Randy Cunneyworth;

Cunneyworth pledges to learn French to keep Habs job


At this point, you are probably aware that Montreal was in an uproar when the Canadiens transitioned to Randy Cunneyworth, who cannot speak French. (Their GM Pierre Gauthier even apologized about it.)

It’s been one of the more cringe-worthy stories of the season, but Cunneyworth isn’t turning a blind eye to the issue. The embattled coach told The Canadian Press that he’ll do his best to learn the language by the time Gauthier is preparing to make a coaching decision for next season.

”Hopefully that will be the case by the time some of the decisions are made,” Cunneyworth said. “A lot will depend on how successful this team is and that’s really my priority right now. The language is secondary, but very important as well for me because I think it’s an important marketplace where I’d love to be able to address everybody in both languages and talk to everybody concerning hockey.”

That’s the dark comedy of this situation; amid all the hand-wringing regarding language, the Habs have circled the drain. They’re an ugly 1-6-0 during Randy Cunneyworth’s time as interim head coach, so learning to win should absolutely be Priority No. 1 instead of learning French.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron

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Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.