The Canadiens have demoted goaltender Carey Price and center Kyle Chipchura to their AHL farm affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
In exchange, the Habs have recalled Bulldogs' leading scorer Corey Locke, and goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Both Locke and Halak will be ready to go tonight at the Bell Centre vs. the Blackhawks.
Patrice Brisebois is slated to make his return tonight...Mark Streit is expected to be moved up to wing...no word on who will sit then, as there would be 13 forwards...I would imagine/hope Kostopoulos.
Also of note: Blackhawks' LW Sergei Samsonov, a healthy scratch throughout most of the season, has been claimed off re-entry waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina are now responsible for half of the balance remaining on Sergei's contract (Chicago owes the other half).
Great move by management. For Carey to not be starting once every 2 or 3 games is detrimental to his development. This goalie is the future of the franchise, on that we can certainly all agree, so to rush him into the NHL at a backup role is simply a waste of both time & developmental practice. With the call up, Halak, who is also capable of being a starter in the NHL (remember, he got us into that final match last season with Toronto...where we had the chance to make the playoffs), can get some more starts and possibly earn some trade value...This may be part of a much bigger picture than just getting Price some development time.
As for Chipchura, I must say I thought he would be sticking around with the big club for the season. His play has been solid, and he has demonstrated some good defensive and puck protection skills, with an added bonus of tallying 11 points (4-7) in 36 games. He is not known for his offensive capabilities, but Kyle can be a leader on and off the ice, and his two way game can develop him into one of the better defensive-minded forwards in the league in due time. But, with a disappointing demotion comes a joyful call-up for me, as Corey Locke should definitely see action for the first time in his career at the NHL level tonight. I am all smiles when it comes to Locke...he has skill and speed, and where he lacks in size (5'9", 169 lbs.), he more than makes up for in heart. Locke has been knocked on throughout his career, criticized only against his size and how that lack in bulk would never get him into the NHL. I already posted about Corey in a previous post, but I just have to say it again, incase you missed it: THIS KID CAN PLAY! Just look at some of his notes: OHL First All-Star Team (2003, 2004) OHL Player of the Year (2003, 2004) Canadian Major Junior First All-Star Team (2003, 2004) Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year (2003), and, not to mention, two-time OHL leading scorer! In the new NHL, size is still important of course, but smaller skilled forwards now have the rules in place in order for them to succeed, and I am certain that Corey will be an NHL'er. I'm not expecting the world of him (at least, not yet in his career), but I am expecting him to impress a lot of the nay-sayers. Show them what you've got kid, you've waited LONG enough for this day, and you're chance has come.
For Sergei Samsonov, the old saying "The 3rd Time's The Charm" better be true, as his future career in the NHL depends on it.
Samsonov is now with his 3rd NHL team in 2 years, after spending 06-07 with the Habs, then being moved to the Hawks, and now off to Carolina. The whirlwind comes to an end in Carolina, and if Sergei cannot bounce back and turn heads as he did back when he played with Thornton in Beantown, don't expect to see him in the NHL once this season concludes. Unfortunately, I'm still a believer in Samsonov. I SOMEHOW still think that he can be an offensive force, I don't know why. I had such high hopes for him when he came to Montreal, and despite the nothing he got done for us, I was still happy for him when he went to Chicago, a team where he SURELY would re-juvenate his career. Once more, he disappointed me there, and I thought I would get over Samsonov...but for some reason, I still feel that he is going to explode, now with the Hurricanes. Let's hope as Habs fans that that doesn't pan out, because it would only mean bad news for the Habs to close down a playoff spot.
The Canadiens and Blackhawks square off tonight at 7:30.