stream of management hirings as the Canadiens begin to re-tool. In a complete reversal from the regimes of the past, each appointment has been leaked in advance. On Wednesday it was announced that Martin Lapointe, Patrice Brisebois and Sylvain Lefebvre were brought on board in various positions. The news about Lefebvre and Brisebois had been out for days — Lapointe’s appointment was reported back when the Rangers and the Canucks were favorites to meet for the Stanley Cup.
The murmurs Wednesday night were all about Gerald Gallant.
The leaks seemed to provide a jolt of adrenaline to the so-called hockey insiders who ramped up production from their rumour-making Easy-Bake ovens. The mainstreamers, wanting in on the sensational attention, cranked out their own bits of nonsense.
One granny set Twitter ablaze gossiping that Alex Kovalev wanted to return to the Canadiens — it was his way of pimping an upcoming article. He added “Path of ex #Habs Kovy and GM Bergevin likely won’t ever intersect. But what the hell. It’s fun to discuss.” Translation: ‘It won’t ever happen but I needed hits to my column. If I have misled you, what the hell!’
Not familiar with the concept of hypocrisy, the same gent later tweeted “Who wants to see all #Habs insiders booked on a Just For Laughs gala?”
Uh, huh. These days, fake insiders, MSM, sometimes the lines become blurred.
You already know that All Habs hasn’t joined the rumour-mongering bandwagon. Yet you continue to visit our pages in record numbers. We are a digital magazine that provides a wide variety of information, analysis and entertainment for you — and we are very grateful that you like what we do.
I must say that I was smiling today as I escaped the swirling silliness and headed out to the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard for the first day of Habs 2012 Development Camp ( Part 1.) Evaluating a group of talented prospects is all about the future of the Canadiens organization — the past was no where to be found. Oh sure, three of the prospects were actually in the lineup for the April 7 game — Louis Leblanc, Gabriel Dumont and Robert Mayer — but I can safely wager that none of them was thinking about last season.
It was clear that a new set of sheriffs were in town as Marc Bergevin, Michel Therrien, Rick Dudley, Trevor Timmins, Larry Carriere and Scott Mellanby surveyed their charges from above. The prospects were put through their paces by Tim Turk (skills consultant), Paul Lawson (skating consultant), Gordie Dwyer (head coach of P.E.I. Rocket), and J.F. Houle (head coach of Blainville-Boisbriand Armada). Goalies were ably led by Canadiens goaltending coach Pierre Groulx.
The two hour and 15 minute session was little more than a warm-up for what will be a heavy schedule to round out the week. It’s too early to draw any conclusions from what was on display today.
There was confirmation of things we already knew:
- Daniel Pribyl and Alexander Avtsin are magicians with the puck.
- Danny Kristo has explosive acceleration.
- Nathan Beaulieu is very smooth.
- Brendan Gallagher‘s switch goes ‘ON’ the moment his skates touch the ice.
And there were a few initial impressions that we will keep our eyes on:
- Patrick Holland may be a better skater than advertised.
- Darren Dietz looks much more confident this year.
- Aaron Dell turned heads with his goaltending at least year’s camp but may be challenged this year by Brandon Maxwell.
- Cody Reichard looked competent in goal with a good glove hand despite his try-out status.
- If this team had a captain, it would be Jarred Tinordi, hands down. Solid leadership qualities.
The group of missing players included Collin Sullivan, Peter Delmas, Morgan Ellis and Dustin Walsh. They did not participate in Wednesday’s practise.
All in all, it was a positive opening to the first of two June development camps. Most certainly it was a refreshing change to what we have endured since early April. Stay tuned, the real work begins on Thursday with a morning and afternoon session.
Check out the photos below. Your comments and questions are most welcome.