The Montreal Canadiens, last year's winners of the Northeast division, have a whole new set of expectations this season. The Bergevin rebuild, initially expected to take years, needed only one off-season. A new cast has emerged as the team's core. Names like Galchenyuk, Eller, Gallagher, and Prust now line the back of jerseys and t-shirts throughout the city. Here are a few player storylines for the 2013-2014 season.
Gionta and Markov find themselves in similar situations heading into the 2013-2014 season. Both will be playing in the final year of their hefty contracts and may not be part of the team next fall. The shedding of Markov’s $ 5.75 million and Gionta’s $ 5 million will help the team re-sign players in line for raises, namely, Subban and Eller. Expect good seasons for Gionta and Markov as they try to earn contracts for next year.
4. David Desharnais
In hindsight, Bergevin should have waited until the end of the season to give Desharnais his contract extension. After rewarding Desharnais with a $ 3.5 million annual 4-year contract on March 15, the small center only recorded 13 points in the final 26 games and was virtually invisible in the playoff series against the Senators. If we’ve already seen the best Desharnais has to offer, his contract extension may hurt the team for years to come.
3. Lars Eller
Before going down in the first game of the series against Ottawa, Eller was playing like the team’s best center. Last year, Eller emerged as a responsible and efficient defensive center, while also increasing his offensive production. His 30 points in 46 games was a career high and is rather impressive when you consider how little he played on the power play. Eller’s role should continue to increase this year.
2. P.K. Subban
What more can be said about P.K. Subban? Despite missing the team’s first 6 games due to a contract holdout, he ended up having a Norris winning season. 2013-2014 will bring new challenges for the 24-year-old as he now has to live up to huge expectations from a demanding Montreal fanbase. Subban is in the final year of his 2-year contract and is expected to get a huge raise at season’s end. Subban should also be an important part of Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics in February.
1. Carey Price
Carey Price’s time is now. At the age of 26 and entering his 7th NHL season, Price should be beginning his prime years. While some fans have been more patient than others, Price seems to have regressed from his tremendous 2010-2011 season. Entering this season, Price appears to be the key to the Habs having any success. Although Price often keeps his team in the game, he will need to single-handedly win games for the team if he wants to be considered one of the league’s best goaltenders. If he gets off to a hot start, Price could end up being the starting goalie for Team Canada at the Olympics.
Hockey nicknames are ubiquitous in the NHL. Pretty much everyone has one. But let's face it, most of them are just names like "Gally" — stale, unoriginal and based on the guy's last name. But sometimes, a hockey nickname comes around that's so genius and so telling of the man behind it that you just have to stand up and applaud.
Cole Caufield's nickname exists in this pantheon of genius hockey names. Apparently, the diminutive forward was dubbed "The Cock" by the one and only Shea Weber.
In a snippet of an interview on the program Spittin' Chiclets posted to TikTok, Caufield is asked by host Paul Bissonnette what "the boys" on the team call him.
Flashing a sheepish grin, Caufield hesitated to reveal the name as Bissonnette wondered out loud if he "can't say it on camera."
"Uh, yeah...I mean," began Caufield, giggling as one with his nickname would giggle. "Weber came up with it...it's The Cock."
"Why is that?" asked Bissonnette, glancing at the camera, seemingly knowing full-well why Caufield's nickname is "The Cock."
One of the show's hosts remarked "what kind of nickname is The Cock" as everyone was laughing. Caufield, for his part, said that he is "not mad about it." I mean, why would he be?
Looking at Caufield's 5-foot-7 stature, one wouldn't think that "The Cock" could possibly be an appropriate nickname. But the implication seems to be... how shall we put this... that what he lacks in height he apparently makes up for in other places.
It's another sad day in Habs land, folks. The Montreal Canadiens have announced that two players, forward Brendan Gallagher and defenceman Sami Niku, have been placed under the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.
According to a statement posted on Instagram, "both players are being monitored closely by team doctors and following the guidelines and protocols set by the NHL."
As per the NHL's COVID-19 protocol for players and staff, the two Habs players will be "be removed immediately and shall be directed to isolate and to refrain from contact with other individuals until the confirmation of their COVID-19 positive/negative status is established."
As of the time of writing, the players' status is unconfirmed.
The NHL has established extensive guidelines for managing COVID-19 in the league and has been quick to act when potential cases arise. The NHL has also established a protocol for unvaccinated players, according to Sportsnet.
In the Canadiens, there have been a few confirmed contacts with the COVID-19 virus since the pandemic began but overall, no player on the team has missed significant time due to the disease. The only one to miss a large chunk of time was head coach Dominique Ducharme, who was in isolation for part of the Habs' most recent playoff run.
Former General Manager Marc Bergevin also tested positive for COVID-19 in November and spent some time away from the team.
It has been a rough week for the Canadiens. Though in positive news, Carey Price is back on the ice at training, the team underwent a major shakeup by relieving Bergevin and two other employees. At least one person has said they're interested in the GM role, but the team hasn't given updates on its search for a new leader.
Here's Carey! After a very dramatic week for Montreal Canadiens fans, Carey Price decided to take to the ice for what looks like a short training session with the team. His short yet sweet appearance will certainly lift everyone's spirits and remind everyone to keep calm and Carey on.
In a video, Price is shown doing a few goalie drills without equipment on. While it's strange to see him on the ice out of his goalie gear, his swagger is unmistakable even after spending all this time away from the game.
Other than appearing at training for one of the first times since he took a voluntary leave of absence from the team, Price is back in the public eye.
His wife, Angela Price, recently shared a very adorable photo of her husband and daughter placing the star on their Christmas tree.
Seeing the Habs goalie with a smile on his face is sure to be a welcome sight for both his family and his many fans.
Before the start of the season, the Canadiens announced that Price was taking a voluntary leave of absence to enter the NHL's player assistance program. The news hit the team and the city quite hard but everyone was quick to voice their support for the Habs star.
Early in November, Price broke his silence on the matter and explained that he entered the program to get help for substance use and mental health issues.
From all of us here at MTL Blog, welcome back, Carey!
Habs land is a bit of a mess right now so who better to save it than Montreal Canadiens legend Patrick Roy? At least, that's what he believes. At a press conference, the former Canadiens goalie and four-time Stanley Cup champion threw his hat in the ring to become the team's new general manager. But not everyone seems to be on board with the idea.
"Would I have interest? Obviously," Roy told reporters on Tuesday. "But at the same time, I know it's a process."
"If they give me a call, I'll listen."
On Twitter, some people have been critical of Roy's outspokenness on his candidacy. TSN analyst Eric Macramalla commented that Roy should be disqualified from the job because of his "lack of restraint and respect for the process."
Roy spoke at length with reporters, declaring his love for the team and explaining how he understands the depth of the responsibilities should he be chosen as the new general manager. He said that while he still loves his current job as the head coach of the Quebec Remparts, he would be open to an offer with the Habs.
When asked if he would like the chance to win another Stanley Cup with the team, Roy asked, "What would they have to lose by giving me a chance?"
For those keeping score at home, Roy was the Habs goalie last time they won a Stanley Cup in 1993.
But despite Roy's storied 11-year career with the Habs, there seems to be a feeling among some that it wouldn't go over too well if he was appointed GM.
Some observers have commentedon his lack of experience as a general manager in the NHL. However, it's important to note that Marc Bergevin had not previously been a general manager when he was hired for the position.
With many GM candidates apparently under consideration by the organization, Roy would certainly be among the most high-profile and controversial choices for many fans.
Would you be happy if Patrick Roy was chosen to be the new Canadiens GM?