Monday, October 3, 2011
Your Canadiens for October 3, 2011 (Updates from Collingwood)
While the Canadiens enjoy their secluded retreat in the Blue Mountain resort area of Collingwood, just outside of Toronto, we bring you minor updates prior to the opening of the NHL season. (for those wondering, having been there myself, Blue Mountain is to Toronto much like Mont Tremblant is to Montreal)
- Both Lars Eller and Chris Campoli skated with their teammates today. It is not impossible that one or both be in the line-up on Thursday against the Leafs. Campoli is the more likely of the two given that, contrary to earlier reports, Eller has not yet been cleared for full contact. He is expected to meet with doctors in Toronto last this week. Jacques Martin revealed, meanwhile, that Campoli did not suffer a concussion from the Ryan Malone hit, and did not experience any symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. All practice sessions during the retreat, held at Eddie Bush Arena, are closed to the public.
- As per Nick Kypreos, Brendan Shanahan and the National Hockey League have decided not to suspend Ryan Malone for his hit that knocked Chris Campoli out of Saturday night's game between the Habs and Lightning. Cue outrage and protest in Montreal. It was pretty borderline to say the least, especially when you consider how aggressive Malone had been all night long, plus the score of the game. With the harshness with which Shanahan has ruled up till now, one must wonder if this is the first sign of inconsistency in his rulings, that for which his predecessor Colin Campbell was most frequently criticized.
Here's Shanahan's official explanation, which makes little sense if you ask me:
So, no suspension because the player being hit DIDN'T have control of the puck? Shouldn't that make it worse?
(Yes, I realize this looks at only one side of Shanahan's explanation, omitting his actual rationale; this is simply my own opinion and disagreement with his conclusions)
- Michael Bournival is absolutely shredding the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League right now. He added 2 goals and an assist to his stat line last night in a 4-3 Shawinigan shootout win (though he was stopped on his shootout attempt). Bournival now has 9 goals and 2 assists in just 4 (yes, FOUR!) games played. The QMJHL leader, undrafted Anton Zlobin, currently has 11 goals, but has played 10 games, with all of the other top scorers also in the 8-11 game range (see the leader board HERE).
- Little discussed Habs 2011 draftee Magnus Nygren is off to a good start to his season in the Swedish Elite League. The 21-year old defenseman already has 4 goals and 1 assist in 7 games, while he had only 4 goals in 22 SEL games a year ago.
- Prospect Steve Qualier, hoping to rebound after injury derailed his development at Northeastern University last season, will miss the season opener due a team-imposed suspension. Allegedly it has something to do with off-ice issues from last year, but in either case it shouldn't cause him to miss many games. This comes after Michigan suspended one of their top blueliners in prospect John Merill for 11 games for violating team policies. The Merill suspension will open a door for Habs prospects Mac Bennett and Greg Pateryn to take on greater responsibility.
- Not Habs related, but first round pick Mark Scheifele appears to be sticking with the Winnipeg Jets (at least for a 9 game tryout), having signed a contract today. Canadiens fans will likely get to see him firsthand when the Jets host Montreal for their home opener next Sunday afternoon. Those who have read this site for a while know that Scheifele is one of the players I really hoped would fall to Montreal's pick, as many had projected was possible, but Winnipeg snatched him up far earlier than prognosticators had ranked him.
UPDATE: - Jacques Martin refused to let reporters in on any of the off-ice activities planned for the retreat in Collingwood, but based on a Tweet by P.K. Subban, it looks like paintball is one of them:
Risky activity for a team with as many injuries as the Habs? Either way, great to see Andrei Kostitsyn hanging with the leadership core of the team. Last week, Mike Cammalleri Tweeted a shopping pick that included Kostitsyn laughing alongside Scott Gomez. Fitting in with the team's leaders can only help Andrei have a good season.
For more info and photos from the retreat, see this story put up on Canadiens.com this afternoon:
- On the waiver wire today, a number of former members of the Montreal Canadiens organization including Alexandre Picard, Ryan Russell, Jay Leach, and Doug Janik. In the case of Russell, the fact that he is on waivers while (at least for now) Mike Blunden remains in Montreal shows good asset management on Pierre Gauthier's part from this summer's swap.
- A minor update on the health of Andrei Markov. Doctors continue to insist that his knee is gradually improving, and while Jacques Martin won't commit to a timeline for him to resume practicing with his teammates, he says a return to action during the month of October is not out of the question. Based on after-the-fact comments by Pierre Gauthier, saying that he knew all along Markov wouldn't be ready for day 1, and the fact that the Habs gave significant money over significant term to the defenseman, Canadiens fans hope and feel that Markov had certainly better be back in action before too long.