Montreal Canadiens

Goalie nods: Ramo shrugs off trade talk, will start versus Rangers


News and notes from around the crease…

Ramo goes at MSG

Karri Ramo will get the start in goal tonight when Calgary takes on the Rangers in New York, and knows this opportunity — getting the nod ahead of Jonas Hiller, that is — could be viewed as a potential showcase for a trade.

Not that the pending UFA is letting it distract him.

“It’s not up to me,” Ramo said, per the Calgary Herald. “Maybe some players are affected by this, when they are going to decide where they want to go.

“All I can do is to play my best, work hard, and if it happens, it happens.”

There are rumblings around Ramo, and with good reason. He’s unrestricted come July 1, and it stands to reason he’s not in Calgary’s future plans — Hiller is under contract for one more year at $4.5M and the club is very high on 23-year-old Joni Ortio, an AHL All-Star this season who went 4-1-0 with a 1.98 GAA and .931 save percentage in a five-game NHL cameo earlier this year.

Calgary also has a history of flipping goalie depth at the deadline — last year, the Flames sent Reto Berra to Colorado in exchange for a second-round pick.

It remains to be seen if Ramo would garner similar interest on the open market. The 28-year-old’s numbers on the year aren’t great — 9-5-1, .904 save percentage, 2.69 GAA — but he could be seen as an upgrade at the backup position for certain teams.

That said, he would be an expensive option with his $2.75M cap hit.

(Also, no word yet on who’ll start for the Rangers.)


Canucks at Bruins: Eddie Lack for Vancouver, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.

Coyotes at Isles: Mike Smith vs. Chad Johnson

Flyers at ‘Canes: Rob Zepp vs. Cam Ward

Sabres at Jackets: Michal Neuvirth vs. Anton Forsberg

Stars at Jets: Michael Hutchinson for Winnipeg, Jhonas Enroth likely for Dallas

Oilers at Wild: Devan Dubnyk for Minnesota, no word yet on an Edmonton starter.

Avs at Preds: Nothing yet from either team.

Habs at Blues: Carey Price vs. Jake Allen

Panthers at ‘Hawks: Scott Darling for Chicago, no word yet on a Florida starter.

Wings at Kings: Jonas Gustavsson for Detroit, no word yet on a L.A. starter.

Trade: Habs get Smith-Pelly from Ducks for Sekac


The Habs and Ducks have once again combined to make a deal.

On Tuesday, Montreal announced it acquired Anaheim’s Devante Smith-Pelly in exchange for Jiri Sekac. The move comes after Habs GM Marc Bergevin and Ducks GM Bob Murray combined on the Bryan Allen-for-Rene Bourque trade earlier this season.

As for the particulars in this latest trade, Montreal gets Smith-Pelly, a 22-year-old power forward that’s already posted career-highs this year in games (54), points (17) and average TOI (14:39). Smith-Pelly broke onto the scene during last year’s postseason, when he led all Ducks in playoff goals, with five.

The Ducks, meanwhile, get Sekac, who’s scored seven goals and 16 points in 50 games during his first-ever NHL campaign. The 22-year-old, signed by Montreal this offseason after starring in the Czech League, represented Montreal at the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus as one of the rookie selections and participated in the Bridgestone Fastest Skater race, finishing sixth.

This trade represents a change of scenery for Smith-Pelly and Sekac, which both may have needed. Smith-Pelly’s ice time has been all over the place recently, going from 9:03 against Tampa Bay last Wednesday to 18:09 in Calgary on Friday to just 7:31 in last night’s 4-3 shootout win over Detroit.

Sekac, meanwhile, has been a healthy scratch on a number of occasions this year.

“Lately, it’s been kind of rough for me,” Sekac told Sportsnet earlier this week. “I’m just trying to stay focused and enjoy every second that I’m on the ice.”

In terms of financials, here’s the scoop from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

Report: Blue Jackets shopping Wisniewski


The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to unload James Wisniewski according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.

The right-shot defenseman was a healthy scratch for Sunday night’s game against the New York Rangers, which kick-started speculation.

However, Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen told the Columbus Dispatch last night that “there is no pending trade” for Wisniewski.

Teams such as the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens, who have injuries on the back end, could be interested.

He may also be a guy on the Red Wings radar. Detroit has just one right-handed shooting defenseman on its roster currently (Alexey Marchenko).

But Wisniewski is an expensive solution.

The 31-year-old still has two years remaining on his six-year, $33 million contract, which has a cap hit of $5.5 million.

Wisniewski has seven goals, 27 points and a minus-6 rating in 52 games this season while averaging 21:22 in time on ice.

Gonchar (upper body) addresses Clarkson hit: ‘Our game is rough enough’


Habs defenseman Sergei Gonchar skated with teammates for the first time today since being knocked out of a game versus Toronto on Feb. 14, and discussed the incident that sidelined him — a hit from David Clarkson that netted the Leafs forward a game misconduct.

“The hit was from behind,” Gonchar said, per the Habs website. “Our game is rough enough, you don’t have to come up with such a hit.

“Maybe his excuse is that he didn’t see me turning at the last moment, but at the same time we should respect each other more and maybe slow down when you see somebody turning your back.”

Here’s the hit in question:

Gonchar, 40, has been a nice pickup for the Habs since coming over from Dallas in mid-November, scoring 12 points in 38 games while averaging 18:37 TOI per night. He said he’s approaching his return on a day-by-day basis and, while he was wearing a non-contract jersey on Monday, has been medically cleared.

With both Gonchar and Alexei Emelin out, Montreal has been going with a seven-man unit of P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, Mike Weaver, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn.

Quick, Sedin, Pacioretty named NHL’s three stars of the week


Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Montreal’s Max Pacioretty were named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 22, the league announced on Monday.


Quick went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .959 save percentage to backstop the Kings (28-18-12, 68 points) to three consecutive victories, including a 2-1 triumph over the rival San Jose Sharks in the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Sedin registered four consecutive multi-point games and shared the League lead with eight points as the Canucks (34-22-3, 71 points) won three of four starts.

Pacioretty shared first in the NHL with four goals and a +6 rating to lead the Canadiens (38-16-5, 81 points) to five out of eight possible standings points.

Huge week for Quick, who seemingly responded to head coach Darryl Sutter’s challenge from last month:

Quick’s save percentage then proceeded to dip lower than that and, even with last week’s efforts, still sits at a .913 on the year.