Armstrong

Armstrong ‘loved’ Montreal, unsure if he’ll be back

Colby Armstrong’s first year with the Canadiens didn’t go exactly to plan on the ice.

Off it, though, it went as well as he could’ve imagined.

“I loved Montreal. There’s a great group of guys here,” Armstrong told the Canadiens website. “My family and I loved this city. Being a part of this team was an incredible experience.”

After two largely forgettable seasons in Toronto, Armstrong signed with the Habs last summer in the hopes of reviving his career. The former 22-goal scorer did have an impact, playing 37 games (2G-3A-5PTS) while averaging over 11 minutes per night, but felt as though he could’ve shown more on his one-year deal.

“It’s unfortunate that I hurt my knee at the end of the year,” he explained. “I was able to come back a little bit early to try and salvage a small part of the shortened season.

“I had some highs and lows, but I believe that I still managed to do a good job fulfilling my role.”

Armstrong was signed in an effort to make the Habs more difficult to play against — which he did, on occasion — and to provide some grit/sandpaper in the bottom six.

Which he also did — on occasion.

The question now is if Montreal chooses to bring him back for 2013-14. Armstrong came to Montreal on the cheap (one year, $1 million), but the team already has 10 forwards under contract next season and decisions to make on RFA Ryan White and UFAs Jeff Halpern and Petteri Nokelainen.

Montreal, Drewiske agree to two-year extension

Drewiske

The Montreal Canadiens have signed defenseman Davis Drewiske to a two-year contract extension, the club announced on Thursday.

“We are happy to have come to an agreement with Davis on a two-year contract,” GM Marc Bergevin said in a statement. “He brings experience and most importantly depth to our group of defensemen.”

According to La Presse, the deal is for $1.275 million, with $625,000 coming in year one and $650,000 in year two. Drewiske also gets a one-way deal.

Drewiske, 28, came to Montreal from Los Angeles last season at the trade deadline and was promptly thrown into action when Alexei Emelin went down with a season-ending knee injury.

The former King appeared in nine games with the Habs, scoring 1G-2A while averaging close to 17 minutes per game.

It’ll be interesting to see where Drewiske fits on a loaded Montreal blueline.

With the move, the club now has nine defensemen under contract for next season: Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Josh Gorges, Tomas Kaberle, Francis Bouillon, Raphael Diaz, Jarred Tinordi, Drewiske and Emelin.

Report: Canadiens won’t re-sign Michael Ryder

MichaelRyder
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It looks like Michael Ryder’s second stint with the Montreal Canadiens will be limited to 32 regular season and playoff contests.

Ryder’s agent informed the Journal de Montreal that his client is not part of Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin’s plans.

After helping the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup, the now 33-year-old forward inked a two-year, $7,000,000 contract with the Dallas Stars back in the summer of 2011.

He scored a career-high 35 goals and registered 27 assists in 82 games with the Stars in 2011-12, but Dallas decided to trade him to Montreal on Feb. 26 in a deal that also involved forward Erik Cole.

Montreal was the team that originally drafted Ryder in 1998 and he spent his first four NHL seasons with the squad.

Among players currently scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this summer, Ryder is in a three-way tie for fourth place with 35 points in 46 games.

Montreal’s Eller resumes skating

ellerbloodied
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Canadiens forward Lars Eller resumed skating on Wednesday, just six days after suffering a concussion, facial and dental fractures on a devastating hit from Ottawa’s Eric Gryba.

Eller took to the Habs’ practice facility in Brossard, Quebec around 11 a.m. ET, according to Marc Antoine Godin of La Presse.

There was no word on how long the 24-year-old skated for, or how his recovery is going.

While it seems unlikely he’ll return anytime soon — Eller was stretchered off the ice in Game 1 after losing consciousness — going for a skate had to be a positive sign for both he and the organization.

The Dane’s absence is being felt by the Canadiens right now. He posted a career-high 30 points in 46 games this season and was averaging close to 15 minutes a night with the Habs.

Eller was also third on the team in assists (22) this year and had a plus-8 rating.

Canadiens’ Subban ‘doesn’t remember’ much about Sunday

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
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P.K. Subban was often involved in one way or another in Sunday’s fight-filled game between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.

So involved was Subban that he apparently forgot all about it the next day.

“I don’t remember, to be honest with you,” Subban, the Canadiens defenseman, told the Ottawa Sun. “There were so many different things that happened in (Sunday’s) game. There were so many different distractions. For us, we just want to look forward.”

The Canadiens, as a team, were frustrated throughout Sunday’s Game 3, which they lost 6-1 and fell behind in the best-of-seven series two-games-to-one.

Emotions boiled over in a chaotic third period. The two teams combined for one line brawl and a total of 236 penalty minutes.

For his part, Subban had a minus-one rating and 25 penalty minutes. He was ejected for instigating a fight with Senators forward Kyle Turris.

“It was one of those things. I don’t want to be in the box for that long but I was happy seeing our guys stand up for each other,” Subban told the Montreal Gazette.

“We’re a team that a lot of people don’t expect to see fight or get involved physically, but it’s about a character.

“For people who say there’s dissension or issues in our room…to see a guy like Brendan Gallagher go out and fight a guy and not even think twice about it, that says a lot about our team.”