Thursday, September 29, 2011

Preseason Game 7: 29/09/11 Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens

Updates from this morning in preparation for tonight's penultimate preseason game for your Montreal Canadiens:

UPDATE: - Lines for this evening from practice:

Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Erik Cole
Max Pacioretty - Scott Gomez - Brendan Gallagher
Andrei Kostitsyn - David Desharnais - Brian Gionta
Michael Bournival - Andreas Engqvist - Mike Blunden

Chris Campoli - Josh Gorges
Alexei Yemelin - P.K. Subban
Hal Gill - Raphael Diaz

Peter Budaj (full game)

Strange that Brendan Gallagher and Brian Gionta are swapped from what we saw in practice yesterday HERE. I wouldn't take that as the best sign for Gallagher, given that it's unlikely this will be held over to the regular season. However, it's also possible the team is giving him another opportunity to really show his stuff, as it would go a long way to ensure him a look if he could bury one of his scoring chances tonight

It's also a great opportunity for David Desharnais who gets a chance to play with 2 "top 6" forwards in Andrei Kostitsyn and Gionta.

Also interesting is that Gallagher, Andreas Engqvist, and Mike Blunden will be in the line-up, while Yannick Weber and Aaron Palushaj will sit. It gives us a possible indication of the direction the team is leaning.

Nice to see Alexei Yemelin getting in the line-up ahead of veteran Jaroslav Spacek. With so many pro d-men with the club, Habs fans will be paying close attention to how Jacques Martin manages his group. All of the latest pairings seem to indicate Yemelin prefers playing LD over RD (he has been tried on both sides), which means to earn a permanent spot, he will be in competition with Andrei Markov, Hal Gill, and Spacek. Of course, once healthy, Markov's spot is assured, with Spacek being most likely the easiest to dislodge.

- As first reported by website Dans Les Coulisses this morning, a source has indicated that Pierre Gauthier had preliminary discussions with the agent of Brendan Gallagher last night. If true, it shouldn't be long before a contract is announced as there is little to discuss on a rookie deal, but it has yet to be confirmed. In order to stay with the team for even just a few games of the regular season, Gallagher must be signed to an entry level deal by no later than 5 PM Saturday. Keep in mind, however, that even if Gallagher is signed, there is no guarantee he sees regular season action depending on the status of injured players.

- The Tampa Bay Lightning line-up for this evening:
Brett Connolly - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Ryan Shannon - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
Ryan Malone - Nate Thompson - Steve Downie
Dana Tyrell - Tom Pyatt - Blair Jones

Mattias Ohlund - Eric Brewer
Marc-Andre Bergeron - Pavel Kubina
Matt Gilroy - Bruno Gervais

Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Garon

Which means some notable scratches include Victor Hedman, Dominic Moore, and Brett Clark, but a pretty full line-up for the most part.

A player to watch for the Lightning is Brett Connolly, the team's first rounder from 2010, who appears poised to make the club after spending the preseason with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. It will be interesting to compare him to fellow 19-year old 2010 draftee Brendan Gallagher this evening.

UPDATE: - Habs Alex Henry has cleared waivers and officially been sent to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

- In their first games back with their junior clubs last night, both Morgan Ellis and Nathan Beaulieu played starring roles in wins for their teams. Ellis, captain of his team, had 2 goals and an assist en route to being named first star in a 5-2 Cape Breton win, plus must have lost a few chicklets along the way given a post-game Tweet about going to the dentist. Beaulieu, meanwhile, picked up a goal and an assist in a 3-1 Saint John win. Beaulieu's team was recently ranked #1 overall in the CHL and will look especially stacked if Jonathan Huberdeau is returned from the Florida Panthers.

Video of the three goals:

- A new possible member of the Montreal Canadiens (but certain member of the organization) has a little known Twitter account. Though many of his Tweets are in Swedish, Habs fans can follow Andreas Engqvist at: @aengqvist
He only has 300 followers so far! Come on #Habs fans, we can do better than that!

Another organization member with far too few followers is Brendon Nash. Follow him at: @bnash4
Wish him well in his recovery from surgery!

UPDATE: - The Canadiens made "official" this morning the fact that the Hamilton Bulldogs will play at the Bell Centre in November:

What is funny about this is that the press release lists four french players as "young prospects who will be present," two of which are Danny Masse and Philippe Lefebvre. Neither of those two is sure to make the Bulldogs roster, possibly spending time in the ECHL, and thus may not be around when the 'Dogs make their trip to Montreal.

UPDATE: - Some oddball legal news concerning the Habs as well.

First, a study into the illegal downloading of movies in Canada found the Montreal Canadiens hockey club's IP address to have pirated the film The Hurt Locker.
It is unclear at this point whether formal charges will be laid or not.

A second legal challenge has to do with the Montreal Canadiens boutiques which were taken over by a third party private firm in early September. One of the major shareholders of the firm that now runs the boutiques, Frank Bertucci, is being investigated for corruption.

- Peeking over at Hamilton Bulldogs practice (also in Brossard), thanks to Derek Wills, we see a powerplay unit of Alexander Avtsin, Brian Willsie, Brock Trotter, and Mark Mitera and Joe Stejskal on the points. While the 'Dogs don't have their full team together yet, Avtsin getting a look with those guys is encouraging news for him being given more ice time and a real chance to develop this season. The pointmen, however, are a little depressing, as one would hope for more out of a first powerplay group. The 'Dogs will miss the traded Mathieu Carle and injured Brendan Nash on the PP, but perhaps that creates a spot for recently signed Olivier Dame-Malka.

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