Struggling Habs get back to basics


The Montreal Canadiens have been one of the 2013 season’s surprise successes, but things have slowed down lately (culminating in a four-game losing streak). Things have gotten bad enough that home fans even started booing Carey Price, enraging Josh Gorges in the process.

Habs bench boss Michel Therrien isn’t exactly known for his gentle touch, so his team might have expected a bag skate or at least a harrowing yell session on Monday. Instead, he focused on defensive fundamentals in practice, as players told CTV.

“I didn’t know there weren’t going to be any pucks on the ice. We were all a little nervous,” P.K. Subban said. “I think today was just about us getting better, it wasn’t a punishment. It was just about getting back to the things that made us successful.”

Players who spent time in the AHL have been successful with the team this season, particularly Brendan Gallagher.

With the Hamilton Bulldogs’ season over, the Montreal decided to recall eight AHL players: goalies Robert Mayer and Dustin Tokarski, forwards Michael Bournival, Louis Leblanc and Pettri Nokelainen along with defensemen Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn. They’ll get prepped with the Bulldogs coaching staff until April 28, when they’ll be available for postseason play.

Canadiens blog Habs on the Prize provides some additional context:

The call up for Leblanc is likely a breath of fresh air, as the 22 year old forward has been struggling in Hamilton all season, and could use a fresh start.

The most confusing choice though, is the call up of Nokelainen. Not only is Nokelainen not useful in an NHL role, but he was brought up over Danny Kristo, who’s certainly more of an impact player in every respect.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

Oilers place Scrivens on waivers

Jordan Martinook, Ben Scrivens
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The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.

Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.

It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.

Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.

He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.

Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.

If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.

The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.

The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.