Canadiens first round pick might ditch Harvard

1-leblanc.jpgWhile the Stanley Cup finals move along, the Montreal Canadiens are preparing for the future by conducting a development camp for some of their top prospects, one of whom has a lot of drama surrounding him. 2009 first round pick Louis Leblanc had an outstanding year at Harvard University and while the Crimson did not fare so well as a team, the rumors about Leblanc possibly leaving Harvard are circling.

All the signs indicate that Leblanc, the Canadiens’ No. 1 draft choice last June, is leaving Harvard University after one year. Phil Lecavalier, the older brother of Vincent, and Boston-based Montrealer Kent Hughes have been serving as Leblanc’s family advisers, but there are reports that Pat Brisson has assumed that role and he is in negotiations with the Canadiens regarding Leblanc’s future.

For a quick primer, a “family adviser” is similar to an agent only that the “family adviser” isn’t paid for his work and only sees money once the player becomes a professional. The NCAA rules strongly prohibit athletes hiring agents and it means being kicked off your team should you hire one. In the case of Pat Brisson, he’s got at least one big-name client he works for by the name of Sidney Crosby. Perhaps you’ve heard a bit about him.

These kinds of things happen all the time with players leaving NCAA teams to join Canadian major-junior programs, it just happens that in this case, Leblanc is a Habs draft pick and he’s leaving freaking Harvard. It’s not as if Harvard is a major hockey school here. Their fan support is lacking and they haven’t resembled a powerhouse in ages. That said, it’s still Harvard the academic institution and Leblanc is getting what amounts to a free ride to go to one of the best universities in the world. So why would Leblanc potentially give that up? If you guessed “money” your answer could be right.

Leblanc’s options, should he ditch out on Harvard, are simple:

  • He can either join the major-junior team that drafted him. In this case, it’s Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
  • He can make a run at joining the Habs’ AHL team in Hamilton.

As for what Leblanc is going to do, he remained very political in his answers.

“As of now, I’m signed to go to Harvard and that’s what I’m getting ready for and I’m excited,” said Leblanc. “But if I find something better, then I’ll do it. Harvard’s the better fit right now. I get to do my schooling at the best university in the world. My coach (Ted Donato, Harvard Class of 1991) played 13 years in the NHL and I think it’s the best combination.”

“I’ll discuss (any change), firstly with myself, I’ll think about it,” said Leblanc. “And I’ll talk with people who don’t have an agenda to follow, (people who) don’t own a team. I’ll make a decision with people who like me and want the best for me.”

I wonder if Louis is majoring in political science at Harvard, because based on that he’s ready to take graduate level courses.

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    Oilers recall D-man Oesterle from AHL Condors

    EDMONTON, AB - FEBRUARY 23:  Jordan Oesterle #82 of the Edmonton Oilers warms up against the Ottawa Senators on February 23, 2016 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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    The Edmonton Oilers made a move Sunday, recalling defenseman Jordan Oesterle from the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL.

    In 18 games with the Condors this season, the 24-year-old Oesterle has three goals and 11 points.

    The decision comes one day after Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson missed Saturday’s contest against the rival Calgary Flames because of a lower-body injury.

    While he isn’t a flashy player, Larsson seems to have made a positive impression on the Oilers coaching staff during his first season in Edmonton following last summer’s blockbuster trade involving scoring winger Taylor Hall.

    No surprise this development is leading to questions about the health of Larsson, with the Oilers set to begin the second half of a six-game home stand and sitting second in the Pacific Division standings.

    Video: Reaves and Boll drop the gloves in heavyweight bout

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    Heavyweight fighters Jared Boll and Ryan Reaves dropped the gloves during the second period of Sunday’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues.

    Those were some thunderous right hands thrown there, both combatants landing their fair share of punches before officials finally intervened.

    The Wild sit all alone in top spot of the Central Division

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    The Minnesota Wild bested the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, and now sit in sole possession of first place in the Central Division.

    Playing the second half of a back-to-back situation that involved travel from Dallas, where Minnesota won Saturday, the Wild fell behind Chicago courtesy two goals from Patrick Kane. Sure, the first goal on Devan Dubnyk was fluttered off the stick of Kane and under the arm of the Minnesota goalie.

    But Dubnyk played the remainder of this pivotal game the way Wild fans have become accustomed to since he was acquired. He made 33 saves and was busiest in the second period. Outside of Kane’s second goal, Dubnyk was solid in the middle period and didn’t give up anything the rest of the way. The Wild came back for a 3-2 win. On the road. In hostile territory.

    Minnesota, not far removed from a franchise-best 12-game winning streak, now sits at 61 points in 42 games, two points ahead of the Blackhawks and with four fewer games played.

    Jason Pominville scored the winner early in the third period.

    There are many reasons for the Wild’s success through the first half under coach Bruce Boudreau. Dubnyk’s play has been Vezina caliber. He has a .940 save percentage and a 1.77 goals-against average. Minnesota is second in the league when it comes to the lowest number of goals-against per game and only Washington is better in that category.

    The Wild have been scoring plenty, too, fourth in the league with 3.19 goals-for per game, with contributions throughout their lineup.

    Free agent signings can always be a risk — an expensive risk — but Eric Staal has rewarded the Wild by producing at just under a point per game rate. He could have his most productive season in several years — at the age of 32 and approaching 1,000 regular season games played.

    They won’t have long to enjoy their view from the top.

    The Wild host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday to begin a four-game home stand.

    More bad news for Bolts: Callahan out four weeks with lower-body injury

    CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 10: Ryan Callahan #24 of the Tampa Bay Lightning reacts against the Chicago Blackhawks during Game Four of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the United Center on June 10, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Four points out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division and about to begin a six-game road trip, the Tampa Bay Lightning face a tough task trying to climb the Eastern Conference standings.

    There was more bad news for the Bolts on Sunday.

    Forward Ryan Callahan, who hasn’t played since Jan. 7, will miss approximately four weeks because of a lower-body injury, the club announced.

    Callahan made his season debut at the end of October. The start to his season was delayed due to the recovery from hip surgery he underwent to fix an issue from last season. Based on a report from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday, Callahan is once again dealing with a hip injury, although the club didn’t elaborate, announcing it as a lower-body injury.

    In 18 games this season, Callahan has two goals and four points.

    The Bolts, Stanley Cup contenders that have gone deep into the post-season in each of the last two campaigns, are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. Right now, Toronto, Ottawa and Florida all sit ahead of the Lightning in the battle for third in the Atlantic. Now into the second half of the season, they will have to quickly get out of this funk in order to close in the post-season race.

    “The results are all that matters,” Brian Boyle told the Tampa Bay Times. “We need to change our attitude a little bit, kind of find our mojo, carry ourselves with a little bit more confidence. We can score quick goals. We can come from behind, jump out to leads and bury teams. We’ve done that in the past with this group.”

    The Bolts begin this six-game road trip Monday against the L.A. Kings.