Marc Bergevin

Habs owner: GM Bergevin ‘lives hockey, and our success starts with him’

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According to Geoff Molson, there’s one person primarily responsible for Montreal’s turnaround season in 2013:

GM Marc Bergevin.

Bergevin, who was named one of the three finalists for the NHL’s general manager of the year award, was showered with praise as Molson addressed the media on Thursday.

“We had good coaching, but it all starts at the top and I’m not talking about me,” Molson told reporters, as per the Montreal Gazette. “I’m talking about (general manager Marc Bergevin).

“He lives hockey and our success starts with him.”

Hired last May, Bergevin completely overhauled Montreal’s front office and coaching staff (see here and here and here and here), culminating with the hire of head coach Michel Therrien.

In free agency, the rookie GM addressed the team’s lack of toughness by signing Brandon Prust and Colby Armstrong, then selected Alex Galchenyuk third overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

He also stood firm during the P.K. Subban negotiations, and was able to secure the Norris-nominated defenseman’s services for $2.88 million per season.

With those moves complete, Bergevin sat back and watched Montreal go from 15th in the Eastern Conference last year to Northeast Division champions this year — the club’s first divisional banner since 2008.

Pretty good first year on the job.

Overall, Molson was happy with just about everything this season save the finish, when injuries besieged the Habs and they were bounced in five games in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“We didn’t have any bad stretches until the end when we ran into injury problems,” Molson said. “But we went a long way toward building for the future.

“We’re headed in the right direction.”

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the overtime period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.

Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

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Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

Update: It didn’t get much better going forward; the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 6-1.

Malcolm Subban hospitalized after taking puck to throat

Malcolm Subban
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Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.

There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.

Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.

Update: This seems fairly positive.