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Canadiens lean toward keeping Galchenyuk at wing

Alex Galchenyuk proved to be a quick study at the NHL level, but the Montreal Canadiens seem content easing him into the two-way side of the game.

The Montreal Gazette passed along GM Marc Bergevin’s comments to The Hockey News regarding the team’s preference to keep the 19-year-old at the wing instead of center. (Center is his natural position.)

“It’s a difficult position for a young player,” Bergevin said. “We didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on him. We used him at center (in the 2013 season) on a few occasions and he did a good job, but we feel that, for the time being, he’s better off on the wing.”

Considering how exacting head coach Michel Therrien can be (and how young Galchenyuk is), it’s a reasonable approach.

Galchenyuk scored 27 points in 48 regular season game, registering a +14 rating. He generated three points in five postseason contests with a -4 mark.

Maxim Lapierre virtually begged to sign in Montreal

Maxim Lapierre
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When Maxim Lapierre hit free agency this summer, he had his heart set on one particular destination and it wasn’t St. Louis.

TVASports.com spoke with Lapierre (link in French) and finds out he did all he could to entice his old team, the Montreal Canadiens, into signing him. Here’s a poorly translated quote from the story.

“I did everything I could to get back with the Canadiens, but I did not figured in their plans,” he told the media at Hockey School Latendresse-Lapierre.

Lapierre spent the first five and a half seasons with Montreal before being traded to Anaheim on New Year’s Eve in 2010. He wound up signing a two-year deal with the Blues instead of landing back with the Habs this summer.

For a guy who doesn’t exactly have a great reputation you kind of feel bad for him that he couldn’t return home. We’ll likely forget all of that when he suits up for the Blues and finds new ways to terrorize the Central Division.

Briere excited to get his Canadiens career underway

Danny Briere
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Danny Briere’s return home to Quebec has him gushing over getting to play for the team he grew up adoring.

Stu Cowan at the Montreal Gazette hears from the 35 year-old veteran who is feeling like a kid again after making his first visit to the team facilities.

“I grew up a Canadiens fan so pulling on that jersey for the first time today was special,” Briere said.

“Today was my first time in the dressing room. I’ve seen the Bell Centre a lot but it’s nice to see it from the good side.”

Briere will be donning his familiar No. 48 with the Canadiens and looking to step into a lineup that’s not lacking in offensive talent.

Montreal may not be run-and-gun the way the Flyers have been, but skating alongside Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty could help Briere get back in the goal column more often.

Montreal hires ex-Hab Lebeau as minor league assistant

StephanLebeau
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The Montreal Canadiens have brought another familiar face back into the fold, naming former forward Stephan Lebeau as the new assistant coach of its AHL affiliate in Hamilton.

“Stephan has a wealth of knowledge as a hockey coach,” Habs GM Marc Bergevin said in a statement. “His experience and ability to work with young players are a tremendous asset for our organization.”

Lebeau, 45, had previously spent two years as the head coach of QMHJL Victoriaville from 2004-06.

This hire is the latest in Bergevin’s overall theme of bringing former Canadiens into the fold.

Head coach Michel Therrien was brought back this season for his second tour of duty in Montreal. He was joined by another ex-Montreal coach, Clement Jodoin (an assistant from 1997-2001) and former Habs defenseman J.J. Daigneault (currently an assistant coach) and Patrice Brisebois (currently a player development coach).

Lebeau’s best season in Montreal came during the 1992-93 season, when he finished fourth on the team with 31 goals and 80 points, helping the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup.

Montreal re-signs Ryan White: One year, $700,000

Ryan White
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Montreal is bringing back one of their tougher forwards.

Center Ryan White re-signed with the Canadiens on a one-year, $700,000 deal. By doing so, White avoids going to arbitration and going through the not-so fun times that entails.

White is one of those pesky players who sometimes puts his team in a bad spot by getting a little too rambunctious. Last season, he finished the year with one goal and no assists in 26 games as well as 67 penalty minutes. His five-game suspension last season for elbowing Kent Huskins helped earn him a less-than stellar reputation.

Now he’ll potentially be on a line with newcomer George Parros to help give the Habs more ammo to use against the Bruins and other tough teams in the East.