Michel Therrien

Habs’ coach defends decision to cut Leblanc


With all due respect to Louis Leblanc’s girlfriend, Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien had good reason to include Leblanc in the team’s first group of cuts.

“He came into camp with a good attitude and he was in better shape, but we know Louis Leblanc and we wanted to get to know some of the other players better,” Therrien said Wednesday, per the Montreal Gazette.

Leblanc’s girlfriend, Canadian tennis player Aleksandra Wozniak, was so upset her boyfriend was cut after such a short time that she took to Twitter to rip the organization. (She’s since deleted those tweets.)

Christian Thomas and Sebastien Collberg are two players Therrien wants to get a better look at, according to the Gazette.

Leblanc was the 18th overall pick in the 2009 draft. The 22-year-old will start the 2013-14 season in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, for whom he had just 18 points in 62 games last season.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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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.

Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.