Monday, March 23, 2009

The 10-Game Stretch

The Habs are taking fliritng with disaster to a whole new level.

The Canadiens have 10 games remaining on their regular season schedule, and they will have to do very well in that span to be able to add more games to a post-season calendar.

Montreal currently sit on 81 points, just a single point ahead of the 9th seeded Florida Panthers. Thankfully, the Sabres have been almost as bad as Montreal, which has kept them in 10th place with 76 points. Buffalo are currently on a 4-game losing skid, while our Habs have dropped 5 in a row.

And who said the Senators were out of it? They certainly didn't believe it.

The Sens have arguably been the hottest team in the league lately, and are riding 5-games winning streak. Since bringing in Cory Clouston behind the bench, the Sens have been reborn and look like a team again. No longer are they in the Tavares sweepstakes - they are in the playoff hunt. They have 74 points and sit in 11th, 7 points back of the Habs in 8th.

Montreal will have a favorable week ahead of them, facing 3 teams at home who are out of the playoffs as of right now. Tomorrow the Habs entertain the Thrashers, Thursday they welcome Vinny Lecavalier and the Lightning back to town, and then, on Saturday, it's a date with the Sabres, who will surely ride Patrick Lalime on that night as Lalime loves to play the Habs and put on a great performance the last time they met in Buffalo as the Sabres won 5-1.

The Habs certainly could come out of the week with 6 out of 6 possible points...however, games aren't played on paper, and at this point in time, that's EXTREMELY unfortunate.

The Habs have been playing some bad hockey lately, and all of this amidst so many off-ice issues, including the news breaking today of the Gillett family considering options to sell the franchise.

The Habs also demoted Max Pacioretty back to the farm club in Hamilton today, making room for the return of Sergei Kostitsyn. Sergei will play on a line with brother Andrei and Tomas Plekanec centering the two.

The Habs need to go into every game at this point thinking it's a make-it or break-it night ahead of them. Squandering ANY points to any of these teams (perhaps excluding Buffalo) will be a huge failure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grooming Don Lever: Good Move?

Alright, so I fell off the horse again...but I'm back now, with an update!

So, as we all know now, Guy Carbonneau was fired as head coach. Replacing him is GM Bob Gainey, and he is currently grooming the only-English speaking Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Don Lever to take over the role.

I love the move.

I also loved Carbo as coach, but a change was needed as the Habs struggled mightily for the most part of the season.

Lever (if he IS to become the Head coach in the near future as is the speculation) would basically be thrust into a role identical to the one Bruce Boudreau is in right now.

Boudreau came up from Washington's AHL affiliate to fill in for the then struggling Glen Hanlon, and, in short time, has gone on to win a Jack Adams award as coach of the year. The young players spent their time in the AHL under Boudreau's watchful eye, and they grew to like him. So, the transition from the AHL to the NHL was a brilliant move for both Boudreau and the Caps organization, and hopefully the same thing could happen right here.

Guys like Price, Halak, Lapierre, Plekanec, Higgins, Komisarek, D'Agostini and Pacioretty, to name a few, all spent time in the AHL under Lever, and they have tremendous respect for him. They certainly had respect for Carbo, but Carbo wasn't the guy showing them confidence at the tender ages of 20, 21 or 22. A bond exists with the coach who prepares you for the call-up to the big leagues...and hopefully they'll want to repay him ten-fold by showing him how well they've matured now at the NHL level.

Of course, there are some issues being dug up by certain media-types already. The main issue, OF COURSE, is the language barrier: Don Lever doesn't speak a word of French.

WHO CARES!!!!!!!!

If he is going to bring the best out of this young team, WHO CARES? If he can possibly lead us to a Stanley Cup the way he led the Bulldogs to a Calder Cup, WHO CARES? What's the big deal about speaking a language that is spoken THE WORLD OVER, and not speaking a language spoken in far fewer districts of the planet? And how about the Markov's or the Kovalev's or the Koivu's and Kostitsyn's of the team? Should THEY demand a Russian, Belarussian or Finnish-speaking head coach? GET OVER YOURSELVES!! Put the team's best interests first! I am so fed up of the French-language-first fed up.

The Habs have gone 2-2 since the last posting on deadline day, two games which certainly overshadowed the 3-1 win in Dallas. The losses in Buffalo (5-1) and, more-so in Atlanta (2-0) are what did Carbo in. Under Gainey, the Habs used overtime last night to down the visiting Oilers 4-3.

The Habs now gear up for the Islanders tomorrow before hosting the Devils and Martin Brodeur, who could tie Roy's record with a win in his hometown.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Habs Make No Moves On Slow D-Day

22 trades sorted from the most recent, down.


TOR acquires G Olaf Kolzig, D Jamie Heward, D Andy Rogers and a 2009 4th round pick
TB acquires D Richard Petiot

A move that helps TB alleviate some of their financial troubles. The Leafs BASICALLY bought a 4th round pick by acquiring all of Tampa's salary throw-outs, and to make it a legit 'HOCKEY DEAL', they had to send someone the other way, so Richard Petiot was basically dealt for Andy Rogers. Don't look into this one any futher than that. WINNER: Tampa Bay

EDM acquires F Ales Kotalik
BUF acquires 2nd round pick

Solid pickup for Edmonton; Kotalik has all the tools to be a 30-goal scorer in this league, however he just couldn't fully reach that potential in Buffalo. With Edmonton, he becomes another trigger-man to take some of the load off of Sheldon Souray on the powerplay. WINNER: Edmonton

EDM acquires F Patrick O'Sullivan
CAR acquires F Erik Cole, 5ht round pick
LA acquires F Justin Williams

What an awesome deal!! I truly love this deal for all parties involved: Erik Cole returns to the team that made him the power forward he is, all he had to do is forget his stint in Edmonton, and get back to his successful, hard-nosed ways. Edmonton in turn gets an L.A. product in Patrick O'Sullivan. Sully was emerging as a decent forward with L.A., and was looking like he was going to get the increased responsibility soon with Alexander Frolov's name being tossed around in many rumors. Well, Frolov stayed, and Edmonton gained. The Oilers acquire a young, highly touted young player who brings a full skill-set and great speed. The L.A. Kings received sniper Justin Williams in the deal. Williams, currently injured, is capable of scoring 30+ goals in this league on a regular basis...he'll just have to catch a lucky break and not get injured. A change of scenery seemed best for Williams, whose current season with Carolina has been an injury-plagued nightmare. In L.A., he can take a great load of stress off of young Anze Kopitar, as they can share the scoring burden amongst themselves and Frolov. Williams quick-release will be a vital asset for a team with soooo much young talent...LA is a team to watch over the next year or two...WINNER: EVERYONE!

SJ acquires F Travis Moen and D Kent Huskins
ANA acquires F Nick Bonino G Timo Pielmeier and a conditional 4th round pick

A divisional coup realized by the Sharks as they pry away some key role players from their rivals the Ducks. Moen brings a more established pedigree at 3rd line center, and will take a load off the not-quite-ready Tomas Plihal in that role. On the backend, Huskins rounds out a solid defensive core consisting of talented two-way youngsters Vlasic and Ehrhoff, veteran cup champions Boyle, Blake and Lukowich. Huskins and Murray become defensemen 6 and 6A, and Alexei Semenov should (thankfully) suffer the most from this acquisition. Both men are UFA at season's end. WINNER: San Jose

CHI acquires F Samuel Pahlsson D Logan Stephenson and a conditional pick
ANA acquires D James Wisniewski and F Petri Kontiola

The unloading continued in Anaheim as the Ducks got rid of their main checking center Sami Pahlsson and a prospect + pick to Chicago. The Blackhawks made it clear prior to the days events that the wanted an upgrade from Craig Adams at the checking center position, and they indeed got it by nabbing a premier checker who really made a name for himself en route to Anaheim's 2007 cup win. He'll be UFA at season's end. In exchange, the Ducks got defensive-turned-offensive defenseman James Wisniewski and prospect Petri Kontiola. Not much is known about the latter, but 'Wiz' brings an element of toughness and offense, and will compliment the injured Beauchemin nicely once he heals up. The loss of Steve Montador earlier in the day made this trade necessary. Wiz was pretty much the odd-ball on a young and uber-talented D-line in Chicago, with the emergence of Cam Barker this season - FINALLY. WINNER: Chicago

PHI acquires D Kyle McLaren
SJ acquires 6th round pick

The Sharks had McLaren in Worcester of the AHL all year due to salary constraints, and now, McLaren finally has the chance to make his way back up to the big leagues. However, Philly is already stacked in both salary and on the backend. Not sure what the Flyers will do here. San Jose simply did well to save money. NO WINNER

CLB acquires G Kevin Lalande
CGY acquires 4th round pick

Depth move at most for Columbus; the loss of Leclaire needs to eventually be filled. WINNER: Columbus

TB acquires D Noah Welch and a 3rd round pick
FLA acquires D Steve Eminger

Eminger's tour of the Southeast Division has already seen three out of five stops already. The Caps draft pick moved to Philly, then to Tampa Bay, and now to Florida. The Panthers acquire a one-time bluechip defensman who never quite panned out to his potential, but showed great progress with his stay in Tampa. The Bolts used him upwards of 26 minutes a game there, and, should he continue his development, can turn out to be a steal for the Cats. Welch, a former Penguins draftee, has been oft-injured but is finally healthy. He, too, was once a bluechipper, but plays a more defensive game than Eminger. WINNER: Florida.

BUF acquires F Dominic Moore
TOR acquires 2nd round pick

Moore's stock really rose with his lay-over in T.O., and the Sabres have now taken a chance on him to center their checking line. Moore also displayed the ability to create plays and finish chances in Toronto...perhaps the emergence of a high-end two-way forward in the making? Time will tell... great risk for Buffalo. WINNER: Buffalo

ANA acquires F Erik Christensen
ATL acquires F Eric O'Dell

Not sure if I like this one too much. Christensen's talent is high-end; he can do things with the puck that make it seem like he's got it on a string tied to his blade. But, he isn't all that great on the ice in a competitve environment. He does have the capabilities to get better, he'll just have to apply them soon. For now, the Ducks basically swapped an apple for an apple by exhchanging Morrison (waivers to Dallas) for Christensen.

NYR acquires D Derek Morris
PHX acquires F Petr Prucha, F Nigel Dawes and D Dmitri Kalinin

Phoenix landed 3 NHL ready players for a defensmen who has just 12 points in 57 games this season. The 30-year old impending UFA heads to New York, where the circus is set to roll in very shortly as Sean Avery will make his return to the Blueshirts (and NHL). Morris brings an agressive touch to the backline and will notably look to relieve Wade Redden of the immense stress he has in the first year of his new 6-year pact. The Coyotes land a pair of solid second-line offensive wingers in Dawes and Prucha. Dawes is more of a speedster, whereas Prucha is slightly the better sniper (although the stats this season don't prove it). Added in is the failed FA signing Kalinin, who in my opinion needed this change to re-discover his game. He can be a solid 3-or-4 defensive d-man. WINNER: Phoenix

NYR acquires F Nikolai Antropov
TOR acquires 2nd round pick and conditional draft pick

The Rangers won the Antropov sweepstakes (wow, Antropov in a SWEEPSTAKES...shows the talent availbe at center this year!) Antropov's task is ahead of him in crystal-clear writing: INFUSE OFFENSE! The Rangers are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, and would likely be out of a race if it weren't for King Henrik Lundqvist's play. Antropov isn't the best of character guys, but that's not what they need. He'll need to keep it simple: Put up, or shut up, all the while trying to stay HEALTHY. Good luck. WINNER: New York

PHI acquires F Daniel Carcillo
PHX acquires F Scottie Upshall and 2nd round pick

My initial thoughts: Why did they let go of Downie then? The Flyers acquired talented, agressive F Dan Carcillo from Phoenix, only a couple of months after unloading Steve Downie to Tampa...same game shared by those two, exactly (although Carcillo is less of a psycho, he doesn't really take runs at guys). The Coyotes managed to land a great young forward in Upshall, who was in a very crowded forward system in Philly and was never going to excel. Upshall can slide right into a 2nd or even 1st line role in Phoenix, and I expect he reacts VEYR well. WINNER: Phoenix

PIT acquires F Bill Guerin
NYI acquires conditional 5th round pick

Billy Guerin is going to bring his veteran presence to a team that really needs it in Pittsburgh. Kunitz is doing fine (for now) with Malkin, so Guerin may see some action alongside Sid the Kid. His goalscoring ability will help Crosby simplify his game, and focus on what he does best: playmaking. Pittsburgh made the right move today, and may have secured their playoff spot in doing so. WINNER: Pittsburgh

BOS acquires F Mark Recchi and 2nd round pick
TB acquires D Matt Lashoff and F Martins Karsums

The veteran Recchi makes his way onto a talented yet VERY physical team in Boston, a circumstance he may not be all that familiar with. Nevertheless, Recchi brings poise and will be a vital cog to the locker-room relations once the Bruins enter the playoffs. His leadership in the room will surpass any example he manages to set on the ice, and his presence alone may help the young Bruins get by a potentially long series. They part ways with a great prospect in Matt Lashoff, who will make the jump immediately in Tampa to full-time NHLer. He shows signs of a polished two-way game, which will replace Eminger's role. WINNER: Boston

CGY acquires F Olli Jokinen and 3rd round pick
PHX acquires F Matthew Lombardi, F Brandon Prust and 1st round pick

A year delayed, but done none the less. Jokinen finally makes his way to Calgary, as many of us expected at the same time last year. He'll want to forget about his stay in Phoenix, which can be understated as such: DISAPPOINTING. The knock on Jokinen is his character; however, the Flames are all mentally mature, and under Keenan, it won't fly. Jokinen will basically be in boot camp, and I feel that it's going to pay off for the Flames big time. Look for Jokinen to become more aggressive on the ice, and everyone will benefit for it in Calgary. Flames made huge strides out West today. The Coyotes pick up another speedster in Lombardi, and have a power forward in the making with Prust. Great move for them too, but Jokinen is too much to vote against...He'll taste playoff action for the first time in his career! WINNER: Calgary

BOS acquires D Steve Montador
ANA acquires F Petteri Nokelainen

Bruins solidify their defense further with the acquisition of Montador - highly under-rated. Montador showed in Anaheim that he could not only keep puks out of his net, but he can put some in the other, or at least set some up. He saw regular powerplay time and responded very well, and that will be a plus for Boston in the playoffs should a guy like Chara or Wideman lose his groove. Nokelainen is a talented forward going to Anaheim, with his best years ways ahead of him. WINNER: Boston

BUF acquires G Mikael Tellqvist
PHX acquires 4th round pick

Another depth move here as Miller is out with injury. Lalime should see the bulk of starts, but Tellqvist will play his fair share, and finally, for a team that has a fanbase who actually cares.
WINNER: Buffalo

PIT acquires D Andy Wozniewski
STL acquires D Danny Richmond

Depth biggie. NO WINNER

CGY acquires D Jordan Leopold
COL acquires D Lawrence Nycholat, D Ryan Wilson and 2nd round pick

Jordan Leopold returns to the team he spent 2002-2006 with, and brings with him a cheap $1.5 million tag. Leopold is an under-rated, smooth skating puck moving defenseman who will relieve young Adam Pardy a little bit. He also brings some experience to the playoffs, having played in 40 playoff games, 26 of which came with Calgary back in 03-04 when the lost in the finals in seven games to the eventual champion Lightning. WINNER: Calgary

OTT acquires G Pascal Leclaire, 2nd round pick
CLB acquires F Antoine Vermette

Ottawa gets a solid young goaltender for the first time ever I believe (Hasek's stay wasn't all that incredible). Leclaire had 9 shutouts last season but hasn't played very much this year due to injury. Columbus gets an established and coveted 2-way forward who can play at C or W and in every situation on the ice. Elliott is good, not yet great, so this could be a nice boost for the Senators starting next year, as he will miss the remainder of this season with the ankle injury. WINNER: Ottawa

*Waiver Moves: Brendan Morrison to DAL from ANA; Martin Gerber to TOR from OTT (re-entry), Erik Reitz to TOR from NYR; Craig Adams to PIT from CHI.

** Gary Roberts, Eric Perrin and Miro Satan cleared waivers.

The Montreal Canadiens stood pat on D-day, ultimately deciding that the acquisitions of Schneider and Metropolit sufficed. Also, Tanguay will return soon, he who has been out of action since December 30th. His return will also feel like a free agent's been that long.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Waiver Wire Activity

Some big name players who have been disappointments to their teams this season have been place on waivers today, as those respective teams try to clear up cap space for a deal before tomorrow's deadline.

The names include:

Miroslav Satan (Pit)
Gary Roberts (TB)
Brendan Morrison (Ana)
Eric Perrin (Atl)
Aaron Voros (NYR
Martin Gerber & Brendan Bell (Ott)
Craig Adams (Chi)
Jon Sim (NYI)

Cleared and claimed:

Sean Avery (NYR) CLAIMED from Dallas on re-entry waivers
Tom Preissing (LA) CLEARED
Lawrence Nycholat (CGY) CLAIMED from Vancouver

Monday, March 2, 2009

Trade Deadline: 48 hours away...

Trade deadline day is officially 1 DAY 18 HOURS and 15 MINUTES away (thanks, TSN!), so now is the time to inform you of ALLLLLL the important rumors out there.

- Brian Burke stated today that the rumors of the Boston Bruins making a 'major pitch' for defenseman Tomas Kaberle are 'total fabrication'. The move would be a huge one for Boston, but Burkie shot this one down immediately. Maybe this was news to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, and he just may realize that Kaberle would in fact be perfect...

- Remember all those Olli Jokinen rumors when he was with Florida? Well, different team, same rumors. Jokinen is rumored in moves out of Phoenix and some possible destinations may include Calgary or Montreal, just as they did last year before Phoenix swooped in and ruined the party.

- Sticking with Calgary: It seems the Flames are after a rival's former hero. Former Oiler and current Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth is rumored in a move that would send him to the Flames. Smyth has a no-trade clause...but a move to Canada would surely appeal to Ryan, especially a move that would send him back to Alberta and away from the Western Conference cellar-dwellars to a contender. Montreal has apparently expressed interest as well. Stay tuned...

- The Ducks' recent acquistion of D Ryan Whitney has opened an already opened door even wider on the prospect of moving big D Chris Pronger. Possible destinations are rumoured to be St. Louis (who are in a playoff hunt and are a former team of Pronger's), Washington, Boston or Philadelphia (who would have to clear up MAJOR cap space, which makes this highly unlikely).

- The Coyotes may be looking to move BOTH of their top-name defensemen. Derek Morris will be dealt, 99.9% sure, as he has already informed the coaching staff that he will sit out until a trade is made for him so as to avoid injury, and now Ed Jovanovski's name is in the mix. With Jovo, however, comes a massive cap hit for a team willing to take him on. Jovo's cap hit stands at $6.5 million per season until the end of the 2010-11 season. Rumoured teams include the Rangers and the Devils.

- Rumours of Erik Cole to either Pittsburgh or Boston are still out there. Pittsburgh seems to have found an answer for Crosby in the Whitney deal to Anaheim that saw them land Chris Kunitz, so Boston appears to be the likelier of destinations. Again, this would be a GREAT move for the Bruins, especially if they would face the Habs in the playoffs...Cole LOVES running the Habs over. However, don't count MONTREAL out of this reace either...rumors have it they're interested.

- What took me so long to mention the Jay Bouwmeester situation? I don't even know, but here goes. Jay Bo is likely headed out of Florida, and it seems that the Flyers are trying to make a massive pitch for him that could include blue-chip prospect Claude Giroux. Philly would of course have to shed huge dollars to land Jay Bo, whose cap hit is $4.875 mil and is a UFA at season's end. I believe the deal would have to include young D Matt Carle, whose cap hit is a RIDICULOUS $3.5 mil until 2012-13. I also feel the Flyers would rather hold onto Giroux and would offer up Joffrey Lupul instead.

- Remember Marian Gaborik? Didn't think so...All joking aside, Gabby has played in just 6 games this season, a career high...also a joke about the career high. The pending UFA is still drawing MASSIVE interest it seems, league-wide. Though his health is unstable, his talent isn't. Gabby is one of the elite players in this league, and if he can catch some luck in avoiding the injury bug for one of the teams he could be dealt to, he'll be a steal. Interested teams include Pittsburgh and Vancouver, who would love to re-unite Demitra with Gaborik.

- The Thrashers are still on the bubble when it comes to moving Ilya Kovalchuk. Obviously, everyone would be interested, so no use on getting into it. He's just a name to watch for...a BIG name. Atlanta are also fielding offers for Niclas Havelid, Colby Armstrong and Ron Hainsey.

- The Flyers are also rumoured to be in the hunt for Thrashers G Kari Lehtonen. Detroit are also rumored to be in these sweepstakes.

- The Maple Leafs are reportedly shopping G Vesa Toskala and F Jamal Mayers.

- Tampa Bay will be hearing loads of offers over the next 48 hours. Likely targets? Vincent Lecavalier, who GM Brian Lawton stated would "never be traded", Martin St. Louis, who is reportedly being eyed by the Penguins, and Mark Recchi, who is fresh off a 5-assist outing in an 8-6 TB win in Calgary. Recchi can bring a LOT to a contending team, and despite Tampa's recent run of good results, they are still highly unlikely to make the big dance, and surely one of these three will be unloaded, likely Recchi.

- The L.A. Kings will listen to all offers for Alexander Frolov. The talented left winger is expendable with the emergence of Patrick O'Sullivan, and the Kings would like to add another scoring forward. They are also entertaining offers for D Tom Preissing.

- The Blues have stated today that they intend on being buyers at the deadline, which should formally put an end to all the Tkachuk out of St. Louis rumors. As I read this, I immediately thought of Bill Guerin. I can't explain it, but it would seem to me that Guerin would love to Join Tkachuk in a run for the playoffs.

- The Senators are very likely to part ways with Chris Neil. The bruising forward does have decent hands, and would be a huge addition to any team for the playoffs. Look for him to go west.

- The Sabres are finally getting production from a HEALTHY Tim Connolly...and that just may prompt them to move him. The man is too fragile, and I believe that Buffalo would rather unload him than wait for the next injury to hit, which it will, for sure. The Blue Jackets are rumored suitors for Connolly, who would be a perfect (if healthy) playmaker for Rick Nash. Rumored return to Buffalo would include stay-at-home D Rostislav Klesla, who had massive potential on draft day but has never really met it.

The Blackhawks seem content with their roster moving forward, but would like to add a premier 3rd line centerman. Ducks' Sami Pahlsson and Avs' Ian Lapperierre may be atop their wish list.

- The Stars are now back in the playoff picture. The team, who at one point was last in the West, are looking like contenders again. They SHOULD be buyers, but rumors of Jere Lehtinen to Detroit are emerging.

- The Penguins are involed in many rumours, as you read above, and the likely player to be moved to acquire one of those stars would have to be Jordan Staal. With Malkin and Crosby in the middle, Staal is expendable, and any team would LOVE to add him.

- Although I haven't read rumors about it anywhere, I - being a huge fan of the team - fully expect to see the San Jose Sharks trying to move former Rocket Richard winner Jonathan Cheechoo. He seems to be the only guy on the team having difficulty playing at either end of the ice, and his low output thus far is proof. Cheech is on pace for just 11 goals and 27 points. The Sharks should definitely move him...please! Also, an upgrade on Alexei Semenov would be nice...thank you, Mr. Wilson.

- As for the Canadiens: It seems likely that F/D Mathieu Dandenault will be dealt. Though he carries a $1.7 million pricetag, Dandy's future seems non-existent in Montreal, and his experience and versatility could help a contender. Kovalev appears back to last season's form, so the likelihood of him being dealt is dim. Montreal are rumoured to be interested in one of Guerin, Cole, Antropov, Jokinen, Bouwmeester and Lecavalier, and would have to part ways with a LOT to land the latter three.

More to come as it develops.

One last thing to add: The Isles have recalled Jesse Joensuu from Bridgeport. Maybe a Guerin deal is done?

^UPDATED: Isles defeat Avs 4-2...Joensuu scores...Oo0o00oo0 controversy brewing. ;)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Batteries Recharged

Hey guys...I know it's been EXTREMELY long since my last post, but I feel like getting right back into the thick of things at this point in time.

My leave of absence can't really be explained other than the fact that I simply lost the fire a little bit.

Since my last post, I've concluded my internship at the TEAM 990 (currently waiting to meet with the boss to discuss my future), I've consoled someone close to me on the loss of someone close to them, and, most recently, I've severly injured my knee in a non-competitve hockey a matter of fact, it happened yesterday, and with the pain being absolutely unbearable at times, I'll be heading out for X-rays at 8 a.m.

Worst, pain, ever - to quote Comic Book Guy.

Not the happiest of times lately, as you can see, but the latter event has sparked something inside of me that I hope will continue as the rest of the NHL's regular season unfolds. I will honestly try my best to dig up the latest news concerning the Habs and the rest of the NHL as Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline approaches.

Montreal, as you all know, are back to the team we all expected them to be since the forced resting of Alex Kovalev.

The additions of Glen Metropolit via waivers and, more importantly thus far, Mathieu Schneider via trade, have proved to be pivotal moves. 'Metro' has only played 2 games thus far (both wins), but his right handed skillset is a welcome addition, though not the missing puzzle piece, of course.

The Habs also parted ways with C Steve Begin, a loyal shot-blocker who always sacrificed his body for the good of the team. Begin will now help Dallas in their quest for a playoff berth...he'll be wearing jersey number 44.

Montreal faced one of the toughest weeks of their entire schedule this week, and came away with a perfect 6 out of 6 possible points, shutting out the Canucks at home, using OT to down the Flyers in Philly, and, tonight, despite being outshot 48-21, defeating the San Jose Sharks on the strength of 3 first period goals.

Montreal embarks on a 3-game road trip beginning on deadline day itself in Buffalo, before heading out to Atlanta Friday and finishing the trip in Dallas vs. former teammate Steve Begin on Sunday. That's right, no Saturday game.