Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible:

 

 

Subban donates record $10M to Montreal Children’s Hospital

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On Wednesday, Habs blueliner P.K. Subban made a massive philanthropic gesture, donating $10 million dollars to Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“Montreal has become my second home,” Subban said, per CBC. “My love for Montreal is why I wanted to make a significant contribution to this city and this province.”

The donation is, per a release from the hospital, “the biggest philanthropic commitment by a sports figure in Canadian history.” Part of the money will go towards P.K.’s Helping Hands — a program that helps families struggling financially with their children’s illnesses — and the hospital has since named its atrium after Subban.

“As I was walking out of the backroom, I noticed the P.K. Subban lettering up there and I got goosebumps,” he said. “It’s not too many times I get goosebumps in what I do playing hockey for a very long time in front a lot of people. That’s probably the only time I got goosebumps in a long time.”

Though this latest gesture is by far the largest — at least financially speaking — Subban has a long history of community work, especially with children. Last year, a video of him giving local youths a tour of the Bell Center and an array of gifts — all while dressed undercover as a security guard — went viral; this summer, he joined some kids in an impromptu road hockey game in Westmount, a suburb of Montreal.

Canadiens move Galchenyuk to center

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The Montreal Canadiens could take a big step forward if Alex Galchenyuk does the same, so perhaps that will happen as he moves to his natural position.

That good news surfaced on Thursday, as the team discussed his transition from left wing to center heading into 2015-16.

It doesn’t sound like it was the easiest decision.

“Centerman is a hard position to learn,” Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said. “There’s a lot of responsibility as a centerman, offensively and defensively. There’s signs that hockey people, our staff, look for, and we felt that he wasn’t ready at the time. Now we feel that he is getting really close, and it’s time for us to know and for him to know if he can really fill that role.”

Galchenyuk isn’t just sliding into a more defensively taxing position; he’s doing so for a defensive-minded head coach in Michel Therrien.

It sounds like Therrien is taking a supportive approach, or at least he’s continuing to portray himself as a kinder and gentler bench boss.

“I don’t want Alex to lose any confidence,” Therrien said. “I think that’s a big part of having success as a player. But we’re at a time in his career where we have to go to the next level. This is what I shared with Alex and he embraced the challenge. He’s looking forward to it and I can’t wait for training camp to start.”

Therrien won’t be forced to stick with Galchenyuk if he flops down the middle, especially when you consider how rapidly coaches tweak line combinations.

Even so, it sounds like the team hopes to take a step forward along with the talented 21-year-old.

Canadiens add Craig Ramsay as coaching consultant

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Craig Ramsay has spent roughly four decades of his life working for NHL clubs and he’ll be taking that experience to the Montreal Canadiens as a coaching consultant.

“(Ramsay) has an impressive hockey background, having worked as an NHL coach for over 20 years, following a playing career that included over 1,000 games played. On a consulting basis, he will be called upon regularly during the season to share his knowledge with our coaching group. Our players will also benefit from his expertise,” said Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, per the team’s website.

Ramsay spent his entire playing career with the Buffalo Sabres and has been an assistant coach with seven organizations. He also has a 66-71-7-12 record as a bench boss over his stints with the Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, and Atlanta Thrashers.

He won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 while working under John Tortorella. Prior to accepting his new role with Montreal, he spent the 2014-15 campaign as a member of the Edmonton Oilers’ coaching staff.

Poll: Is Therrien the right coach for Montreal?

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Gauging a Montreal Canadiens coach can be a tricky endeavor.

For one thing, you must consider the expectations that come inherent with being the bench boss of a franchise that has won a record 24 Stanley Cups.

It’s not about excellence alone, however, as management acknowledged years ago that their head coach probably needs to speak French.

“Although our main priority remains to win hockey games and to keep improving as a team, it is obvious that the ability for the head coach to express himself in both French and English will be a very important factor in the selection of the permanent head coach,” Team president Geoff Molson said in a statement back in 2011.

Some hoped that the Habs would part ways with Michel Therrien after the team’s second-round exit to the Tampa Bay Lightning, yet GM Marc Bergevin stood idle.

Back in April, The Montreal Gazette’s Jack Todd mocked those who yearn for a replacement:

Has the coach of a 110-point team that finished second overall in the league, a team coming off an Eastern Conference final, ever faced so much heat at home? Doubtful. There is a strange reluctance to embrace Therrien here, despite three consecutive outstanding seasons on his watch.

One might break down the arguments in three different ways:

1) Therrien is the best fit, period.

2) Therrien is the best fit considering Montreal’s Francophone requirements.

3) Therrien is not the best fit.

It’s not an especially new debate, yet it’s an intriguing one nonetheless: is Therrien the right guy for the job?