We’ve reached critical mass in Montreal when it comes to the French-English debate.
Randy Cunneyworth’s troubles aren’t just limited to what’s going on with the Canadiens on the ice, some of the people of Quebec are going to protest about him coaching the team while speaking only English.
No, seriously they are.
Mario Beaulieu, president of The French Quebec Movement, and Denis Trudel of French Movement Montreal will be holding a rally outside of Bell Centre on January 7 (link in French, naturally) to protest what they call “the Anglicization of the Montreal hockey club.” Beaulieu says that not having a coach that speaks French is the last straw for a team that calls Quebec home, a home where French is the primary language.
Making matters worse, in their opinion, is that there are just two or three players capable of speaking French on the team as well. For a franchise that grew up having all of the best players and coaches from Quebec at their beck and call, the NHL becoming a global game has been difficult for many Habs fans to swallow.
For now, they might not have to worry long about Cunneyworth if he can’t get the team to win games. Then those fans railing about language can push the Habs to hire Bob Hartley or Michel Therrien or Claude Jodoin or Denis Savard to their hearts’ content and leave the rest of the league knowing why most coaches won’t even bother considering Montreal when looking for a job.
Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.
Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.
Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.
With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.
On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.