In his first day back on the job, John Tortorella is getting himself a new player.
The Canucks have acquired Montreal defenseman Raphael Diaz in exchange for forward Dale Weise, it was announced on Monday. For Vancouver, the move makes sense as the club has lost the services of Kevin Bieksa (undisclosed) until after the Olympic break, along with fellow blueliner Chris Tanev (broken thumb).
Diaz, 28, is a pending UFA making $1.225 million this season. The Swiss rearguard — he’ll be representing his country at the upcoming Olympics — has 11 points in 46 games this season, but has been in and out of Montreal’s crowded blueline mix (the Habs had nine defensemen on NHL contracts and some good young prospects in AHL Hamilton). Diaz had been a healthy scratch in seven of Montreal’s last 10 games.
He’s not the most physical rearguard in the league, but was one of only three Canadiens with at least 100 blocked shots — something that should fit Tortorella’s style well.
As for Weise, he’s spent the last three years in Vancouver carving a niche as a speedy, bottom-six checking forward that’s not afraid to fight. He showed some decent offensive upside this season — scoring a career-high 12 points in just 44 games — but, like Diaz, has been in and out of the lineup recently.
Weise, 25, is currently on a one-year, $750,000 deal. He’ll be a restricted free agent at season’s end.
“A young veteran with 162 games of experience at the NHL level, Weise is a winger with a physical style of play who brings additional toughness and grit to our group of forwards,” said Habs GM Marc Bergevin.
Earlier today reports surfaced that Colorado Avalanche forward P.A. Parenteau was on the trade market.
Now it looks like Colorado’s willingness to move him might have gotten serious.
The Avalanche were reportedly willing to ship Parenteau to Montreal in exchange for forward Rene Bourque, but the Canadiens rejected that offer, according to TVA Sports’ Louis Jean.
Both players are under contract through 2015-16 and Parenteau comes with a marginally higher annual cap hit at $4 million instead of roughly $3.3 million. Bourque enjoyed a few solid seasons with Calgary, but he’s struggled offensively since coming to Montreal. Parenteau has been far more productive, although he is projected to be a healthy scratch tonight.
It’s worth adding that Montreal’s assistant coach J.J. Daineault is very familiar with Parenteau after they both spent time with the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack.
This also isn’t the first report or only source to link Parenteau to Montreal. It has been suggested that Colorado is looking for a defensive upgrade and any deal between the two teams might ultimately involve one of Montreal’s blueliners.
Update: RDS’ Francois Gagnon’s sources suggested that it was the Avalanche who refused the player swap.
On home ice, the Montreal Canadiens were soundly beaten, embarrassed would be more appropriate, by the Washington Capitals, prompting a players-only meeting following the game, as per hockey reporter Renaud Lavoie.
The Canadiens lost 5-0 to the Capitals, making it four straight losses and five in the last six games. In those five losses, they’ve been outscored 23-6.
“We’re playing with no emotion. We’re not playing as a team,” said Canadiens’ forward Travis Moen afterward.
The Capitals, with Alex Ovechkin back in the lineup after a two-game absence, burst out in front with four goals in 10 minutes and 31 seconds in the second period, chasing Carey Price from the game.
Ovechkin got the Capitals started, scoring a beauty to give Washington the lead early in the second period. The Capitals wouldn’t let up.
But it was hard to pin this totally on Price. The Capitals, at one point in the second period, held a 26-3 advantage in the shots. That was according to both the league’s website and the NBC Sports box score.
It’s been a difficult night for goalies across the National Hockey League on Saturday.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer, making his third consecutive start, was yanked from the net after allowing four goals on 19 shots against the Winnipeg Jets. Two of those goals came 37 seconds apart in the second period, as the Jets landed a three-goal lead at the time.
Jonathan Bernier came into the game for Toronto.
And in Montreal, Habs’ goalie Carey Price was pulled after giving up four goals on 26 shots. Not entirely his fault on this occasion. The reeling Canadiens were being outshot 26-3 by the Capitals at one point in the game, as Washington opened up a four-goal lead in a span of 10 minutes and 31 seconds in the second period of that game.
This comes after Columbus Blue Jackets puck stopper Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in the second period against the Buffalo Sabres.
After a two-game absence due to a groin injury, Alex Ovechkin returns to the Washington Capitals’ lineup tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. That’s according to the Washington Post just a few minutes ago.
Ovechkin leads the league in goals by a large margin with 35. The next closest to him is Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks with 28.
Goals have been scarce of late for the struggling Capitals, who are looking to end a seven-game losing streak. During this skid, the Capitals have scored only eight goals.
Mikhail Grabovski will not play for Washington tonight, according to the Washington Post.
He suffered what appeared to be a leg injury after an awkward fall in Friday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils. He left Friday’s game as a result of the injury and did not return.