LAVAL, QC. — We are getting closer and closer to seeing the Canadiens on the ice. Rookie camp runs from September 6th to 12th at Place Bell in Laval including the Rookie Showdown from September 7th to 9th, where the Maple Leafs and Senators prospects join the Canadiens in a mini tournament. The annual Canadiens golf tournament takes place on September 10th and that will officially mark the start of the 2018-19 season.
Here are my top 5 takes of the week:
- Max vs Habs – The situation between the Canadiens and Max Pacioretty has turned worse than a bad episode of the Days of Our Lives. We saw the awkward handshake between the captain and Marc Bergevin when the GM arrived at Pacioretty’s golf tournament with Geoff Molson. We also saw the forced smiles by all three of them when they stood together for pictures. While Bergevin didn’t comment on negotiations as per his policy, Pacioretty and his agent, Allan Walsh, confirmed that there has been talks for the last two months but no contract offer has been made by the Canadiens. Before automatically assuming that Bergevin dropped the ball, we don’t know if Pacioretty’s expectations are out of line and, as a result, the Canadiens decided not to offer him a contract.
- Trade request – On Thursday, Martin Leclerc from Radio-Canada, reported that three sources close to the situation have confirmed that Pacioretty asked to get traded last season. I regularly listen to Leclerc’s segment on 91.9 Sports in Montreal, and Leclerc is someone that does his homework and always presents his opinions with facts. I don’t doubt that he did receive his information from reliable sources, but that being said, insiders have been wrong in the past. Allan Walsh was interviewed by TSN 690 and he mentioned that two journalists told him that the Canadiens were calling to push this story out. It is hard to believe Walsh based on his actions in previous situations and we all know that Walsh is probably the best in the business in trying to make the players he represents look good. Leclerc did mention that his sources aren’t from the Canadiens. Walsh also mentioned during his radio interview that there was a done deal between the Habs and the Kings at the draft, while L.A. Kings president, Luc Robitaille, mentioned during a radio interview on Wednesday on 91.9 Sports that they were interested in Max but there was no done deal. This has turned into an ugly PR battle between Pacioretty and the Habs.
- Price no longer on top – The Hockey News published their Top 50 players in their 2018-19 Yearbook. The first thing I do when I come across this type of list is to look for Habs players. I had to look all the way to number 39 in order to find Carey Price, who dropped 34 spots in their rankings. Price is the fifth highest rank goalie on their list. On August 27th, the NHL Network revealed their top 10 goalies, and Price was not on their list. With Price heading into the first season with his new contract that makes him the highest paid goalie, this is concerning for me. Based on his performance last season, I can certainly understand that Price’s ranking dropped, but not in Top 10 is shocking. I want to be clear that I don’t think the Canadiens lack of success is because of Price, but I think this gives some ammunition to the critics that thought that Price should have been traded before he signed the extension. On the other hand, EA Sports has Price as the highest ranked goalie in NHL 2019. Let’s hope that this is one of those times that Bergevin is wrong and that the NHL is like on Playstation.
- Main camp – The Canadiens main training camp begins on September 13th, and I’m already anxious to see the line combinations and defensive pairings that Claude Julien will form. I’m mostly curious on how Julien will pair up his defensemen to determine the role of veterans Karl Alzner and David Schlemko. Will they have big roles or will younger players like Victor Mete, and Mike Reilly have bigger roles on the left side of the defence.
- New logo – The Canadiens shared on their social media networks that there will two Habs logos at centre ice of the Bell Centre. I guess that’s the next best thing they could have done besides actually getting a number one centre.
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