Canadiens’ Bozon back on ice

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After suffering from meningitis and being placed in a medically induced coma in March, Montreal Canadiens prospect Tim Bozon is back where he wants to be, on the ice.

It’s been a long summer for Bozon, who told the Montreal Gazette recently that he had “to do two times more than normal” in order to prepare for the upcoming hockey season.

Bozon spent four weeks in a Saskatoon hospital, then returned home to France where spent another three weeks at a rehab center working on things such as his speech.

“I didn’t see the time go by with all that I did every day,” Bozon told the Gazette of his summer, which has flown by. “I live near the beach and I didn’t go once. So it’s a lot of sacrifices like that. But that’s what had to be done if I wanted to continue to hope and live my dream.”

His hard work paid off as last month as Bozon suited up for France at an Under-23 tournament in the Czech Republic.

Originally a third-round pick of the Habs’ in 2012, Bozon fully expects to be at the team’s rookie camp next month.

The toughest part of Bozon’s summer has been to recover the nearly 40 pounds he lost while in sick, but thanks to his dedication in the gym Bozon is now back to 194 pounds, just five pounds shy of his playing weight of last season.

As for what’s next?

“I just want to be the player I was — even better — have a big season then and see what happens,” Bozon said.

Bozon has one year of junior hockey eligibility left, which means he will likely return to Kootenay of the WHL where in 50 games last season the 20-year-old scored 30 goals and 62 points. There is a chance he could make the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, as well.

Related: Bozon’s condition to improve, but he still ‘faces a long recovery’

Subban: Sticking with Montreal ‘wasn’t about the dollar signs’

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P.K. Subban insists that contract negotiations and the salary arbitration process weren’t personal. Instead, his latest talks with the Montreal Canadiens were “educational.”

(Others would use words like “profitable” being that the end result was an eight-year, $72 million blockbuster.)

As much as hearings can leave emotional bruises, the 25-year-old defenseman sounds excited to remain with the Canadiens and emphatically stated that there are no hard feelings on his end. He said that staying with Montreal is all he ever “really wanted.”

“It wasn’t about the dollar signs,” Subban said. “Listen, If I could do a 20-year contract with Montreal, I would.”

Subban joked that he wanted a long-term deal before he “deserved one.” He also showed quite a bit of savvy about what goes into contract negotiations, mentioning projections of salary cap increases related to TV deals and other factors. He even said all the right things about learning things from the more judgmental part of the arbitration process.

Maybe most importantly, he emphasized that he believes that his relationship with GM Marc Bergevin, head coach Michel Therrien and team president Geoff Molson remains strong.

“I think it’s a strong commitment … It sends a strong message to me that they want me here and appreciate everything that I’ve done to this point. They believe in me as a player,” Subban said. “People don’t have to speculate about how the Montreal Canadiens feel about me.”

As much as Subban said all the right things, he didn’t confirm or deny the existence of a no-movement or no-trade clause, stating that he’s leaving those kind of details to his agent Don Meehan.

With the contract talk out of the way, people can get back to what really matters: wondering if he’s worth what he’s currently getting paid.

While Subban isn’t talking contract, he wants to be a Montreal ‘lifer’

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P.K. Subban still hasn’t re-signed with the Montreal Canadiens and while he wasn’t eager to discuss how contract talks were going on Saturday, he wants to be a Hab for a long time.

As NHL.com shared, Subban appeared on a Toronto morning TV show last week and discussed his thoughts on playing in Montreal and what he eventually wants to become of his time there.

“Obviously I remain adamant on remaining in Montreal and being a Montreal Canadien, and not just for a long time but hopefully for the rest of my career, and be a lifer there,” Subban told Breakfast Television in Toronto. “I really enjoy playing there.”

We understand it’s sexier to think about what it might be like if Subban’s negotiations go wrong and he becomes the hottest commodity on the market in a long time. That said, it’s almost crazy to think both sides won’t get a lucrative long-term deal worked out before they’re due in court for arbitration on Friday.

Subban has won a Norris Trophy already and at 25 years old, he’s about to enter his prime. That means there’s more successes to be had and even more excitement down the road for a player who has quickly become the face of the Canadiens franchise. If he doesn’t become a Hab for life, that would be the most shocking turn of events.

Gorges still can’t explain falling out of favor in Montreal

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To hear him tell it, Josh Gorges has yet to hear a legit reason why the Canadiens traded him away.

“I wish I had a really good answer — where this came from and why, and how it came about — but I don’t, to be honest,” Gorges told the Kelowna Courier, just weeks after getting dealt to Buffalo. “It was a shock to me.”

Gorges, 29, was at the center of a whirlwind scenario near the end of June, when his name popped up — seemingly out out of nowhere — in a flurry of trade rumors. His name first surfaced on the eve of free agency when reports revealed he’d been dangled by Montreal in a proposed move to Toronto, only for Gorges to reject the move as part of his no-trade clause.

Eventually, he accepted a deal to Buffalo.

Deeply disappointed” by what transpired, Gorges — signed through 2017-18 for a cap hit of $3.9 million — said he “never wanted to leave Montreal,” adding “in no way has this been my decision.”

But it’s that cap number that could’ve played him out of town. Signed by ex-GM Pierre Gauthier, Gorges (and his contract) were inherited by current GM Marc Bergevin, who’s currently in the midst of a dicey financial summer — yesterday, he avoided arbitration with RFA Lars Eller by inking the forward to a four-year, $14 million deal; now, Bergevin must sort out negotiations with franchise defenseman P.K. Subban, which will undoubtedly be pricey.

By shedding Gorges’ cap hit, Bergevin also freed up money for the future. Next year, young forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher are RFAs, as are promising defensemen Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu.

But either that message wasn’t relayed to Gorges, or he wasn’t buying it.

“Not really,” Gorges said when asked if he got a satisfactory explanation for what transpired. “To be honest, I don’t need one or want one. It doesn’t do me any good, it doesn’t do my family any good.

“The thing for us is to look ahead, look to the future and what’s in front of us.”

Montreal south? Buffalo signs Gionta: three years, $12.75M

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The Montreal-Buffalo rivalry in the Atlantic Division should be spicy next year.

Buffalo, having already acquired Habs alternate captain Josh Gorges earlier today, have now inked ex-Canadiens captain Brian Gionta to a three-year, $12.75 million pact, per Sportsnet.

Gionta, 35, just wrapped a five-year, $25 million deal signed with the Habs in 2008. He had worn the “C” since 2010 and rebounded well from a twice-torn bicep that limited him to 31 games in 2011-12 and forced him to miss the final three games of Montreal’s 2013 postseason.

This season, Gionta scored 18 goals and 40 points in 81 games, but saw his TOI average dip below 18 minutes for the first time in five years. The captain also chipped in with seven points in 17 playoff games, but managed to score just one goal.

He should provide leadership to what promises to be a very young Buffalo team next year, and further helps the team get to the salary cap floor.