Galchenyuk Habs

Montreal won’t pull Galchenyuk from World Juniors if lockout ends

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One of Team USA’s best forwards will be at the 2013 World Junior tournament for the long haul.

That’s the word out of Montreal on Thursday — La Presse reports Habs GM Marc Bergevin told USA Hockey’s Jim Johansson he wouldn’t pull Alex Galchenyuk off the American team should the NHL lockout end.

The World Junior tournament runs through Jan. 5.

Galchenyuk, 18, was taken third overall by Montreal at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and has been on a tear for OHL Sarnia this season, ranking second in the league in points (61) and tied for first in goals (27).

He’s pegged to be a major offensive star at the upcoming tourney in Ufa, Russia — that said, he’s also been pegged as a candidate to make Montreal’s opening-day roster.

(Should there be an opening day, of course.)

In August, Bergevin said it would be “difficult” for Galchenyuk to make the NHL this year — largely because he missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL — but the prized rookie would be given an invite to training camp.

Of course, Bergevin said this prior to Galchenyuk tearing apart the Ontario League.

In his last game with Sarnia prior to joining the American team, “Gally” scored five points (including a hat trick) in a win over Kingston, leading some to speculate that — if the NHL resumes action soon — Galchenyuk might have played his final game at the junior level.

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Canadiens prospect Blake Geoffrion hospitalized with head injury

Blake Geoffrion
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Canadiens prospect Blake Geoffrion was the victim of a head injury when he fell to the ice following a hit from Jean-Philippe Cote, La Presse writer Marc Antoine Godin reports. There was blood on the ice as he exited Friday’s game between Geoffrion’s AHL Hamilton Bulldogs and the Syracuse Crunch.

He was hospitalized and needed surgery, according to Canadian Press writer Heather Engel.

The good news is that Bulldogs head coach Sylvain Lefebvre said that the injury isn’t life-threatening.

Beyond that, not much information has been released yet regarding the nature or severity of Geoffrion’s injury.

Geoffrion was taken in the second round of the 2008 NHL entry draft and excelled with the University of Wisconsin. Over the past few years, Geoffrion he been trying to establish himself at the NHL level and has 55 combined games with the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators on his resume.

Update: Cote’s skate might have made contact with Geoffrion’s head based on reports from Marc Antoine Godin and the Montreal Gazette.

Here’s P.K. Subban doing the weather in Montreal

Subban
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Following in the footsteps of Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa (and, from the non-hockey division, Los Angeles’ Metta World Peace), Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban filled in as a guest meteorologist on CTV News Montreal on Tuesday evening.

Pretty solid weather reportage from Subban — nice suit, good energy, effervescent smile.

A far cry from Bieksa, who didn’t even bother to wear socks (FF to 6:00):

Bieksa did come strong with the “looking very green out today” line, though, so there’s that.

As for Subban…he actually “won” the weatherman gig after making a video resume. Because, you know, the lockout.

Here’s more, from the Montreal Gazette:

“Hi I’m P.K. Subban and I’m interested in a position in your company,” Subban says in the video, which you can see below. “I’m a hard worker and a team player. I’m pretty good with my hands and I have international experience.

“I have excellent  problem-solving skills. I take responsibility for my actions. I’m not afraid to take one for the team. Oh yeah, and I’m great with computers. I can start immediately.

“Seriously … I’m bored.”

After seeing that, CTV quickly snapped hired him.  No word if they’ll one-up the Habs by actually signing him to a contract extension.

Montreal’s Eller signs in Finland

Lars Eller

The SM-liiga’s top team bolstered its roster on Monday as Jyvaskyla JYP agreed to terms with Montreal Canadiens foward Lars Eller on a lockout deal.

Eller, 23, tweeted Sunday night that he was “excited to go to Europe” and would unveil the team of his choosing today. Turns out JYP beat him to the punch by updating its website with the news.

St. Louis’ 13th overall pick at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Eller was a key part of the trade that saw Jaroslav Halak leave Montreal in 2010.

Eller debuted with the Habs that same year and, in 2011-12, posted career-highs across the board in games played (79), goals (16), assists (12) and points (28).

In January, Eller became the first Canadien in six years to score four goals in a game when he potted four in a 7-3 win over Winnipeg.

With Jyvaskyla, Eller will play alongside Boston Bruins forward Rich Peverley — who signed a lockout deal back in September — and a pair of ex-NHLers in Eric Perrin and Ramzi Abid.

Of note: Eller is the eighth Montreal player to land overseas during the work stoppage, joining Alexei Emelin (KHL), Andrei Markov (KHL), Max Pacioretty (Switzerland), Tomas Kaberle (Czech Extraliga), Yannick Weber (Switzerland), Rahpael Diaz (Switzerland) and Tomas Plekanec (Czech Extraliga).

That said, both Kaberle and Pacioretty left their respective teams and returned to North America.

Montreal’s Leblanc injures ankle, out 4-6 weeks

Louis Leblanc
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The Montreal Canadiens were dealt a blow when prized youngster Louis Leblanc hurt himself playing for AHL Hamilton.

This week, they learned how big a blow it was.

Leblanc will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to CBC. The injury stems from a second period collision Leblanc had with Toronto Marlies defenseman Jesse Blacker in Saturday’s 5-0 loss .

Taken 18th overall at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Leblanc made his NHL debut with Montreal last season, appearing in 42 games while registering 5G-5A-10PTS.

While the performance hardly jumped off the page, Leblanc still drew a lot of attention.

He’s a Quebec native that played his junior hockey with Montreal of the QMJHL and, as Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated explains, that background comes with a large amount of pressure:

There is a disproportionate interest in Leblanc, something well beyond the natural curiosity of glimpsing any first-rounder for the first time. (Leblanc, a natural center who can play the wing, was the 18th player selected in the 2009 draft, which was held in the Canadiens’ home arena.)

He is a local, having grown up in a western suburb on the island of Montreal, 25 minutes, give or take rush-hour traffic, from the Bell Centre. He also is a francophone, which, in some small measure, shores up the identity of a franchise that has lost its accent as it has lost its way.

Leblanc has appeared in three games for Hamilton this season, scoring twice.