Tag: Montreal Canadiens

Ben Bishop, J.T. Brown

Bishop lauds Lundqvist as ‘the benchmark’ for goalies


Lucky or not, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop outperformed likely Vezina (and perhaps Hart?) winner Carey Price in the second round. Now he’ll gaze across the ice at maybe the one bigger name a team could throw out there: Henrik Lundqvist.

Bishop was nothing but effusive about the star Swede, as the Tampa Tribune’s Joe Smith reports.

“I kind of look at him as the benchmark,” Bishop said. “He’s someone who has set the bar.”

Despite being 28, this is Bishop’s first playoff run. He obviously hasn’t had much time to test himself against that benchmark just yet.

He has, however, put up pretty jaw-dropping numbers against the New York Rangers (including when Lundqvist’s been in net). Bishop’s undefeated in those games with fantastic individual stats:

Impressive. As Lightning head coach Jon Cooper points out, Price and Lundqvist have already stacked up some serious resumes, while Bishop is starting to “write” his in 2015.

” … So for him to not get his due, I think he’s slowly going to get his due, and he’s writing it right before our eyes,” Cooper said. “And it’s awesome to watch a kid kind of carve out his niche in the greatest league in the world, and I think that’s what he’s doing.”

The big goalie won’t have much luck slipping under the radar if Bishop and the Lightning best Lundqvist and the Rangers, especially since that means a Stanley Cup Final trip and all …

Late 2015 WHC registrations: Ovechkin for Russia, Plekanec for Czech Republic

Tomas Plekanec of Czech Republic (R) fig

The IIHF announced two (rather late?) registrations for the 2015 World Championships: Alex Ovechkin for Russia and Tomas Plekanec for the Czech Republic.

Their respective teams are in the semifinal games today. Russia takes on the U.S. while the Czech Republic faces Canada in mere moments.

Neither player is all that far removed from painful NHL postseason losses. In the case of Plekanec, he’s had some nice chemistry with Jagr in previous international play, but No. 68 has a career-high six goals in the tournament, so they might not mess with that.

Stream Canada – Czech Republic below:


Habs cutting ties with Gonchar, Malhotra, Weaver

Montreal Canadiens v Arizona Coyotes

Three of the oldest players on the Montreal roster are on their way out.

Manny Malhotra, Mike Weaver and Sergei Gonchar — the Habs’ elder statesman this year, at 41 — won’t be brought back for next season, GM Marc Bergevin confirmed during Friday’s end-of-season presser.

The moves don’t come as a huge surprise, given all were pending UFAs and none played in the playoffs. Malhotra had the biggest role on the team during the regular season, appearing in 58 games, and Gonchar did provide some offense on the back end, racking up 13 points in 45 games.

Weaver, a renowned shot-blocker that played regularly in last year’s run to the Eastern Conference Final, was largely a spare part this season and appeared in just 31 games, one of the lowest totals of his career.

It’ll be interesting to see what each player does next. The 34-year-old Malhotra, the youngest of the three, said he wants to keep playing; Weaver, who just turned 37, has played for six different teams over the last 13 years and always seems to find somewhere to sign. Gonchar could very well be done.

Finally, it’s worth noting that over $7 million comes off the books with Gonchar, Weaver and Malhotra leaving town. Important, because the club has said that re-signing pending UFA d-man Jeff Petry is a priority, and Petry isn’t going to come cheap.

Bergevin sees ‘no reason’ to make changes to Canadiens coaching staff

Montreal Canadiens Introduce Michel Therrien As New Head Coach

Sounds like we can cross off Montreal as a potential landing spot for Mike Babcock, or any other free-agent head coach.

“I have no reason to make any changes when it comes to our coaching staff,” Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said this morning. “They are doing great work.”

Under Michel Therrien, the Habs finished first in the Atlantic (50-22-10) and made it to the second round of the playoffs. Which is a lot better than most teams.

But despite that, Therrien received a good amount of criticism for how his team played. The Canadiens were relatively poor at controlling the puck, they had the 20th-ranked offense, and were overly reliant on goalie Carey Price.  

Montreal’s power play also struggled, ranking 23rd during the regular season and scoring just twice in the playoffs. That put assistant coach Dan Lacroix, the power play being his responsibility, under the microscope. But based on Bergevin’s remarks today, Lacroix will remain on the staff.

Bergevin also made a comment about 21-year-old Alex Galchenyuk that raised some eyebrows.

“Chucky is not there yet,” Bergevin said, per TSN’s John Lu. “He might never be a centerman. He might be, he could be.”

Galchenyuk was the third overall pick in 2012. He was drafted to be a center. On top of that, many feel the Canadiens’ biggest flaw is down the middle, where Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais are currently their top two centers.

Perhaps Bergevin was just trying to motivate Galchenyuk. Or, perhaps his remark, as some have suggested, is related to the fact Galchenyuk is a pending restricted free agent and will be negotiating a new contract this summer. Because Bergevin also acknowledged it’s next to impossible to land a number-one center through a trade, suggesting the price to do so would be, well, Price.

Related: Canadiens need to be more than Carey Price

Lars Eller was asked if he was happy with his role in Montreal, and gave a curious reply

Lars Eller

Lars Eller, who faced his fair share of scrutiny this season, took an interesting approach when answering a question about how happy he was with his role on the Canadiens this year.

Here’s the video from today’s end-of-year media availability.

And here’s the transcript:

Q: Were you happy with your role this year?

A: [Eight-second pause]


As a player, you always want more. You’re never satisfied. You always want to play more, you always want to take another step, and I’m still hungry to improve.

Eller (27 points) was something of a disappointment in the first of a four-year, $14 million deal signed last July. There were big things expected following the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign in which he scored 30 points in 48 games and last year’s playoffs, in which he led all Montreal forwards with 13 points in 17 games.

Instead of progressing, though, his production plateaued. Eller also sat as a healthy scratch at the beginning of the year and missed time with an upper-body injury in December, and never really seemed to find his groove. His deployment also became a topic of conversation in Montreal, as he averaged less than 16 minutes per game in both the regular season and playoffs.

Looking ahead, this could be a situation worth monitoring. Eller’s been a lineup fixture in Montreal over the last five years but it’s unclear how he’ll fit under head coach Michel Therrien moving forward. Also unclear? The status of their relationship.