Alex Kovalev #27 of the Montreal Canadiens skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during their NHL game at the Air Canada Centre March 29, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (March 29, 2008 - Source: None/Getty Images North America)

Kovalev and Lindros to play in Montreal alumni game


A pair of dubious figures in Montreal as well as Quebec hockey will be on the ice once again in “La belle province.”

Former Canadiens captain and recent retiree Alex Kovalev and former Quebec Nordiques No. 1 draft pick Eric Lindros will both be participating in an alumni all-star game at Bell Centre tomorrow, as The Montreal Gazette reports. Is it bad form to boo players in an alumni game? That could happen.

Kovalev, who retired from the NHL this week, didn’t leave Montreal under the greatest of circumstances and wound up being a focus of bad feelings and boos when he returned as a visiting Ottawa Senators forward.

Lindros, meanwhile, was persona non grata in Quebec thanks to his famous spurning of the Nordiques after the team drafted him first overall in 1991 only to demand a trade saying he’d never play for the then sorry Quebec franchise. Once the Nordiques moved to Denver, the bad feelings moved on to Montreal where he received similar bad feelings from Habs fans.

It might be worth it to actually get a ticket to this game just to see how warmly (or not) both guys are received by the fans.

Thomas Vanek leaves Sabres game vs. Canadiens

Thomas Vanek

The Buffalo Sabres haven’t had many bright spots to consider in a miserable 2013 season, but Thomas Vanek’s play has been one of them. For that reason, Buffalo must be holding its breath because the star winger needed to leave the ice during Monday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, according to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie.

Vanek took a shot to his leg during a Sabres power play and appeared to have trouble putting weight on it, according to various observers.

It’s too early to tell how serious the ailment might be (or what it is specifically), but Vanek’s had some minor issues already this season. He missed three games early in March with an upper-body injury.

While he’s no longer atop the NHL’s scorers like he was to start the season, he’s still had a great year with 31 points in 26 games.

Canadiens sign WHL defenseman Dietz


The Montreal Canadiens came to terms on a three-year contract with defenseman Darren Dietz in a deal that was announced Sunday.

A financial term on the deal was not disclosed.

Dietz is a fifth-round pick, 138th overall, of the Canadiens in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

His numbers with the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades have been nothing short of impressive.

The 19-year-old blue liner has 24 goals and 34 assists in 72 regular season games with Saskatoon this year.

His 58 points ranks him third among WHL blue liners in overall scoring. At 6’1″ and 205 pounds, Dietz also racked up 100 penalty minutes.


Montreal inks David Desharnais to four-year extension

David Desharnais #51 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates his second period goal during the NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre on February 2, 2013 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
(February 1, 2013 - Source: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

David Desharnais, 26, has gone from being undrafted to a solid top-six forward. Now he’s getting rewarded for his hard work.

The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed Desharnais to a four-year extension. The deal will pay Desharnais an average of $3.5 million per season, according to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie.

That’s a sizable jump over the $950,000 annually his current deal is worth in 2012-13, but it’s hard to argue against the pay raise.

After establishing himself in 2010-11, Desharnais broke out last season with 16 goals and 60 points in 81 games. He hasn’t been quite as productive in 2013, but has still scored eight goals and 16 points in 27 contests.

Desharnais would have been a restricted free agent this summer and his deal gives the Montreal Canadiens six forwards signed through at least the 2015-16 campaign. The others are Tomas Plekanec, Rene Bourque, Brandon Prust, Travis Moen, and Max Pacioretty.

Canadiens won’t comment on possible Geoffrion retirement

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The Montreal Canadiens released a statement Wednesday, announcing that Blake Geoffrion has notified general manager Marc Bergevin about possibly retiring.

Geoffrion suffered a depressed skull fracture in an American Hockey League game on Nov. 9, 2012 and had surgery the following day.

The statement said that Geoffrion’s condition has shown no significant improvement since the surgery, and added that the Canadiens management, Geoffrion, his agent or family will not make any further comment until “further notice.”

Earlier on Wednesday, reports surfaced that Geoffrion had retired from hockey.