PENTICTON, BC. — Here are a few thoughts on different topics surrounding the Habs’ and the NHL over the past few weeks. We’re touching on Briere, Parros, the Draft, McCarron, Waite, Dumont, Lecavalier and more. Feel free to post your comments as they are always welcomed.
1- When the Canadiens announced the signing of UFA Daniel Briere for two years at $4 million per season, many fans including yours truly weren’t impressed. Not only did Briere reject the Habs offer and chose to play in Philadelphia back in 2007, but he is (generously) listed at 5’10” and 179 lbs. This means that on the team’s top 6, you now have Gionta, Briere, Desharnais and possibly Gallagher. For a team trying to get bigger, this signing is somewhat mind boggling… unless Marc Bergevin is planning on trading one or two of them?
2- This Briere signing isn’t without reminding me of when the Canadiens acquired another diminutive offensive forward, Donald Audette, back in 2001. Prior to joining Montreal, Audette was going through a tougher time offensively with both the Sabres and Dallas. He averaged 0.39 goals/game and 0.74 points/game over his career. Briere has had a couple of tougher seasons with the Flyers and he’s averaging 0.34 goals/game and 0.79 points/game. Here is hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself.
3- Bergevin did, however, try to address the team’s toughness in trading with the Florida Panthers and acquiring heavyweight George Parros. This was much needed as teams were all over Brandon Prust and because Travis Moen now seems to think that fighting isn’t for him unless he absolutely has to. Parros and Moen were teammates in Anaheim when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup back in 2007. Further, the Canadiens didn’t give up much to get Parros (forward Philippe Lefebvre and a seventh-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft), who has one year left to his contract. What was Prust’s reaction when hearing about the trade?
@GeorgeParros ohhhh yaaaaaaaa
— Brandon Prust (@BrandonPrust8) July 5, 2013
4- Georges Laraque made the news once again and he drew the ire of many Habs’ fans in doing so. He stated that Parros is not scaring anybody in the NHL anymore. “I know him and he’s a good guy – he will defend his teammates,” Laraque told La Presse. “I’m sure that when the Canadiens signed Parros, the Bruins and Shawn Thornton were relieved. In Ottawa and Toronto, they were relieved… Florida wouldn’t let Parros go if he was doing the job.” So Georges, why did the Habs let you go? Were you doing the job? This is nothing but a way to get into the media for Laraque, who is trying to earn a seat in the House of Commons for the Green Party. I asked Gino Odjick what he thought of Laraque’s comments on Parros’ acquisition by the Habs: “I love the Mr. Parros addition. George is a winner who stands up for his teammates and he can play.”
5- The least talked about signing could very well be the most important… At 6’2” and 230 lbs, the 28 year old Nick Tarnasky is a big body with NHL experience, and who is not afraid of dropping the gloves. He will do everything to help his team on the ice and he will want to stay in Montreal. He brings immediate competition to a guy like Ryan White. People aren’t talking about him much, but he could be the one who impresses the most at camp.
6- Speaking of Ryan White, he decided to file for arbitration this week. This is somewhat mind boggling considering his stats and his utilization throughout last season. The only thing I can think of as a reason for him to go that route would be in an attempt to get a one-way contract. I’m not so sure that he has much leverage however.
7- After parting ways with goaltending coach Pierre Groulx, the Canadiens have announced that former Blackhawks’ goalie coach Stephane Waite will be taking over in Montreal. His main goal will be to fix Carey Price, who had more than his share of struggles at the end of last season. Waite, brother of former NHL goalie Jimmy Waite, has worked with Stanley Cup winners Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford (among others.) Waite, who was a fan of Marty Turco, says that Carey Price is very sound technically, but he wants to work on his compete level by incorporating more react-and-compete drills into practice.
8- The 2013 Draft is over and the Canadiens tried to fill some holes in their talent pool. They were able to add size with Michael McCarron (6’5” 228 lbs), Jacob de la Rose (6’2” 190 lbs) and Connor Crisp (6’4” 225 lbs), goaltending depth in top ranked Zachary Fucale, and skills with Artturi Lehkonen, Sven Andrighetto, Martin Reway and Jeremy Gregoire. Most of all, the main quality which seems to be common with this year’s entire picks is that they are work horses, character players with excellent compete level. It is also very interesting to note that four of those picks come from the QMJHL.
9- Speaking of Mike McCarron, the team announced that he has signed a three year, entry-level deal. This also means that the giant forward will be playing for the London Knights in the OHL next season, for Mark and Dale Hunter. The Knights are hosting the Memorial Cup next season, giving McCarron some great experience. Come to think of it, McCarron’s path isn’t without reminding Habs’ fans of another giant format prospect when Jarred Tinordi abandoned College to join the Hunter’s team in London, also making it to the Memorial Cup. This should be a very interesting season for McCarron and he is in good hands in a great hockey program with the Knights.
10- The Canadiens have also announced the signing of prospect Gabriel Dumont to a two-year, two-way deal. The 5’9” center finished the season with 13 goals in 59 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs while adding three points in 10 games at the NHL level while called up by the Canadiens.
11- Once again, Habs’ fans had to go through the Vincent Lecavalier saga this summer and once again, fans who desperately wanted him in Montreal are disappointed. The Canadiens were apparently in the running but Bergevin said he was unwilling to match both the term and salary Lecavalier received in his five-year, $22.5 million deal with the Flyers. It’s pretty hard to blame him for that. Should we take bets as to when the next rumours “Lecavalier to Montreal” start again?
12- While I usually try to stay away from rumours, this one is very interesting, considering the source. Guy Carbonneau has stated that his son-in-law Brenden Morrow and his agent have approached Marc Bergevin stating their interest in playing for the Canadiens. Carbonneau added that the Habs were surprised Morrow was open to the idea of playing in Montreal. The 34 year old Morrow recorded 12 goals and 25 points in 44 games last year between Dallas and Pittsburgh, including 14 points in 15 games with the Penguins down the stretch. Morrow’s agent said he’s had a good discussion with Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin and will likely have another.
It’s summer time, Marc Bergevin will soon be taking a vacation and discussions around the Canadiens could slow down a little bit. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be anything to talk about on All Habs Hockey Magazine however, so stay tuned… Go Habs Go!!!