New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game One

Habs need to put Game 1, Price injury, and Boston series behind them


Somewhat lost in all the speculation and controversy surrounding Carey Price’s injury (culminating with today’s announcement that he’ll miss the rest of the Eastern Conference Final) has been the fact that the Montreal Canadiens were downright bad in losing Game 1 to the Rangers, by a score of 7-2.

Consider: not only were they beaten by five goals, the Canadiens were outshot, 28-22, on home ice, and actually got increasingly worse throughout the game in terms of puck possession.

From Extra Skater:


Now, full credit to the Rangers for keeping the pedal to the metal (so often teams go into a defensive shell when they get a lead), but this will be a short series if the Habs don’t regain their focus.

“Good thing it’s a seven-game series and we have a chance to get back in it on Monday,” Habs forward Ren Bourque said. “I think we had a little bit of an emotional letdown after the Boston series.

“We talked about that to going into the game. Obviously, it didn’t click.” (Note: We talked about it too, last week in PHT Extra.)

On the bright side, according to Montreal’s Thomas Vanek, “when you lose 7-2 like we did,” it’s “easy” to put the loss in the rear-view mirror and get ready for the next game, which goes tonight at the Bell Centre.

“If you lose a close one, that one stings maybe a bit longer,” said Vanek.

Still no word on who will start in goal for the Canadiens; Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston thinks Dustin Tokarski should get the nod over Peter Budaj, but we’ll have to wait and see what coach Michel Therrien thinks.

Lastly, even without knowing who will replace Price, gamblers have been all over the Rangers, according to online bookmaker Bovada.

“Today’s news of Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price being out for at least the entire series against the Rangers has had a profound impact on the odds,” said a spokesperson for the sports book. “In the Rangers game tonight, New York has gone from +110 underdogs to -120 favorites and we are seeing money pouring in on the Rangers regardless. The Rangers also have gone from 9/4 (+225) to 9/5 (+180) to win the Cup.”

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension

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Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.