All Habs Headlines: Sunday June 10, 2012
On this day in hockey history… 1971 – In the NHL Amateur draft held in Montreal, the Montreal Canadiens used the #1 pick overall to select Guy Lafleur.
ALL HABS HEADLINES
►Next! Radio-Canada is reporting that former Canadiens winger Donald Audette will be interviewed next week as a candidate for an assistant to head coach Michel Therrien. Audette played for coach Therrien (and his successor, Claude Julien) between 2001 and 2003. The diminutive Audette scored 15 goals in 90 games for the Habs.
TVA reports that Gerard Gallant has already had his interview for the vacant assistant coach position. Gallant is currently the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. As a winger for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 1993-94 season, Gallant was a teammate of Marc Bergevin.
►More Audette news: Daniel Audette, the 15-year-old son of former NHL’er Donald Audette, was selected first overall by the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL draft on Saturday. The five-foot-seven Daniel played last season in midget hockey for Esther-Blondin College. The Phoenix, a new team in the ‘Q’ for 2012-’13, picked up 28 players in an expansion draft held on Wednesday including forward Maximilien LeSieur of the Memorial Cup champion Shawinigan Cataractes.
With the second pick overall the P.E.I. Rocket selected Alexis Pepin from Charles LeMoyne College. The six-foot-one 192 pound Pepin had 40 points in 38 games last season. The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles took forward Clark Bishop of St John’s Pennecomm third overall.
The most head-turning pick of the first round was made by the Mooseheads gambling that they can lure highly-touted forward Jack Eichel to Halifax next season — he was taken 15th overall. The six-foot, 175-pound center played for the Boston Junior Bruins of the Empire Junior Hockey League last season, tallying 39 goals and 47 assists in 36 games. Eichel, a 15-year-old Massachusetts native, has publicly committed to Boston University next season.
►Just say no: As we get close to the July 1st kickoff to NHL free agency, expect the folks at RDS to get their pom poms waving for favorite son Guillaume Latendresse. The former Canadiens “power-forward” is looking to make a return to the NHL after two injury-filled seasons. Latendresse claims to be free of symptoms from a concussion suffered in November 2011.
According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Latendresse does not expect to receive a qualifying offer from his current team, the Minnesota Wild. That would make the 25-year old an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
“I know I won’t get a qualifying offer. I’m 100 percent sure about that. It’s pretty obvious with my last two years.” — Guillaume Latendresse
Despite Latendresse’s pessimistic view, his agent Pat Brisson is still in talks with Minnesota General Manager Chuck Fletcher to try to finalize a deal. Brisson and Fletcher met recently at the NHL combine in Toronto. Latendresse is due to be examined by Wild team doctors on June 20.
“I just want to get a sense where he is health-wise and fitness-wise and mentally. He’s shown he can be a good player when he’s healthy and motivated, and that’s the key. Is he healthy and is he motivated?” — Chuck Fletcher
If the Wild set him free, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin would be wise to look elsewhere to make a splash in the free agent market. In addition to injury concerns, Latendresse is slow-footed, has a poor work ethic and has had conditioning issues in the past.
Flaws aside, Latendresse still feels that he can contribute to a NHL team. “In my head, I know if I don’t get hurt, I can be a 25-, 30-goal scorer,” said Latendresse.
Yes, aren’t we all?
►Fisher bids adieu: Red Fisher, sports columnist for the Montreal Gazette has decided to retire after almost 60 years of covering the Montreal Canadiens. Fisher, 85, began his career with the Montreal Star in 1954 just in time to cover the Rocket Richard Riot as a young hockey writer.
►Admirals take Calder : The Norfolk Admirals (AHL affiliate of Tampa Bay Lightning) defeated the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) 6-1 to sweep the American Hockey League championship final series 4-0. On their way to winning the Calder Cup, the Admirals compiled a 43-3 record since Super Bowl Sunday. Norfolk head coach Jon Cooper is expected to be a hot property in the off-season as several NHL teams would welcome his talents behind their bench.
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