They weren’t as big as the Boston Bruins. They obviously didn’t finish as high in the regular season standings as the Boston Bruins. But the Montreal Canadiens are off to the Eastern Conference Final.
The Habs defeated the Bruins 3-1 on Wednesday to take this thrilling, heated and at times controversial series in seven games. It was a resilient effort from the Canadiens, who were going up against the 2014 Presidents’ Trophy winners as the NHL’s top team in the regular season.
“We just beat the best team in the league,” said Canadiens’ coach Michel Therrien, as per Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe.
The Eastern final between the Canadiens and New York Rangers begins Saturday, with Game 1 in Montreal.
“No matter what anybody says, respect was earned tonight,” said Montreal’s star defenseman P.K. Subban, as per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.
“I feel sorry for any team that has to come into our building and our city,” Subban added.
This series between two long-time rivals – from their Original Six days, of course – lived up to all the hype. It was hard fought. It was dirty, nasty at times. We all remember when Shawn Thornton squirted Subban with the water bottle as the Bruins’ enforcer sat on the bench in Game 5.
While it resulted in a fine, it seems the Canadiens used occurrences like that as motivation.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?