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After LeBron went home, Stamkos understands but ignores Leafs speculation (The Canadian Press)

LeBron James going home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers led to speculation about whether a star NHL player might do the same in the near future. Naturally, Steven Stamkos was at the centre of that speculation. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain and Markham, Ont., native could be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016, and the allure of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs could be there. It’s a couple years away,” Stamkos said Wednesday.

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Categories: Habs.

Simply brilliant

MONTREAL – If many Canadiens fans weren’t familiar with Dustin Tokarski a few months ago, it’s safe to say they are now.

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Categories: News.

Kreider, Rangers avoid arbitration; the Subban dynasty; KHL adds hybrid icing (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
Last year the ice was gold, this year it’s a big coloring book. Summer ice at @BrdgstoneArena is awesome! pic.twitter.com/bEDINDvxwG — Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 21, 2014
• Give little kids the opportunity to paint ice and this is what happens. [ @PredsNHL ]
• Joe Sakic on hammering out the Ryan O’Reilly deal : “He’s a very valuable player to us and we want him long-term. That (type of contract) hasn’t happened yet, but we’ll keep working at it and see what happens.” [ Denver Post ]
• After agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 million deal with Mats Zuccarello on Tuesday, the New York Rangers also avoided arbitration with Chris Kreider as the two sides hammered out a two-year, $4.95 million contract. [ NY Post ]
• Speaking of arbitration, Lars Eller would like $3.1 million per season. The Montreal Canadiens are thinking something along the lines of $1.65 million. [ Habs Eyes on the Prize ]
• Andre Benoit heads to the Buffalo Sabres after signing a one-year, $800,000 deal. [ Olean Times ]
• How does a potential violation of Arizona’s Open Meeting Laws affect the Arizona Coyotes? [ Five for Howling ]
• The New York Islanders are probably going to trade one of their forwards to bolster their blueline; should it be Josh Bailey or Michael Grabner? [ Lighthouse Hockey ]
• Why Loui Eriksson as a first line winger for the Boston Bruins is more than all right. [ Days of Y’Orr ]
• It’s been a long time coming, but the Subban family is building their own NHL dynasty. [ Color of Hockey ]
• The KHL has joined the NHL in adopting hybrid icing. [ KHL ] 
• Don’t know the backstory behind the Hartford Whalers’ logo? Today’s your lucky day. [ Icethetics ]
• Brooks Laich and Julianne Hough are in looooooooooove . [ Fashion & Style ] 
• Looking at a new way to determine the NHL draft order. [ The Hockey Writers ]
• Former highly-touted prospect Angelo Espositio has signed with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets. [ Komets ] 
• For the first time, the World Cup of Ball Hockey will be held in the United States when Tampa hosts in September. [ Tampa Bay Business Journal ]
• Former NHLer Patrick Cote has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after confessing to two bank robberies. [ CJAD ] 
• There are some NHL fighters who can help your fantasy league in other categories. Here are 10 to keep an eye on. [ Dobber Hockey ]
• Finally, here’s the latest NHL 15 video, which shows off the superstar skill stick: 

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Categories: Habs.

Hockey player Tim Bozon set to play in France (CBC)

Tim Bozon, the Kootenay Ice hockey player who was hospitalized in Saskatoon with meningitis, has recovered enough to hit the ice again.

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Categories: Habs.

Stars re-sign Roussel; Tim Peel’s day on Twitter; Lundqvist selling penthouse (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• This is a really cool photo of hockey at the 1928 Olympics. [ Reddit Hockey ] 
• More on the Soo Greyhounds saying goodbye to Kyle Dubas. He’ll be helping them install his replacement. [ Buzzing the Net ]
• Chris Johnston on the Dubas hire: “To deny the significance of possession stats in hockey is to be on the wrong side of history. Before Tuesday morning, the Toronto Maple Leafs were on the wrong side of history.” [ Sportsnet ]
• The Dallas Stars have avoided arbitration with Antoine Roussel, signing the feisty winger to a four-year, $8 million contract. [ Defending Big D ]
• Everybody’s favourite NHL referee Tim Peel (certainly our favourite) may have been on Twitter today. If it was really him, here’s what went down: he hopped on, then had to shut it down almost right away because the CBA doesn’t allow him to tweet. Once again, we wonder if Tim Peel knows the rules. [ Sporting News ]
• Henrik Lundqvist is selling his insane Hell’s Kitchen penthouse. It can be yours for about $7 million. [ NY Rangers Blog ]
• P.A. Parenteau calls joining the Montreal Canadiens a dream come true, which is what he was supposed to say. [ TSN ]
• The Anaheim Ducks have signed Sami Vatanen to a two-year, $2.5 million contract. [ Anaheim Calling ]
• Al Montoya hopes to be the next Cory Schneider, in the sense that he steals Roberto Luongo’s job: “The coach and the team knows what I’m capable of and when I’m called, I’m going out there to win games. I’m not just there to give Roberto a night off, I’m there to help the team move forward. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think things are headed in the right direction. I haven’t seen my best yet.” [ Miami Herald ]
• Philadelphia laywer Andrew Barroway has reportedly made a huge offer for the New York Islanders. [ The Score ]
• The Flames have avoided arbitration with Joe Colborne, signing the big centre to a two-year deal. [ Matchsticks & Gasoline ]
• Dale Tallon on Aaron Ekblad: “”I’m really impressed with his hands. I knew he was a well-rounded player, but I’m really happy with his skills … how he handles the biscuit, how he moves it and how he shoots it.” [ Sun-Sentinel ]
• Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough on the seventh annual Blackhawks convention: “I think one of the missions of the Blackhawks Convention is to humanize these guys. Again, make them have a common man’s touch to professional sports. If there is any innocence left in professional sports — and I’m not sure that there is — I truly believe that it’s in hockey. [ CSN Chicago ]
• Logan Couture hypothesizes that the devastating loss to the Kings will motivate the Sharks. I should hope so. [ PHT ]
• In which Mike Modano is informed of Ronald Reagan’s untimely passing a decade ago. [ Deadspin ]
• Now in its third year, Dominic Moore’s smashfest charity continues to grow. [ Canadian Press ]
 
• You may remember this excellent video is from 2010, but it’s still amazingly topical. NBC’s broadcast schedule remains almost completely Canada-free, with the Leafs and Canadiens making it on national television in the States just twice each, and every other Canadian team completely shut out: 

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Categories: Habs.

Winners, losers in NBC Sports 2014-15 NHL TV schedule (Puck Daddy)

You’ve got to feel for the San Jose Sharks. Not only did they see a good season wasted with yet another early-season exit, but this one may have been the most heart-breaking of all, with the team squandering a 3-0 lead to the eventual Staney Cup Champion LA Kings. Then, to make matters worse, they’ll have to open the season playing those same LA Kings and standing around trying not to look as their in-state rivals raise their second Stanley Cup banner.
It’s going to be truly uncomfortable for them, which means it’s appointment viewing for us, which is likely why NBC was all to happy to lead off their 2014-15 regular season coverage with this game.
In a manner of speaking. The game will be the second of an opening night double-header for NBCSN’s growing Wednesday Night Rivalry brand, immediately following a tilt between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.
On Tuesday, NBC released their next-season broadcast schedule, which will see them airing a grand total of 103 regular-season games. As with past seasons, they know what the people want: the teams of the Northeast, minus the Islanders. From NBC:
Coming off of the most-watched NHL regular season ever on NBC and NBCSN, the most-watched Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006 and most-watched Stanley Cup Playoffs on cable in 17 years, NBC Sports Group will deliver coverage of 103 NHL regular-season games during the 2014-15 season, featuring 14 games on NBC and 89 games on NBCSN. All games will be streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra. 
• NBC will present the 2015 NHL Winter Classic from Washington, D.C., between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals on January 1 at 1 p.m. ET.
• Making its return for the first time since 2012, NBCSN will present coverage of the NHL All-Star Game from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets. All-Star weekend will take place Saturday, January 24 and Sunday, January 25 and will include the NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ and the NHL All-Star Game.
• This year’s regular-season coverage features 31 games spanning 14 of the 15 series from the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including back-to-back rematches of the 2014 Western and Eastern Conference Finals on NBCSN (Blackhawks-Kings on Jan. 28, Canadiens-Rangers on Jan. 29), and a rematch of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final between the Rangers and Kings on March 24. Bruins-Red Wings, Blackhawks-Blues,
• Penguins-Flyers and Kings-Sharks are the most featured matchups, each appearing four times on NBC and NBCSN.
• 56 of NBC and NBCSN’s 103 telecasts feature at least one Western Conference team.
And as we often do, here’s a breakdown of how often each team will appear on the NBC Sports Group properties:
PACIFIC DIVISION
Anaheim Ducks: 7 Arizona Coyotes: 1 Calgary Flames: 0 Edmonton Oilers: 0 Los Angeles Kings: 13 San Jose Sharks: 13 Vancouver Canucks: 0
CENTRAL DIVISION
Chicago Blackhawks: 20 Colorado Avalanche: 7 Dallas Stars: 4 Minnesota Wild: 11 Nashville Predators: 1 St. Louis Blues: 11 Winnipeg Jets: 0
ATLANTIC DIVISION
Boston Bruins: 17 Buffalo Sabres: 11 Detroit Red Wings: 15 Florida Panthers: 0 Montreal Canadiens: 2 Ottawa Senators: 0 Tampa Bay Lightning: 5 Toronto Maple Leafs: 2
METROPOLITAN DIVISION
Carolina Hurricanes: 3 Columbus Blue Jackets: 1 New Jersey Devils: 2 New York Islanders: 0 New York Rangers: 14 Philadelphia Flyers: 16 Pittsburgh Penguins: 19 Washington Capitals: 13
And finally, a look at some of the winners and losers:
WINNER: The Buffalo Sabres. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that the Sabres are going to be bad, and yet, somehow, they’ll appear on an NBC property 11 freaking times . If the goal is rivalries, one wonders what the hapless Sabres are going to be able to contribute. It seems reasonable to assume, more often than not, they’re going to get blown out on national television. That said, maybe NBC is counting on that and wants a lot of goals? But if that’s the case, they should have opted for more than zero Oilers game.
LOSER: And speaking of teams shut out, how did the Islanders get zero appearances? It’s clear NBC cares very little for Western Canada, as evidenced by the Oilers, Flames, and Canucks being shut out here, but the Islanders are right in the thick of the Northeast. All the teams within bussing distance have at least one appearance, and most have more than 10. But the Islanders don’t even get a sniff. Clearly, NBC doesn’t see much in them. In this way they’re like every free agent Garth Snow tried to sign early.
WINNER: The Western Conference. It became very clear last season that the better hockey is being played in the West right now, which might explain why NBC seems more willing than ever to give the teams out west some dap. As they pointed out, more than half of the broadcasts feature a Western Conference club. (It probably also helps that that’s where the Cup is right now. The Blackhawks, last year’s champion and a massively popular brand still on the rise, have the most appearances, at 20.)
LOSER: The New Jersey Devils. Like the Islanders, NBC clearly doesn’t have much faith in them to be compelling or competitive, as they have only two measly appearances. It’s a shame, in a way. Their non-playoff year is the issue here, but a look at their underlying numbers from last season suggests they’re going to be much better than most expect.
WINNER: California. The Pacific Division is ruled right now by the three California teams, and unsurprisingly, NBC wants to showcase a lot of that hockey. The trio will appear a combined 33 times. Plus, not only are the Sharks and Kings arguably the big draw on opening night, but NBC is going to that well four times over the season, as many as the Battle of Pennsylvania, Red Wings-Bruins and Blackhawks-Blues.
LOSER: Canada. Just two appearances for the Leafs, two for the Canadiens, and none for anybody else. But the country probably doesn’t care too much. They’ll be watching all their games elsewhere anyhow. Still, you’d think Canada would get a few more national showcases if their teams were any good.  
WINNER: The Blues. Between a growing rivalry with the Blackhawks and their continued employment of American hero T.J. Oshie, they get a lot of play. As mentioned, four games versus Chicago, and eleven overall. 
LOSER: The Arizona Coyotes. New name, new lease on life, no exposure. While plenty of Western Conference teams get their fair share of TV time, the Coyotes, who could probably use a boost, almost get Canada’d, with just one game to their name. It probably doesn’t help that they’re sharing a Division with the California three, nor that they’re known for playing some pretty bland hockey. 

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Categories: Habs.

The Last Word: Gael Garcia Bernal

Having made his on-screen debut at the tender age of one back home in Guadalajara, Mexico, before reaching full-blown heartthrob status during a stint starring in telenovelas as a teen, Gael Garcia Bernal has spent over three decades in the spotlight. Breaking out in the other two-thirds of North America thanks to his roles in Y Tu Mama Tambien and The Motorcycle Diaries, the 35-year-old is a rising star in Hollywood and recently served on the main competition jury at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. We caught up with the actor/director/producer during a stop in town for the Montreal Documentary Film Festival, where he took a break to take in a Habs game and discuss his love of all things bleu-blanc-rouge.

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Categories: News.

NHL-National Hockey League roundup (Reuters)

(The Sports Xchange) – The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Cody Franson to a one-year contract on Monday, just hours before he was scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing. Franson had five goals and 28 assists in 78 games with Toronto last season. He has 28 goals and 133 points in 322 games NHL games with the Nashville Predators and Maple Leafs. He also has four goals and nine assists in 23 playoff games.

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Categories: Habs.

Mount Rushmore – Alex Galchenyuk

If you could sculpt your own Mount Rushmore, what famous faces would you chisel into the iconic rock face? We asked Alex Galchenyuk that very question…

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Categories: News.

Red Wings announce new arena plans; NHL and HBO talk ’24/7′; Bruins’ excess of d-men (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

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Canadiens sign first round pick Nikita Scherbak to a three-year contract

MONTREAL (July 21, 2014) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, announced today the signing of 2014 first round pick Nikita Scherbak to a three-year, entry level contract (2014-15 to 2016-17).

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GMs should learn to shop smarter (What We Learned) (Puck Daddy)

( Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)
Tanner Glass and Lee Stempniak are teammates again, for the first time since spring, and second time since 2004-05. That year, they played together at Dartmouth, with Stempniak a senior and Glass a sophomore.
Now, they’re both on the New York Rangers and highlight a particularly bizarre portion of the NHL’s annual summer free agency period.
The early days of free agency almost always come off as being woefully inefficient. Guys who sign on or around July 1 tend to be overpaid in terms of dollars and years, and that’s a secret to approximately nobody. But the weird part is that things go from laughably expensive to laughably cheap pretty quickly, and it usually happens around the start of the second week of the month. The TSN-coined term “free agent frenzy” is, as a consequence, alarmingly apt. Teams get themselves all worked up to make it appear as though they’re doing something that they pay top dollar for players they shouldn’t.
Glass is the case in point here. He’s played 337 NHL games, and in them he’s piled up 54 points. He’s also on his fourth organization in five seasons, because what Glass does — get buried in possession and occasionally fight — is available on the open market for very cheap if you know where to look, and that’s if you have to go shopping for it; most minor league teams have at least one guy who can do what Glass does.
And yet his cap hit, on a contract unsurprisingly signed on July 1, will be $1.45 million for the next three seasons. That’s too much money and too many years for a fighter who’ll be 31 in November; remember how Shawn Thornton dropped off a cliff the last two or three seasons? Glass was never as good as Thornton.
Meanwhile, his old college buddy Stempniak had to wait until July 19 to sign his deal with the Rangers. Stempniak has more points in his 637-game career than Glass has games played. For each of his three seasons in Calgary, Stempniak’s possession numbers were better than what the rest of the team was doing when he wasn’t on the ice. His career low in points (13) is three below Glass’s career high, and that’s because the season in which he bottomed out was also one in which he played just 14 games. 
You don’t need stats to tell you that Lee Stempniak is better than Tanner Glass, of course. That much should be obvious. And yet no one would ever deign to call the former a highly sought-after free agent, obviously. Glass obviously was.
That’s why Glass collected a contract worth $4.35 million in total over three years — one that wasn’t worth the commitment for the Rangers the second it was signed — while Stempniak got just $900,000 for one year, and that was the end of it.
One wonders what, exactly, possesses a Glen Sather to consider Glass to be worth 1.6 Stempniaks, but “rational thought” cannot be included among the acceptable answers.
The point is, though, that this kind of thing happens all the time. From July 7 on, NHL teams have signed a total of 13 players, all but two for just one season, for an average cap hit of $1.17 million. Compare that to the first five days of July, when teams committed an average of about $7.15 million to 79 players, and the average term was about 2.3 seasons (that means an AAV of roughly $3.1 million).  
Now granted, some of that is skewed by the fact that the big-name free agents tend to get signed only July 1, or maybe a few days after that. None wait around until the middle of the month to make their decisions. But then again the vast majority of players being signed in that initial rush aren’t highly sought-after, or at least shouldn’t be. You’d have to feel comfortable lumping the more recently hired guys in with most July 1 signings in terms of quality.
Were you a betting man, you might be able to make some good money betting that Lee Stempniak has a better season than, say, Dave Bolland. Since 2007-08, they’re in roughly the same neighborhood in terms of ES points per 60; Stempniak is 142nd in the league at 1.66, and Bolland is 155th at 1.61. And yet the latter, who’s more injury prone and demonstrably worse, was the one who got $5.5 million a year for the next five seasons.
You can grab a lot of headlines on July 1, no doubt about that. But you’re not likely to grab good value. Teams that sit back and wait for players to come to them — teams like Nashville, which signed Derek Roy, Mike Ribeiro, and Anton Volchenkov in an eight-day period for a total of $3.05 million, for instance — are the ones that grab the value. Were you a betting man, you might also be able to make pretty good money wagering that Volchenkov will have a better year than Brooks Orpik.
Just because you have money doesn’t mean you should spend it. Splash the cash on quality free agents all you like, but don’t mistake a Day-1 bidding war for a bargain. Unless you’re adding players to your starting lineup, it will almost certainly be far cheaper to sit back and wait.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks : Please don’t count on John Gibson being a Calder candidate . It would take a disaster for him to get a full-time starting job this season.
Arizona Coyotes : Does Ray Whitney still have something in the tank ? Possession numbers remain shockingly fine, but anyone hoping for 60-point seasons any more will be sorely disappointed.
Boston Bruins : Milan Lucic says he will not apologize for the handshake line threats he made to various Canadiens. And if you ask him about it again, he’s going to [expletive]ing kill you.
Buffalo Sabres : Remember that kid who couldn’t stick with the team last season? Put him on the first line !
Calgary Flames : The Jonas Hiller contract is off to a running start .
Carolina Hurricanes : Easy to be happy with the Hurricanes’ depth additions this summer , but wouldn’t it also be nice to get some actual good star players too?
Chicago Blackhawks : Niklas Hjalmarsson believes the the Winter Classic will once again be a “ surreal ” experience. Agreed. Absolutely unreal that this is the team’s third outdoor game in six years. 
Colorado Avalanche : Joe Sakic says Jarome Iginla’s shot and leadership are good . If his legs actually work for the next three seasons, that just might matter!
Columbus Blue Jackets : Hey, they’re making strides in Ryan Johansen’s contract talks. The kid’s good but 30 goals might be a bit much to expect; I wouldn’t count on him shooting almost 14 percent next season. He’s lucky he got so lucky when he did, really.
Dallas Stars : Antoine Roussel wants $2.35 million in arbitration . The team wants to pay him $1.5 million. Let’s call it $2 million and who cares? Dallas has tons of cap space.
Detroit Red Wings : Yeah, “ bold ” is one way to put asking a bankrupt city to foot a too-large part of the bill for a $650 million downtown district that includes an arena that seats 20,000-plus. Public stadium financing is a scam to make the rich richer, and always has been.
Edmonton Oilers : Remember when the Oilers started their rebuild in 2009-10? There’s no one left from that team on the roster. What a life.
Florida Panthers : Love that Dmitry Kulikov contract. What I love even more is that he’s apparently “ inconsistent .” If having a 23-year-old who can drive possession out of his own zone against good competition isn’t good, then I don’t know what to think.
Los Angeles Kings : Justin Williams received the Key to the City of Ventnor City, N.J., when he brought the Stanley Cup back to his adopted hometown. That’s the second time he’s brought it there, but given the way the Kings are going, residents might want to get used to this kind of party.
Minnesota Wild : The Xcel Energy Center is getting a new scoreboard for the coming season. It will be about five times bigger than the previous one, giving fans a closer look at a team that will probably disappoint them this year.
Montreal Canadiens : The Canadiens haven’t done much this summer , which makes it all the more likely that this season will be like the one that followed the last time they made the Eastern Conference Final. A first-round bounce-out might actually be the best they can hope for.
Nashville Predators, America’s Favorite Hockey Team : Seth Jones remained in Nashville to train this summer. Apparently, almost no Preds actually do that.
New Jersey Devils : The Devils have a lot of good, young defensemen . And Adam Larsson.
New York Islanders : Griffin Reinhart wants to be on the Islanders next season . Someone’s gotta take all those tough Andrew MacDonald minutes.
New York Rangers : The city would burn .
Ottawa Senators : The Senators want to know how they can improve Canadian Tire Centre . One assumes most fans wrote, “Put a competitive team in it.”
Philadelphia Flyers : John Stevens brought the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia this past week, and people in Philly are apparently mad that he took it to the Rocky Steps . Does anyone want to let the city of Philadelphia know that “Rocky” isn’t even that good of a movie? Ay at least they didn’t bring it to Pat’s or Geno’s!!!
Pittsburgh Penguins : Mark Recchi was named the Penguins’ player development coach . Word of advice: Don’t ask if he wants to go to the movies.
San Jose Sharks : People are still upset about the Sharks’ new ice girls team . It’s a reasonable thing to be upset about, but the conspiracy theorist has to think this is at least partly a ploy to distract from how little Doug Wilson has done this offseason, eh?
St. Louis Blues : So cute. Doug Armstrong thinks Chris Butler is a “ qualified defenseman .”
Tampa Bay Lightning : Yeah look if you can’t squeeze Jonathan Drouin onto this roster you’re not doing a very good job of making the team better. Pretty simple.
Toronto Maple Leafs : If David Clarkson thinks last year went badly , just wait until he’s in year five of this awful contract and still has two to go! 
Vancouver Canucks : A decent number of people in Vancouver still don’t like Derek Dorsett from his junior days. Can’t imagine why.
Washington Capitals : Dmitry Orlov just isn’t an offensive defenseman . Sorry.
Winnipeg Jets : Another season of missing the playoffs coming up in Winnipeg. No one gets fired! Hooray!
Gold Star Award

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Categories: Habs.

Hab at Heart – Jay Baruchel

MONTREAL – If you followed Jay Baruchel’s career over the last few years, two things stand out : his outstanding sense of humour and his unwavering allegiance to the Montreal Canadiens. Whether it be on movie sets in Hollywood or on Twitter, the NDG resident proudly sports the bleu-blanc-rouge through both good and bad. The canadiens.com crew met up with the Montreal-based actor to learn more about his love for all things CH.

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Director of player development Brisebois leaves Canadiens for personal reasons (The Canadian Press)

MONTREAL – Patrice Brisebois is leaving the Montreal Canadiens for personal reasons, a source tells The Canadian Press.

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Categories: Habs.

Abducted by Aliens – P.K. Subban

It’s no secret P.K. Subban possesses otherworldly-level talents, so we like to imagine his sweet dangles and spin-o-ramas have made headlines even in foreign galaxies. We told the 24-year-old Norris Trophy-winner that in 24 hours, aliens were plotting to snatch him away to help them gain an edge in their future faceoffs against evil. We assume Subban believed us, because he answered our questions about his final day on planet Earth.

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On the road with Max Pacioretty

Perhaps the best way to get to know someone is to take a road trip with him. Some conversation, a little music and a long stretch of asphalt can form an enduring bond between travel companions. Settle in and buckle up; we’re hitting the road with Max Pacioretty.

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What We Learned: NHL’s buyout culture and its surprising benefits (Puck Daddy)

( Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)
If nothing else, the fact that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and NHLPA allowed for another round of compliance buyouts at least let teams go value shopping at their competitors’ expenses.
Since that first of the three rounds of compliance buyout periods, there have been 28 players who were shipped away from their teams for something as simple as money, and free of a potentially lengthy diminished cap hit. Two prior to the 2013 lockout-shortened season, 15 more last summer, and then 11 more this time around.
The reasons these players were bought out obviously varied from one to the next, but they can generally be put into a few different groups. There were the guys who were simply going to be paid too long and too much for what they provided at the time of their buyout (Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier). There were the guys who shouldn’t have ever gotten the contracts they did (Ville Leino, Rick DiPietro, Mike Komisarek). There were the guys who just couldn’t keep up in the NHL any more (Wade Redden, Steve Montador, Ed Jovanovski). And there were guys who had value even under their old contracts but were misjudged by their teams as being not worth it (Mikhail Grabovski, Tom Gilbert).
The reason these guys allowed for some discount shopping among NHL teams is that when players receive compliance buyouts, they’re generally seen as being worth almost nothing, and are generally being brought aboard for very short term and money so that they can prove they’re capable, even if it’s plainly evident that they are. The players don’t seem to mind this very much either, because while they probably don’t deserve to have so little value in the open market, they also have that cushion of several hundred thousand dollars coming to them over the next few years if all else fails.
At the time of their buyouts, these 28 players had an average cap hit of more than $4.21 million, and an average of 2.46 years remaining on their deals. By cutting them without cap consequences, the teams getting rid of them saved a total $117.92 million against the league’s limit. They were, as you might imagine, hired again for significantly less: About $2.31 million less annually, and for 1.06 years fewer.
That means that the typical player who was subject to a compliance buyout and then signed by another team carries an AAV of a little more than $1.9 million, and average term of 1.4 years. Both of those figures are being dragged up significantly by Vincent Lecavalier’s laughable deal, signed last summer, that pays him $22.5 million over five years.
And that doesn’t include all the players who were complianced and then never saw another second in the NHL. Of the 28 who were bought out, only 15 received contracts for the next season (and that number can obviously go up, because just four of the 11 this year have gotten new deals to this point).
What’s interesting, though, is that just four that played on one-year deals — out of the eight who signed them — were then able to get a second contract. Those players are the two aforementioned “useful but misvalued” Gilbert and Grabovski, as well as Scott Gomez and Jeff Schultz.
Schultz didn’t play a second in the regular season, but was apparently good enough down in the American league to get two years and seven playoff games out of Los Angeles. Gilbert and Grabovski both got significant raises, and Gomez got a slight raise from 2013 this past season, but is now out of a contract again.
There remain a few outliers in this bunch, of course. Richards, Grabovski and Christian Ehrhoff can certainly be considered “worth it” right out of the gate on their new short-term deals, and others are a bit more “wait and see.” Of the 19 bought-out skaters who played in the NHL in 2013-14 , only nine had positive possession numbers relative to their teams, and most of those either got soft zone starts, easy competition, or both. Only Gilbert, Grabovski, and Anton Volchenkov fit the bill and were anywhere near getting tougher minutes. Only one complianced goaltender out of three (Ilya Bryzgalov) played, and given his overall numbers for a pro-rated $2 million, it’s tough to say Edmonton and Minnesota didn’t at least get what they were paying for.
It’s best to use caution here, however. For every Gilbert and Grabovski who provide actual value to your team, there’s several more who will drag their employers down, and these things have to be accounted for. David Booth, for instance, is currently without a contract but can help a team if used correctly. Someone who wants to shore up their bottom six should take a run at him.
It’s also buyer beware, especially if the player is into his early 30s or beyond. Lecavalier and Daniel Briere were signed to the two richest post-buyout contracts by far, at multiple years north of $4 million per. The latter has already been traded after being a disaster in Montreal, and if Philly had any compliance buyouts left, it would have used one on him for sure.
Overall, it does seem that the market is more or less correct, which is interesting: Teams only start valuing players properly when other teams say they have such little value that they’d rather pay them not to play. Most guys who wash out of the league in this way deserve to have done so, probably long before the buyout came. Others can be valued more marginally and therefore correctly, because most bought-out contracts were massive overpays to begin with.
It does say something about this league, though. It shouldn’t take so drastic a correction for players regardless of background — from star center to backup goalie and everywhere in between — to be valued reasonably. Unfortunately for a lot of teams in the league, they’re not going to get another crack at compliancing their bad contracts for seven more years at least.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks : The Ducks made relatively quick work of one of their less notable but potentially interesting transactions of the summer, signing former Habs first-rounder Louis Leblanc to a one-year deal after getting him for a conditional fifth in mid-June. It’s a two-way, though, and at 23 he might not have much time left to figure things out.
Arizona Coyotes : Just hours after he signed a deal with a Swiss club, David Moss also signed a new one-year deal with the Coyotes . Which probably means he’s not going to Switzerland after all, or he’s going to be really tired a lot.
Boston Bruins : Everyone was delighted with this year’s first-round pick David Pastrnak at Bruins development camp this week. Mainly because he’s really good and fun to watch, but also because he’s funny and lost his passport.
Buffalo Sabres : Start planning the parade: Ken Campbell thinks the Sabres will win the Cup in 2020 . They have a lot of good prospects because of how long they’ve been bad, you see. I don’t know if you knew that about the Sabres but it’s true. Maybe someone might mention that someday.
Calgary Flames : Morgan Klimchuk and Sam Bennett were already real-life friends even before the Flames drafted them both in the first round in successive seasons. Aww.
Carolina Hurricanes : Chad LaRose wants to come back to the NHL ! Boy is that a great idea just kidding.
Chicago Blackhawks : The Blackhawks have pretty effectively set up a big roadblock for all their prospects because of how good the NHL team is overall. Now they know how the Red Wings felt in like 2008, but let’s hope for their sake they don’t also marry themselves to the idea that leaving all their prospects in the AHL until they’re 24 is a “good thing.” Because it’s not.
Colorado Avalanche : Seems like the buzzards are already circling Ryan O’Reilly , and for good reason.
Columbus Blue Jackets : Brandon Dubinsky is happy to have this new contract because he can finally buy a house . Before this his roughly $22 million in career earnings meant he could not buy a house.
Dallas Stars : Dallas avoided arbitration with Cameron Gaunce, giving him a one-year deal . You know he wasn’t feeling great about his chances when he took a two-way deal that only pays him an extra $30,000 in the AHL, with no raise from the big club.
Detroit Red Wings : Come for Tomas Jurco doing crazy puck-flipping tricks, stay for the super slo-mo version of “Happy.”

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NHL fighting and a common sense reduction of it (Puck Daddy)

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Hab at heart: Alexandre Bilodeau

MONTREAL – Since making his freestyle skiing debut, Alexandre Bilodeau hasn’t stopped climbing the ranks, capturing a few World Championships, and reaching the pinnacle of his sport by claiming back-to-back gold medals at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Sochi. While he spent much of his time navigating the twists and turns of snow-covered courses the world over at warp speed in recent years, he always made time to watch the Canadiens play when he returned home. The canadiens.com crew met up with the young retiree to learn more about his love for all things bleu-blanc-rouge.
How long have you been a Canadiens fan?

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National Hockey League roundup (Reuters)

(The Sports Xchange) – The Columbus Blue Jackets signed center Brandon Dubinsky to a six-year contract extension on Friday. Dubinsky still has one year remaining on a four-year contract he signed with the New York Rangers that pays him $4.65 million for this season. The Tampa Bay Lightning signed free agent forward Brenden Morrow to a one-year contract. Tampa Bay also re-signed forward Richard Panik and signed forward Philippe Paradis.

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NHL-National Hockey League roundup (Reuters)

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed center Brandon Dubinsky to a six-year contract extension on Friday. Dubinsky still has one year remaining on a four-year contract he signed with the New York Rangers that pays him $4.65 million for this season. – - – The Tampa Bay Lightning signed free agent forward Brenden Morrow to a one-year contract. Tampa Bay also re-signed forward Richard Panik and signed forward Philippe Paradis.

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NHL-National Hockey League roundup (Reuters)

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed center Brandon Dubinsky to a six-year contract extension on Friday. Dubinsky still has one year remaining on a four-year contract he signed with the New York Rangers that pays him $4.65 million for this season. – - – The Tampa Bay Lightning signed free agent forward Brenden Morrow to a one-year contract. Tampa Bay also re-signed forward Richard Panik and signed forward Philippe Paradis.

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Dread Pirate Steve Ott; new Leafs assistants; CHL players’ summer jobs (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
Two more years of this? Yes, please. ” @apetro_27 : great performance by @otterN9NE “aKa Steve the pirate” pic.twitter.com/JU8zBoHuU7 ” — St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) July 10, 2014
• Dread Pirate Steve [Ott]:  “Yarr…Peter…”   [St. Louis Blues]
• I get the feeling some Blues fans might prefer the actual Dread Pirate Steve on their team over Steve Ott, especially after Vladimir Sobotka booked it to the KHL. [St. Louis Game Time]
• Randy Carlyle has some new friends behind the bench. The Maple Leafs announced former-Panthers coach Peter Horachek and former-Marlies coach Steve Spott are the two new assistant coaches in Toronto. [Toronto Maple Leafs]
• CHL players haven’t yet hit the big time where they make enough money to NOT work during the off-season. Here’s the first installment of a summer series looking at what those CHL’ers do to make ends meet when they’re not on the ice. [Buzzing the Net]
• Nobody wants to work on Fridays, so we’ve given you something to pass the time. Can you find things hiding in your favorite hockey logos? [Icethetics]
•  “When I went to the University of North Dakota, and I sat in the crowd, I felt so proud that Rocco Grimaldi was a Panther because people are talking about him. They’re all talking to him getting ready for warm-ups saying ‘Hey, watch this little guy! He’s going to light it up’. He never disappoints,” said Brian Skrudland, the Panthers director of player development. [ Panther Parkway]
• Interesting analysis of center Mikko Koivu, and his role for the upcoming season with youthful Wild [Hockey Wilderness]
• Some unhappy citizens of Red Wings country? George Malik writes an open letter to Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the Kyle Quincey and Dan Cleary signings. (BONUS:  Perfect Strangers reference for those of us who grew up watching TGIF.) [Kukla's Korner/Malik Report]
• Mike Babcock is on the verge of looking for a new assistant coach to join him on the bench. Ken Holland confirmed current Detroit assistant Tom Renney is close to signing a deal to join Hockey Canada. [Red Wings Front]
• The 2018 Olympic games are in PyeongChan g, South Korea. Don’t worry, this isn’t a debate on whether NHL-ers should go or not. 28 players from Seoul’s Yonsei University are in Vancouver to hone their skills in hope of making their nation’s team in a few year. [The Province]
• Drama and the Vancouver Canucks go together like peas and carrots. ‘Nucks goalie Jacob Markstrom reportedly requested a trade following the Ryan Miller signing. Guess what?! Markstrom is now denying that report. Shock me, shock me. [ProHockey Talk]
• ” The Canucks are prepared to simply remodel their team a bit and then go into the season hoping for the best … I believe that the time for a rebuild is now, while their best players are still in their prime and can get the best return via trade … there’s no point in delaying the inevitable in Vancouver, and the time for change is now.” [Too Many Men On The Site]
• A look back at a dark day in Pittsburgh Penguins history. This day, 13 years ago, Pens GM Craig Patrick traded Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera to the Washington Capitals for Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk. [The Pensblog]
• 1922-1923 Montreal Canadiens ‘shock the world twice’ on this day in hockey history [Greatest Hockey Legends]
• Eliot Antonietti, the 6’6″ Swiss defenseman at Capitals prospect camp, has taken hold of his new-found fame and has deemed himself ‘The Beard’. Not sure if that will improve his chances of signing with the team, but hey, any marketing is good marketing. [RMNB]
• Hockey talent from Southern California continues to invade development camps across the NHL; however unbeknownst to many, Miles Koules brings a Hollywood heavyweight family background with him to Caps camp. [Washington Post]
• The Lighting have re-signed Brett Connolly as they continue to add to their depth at forward . [Tampa Bay Lightning]
• Wonder how this will work out: “It appears that the Carolina Hurricanes are planning on relying less on talent and more on hard work and strategy for the next hockey season. Do not get me wrong, the Canes do have talent, but as we have learned in the past few seasons that it is not enough. As Bill Peters mentioned in his first interview with the Hurricanes, ice time will be given to the players who work hard and are the right ones for the job.” [Cardiac Cane]
• An academic analysis (with equations!) at changing the NHL point system by someone that didn’t have to take macroeconomics four times while getting her B.A. (i.e. me) [Jewels from the Crown]
• A look back at the very busy past few weeks for the Nashville Predators [View from 111]
• Should the Oilers kick the tires on 32-year-old, free-agent winger David Moss?  [Oilers Nation]
• Getting you ready for your future fantasy drafts: the guys at Dobber look at the implications of Sobotka’s departure and Ott’s re-signing with the Blues.  [Dobber Hockey]
• To close Puck Headlines the way we started, we head Winnipeg where the Jets prospects are living the immortal words of Dodgeball’s  Patches O’Houlihan: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball…” [Winnipeg Jets]

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In the right direction

MONTREAL – During his third stint running the Canadiens’ annual Development Camp, Martin Lapointe caught a glimpse of many good things to come for the bleu-blanc-rouge.

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Who will be the next $10 million-a-year NHL players? (Puck Daddy)

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P.K. Subban loves the Canadiens and piles of money (Puck Daddy)

The good news for the Montreal Canadiens is that P.K. Subban loves them. Dearly. Whenever he speaks about wearing the bleu, blanc et rouge it’s like hearing a kid getting a chance to wear the pinstripes after growing up in the Bronx sleeping under a Jeter poster 
To wit, from his conversation with Ken Dryden recently, Subban said:
“Playing with the Montreal Canadiens, there’s so much history. I have an opportunity to bring back a feeling to a city that is so hungry for it. This is the greatest organization in hockey. I want to keep the legacy going.”
In essence, Subban speaks about playing for the Canadiens like the Canadiens wish every free agent thinks about playing for the Canadiens, even if the vast majority don’t want that spotlight and scrutiny.
Subban? He craves it. He cherishes it. That unyielding combination of no-filter honesty, charisma and occasional impetuousness are a perfect cocktail for surviving in that market, combined with his loyalty to his teammates.
That’s where the balance gets tricky for Subban. Contract negotiations are, essentially, a personal personnel decision. What he asks for dictates what the Canadiens spend on others. What he asks for can also dictate whether Subban is on the ice with the Habs, off the ice in talks or – hockey gods forbid – on another team.
That latter scenario never seemed that likely, given that Montreal would have matched any offer sheet, and now it’s pretty much off the table as Subban elected for salary arbitration while the sides continue to work on a new deal.
But why the hell would Subban sign a new deal at this juncture?
Let’s start with arbitration. As Ken Campbell of THN notes:
It won’t be difficult to figure out how much Subban will be seeking in arbitration. His comparables statistically and in terms of career development are players such as Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Doughty earns $7 million a year, Karlsson and Pietrangelo $6.5 million each and Ekman-Larsson $5.5 million. So anywhere north of $6 million would be a reasonable assumption.
So let’s say the Canadiens and Subban avoid the nastiness of arbitration with their own 2-year deal for $6.6 million annually, because Subban has every right to ask for somewhere between Karlsson and Doughty and the Habs have every right to meet him in the middle.
Assuming Subban is still Subban for the next two years, the contract that follows boggles the mind. Every player is on the table. It’s not just about what defensemen make – as a UFA squarely in his prime, Subban can write a ticket that compares to the NHL’s other star players in his age bracket.
By Summer 2016, the following players will have new contracts: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos, provided things don’t go sideways in Tampa and he signs there. All three will crack the $10 million cap hit ceiling, or at least are expected to as the cap rises. The idea that Subban could join them might seem outlandish now; maybe less so if he adds another Norris to the trophy case.
So yes, his filing for arbitration is good news because it means he’ll be a Hab for the next two seasons, in theory. And yes, this does buy the Canadiens some time to sign him long term. And yes, it’s clear that Subban and Montreal have a mutual affinity.
But the longer this goes, the larger the price tag gets for PK. And while the Canadiens are a cap friendly team due to having so many young players playing key roles, that’ll change in the next three seasons. 
 

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KHL goes from threat to nyet for NHL (Puck Daddy)

“I think the KHL represents right now the biggest threat to the NHL since the WHA and maybe not today but in the future. And how short-sighted of these NHL owners to shut the NHL game down at the time when the KHL is beginning to thrive and allow for many of the NHL’s top stars, from Ovechkin to Malkin and so forth who are Russian-born, to be back in Russia promoting the KHL instead of the NHL. How short-sighted are these owners in allowing this to happen?” – Allan Walsh, Oct. 2012  
Two years ago, the KHL was looking like the new hotness.
It was on ESPN2, with BARRY MELROSE calling its games. It was home to a cadre of NHL stars looking to make coin during the lockout, including a few Russian stars threatening to remain there. In Summer 2013, Ilya Kovalchuk followed through on that threat: Retiring from the NHL, leaving $77 million on the table with the New Jersey Devils and moving his family back to Russia.
The new WHA! The red menace! Gary Bettman’s Putanic nightmare!
Fast forward two years, and here’s where the KHL is:
* Not on television in North America, at least on a network that’s more easily located than NBCSN.
* Watching Leo Komarov (Toronto Maple Leafs), Jori Lehtera (St. Louis Blues), Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals), Jiri Sekac (Montreal Canadiens) and Petri Kontiola (St. Louis Blues) all leave for the NHL in the last few months.
* In Kontiola’s case, watching him pay $600,000 to the KHL to get out of a contract just to sign for $1.1 million in the NHL.
* The significant names headed from the NHL to Russia? Matt Gilroy, Matt Lashoff and Chad Billins.
* Seeing three teams cease operation for the 2014-15 KHL season: Lev Prague, Spartak Moscow and Donbass Donetsk. In the case of Lev, that’s the Gagarin Cup runner-up that just folded.
Meanwhile, the NHL is nearing $3.7 billion in revenue.
Chris Johnston looked at the KHL’s downward trend as an NHL threat, and followed the money:
“All of those guys really want to play in the NHL,” said a well-placed source in Finnish hockey circles. “They all made big money already in KHL. So it’s not about the money anymore.”
Until now, money has been the one advantage that the KHL enjoyed, especially when it came to fringe players who didn’t want to risk the possibility of earning peanuts if they were sent to the American Hockey League or top prospects that were able to earn much more than they would on an entry-level contract in the NHL.
Then you had a situation like the one Komarov faced last summer, when Dynamo gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse. The KHL team tabled twice as much money as the Leafs — $2 million — and that doesn’t even factor in Russia’s lower tax rates or the fact he had no escrow deductions to worry about overseas.
Still, when I caught up with him in February at the Olympics, you could tell that Komarov had some doubts about his decision. He strongly hinted that his return to Moscow hadn’t gone as well as he had hoped.
There are some mitigating factors for the KHL. Lev, for example, was the third most popular team in Prague, and even that Cup run wasn’t changing the dynamic. Sparta and Donbass both vow this is only a one-year shutdown, and will return to the KHL if their economic situations change.
(Please note that the KHL will still have 28 teams next season, as Lada Togliatti will return to the league, Finland’s Jokerit Helsinki starts its first KHL season and HK Sochi debuts, playing in the Olympic Bolshoy Ice Dome. Yes, a pro hockey team in Sochi. Let’s see what those attendance numbers look like.)
But the larger trend for the KHL right now is that it’s attracting fewer big name NHL stars at the end of their careers, while the younger stars are using the league as an ATM for a few seasons before ending up on the NHL, where their hearts clearly are.
And while the KHL may still march through Europe in expansion, it doesn’t feel like the same arms race it once did with the NHL. The idea of a North American franchise is now laughable. The talent pipeline’s flow has been reversed. The NHL is getting stronger, while the KHL is seeing teams fold.
The Russian League’s not going anywhere – there’s way too much money and political clout backing the KHL – but, for now, it seems like the moment has passed for the KHL as a viable threat to the NHL.
The question then becomes: What next? Does it stagger along, trying to beat any NHL expansion in the hopes that its foothold in Europe would thwart that of an NHL-backed league?
Or does the KHL become what Allan Walsh predicted it’d become (and where I’ve long thought this was all headed): The new WHA, eventually bowing to the NHL’s brand and merging with it in a massive European expansion?
 
 

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What We Learned: Bad players getting bad contracts from bad teams (Puck Daddy)

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Hab at heart: Marc-André Grondin

MONTREAL – Whether he’s on a red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, a movie set in Paris or in his living room in Montreal, Marc-André Grondin always sports the bleu-blanc-rouge with pride. The canadiens.com crew met up with the star of films like C.R.A.Z.Y., The Dumont Affair and Goon, among others, to learn more about his love for hockey, the Canadiens, and the ways he stays up-to-date on the latest sports news when he’s on the road making movies.

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On the road with Peter Budaj

Perhaps the best way to get to know someone is to take a road trip with him. Some conversation, a little music and a long stretch of asphalt can form an enduring bond between travel companions. Settle in and buckle up; we’re hitting the road with Peter Budaj.

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Rangers agree to terms with center Tarnasky (The Associated Press)

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Rangers agreed to terms with free-agent forward Nick Tarnasky.

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Rangers agree to terms with center Tarnasky (The Associated Press)

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Rangers agreed to terms with free-agent forward Nick Tarnasky.

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Puck Daddy’s 2014 NHL Free Agent Report Card (Puck Daddy)

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Fifty players invited to the Canadiens’ annual Development Camp

PRESS RELEASE

MONTREAL (July 3, 2014) – The Montreal Canadiens announced today that the team will hold its annual development camp, from July 7-11, at the Bell Sports Complex, in Brossard.

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Alexei Kovalev, Enigmatic Russian, retires after 24 years (Puck Daddy)

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Radim Vrbata signs with Canucks, picks money over term (Puck Daddy)

Radim Vrbata had two choices on Wednesday. 
He could accept an offer from the Arizona Coyotes that wasn’t cash rich annually but offered long-term security, according to GM Don Maloney. Or he could go short-term and leave as an unrestricted free agent to another team, leaving the franchise with whom he found his greatest success in the NHL.
Vrbata went for the money and the shorter term: Two years and $10 million from the Vancouver Canucks, who have him penciled in as their second-line right wing.
According to Ben Kuzma, the other teams in the mix for Vrbata late included the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Coyotes and the New Jersey Devils, who are apparently intent on signing every Czech player above the age of 30 in the NHL.
Vrbata, 33, had 20 goals and 31 assists in 80 games last season, with 10 power-play goals. He’s two seasons removed from a 35-goal season.
Vrbata was drafted No. 212 overall by Colorado in 1999, playing two seasons there, parts of three in Carolina and two in Chicago. He was traded to the Coyotes in August 2007 and blew up the next season with 27 goals in 76 games.
He took his talents to Tampa Bay as a free agent and washed out in spectacular fashion,  while dealing with some family issues. He returned to the Coyotes via trade after being loaned to a team in Czech Republic by Tampa, and reestablished himself as a goal-scoring winger.
According to reports, Vrbata gets $4 million and a $1 million signing bonus in both seasons. It’s a good short-term deal for both sides: Vrbata makes money now, and potentially more as the cap rises; and Vancouver avoids long-term commitment as they figure out their direction under Jim Benning.
The same Jim Benning that just prevented his former team in Boston from winning the Vrbata derby, incidentally…  

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Deals slow to trickle on Day 2 of NHL free agency (The Associated Press)

Sabres general manager Tim Murray joked that he has run out of spending money two days into NHL free agency. The New York Islanders made the biggest splash by signing forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to four-year contracts. The Nashville Predators, who failed in a bid to land center Jason Spezza in a trade with Ottawa, made an addition by signing veteran center Olli Jokinen to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. ”There’s no doubt that the second day is a lot different than the first day,” Nashville general manager David Poile said.

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Wild add RW Joel Rechlicz, with 2-way deal (The Associated Press)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild have agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract with right wing Joel Rechlicz.

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Contractual status of Habs players

Visit canadiens.com to view this page.

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Categories: News.

Tuesday’s Sports In Brief (The Associated Press)

They captured the hearts of America – from coast to coast, big towns and small, all the way to the White House. Capturing the World Cup will have to wait. The Belgians built a two-goal lead when Kevin De Bruyne scored in the 93rd minute and Romelu Lukaku in the 105th. SAO PAULO (AP) – Argentina’s theme at this World Cup seems to be scrappy wins with Lionel Messi pulling through at the last minute to save the day.

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