Josh Gorges

End of the roadie: Habs send Gorges (hand) back to Montreal

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Josh Gorges’ fractured hand will prevent him from finishing Montreal’s current Western road swing.

Gorges has been sent back to Montreal for evaluation on his hand injury, the Canadiens announced on Thursday. It’s unclear when the injury occurred — some suggest it was last week against Pittsburgh — but the veteran defenseman underwent an MRI following Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win over Anaheim, at which time the fracture was revealed.

Gorges, 29, is a vital part of the Habs blueline. He averages over 21 minute per game and sits second in the NHL in blocked shots, with 173. He also serves as an alternate captain.

Right now, it’s unclear how much time  Gorges will miss, though he’ll definitely skip tonight’s game in Phoenix and Saturday’s affair in San Jose. Montreal is in a fairly good spot for playoff positioning — second in the Atlantic Division — and did recently acquire depth defenseman Mike Weaver from Florida, so Gorges could be shelved for a while to ensure the hand is fully healed before returning for the stretch drive and postseason.

Canadiens prospect Tim Bozon in critical condition after being diagnosed with meningitis

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

Tim Bozon, a Montreal Canadiens prospect and star in the Western Hockey League, is in critical condition after being diagnosed with meningitis, the league stated in a release Wednesday.

From the WHL:

Tim Bozon was admitted to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon on Saturday, March 1 and has been diagnosed with Neisseria Meningitis. Tim’s parents, Phillippe and Helene Bozon, have been with him at the hospital in Saskatoon since arriving on Sunday from their home in Cureglia, Switzerland. The family has indicated to the WHL that Tim’s condition is critical.

Public health officials are in the process of reviewing the case to ensure all the necessary precautions are taken and anyone who had direct contact with the player receives appropriate treatment.

The 19-year-old Bozon is in his first season with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, after being drafted by the Canadiens in the third round, 64th overall, of the 2012 NHL darft.

According to the CBC, health officials have confirmed that several players from different teams that may have been in contact with Bozon have been given an antibiotic.

“For meningitis only close contacts who may have come in contact with oral secretions are considered,” the CBC quoted health officials as saying in a release.

“Usually for sporadic cases that just means household contacts. In case of sports teams it becomes a bit more complicated because teams may share water bottles etc., and be in close contact with teams they play against; so other teams and referees are also being considered close contacts.”

Montreal wins Vanek sweepstakes (Updated)

Thomas Vanek

The Montreal Canadiens have emerged the victor in the Thomas Vanek sweepstakes, acquiring the Islanders winger in exchange for second-round pick in ’14 and prospect Sebastian Collberg, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Update: The Habs also receive a conditional fifth-round pick from the Islanders.

Update 2: More on the conditions of the draft picks in play, per ESPN…

Initial reactions to the deal haven’t been stellar, as Isles GM Garth Snow paid a small bounty to acquire Vanek in the first place: Matt Moulson, a ’14 first-rounder and a ’15 second-rounder.

In return, the Isles are now (probably) getting a second-rounder in this year’s draft and Collberg, a second-round pick himself — 33rd overall at the ’12 NHL Entry Draft. The 20-year-old Swede currently plays for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League, and has represented Team Sweden at the last thee World Junior tournaments (where he’s won gold and a pair of silver medals.)

A few reactions to pass your way…

From the Montreal perspective, this deal has to be seen as a win. The club added a high-impact, goalscoring forward without surrendering a first-round pick or roster player.

Vanek has 21 goals and 53 points in 60 games this year — he’ll bolster an already good offensive team that has eight 10-goal scorers at forward (led by Max Pacioretty, who has 29).

Check out LeBron James with a Canadiens jersey

Lebron James

If there’s anything hockey fans are well-known for, it’s embracing outsiders, especially athletes from other major sports, that enjoy anything about hockey.

With tongue firmly in cheek, let’s waste no time in presenting to you: Miami Heat superstar LeBron James being given a Montreal Canadiens jersey by the team.

The comments on this should be wonderful. It’ll be much like the “Playa Haters Ball” from Chappelle’s Show.

Agent: Markov wants to stay in Montreal

Andrei Markov

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov apparently doesn’t want to go anywhere else.

The 35-year-old Russian blue liner is in the final year of his three-year, $17.25 million deal with the Habs. While he could be a free agent this summer, his agent Sergei Berezin (yes, the former Toronto Maple Leafs forward) told’s Pierre LeBrun his client wants to stay in Montreal.

“I can’t say much, we agreed not to say much, but talks are ongoing and Andrei wants to stay in Montreal,” agent Sergei Berezin said. “We’ll see where it goes. He’s played 13 seasons with Montreal. He wants to finish his career in Montreal.”

This isn’t a new revelation for Markov. He said he wanted to finish his career there back in January and nothing has changed on that front.

Of course, it takes two to make a thing go right and getting the contract figured out is Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin’s job. The Habs reportedly made a one-year, $6 million offer to him, but he’s looking for more years. At his age and with his injury history, that’s a dicey prospect.