Trade: Ducks get Brewer from Lightning; Beauchemin out 4-6 weeks


The Anaheim Ducks have picked up veteran defenseman Eric Brewer from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a third-round pick (previously acquired from Edmonton) in the 2015 draft.

The Ducks, in a related story, also announced today that d-man Francois Beauchemin is out 4-6 weeks with a broken finger and that d-man Clayton Stoner is day-to-day with the mumps. The Brewer acquisition also comes not long after the Ducks traded veteran d-man Bryan Allen to Montreal. For today’s afternoon game against Chicago, Anaheim had to recall Jesse Blacker from AHL Norfolk.

Brewer, 35, got into 17 games for the Lightning this season, registering no goals and four assists. But with the pending return of Victor Hedman from injury, and with Tampa Bay boasting one of the deepest blue lines in the NHL, it may have been hard for him to get into many more.

In fact, prior to the trade, Brewer had been a healthy scratch in four of Tampa Bay’s last five games.

“It’s very hard on him, this is a very proud man, and he’s played well for us,” associate coach Rick Bowness said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “With the depth that we have, players are sitting and they’re not playing their way out of the lineup. For a man who has been around a long time, this is the first time in his career he’s been faced with this, it’s very, very hard on him.”

Brewer is a pending unrestricted free agent with a cap hit of $3.875 million.

Habs to healthy scratch Gilbert for first time this season


Tom Gilbert’s been a consistent presence on Montreal’s back end this season — appearing in all 23 games, while averaging 19:23 TOI per — but on Friday, he’ll be in the press box as a healthy scratch when the Habs take on the Sabres in Buffalo.

Gilbert, 31, signed a two-year, $5.6 million deal with the Habs this summer and started brightly, playing over 21 minutes in eight of his first eight games of the year (during which Montreal went 7-1). The veteran blueliner has seen his ice time diminish lately, though — he played a season-low 14:19 against Detroit two weeks ago, and in his next game out he went minus-3 in a 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh, during which he only played 17:11.

In last Sunday’s 5-0 drubbing against the Rangers in New York, Gilbert’s ice time was cut again as he finished with just over 15 minutes.

Not helping Gilbert’s cause is Montreal’s blueline depth. GM Marc Bergevin has recently acquired veterans Sergei Gonchar and Bryan Allen via trade, giving the Habs plenty of different options on defense.

So, anybody know what to make of Montreal?


Following Sunday’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Rangers, many Canadiens fans were left asking a fairly significant question:

What kind of team do we have here?

That they’re asking is significant because, per the standings, Montreal’s the best team in the NHL. The Habs sit first with 33 points, are 8-2 in their last 10 and have sparking records both at home (9-3-0) and on the road (7-3-1).

The conversation becomes complicated, though, when Montreal’s losses come up. Because the Habs don’t just lose games — they LOSE games:

Oct. 13: Tampa Bay 7, Montreal 1
Oct 27: Edmonton 3, Montreal 0
Oct 30: Vancouver 3, Montreal 2 (SO)
Nov. 2: Calgary 6, Montreal 2
Nov. 4: Chicago 5, Montreal 0
Nov. 18: Pittsburgh 4, Montreal 0
Nov. 23: New York 5, Montreal 0

Combined score: Opponents 32, Montreal 5.

It’s a colorful, dizzying array of butt-whippings. Some are understandable (the Lightning game came at the end of a four-game roadie), some aren’t (the blowout to Chicago happened two nights after the embarrassing home loss to Calgary).

Still confusing, though.

“A game like this leaves you scratching your head,” P.K. Subban said after the Rangers loss, per the Gazette. “We will be fine. We’re still a very positive group. We have to generate more. We just didn’t play our game.”

Some have blamed the schedule makers. Montreal’s played a league-high 23 times already — Florida’s played 18, comparatively — and opened its season with seven of 11 on the road (Montreal’s also played five back-to-backs already.)

“We didn’t play a good game [vs. New York], but we have to look at the big picture,” head coach Michel Therrien said on Sunday. “We played eight games in 13 nights and we won six of those games.”

Fair point. But what if the blowout losses are more than fatigue?

A theory, then: Montreal’s too reliant on goaltending. It seems if Carey Price and/or Dustin Tokarski have an off night, so too do the Habs, and it’s almost a given Montreal will concede a number of good scoring chances nightly. The Canadiens are not a brick wall defensively; they have a questionable defensive unit that’s undergone a number of changes already this season (most notably by bringing in Sergei Gonchar and Bryan Allen.)

Offensively, the club struggles to compensate in these situations. Montreal ranks 21st in the NHL in goals per game (2.5), 26th in power play percentage (12.7) and fails to generate enough on nights when goalies aren’t razor-sharp.

Now having said all that, let’s be reminded of what’s written at the top: This is the NHL’s first-place team. The counter-argument is that a loss is a loss, regardless of the score and, over the course of an 82-game season, stinkers are going to happen.

You can put Subban in that camp.

“I don’t think it matters whether you lose by five goals or one, it’s still a loss,” he explained. “When we lose, it’s when we turn the page. (The concern is) the losses where you’re scratching your head and wondering what we have to do better. We know what we have to do better.

“We’re going to take a few days off and regroup and we’re going to be a positive group. I don’t think there’s anything to be negative about now.”

Trade: Montreal adds more D, acquires Allen from Ducks for Bourque


Bit of a late-day surprise given both teams are in action tonight, but Montreal has sent forward Rene Bourque to Anaheim in exchange for veteran defenseman Bryan Allen.

The 34-year-old Allen comes to Montreal having recently returned from an injury that cost him the first 14 games of the year. A physical blueliner, Allen has one point in six games this season, averaging 18:12 TOI per night.

He’s also in the last of a three-year, $10.5 million deal that pays $3.5M annually.

As for Bourque, he’s been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. After a poor start (no goals in 13 games) he was waived, went unclaimed and then sent to AHL Hamilton, where he’s spent the last 10 days — a dramatic fall from grace for a guy who, earlier this spring, led the Habs in playoff goals (eight) en route to the Eastern Conference Final.

Bourque, 32, has this year and the next remaining on his six-year, $20 million deal, which carries a $3.33M cap hit.

At first glance, the move gives Montreal a tremendous amount of depth on the back end — the Habs had already acquired Sergei Gonchar last week, which allowed them to send promising youngster Jarred Tinordi back to the American League. The deal also reunites Allen with Habs GM Marc Bergevin — they were teammates in Vancouver — and gets Bourque’s money off the books for next year

For Anaheim, the move could provide a spark for a guy that’s fallen on hard times. Bourque’s best years did come in the Western Conference — he had back-to-back 27-goal seasons for Calgary from 2009-11.

Video: Allen hit in the head by Doughty shot

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen took a shot to the head from Kings’ defenseman Drew Doughty early in the third period.

Luckily for Allen he had his head turned on the play and the shot hit him squarely in the helmet. Allen got up and to the bench under his own strength and remains in the game.