On an eventful Saturday for Quebec Nordiques fans it was their highway 20 rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, who lit up the lamp at the Colisée. The Habs finished off their NHLX schedule by crushing the New York Islanders who brought their ''B Team'' to the Quebec capital.
Earlier in the day, 50,000 fans assembled on the historic Plains of Abraham to rally in support for the return of their beloved Nordiques. A gathering that was probably much more interesting in terms of star power than the actual game that would be played later on that evening. Appearances by Quebec legends Michel Goulet and Peter Stastny will usually do that in "La Vieille Capitale."
The product that the Islanders brought on the ice was a line-up riddled with AHL and ECHL talent, journeymen and fifth overall 2010 draft pick Nino Niederreiter. The 18-year-old looked impressive playing against established NHLers and was involved in a situation that could conceivably have Michael Cammalleri suspended by league officials.
No. 13 Lashes Out
After getting blindsided by Niederreiter towards the end of the second period, Cammalleri decided to recognize the player's number and chase the young Swiss. After push came to shove the Canadiens' star forward decided to welcome Nino to the league with a minuscule stick-graze to the chin.
But it was his second offense, a slash to the ankle, that had him ejected from the game and gave the Islanders a five minute powerplay.
Now to say that this was an abnormal reaction would be an understatement given Cammalleri's relatively clean track record. It would be to no ones surprise to see him get fined and suspended by league officials considering NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell doesn't really appreciate having players use their sticks as light sabers.
What the teenager said to him is unknown but one can only wonder what could have possessed a customarily calm player to act that way. Nevertheless, a suspension would be bad news for the Canadiens who are already dealing with the absence of No. 1 blueliner Andrei Markov for the start of the season.
Let's hope the council will consider Cammalleri's rather stellar credentials in terms of behavior when discussing his sentence.
UPDATE: After a conference call with the leagues disciplinarian committee this morning, Cammalleri will now serve a one game suspension in the season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canadiens forward will also have to fork out an amount of $32,258.06.
In a game that will likely set the tone for the next five Leafs/Habs games, Montreal now faces it's most heated rival without it's star sniper.
An Evening Of Firsts
After laying low for the majority of his NHLX appearances, Benoit Pouliot finally found the twine against the Islanders getting the puck past Manny Legace on two occasions.
It can only be seen as a big positive for the 2005 first rounder who went silent in 18 playoff games last season with a mediocre two assists.
Lars Eller also scored his first in a Canadiens kit, ripping a wrist shot from the top of the circle to roof it home. The young Dane continued to impress in his fifth exhibition contest finishing off his pre-season campaign with a total of four points.
Carey Price also looked sharp when put to the test, making a few impressive saves that will do nothing else but boost his confidence heading in to the real season.
Ready As Ever
Tomas Plekanec continued rolling on with two goals and two assists finishing with a total of nine points in four buildups to lead the squad.
The Czech will try to avoid following up his 70-point season with a mediocre one, a feat he accomplished in '08-'09 obtaining only 39 points after getting 69 the year before.
After signing a lucrative deal in the summer, Plekanec seems hell bent on putting an end to that pattern. If the trend continues, this can only be described as an immediate return on investment.