Tags Posts tagged with "Erik Cole"

Erik Cole

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#MTLHockey Preview

HabsStars

Match Up

The Canadiens (29-13-3) return to action Tuesday night after the All Star break, playing host to the Stars (21-18-7). The game is set to start at 7:30 and airs on RDS and Sportsnet East.

This is the second and final game between the Habs and Stars this season, and the only one in Montreal. The last time these teams met, Dallas skated away with an easy 4-1 victory on home ice. Tyler Seguin had a pair of goals and an assist in the win.

What to Watch

Carey Price and Jiri Sekac return from their All-Star experiences in Columbus and the rest of the Canadiens return from their extended breaks looking to pick up where they left off. The last time the Habs played, Max Pacioretty was held pointless in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Predators, ending his seven game point streak. PK Subban and Alex Galchenyuk each had a goal and an assist in the win over Nashville.

Averaging over three goals per game, the Stars have the league’s fourth ranked offense, led by the NHL’s top goal-scorer, Tyler Seguin. Seguin is second overall in points with 52, 12 points more than the Stars’ next most productive player, Jamie Benn, who currently has 40 points, including 13 goals.

What’s at Stake

While the Canadiens are third in points in the Atlantic division, they still hold a lead over the Lightning and Red Wings in terms of points percentage. The Habs are locked into a close race for top spot in the division that’s likely to last the rest of the season, so every point matters.

Who’s Out

A week off is usually enough to cure what ails you, but P.A. Parenteau (concussion) is still not ready to play on Tuesday. Aside from that, the Habs are healthy as their schedule is about to kick into overdrive.

The Stars will see lots of players returning to action on Tuesday, but former Hab Erik Cole (upper body) is not one of them, he’s expected to miss the match. Valeri Nichushkin (hip) is also missing, his November hip surgery has kept him out of the lineup for most of the season.

What Else

For the Habs a long break translates into a cramped schedule in their next stretch of the season. With only 45 games played to this point, only the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers have played less than the Canadiens this season. To compensate, the Habs will play 28 games between January 27 and March 21, a span of 54 days.

The Question Mark

How much of the All-Star Weekend did you watch and what was your favorite moment?

Tonight’s Show

Join host Steven Hindle along with Kosta Papoulias and Rob Elbaz for the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show as we go live at 6:30 to preview the Canadiens and the Stars.

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DesharnaisVCaps

The Montreal Canadiens are an elite organization, and it’s safe to say their fans, for the most part, match them in terms of class. Attending a game at the Bell Centre is an experience in of itself, and an absolute must for hockey fans looking for a unique atmosphere.

But with this fan base comes great expectations. The tickets aren’t cheap, and if a player coasts his way through a performance, he’ll hear it from the fans. While this may contribute to the reasons the electricity inside the Bell Centre is unmatched, it may also keep the more timid players away from the city once Free Agency comes along.

This city, after all,  has a history of turning on their own, from Patrice “Breeze-by” Brisebois, to Vladimir “Skier” Malakhov and recently Scott Gomez. Each time, a high-profile, well-paid player was booed mercilessly out of town for their lack of effort, skill or commitment. Brisebois headed to Colorado, Malakhov was dealt to New Jersey and Gomez was bought out.

Whether or not the fan reactions are warranted it or not doesn’t matter. The fans pay for their tickets, and they have the right to let their voices be heard. However, there is now a new whipping-boy in town, a player who has something the others don’t: a chance at redemption; a chance to salvage his reputation and reclaim the admiration of the fans.

With his big contract and inconsistent play, David Desharnais has turned into the new scapegoat for all that is wrong with the Montreal Canadiens. You don’t have to look too far in order to find an angry Hab fan calling for his head. In fact, open your Twitter feed and search his name, and you will find all sorts of hate. What really sets him apart is that this time, the city’s mayor has joined the pitchfork crowd.

But Desharnais has a chance to do something special: redeem himself. There is no denying that Desharnais is talented. In 2011-2012, he tallied 60 points in 81 games centering the top line of Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole. He has shown flashes of being a special player despite his size.

The truth is, while Montreal fans are tough, they are suckers for effort. Desharnais doesn’t have to become a superstar in order to win them over. He doesn’t even have to play up to his 3.5 million dollar contract as even the occasional hockey fan can see he is somewhat overpaid. All he has to do is put in the hard work that this level of hockey requires. He has to show up to every optional skate, every optional practice. He needs to put back on some of the weight he “shed” in the off-season in order to “get faster”. He needs to be better.

It would be a nice change of pace to see a player overcome the fans turning on him for once and show them that they were too quick to judge. He’s certainly on the right Habs team to do it. With Gallagher, Eller and Galchenyuk’s kid line, with Price, PK, Parros and Prust, this team certainly has a cast of easily lovable characters. A true, redeemable feel good resurgence from Desharnais can cap a special team’s story, a team that is certainly headed in the right direction.

It’s up to him, and him alone, to do it.

On another note, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman was on TSN 690’s Melnick in the Afternoon last week and he relayed a story told by former NHL goaltender Mike Vernon. The story, which Vernon had never told before to anyone, is a must-hear for Hab fans.

Vernon was in Montreal for a game one day when he bumped into Habs’ goalie Patrick Roy in a local restaurant. The two didn’t really know each other well, but Roy waved him over. As the two goalies got to talking, Roy told Vernon that he felt as though he lived in a fishbowl, and was stressed out about playing in Montreal.

Vernon, a Calgary kid who started his career with the Flames, basically responded that he understood how Roy felt, and that his life became a lot better once he was traded out of Calgary. Later that night, Vernon dressed for his team, the Detroit Red Wings, as they pummelled the Montreal Canadiens. The date?  December 2nd, 1995, the final game Patrick Roy would ever play for the Canadiens. After the game, Vernon skipped his shower and headed to his hotel, not wanting to deal with the aftermath, scared he would get the blame.

This is a mind-blowing revelation that puts a new perspective on the whole ordeal. It would be interesting to get Patrick Roy’s take on this story. Did that early morning discussion have anything to do with his decision making process?

Earlier this week, my good friend Derrick slipped into a coma. Derrick is a die-hard Philadelphia Flyers fan and an amazing rugby player. More importantly, he is an amazing person and since his wife is expecting, he is going to be a great father. I am lucky to call him my friend. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and here’s to wishing him a complete and speedy recovery.

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montreal canadiens vs toronto maple leafs habs

Match-Up:

The Montreal Canadiens (12-4-3) finish off their Ontario road trip in Toronto where they’ll take on the Maple Leafs (12-8-0) Wednesday night. The game at the Air Canada Centre starts at 7:30 and can be seen on RDS, and TSN.

This is the third chance the Habs will have to earn a win against the Leafs, with another two games to play afterwards. Toronto has already beaten the Canadiens twice this year at the Bell Centre, the season opener and more recently, a 6-0 victory on February 9, the Habs’ worse loss so far this season.

What to Watch:

Tuesday evening the Canadiens traded Erik Cole to the Dallas Stars in return for ex-Hab Michael Ryder. Like Cole, Ryder had 35 goals last year. He has 6 goals and 14 points this season, including 9 points during his current 6-game point streak. If the Newfoundland native makes it to Toronto in time for Wednesday’s game it will be interesting to see where he fits in the lineup and whether or not he can keep his streak going.

Phil Kessel already has five points against the Canadiens in the two games these teams have played. He had a somewhat slow start to the season, with no goals and just 4 assists in his first 9 games, but he’s picked his play back up to its expected level with 4 goals and 8 assists in the past 11.

What’s at Stake:

The Canadiens are still looking for a first win this season against their longtime rivals, and now that both teams have something to play for, a victory on Wednesday would be that much sweeter. The Canadiens have a 3-point cushion on the Leafs and a game in hand, meaning a win would give them some breathing room in the standings.

Even though they still hold the top spot in the East, the Canadiens have looked vulnerable to teams in their division this year. The Habs have a 10-0-1 record against teams outside their division, but within the Northeast they are just 2-4-2.

Who’s Out:

After missing the last two games with what had been described as the flu, it seems Rene Bourque’s injury could actually be more serious. Renaud Lavoie of RDS has reported that Bourque is actually out with a concussion, there’s no immediate timeline for his return. Petteri Nokelainen (back) is also out indefinitely.

The Leafs are missing starting goalie James Reimer (knee) as well as forwards Matt Frattin (knee) and Joffrey Lupul who is out long term with a broken forearm. Colton Orr (lower body) is expected to play on Wednesday after missing the last three games, but Mike Brown (lower body) was forced out of Toronto’s last game and could be out of the lineup against the Habs as well.

What Else:

Michael Ryder will rejoin the team that drafted him, and the one he played his first four NHL seasons with. Therrien never coached Ryder with the Canadiens in his first go-around, but he did spend 19 games overseeing him as part of the AHL’s Quebec Citadelles.

The last time he was with the Habs, Ryder played with current members Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Francis Bouillon and Carey Price. He led the team in goals in 2005-06 and 2006-07 with 30 markers each season.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren.

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mht_postgame_show

44 Saves by Ottawa goaltender Ben Bishop, and three goal posts turned a dominating performance by the Canadiens into a 2-1 loss in a shootout.

Join Corey Collard, Nick Murdocco, Jay Ferrar and Dave Kellerman as they breakdown the game, as well as debut the latest track from Hip-Hop sensation Annakin Slayd “Shaunessy Village.”

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