Tag: Montreal Canadiens

Ryan Getzlaf, Devante Smith-Pelly

Ducks fans frowned at Smith-Pelly’s smiley tweet


It’s amazing how many people can be offended by a simple, strategically timed emoticon.

Around the time it became quite clear that the Anaheim Ducks would be eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, Duck-turned-Hab Devante Smith-Pelly happened to tweet his thoughts with one anger-inducing smiley face:

Get this: Ducks fans weren’t happy.

Here are some of the publishable responses to Smith-Pelly’s cheeky tweet:

Sure, some enjoyed it or at least commended his candor, but that bit of Twitter-trolling certainly got people’s attention with 1,000+ re-tweets and 2,000+ favorites. In fact, the 22-year-old was surprised by how much heat he drew, as he told the Montreal Gazette.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Smith-Pelly said. “I didn’t think people would be that upset about it, but that’s the way Twitter goes, I guess.”

He’s not about to delete the message nor will he deny that he was very much rooting against the Ducks, even if Smith-Pelly said he’s still friends with many of them.

Of course, he might also wait a little while to contact them after this social media snafu (and that whole devastating defeat thing).

After prepping for three years, Franson excited to test free agency

Cody Franson

With just over a month remaining until free agency begins, Cody Franson is set to become one of the most sought after blue liners.

It’s a process Franson and his agency, The Sports Corporation, have been anticipating for a number of years.

“It is exciting,” Franson’s agent Gerry Johannson told PHT earlier this week. “Cody’s a great player and an even better guy so this is going to be a very interesting process for sure.

“We’ve talked to Cody about this the last three years. We prepare our clients well in advance for situations like this. Most guys don’t go to free agency, but it does happen.”

Sportsnet recently ranked the 15 most valuable players headed to free agency. On the list were five defensemen including Montreal’s Jeff Petry and Franson.

It’s believed several teams will be in the mix for Franson’s services, with the likes of the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers possibly interested. Franson has already expressed an interest in Vancouver and Toronto.

He has played the past three seasons on one-year deals. His $3.3 million contract signed with Toronto last summer is set to expire in July.

It’s the first time in his career Franson will hit the open market after a 23 game stint with the Nashville Predators didn’t quite work out.

“Chemistry is a funny thing and for some reason he just didn’t seem to fit in the lineup like you thought he would on paper,” Johannson said of Nashville. “I don’t try to figure out what coaches are thinking.”

The Predators still have a month to workout a trade for Franson’s rights, but as of this moment it doesn’t appear things are headed in thtat direction.

“Nashville owns Cody’s rights up until then. That’s largely between the teams to figure out, if they want to make a move on Cody earlier, if they can,” said Johannson. “I’m sort of focused on July 1. That’s the only thing we know for sure.

“We’re not spending a whole lot of time worrying about (a trade). We’re just preparing for July 1 and being ready to move forward.”

Franson was dealt to Nashville from Toronto in February after contract talks with the Leafs stalled.

“They had their agenda and they have their priorities,” said Johannson. “There wasn’t a deal to be made. We had some discussions. Nothing that obviously led anywhere. They were going in a different direction.”

It’s believed Franson’s negotiations with the Leafs while a restricted free agent weren’t the smoothest either.

“Cody’s a very mature guy and he’s a real professional. I think we all understand each negotiation is different at different times,” said Johannson. “Cody is going to become a free agent because of it, so there’s a benefit to him. No hard feelings.”

Franson set career highs in goals (7) and points (37) while appearing in 78 games split between the Leafs and Predators during the 2014-15 season.

Bylsma praises ‘elite’ Eichel, cites experience of coaching star players


Sidney Crosby is a star. So is Evgeni Malkin.

Jack Eichel might become one too and, if he does, there’s a chance it’ll be under the tutelage of new Sabres bench boss Dan Bylsma — the same guy Crosby and Malkin called coach for six years.

“You understand immediately the spotlight that is on those types of players, the star quality players,” Bylsma said on Thursday of his experience coaching elite talent. “I think you understand the pressure they’ll be going through, the analysis and the little eyes on them from just about everybody.

“I probably learned as much from working with those players — Sidney and Evgeni — as they learned from me. I think it’s going to be applicable to the likes of Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel, who are going to be viewed in that same light, that same scope that star players are put into.”

Eichel, barring a remarkable turn of events, will become Sabres property when they select second overall at this June’s entry draft. Dubbed a generational talent, Eichel is one of the most ballyhooed prospects in recent memory and while Bylsma’s experience coaching young stars (Crosby was 21 when they won a Cup together in Pittsburgh, Malkin was 22) is important, so too is his experience with the Boston University phenom — Bylsma was Eichel’s assistant coach at the recently-wrapped World Hockey Championships, where the two combined to capture bronze with Team USA.

“Having coached [Eichel] at the World Championships, you have a chance to see a guy who’s going to be an elite player,” Bylsma explained. “He’s got outstanding skill.

“You see him play against men, a lot of NHL players he matched up against — Malkin when we played against Russia, Tomas Plekanec when we played against the Czechs. He’s playing against NHL players and he stacked right up there with his skill, his size and his ability to play the game.”

Bylsma then broke into a smile.

“Jack’s going to be a good pick for anybody who does take him.”

Aside from Eichel, Buffalo has other talented youngsters for Bylsma to teach, like Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Zemgus Girgensons and Mikhail Grigorenko. “Teach” really is the key word here; in explaining why he hired Bylsma, Sabres GM Tim Murray said the 44-year-old had all the necessary skills to educate the kids through the ongoing rebuild.

“[He’s a] great communicator,” Murray explained. “Obviously we’re going to be a young team, and we need somebody that knows how to teach, knows how to communicate. It’s not just telling someone what to do — it’s why they have to do that. There aren’t a lot of coaches that can do that, and I think Dan is one that can.

“We can talk about Xs and Os and all that later. It’s communication, it’s teaching, it’s understanding young people, understanding what they’re going through. I think he’s very good at those aspects of the game.”

PHT Morning Skate: Guy Lafleur believes Gallagher should be the Habs’ next captain

Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Montreal Canadiens played the 2014-15 season without a captain after Brian Gionta signed in Buffalo as a free agent. Habs legend Guy Lafleur believes when the club does appoint a new leader it should be forward Brendan Gallagher wearing the ‘C’.

“A captain shouldn’t be chosen on the amount of goals he’s going to score,” Lafleur told the Montreal Gazette. “That guy (Gallagher) really impressed me every night I saw him play. He’s aggressive, he wants to win. He gets some bad shots from opponents, he takes a lot of hits and there’s not too many guys on the team that work like he does.” (Montreal Gazette)

With salary cap issues looming, Mike Milbury discusses the potential roster turnover the Chicago Blackhawks face.

Red Wings’ prospect Tom McCollum proving his worth with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins in the Calder Cup playoffs. (Detroit Free Press)

Newly hired Flyers’ coach Dave Hakstol owes the University of North Dakota $100,000 for taking NHL gig. (Grand Forks Herald)

The Montreal Canadiens brass has been out at the Memorial Cup this week watching, among others, prospect goaltender Zach Fucale. The Habs front office won’t be happy with the performance they saw from Fucale on Wednesday night. The 20-year-old was pulled after allowing four goals on 25 shots and his Quebec Remparts fell 4-0 to the Rimouski Oceanic. (Sportsnet)

Here’s another look at the Blackhawks’ 5-2 win in Game 6 on Wednesday night:

With Matt Beleskey scoring 45 seconds into overtime in Game 5 on Monday night, The Hockey News takes a look at the fastest five playoff overtime winners. (The Hockey News)

In defense of Yandle, who’s ‘trying to make some plays’

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Five

Keith Yandle tried to make a play.

Unfortunately, it ended up on the stick of Steven Stamkos, right in front of the Rangers’ net…


Thank goodness for Henrik Lundqvist.

But the fact no goal was scored didn’t stop reporters from asking Rangers coach Alain Vigneault what he’s seen from Yandle the past couple of games.

“He’s working extremely hard,” replied Vigneault. “He’s trying to make some plays. With the pressure sometimes our D are under, (it’s) a little bit more challenging to make the right play. But he’s got the right idea.”

Vigneault was then asked about the challenge of making the right play under pressure.

“It’s a big challenge,” he said. “It’s the biggest team that we’ve met this year, and not just when they have the puck, but when they don’t have it, they are quick to put pressure. You’ve got to have
your head up. You’ve got to be thinking a play ahead, and you’ve got to make the right plays.”

The fact is, puck-moving defensemen like Yandle are going to make the odd giveaway. P.K. Subban led the league in giveaways by defensemen during the regular season. Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty were up there, too. Those players aren’t out there to clear it high off the glass, and give it right back to the opposition. They’re out there to make plays, with the intention of keeping possession and going on the attack.

On top of that, with more and more teams bringing their defensemen down the wall to pressure wingers on the breakout, more and more plays need to be made in the middle of the ice, right in the danger area. So get your stick on the ice, Kevin Hayes. Be ready for the pass.

That’s not to let Yandle off the hook entirely. When Stamkos is lurking, putting the puck in the danger area is a pretty big risk. There were probably better options available, like spinning off the forecheck and skating with the puck behind the net. But that’s easy to say in hindsight. Also, easier said than done. (“Oh, just spin off the forecheck next time.”)

Yandle had his struggles adjusting to a new system after joining the Rangers in a late-season trade from Arizona. It hasn’t been all struggles though. He had two points in Game 3 versus the Lightning and three more in Game 4.

“We need him tonight to find a way to get a couple more pucks to the net, and we’ll be in good shape,” said Vigneault.