Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bits And Pieces: Habs-Related News On A Summer's Day

A quick scan of the news I've missed being without internet for a day or so while out on business to find a schedule, some signings and the ubiquitous rumours.

Not quite neough for a big post on any or each, but I thought a rapid-fire relay of thoughts would be appropriate.

NHL schedule released

So, there will be NHL games this year. That's good news. It's not really news though is it?

I suppose there are things we've been anxious to find out, specifically when will this boredom end, who will we play on our 100th birthday and when would we be seeing Saku Koivu again.

The answers. The first night of NHL action will be October 1st, and it will feature the Habs vs. the Leafs in Toronto. We will be playing the Boston Bruins on December 4th at home – a fitting choice for the biggest occasion in these 100th celebrations by a long stretch. And, as for Saku, we won't see him in Montreal after all – which is a shame. Word, however, is that he and Kovalev will make a homecoming of sorts to take part in the premiere of the movie in which he played a lead role (date not reported).

A couple of other interesting points about the schedule include the outdoor game on New Year's day (where the Slovak monster meets the Green Monster as the Bruins host the Flyers at Fenway); the European trips for the Red Wings and Blues in Stockholm and Hawks and Panthers in Helsinki; and the 2nd Victoria Cup in late September, in which the Chicago Blackhawks will be representing the NHL in lieu of the Canadiens or the Stanley Cup champs finally stepping up to the plate.

I did also come across a funny (as in laughable) take on the schedule by a Bruins writer. In going through every game, it's not surprising that he finds few losses and concludes with this irritating and smug (distinctly Bostonian you'll be noting) conclusion to the year for the Bruins:
April 11 at Capitals: The Bruins close out the regular season the way they started it — by beating Washington. Boston doesn’t go 82-0, but finishing on top of the East again is commendable. It’s only the beginning.

Next stop, the playoffs. Is this the year of the Bruins? Thirty-eight years of waiting is long enough.

I should introduce this Bruins fan to the 2006 Hurricanes, the 2007 Senators, the 2008 Habs and every other team that wins the East with high expectations of a follow-up. Of course, they'd be crazy not to expect winning all the NHL trophies again wouldn't they? Before the awards ceremony, though, David Krejci have you met Tomas Plekanec?

The Boston is generally a idiotic as it is ignorant. For example, on the hundredth anniversary of the Canadiens, the knowledgeable scribe has this inane comment:
"Dec. 4 at Canadiens: The Habs have more new faces than a Beverly Hills Nieman Marcus. But the Bruins treat them just the same as Montreal’s old guard — with utter contempt."

His other comments are childish and planted for a reaction. So go read it. There's never a bad time to get riled up about the Bruins.

Canadiens contracts

Also in the news was a couple of Canadiens contracts.

Guillaume Latendresse signed the smartest contract of his career. In taking less than last season, he's won big PR points and showed he has a head on his shoulders. If the Canadiens are pressed for cap space, they won't be trading or benching the 16-goal winger who plays for $800,000. It's a no-lose situation for him and for us. I'm very happy with the news.

Shawn Belle also signed to a two-way deal. I haven't seen him play, but all other signs point to him being a good guy to have around. He's bulky, versed in Lemaire hockey and put up very nice numbers in Hamilton last season. It's also good news as I see it, even if he's to stay on the farm and keep that situation steady for this season.

Robert Lang

The very reliable rumour site (reliable in that you can always expect that 2.5% of all rumours they report, no more, no less will come to pass), has stated that Lang will be playing in Russia this season. Expect him to sign anywhere but with 97.5% reliablilty promptly.

Less surprising is Eric Engels total and continuing contempt for the KHL:
"Welcome to the KHL Robert Lang, where they don’t mind paying big bucks for a guy with a limited skating stride, who just recovered from a torn Achilles, at the age of 38. If he wanted less he’d still be playing in the NHL, and likely Montreal, but it’ll be hard to ignore the financial incentive that Avangard Omsk is giving him."

I guess Eric doesn't remember everyone eating these very words as recently as January. I guess 6 months is a long time when there's always another rumour to invent.

I hope Robert does what's best for Robert. He was a pleasure to watch, and from what I heard a gentleman. Omsk and Jagr might not be such a backwards step as KHL-bashers want to believe.

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