Jason Brough

Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien, right, shares a laugh with P.K. Subban during a practice Monday, April 13, 2015 in Brossard, Quebec. The Canadiens will face the Ottawa Senators in game one of the first round of NHL playoffs on Wednesday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Therrien insists he has a ‘very good relationship’ with Subban


Two days after blaming P.K. Subban for a loss to Colorado, Montreal coach Michel Therrien insisted he has a “very good relationship” with the Canadiens’ star defenseman.

Therrien even called Subban a “lovable guy,” while maintaining that his remarks were never about the player, they were solely about the play.

“I would’ve said that about any player making that play at that time of the game,” Therrien told reporters today, per TSN.ca. “We’re very aware we have an exceptional athlete. We’re happy to have him. It’s our job to continue working with him.”

There does, however, continue to be a disconnect between what the coach thought about the play and what the player thought. Unlike Therrien, Subban did not consider it overly risky.

“I was in a strong position,” he said, per Sportsnet’s Eric Engels. “I wasn’t in a weak position. If I don’t lose my edge there, I think I probably bump the guy and put it down the wall.”

As an outsider, it’s impossible to say what the relationship between Therrien and Subban is really like. Likewise, it’s impossible to say if GM Marc Bergevin would really consider trading the 26-year-old.

But even an outsider can see, quite clearly, that this is a team in crisis. The Canadiens started the season 18-4-2. Since then, they’ve gone 9-23-2 and have fallen eight points out of a playoff spot.

According to Sports Club Stats, the Habs — who are unlikely to get Carey Price back — would need to go in the neighborhood of 16-6-2 in their final 24 games to give themselves a shot at the postseason.

Failing that, well, let’s just say April’s exit interviews could be interesting.

Trade target: P.A. Parenteau

Toronto Maple Leafs' Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (15) scores on New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid during the shootout in an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Toronto. Toronto won 3-2. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

For a team with 1) limited cap space and 2) a desire to add a scoring forward prior to the trade deadline, Toronto winger P.A. Parenteau may just fit the bill.

Parenteau, 32, has 15 goals and 15 assists in 56 games for the Leafs. He’s also a pending unrestricted free agent with a cap hit of only $1.5 million.

Last night against the Rangers, he scored once while logging a season-high 22:31 in ice time.

“It’s the best I’ve felt in the last three years for sure,” Parenteau told Sportsnet yesterday. “The fact that I haven’t been injured is huge and the fact that I have the confidence of my coach makes a huge difference. I feel as good as my first year in Denver and my Islanders days.”

Parenteau had a career-high 67 points in 80 games for the Islanders in 2011-12. His first year with the Avs, the lockout-shortened 2013 season, it was 43 points in 48 games.

Then came the injuries, including a torn MCL and concussion.

Parenteau will almost certainly be traded in the next couple of weeks. He knew that was a possibility when he signed with the rebuilding club on July 1.

The way he’s been playing, there should no shortage of interest.

Caps re-sign Chorney for two more years

Buffalo Sabres left winger Jamie McGinn (88) backhands the puck while Washington Capitals defenseman Taylor Chorney (4) and goaltender Braden Holtby (70) defend during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Monday Dec. 28, 2015 in Buffalo, N.Y.  Washington won 2-0. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Taylor Chorney to a two-year, $1.6 million contract.

It’s an affordable deal to keep the 28-year-old in the mix through 2017-18. Chorney has played 45 games this season and has five assists while logging an average of 12:54 in ice time.

Those 45 games are the most Chorney has ever played in a single NHL season. His previous high was 42 with the Oilers in 2009-10. He was mostly in the AHL in-between.

The Caps now have six d-men under contract through at least next season, with Dmitry Orlov a pending restricted free agent.

Why that matters, from the Washington Post:

Locking up Chorney for two more seasons means that if Washington were to make a move at the trade deadline for a depth defenseman, it would most likely be someone that’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, a rental.

Gudas says he gets it now — ‘I can’t be doing this on the ice’


Did Radko Gudas finally get the message?

Only time will tell, but his coach is clearly running out of patience.

“The play the other night didn’t help us win a hockey game,” Dave Hakstol told reporters, per CSN Philly. “That’s the long and short of it, publicly.”

Hakstol said he spoke privately with Gudas following yet another game misconduct for the big defenseman Tuesday against New Jersey. Because Gudas was tossed at 8:10 of the first period after needlessly running over Devils forward Bobby Farnham, the Flyers were forced to play with five defenseman for most of that contest.

At the very least, Gudas waited until late in the third to get booted out of a game against Buffalo a few days earlier. Ditto for the game against Montreal on Feb. 2. And lest we forget he was suspended in December for a headshot on Ottawa forward Mika Zibanejad.

He insists he gets it now.

“I can’t be doing this on the ice,” he said.

And yet, he’s kept doing it.

Related: Flyers staff give Gudas a talking to as questionable hits pile up

Their coach on the hot seat, Canucks players take responsibility for sluggish starts

Glen Gulutzan, Willie Desjardins, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Alex Burrows, Linden Vey

Saturday at Rogers Arena, the Vancouver Canucks were outshot 16-7 in the first period and went on to lose 5-2 to a stripped-down Maple Leafs side.

Two nights later at the same rink, they were outshot 17-4 in the first period and went on to lose 5-2 to a Wild side that had just fired its coach after dropping eight in a row.

Tonight, the Canucks host red-hot Anaheim. Not surprisingly, they’re aiming for a slightly more energetic start.

And for the record, the players insist that’s on them to make happen — not head coach Willie Desjardins.

“The coach shouldn’t have to come in and get you ready for a game,” forward Daniel Sedin told the Vancouver Sun. “His worry should be about (tactics). It’s up to each and every guy to be mentally ready. When it looks like it did the other night, it’s on the players. There’s no excuse for that.

“For me, there’s no excuse not to be ready. A coach can come in and yell and scream, a player can come in and yell and scream, but it’s up to each guy.”

Desjardins’ coaching has come under increasing fire as the Canucks have dropped further behind in the playoff race. The current consensus is that he’ll be replaced at the end of the season, with some even wondering if he’ll last that long.

Of course, the problem with blaming Desjardins for what ails the Canucks is that the Canucks are, well, not very good. And without Alex Edler and Brandon Sutter, they’re even less good.

That’s not to let Desjardins off the hook; it’s possible to have a weak roster and not get the most out of it. The way his team’s been dominated at times this season, he’s probably not throwing a perfect game.

Regardless of who, or what, is to blame, Vancouver has just five games remaining before the Feb. 29 trade deadline, with decisions still to be made on pending UFAs Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata, and possibly others.

From a making-the-playoffs perspective, this next stretch is almost certainly their last gasp.

Related: Linden insists Canucks management and ownership are ‘completely aligned’