Tag: Tomas Plekanec

Michael McCarron

Looking to make the leap: Michael McCarron

Michael McCarron will be playing professional hockey next year.

The question is where.

According to Habs GM Marc Bergevin, McCarron — Montreal’s first-round pick (25th overall) in 2013 — will likely start the season with the club’s AHL affiliate in St. John’s.

But in early July, he opened the door ever so slightly.

“There’s room for a young player [in Montreal] if they perform,” Bergevin explained, per the Gazette. “It’s up to them.”

There’s reason to believe McCarron could be that young player. At 20, he boasts tremendous size — 6-foot-6, 225 pounds — and is coming off a banner junior campaign, in which he scored 68 points in 56 games for OHL London and Oshawa, then another 18 in 21 playoff games, helping the Generals win the Memorial Cup while earning a spot on the tournament all-star team.

As for his NHL prospects… well, McCarron isn’t lacking confidence.

“The way I look at it is, nobody can stop me when I’m going full speed and nobody can take the puck off me. That’s the way I think,” he said, per NHL.com. “I don’t know if that’s being cocky or not, but I just want to hold the puck as long as I can and take pucks to the net and be strong on pucks.”

McCarron’s size, strength and skill set certainly makes him a candidate for an NHL gig this fall.

Also helping his cause? A position switch.

McCarron moved to center last season and proved to be a dynamic force, while also becoming a more well-rounded player. He prides himself on versatility — “I can play on the wing or at center,” he told the Globe and Mail back in May — but that ability to play down the middle could really be to his advantage.

Right now, Montreal has Tomas Plekanec, David Desharnais, Lars Eller and Torrey Mitchell at center — hardly a dynamic group, and not especially deep. What’s more, Bergevin has expressed doubt that Alex Galchenyuk — the No. 3 overall pick in 2012, once thought to be the top-line pivot of the future — will ever play there.

“[Galchenyuk] is not there yet,” Bergevin explained at Montreal’s end-of-year presser. “He might never be a centerman.”

So yeah, a few factors working in McCarron’s favor.

The reality, though, is that making the leap from junior to the NHL is a tall task, even for a tantalizing prospect. McCarron will have to show remarkably well in training camp and the preseason — probably at center and wing — just to crack the Canadiens’ opening-night roster.

PHT Morning Skate: Rozsival raises the Cup (plus pronouncing Plekanec)


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.

Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec answers a burning question for many of us who lost our pronunciation guides:

Q: So how do you pronounce your name?

A: PLEK-a-nets (laughs). Really, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care at all anymore. I’m fine when people say it Ple-CAN-ek, but it’s PLEK-a-nets.

It’s probably good that he’s laid back about the situation, right? /Flubs his name out of habit. (Click here for the full Q & A at Habs Inside/Out)

Ten big trade candidates at the upcoming 2015 NHL Draft. Yes, there’s at least one Blackhawk on the list. (The Hockey News)

Another look at Kimmo Timonen’s long-awaited moment with the Cup. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

A strong argument that the ‘Hawks are, indeed, worthy of the “dynasty” moniker. (Five Thirty Eight)

In case you’re wondering, yes, Patrick Kane rocked the playoff mullet back in 2010 as well.

Considering what the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman went through – and how much Chicago strained in his absence – it’s cool to see Michal Rozsival hoisting the Stanley Cup:

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.”

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:


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