A few updates on the Montreal Canadiens' preseason:
•18 players were cut from the training camp last Monday. Two of them—P.K. Subban and Olivier Fortier—have been re-assigned to their Junior teams, while the other 16 will prove themselves at the Hamilton Bulldogs' training camp.
In the he-could-have-done-better box, Pavel Valentenko's name has been pointed at a few times. We did not hear about him that much, but regarding the traffic at the blue line, it is no wonder why!
"He still has things to learn, but he's close," said Coach Guy Carbonneau on RDS.
•Yannick Weber is among the lucky ones to stay with the team a little longer. That's right: "a little longer."
Weber has been doing quite an interesting job at the blue line, and has even had teammate Alexei Kovalev complimenting his performance. "I think he is ready for the NHL,” said Kovalev, who was on the same special unit as the young defenseman on a few occasions.
•Max Pacioretty has been another shining prospect this training camp. If you watched the game against the Redwings on TSN yesterday, you would share Pierre McGuire's enthusiasm (and mine!) for the 19-year-old 22nd overall draft pick.
He has been playing amazingly, with two-on-one and one-on-one situations, a +1 rating, the only regulation time goal of the Habs, and a shootout goal. The latter had the crowd going, with a back-hand shot, that McGuire qualified as a "NHL goal."
He played on veterans Robert Lang and Alex Kovalev's line during the game. It must have been an amazing experience.
•Carey Price might have developed a new save trademark!
Early during the playoffs against the Boston Bruins, he flipped the flying puck behind his back. He did it again yesterday, on an initial shot by Tomas Holmstrom.
What about calling that "the Carey Price save"?
"I just closed my eyes and swung it out of it. I did not even see where it was, I just threw my stick behind me," replied the starting goaltender during his post-game interview featured on TSN.
Dennis Guimond has the insights.
•Alexei Kovalev has been awarded the Jean Beliveau Trophy for his community involvement.
Well, after being compared to Guy Lafleur by Coach Carbonneau for being such a smart mouth (I don't mean that the offending way!), and after scoring a goal the "Demon blond" way last playoffs, I wonder what is next for Kovalev.
Perhaps if he could do his Spin-o-Rama more often, the Denis Savard way, it would complete the list!
•The two first lines of the Montreal Canadiens will be put to work tonight, facing the Boston Bruins.
All three players of the second line haven't been playing for a while due to diverse injuries. For the Captain, it will be his first preseason game.
•Tonight will also mark Michael Ryder's first return to the Bell Center in a Bruins uniform. It is not that the two parts parted ways angrily, but you and I know how former Montreal players always get special treatment from their former home crowd. Just ask Patrice Brisebois and Jose Theodore!
Jaroslav Halak should get the start.
Well, folks, that's about what the past few days have been about. Enjoy the last preseason games—the only games when you don't worry that much when your goalie gets scored on! Cheers.