Monday, December 12, 2011

Your Canadiens for December 12, 2011

A few updates as the Canadiens hit the ice a day before taking on the New York Islanders at the Bell Centre.

- With an afternoon game on Saturday and a day off yesterday, today was newest Hab Tomas Kaberle's first practice with his new 'mates after picking up 2 assists in his Canadiens debut against the New Jersey Devils. Kaberle remained on a pair with Alexei Emelin, despite the young Russian's obvious struggles when playing the right side. This seems like a blatant mistake to me. Josh Gorges is perfectly comfortable on the right, and even if it would mean breaking up his pairing with P.K. Subban, any of Hal Gill, Tomas Kaberle, or even Emelin himself could fill that slot.

- Brian Gionta (out at least a week) and Travis Moen (therapy day) were absent from practice today. Chris Campoli is with the team again in a cleared-for-contact jersey. However, Jacques Martin clarified that it is uncertain whether or not he'll be in the line-up tomorrow. He was not on a regular pairing in practice.

The lines remained unchanged from Saturday's game, with Mathieu Darche filling in for the day on the Lars Eller line (with Louis Leblanc) in Moen's absence.

- Scott Gomez was on the ice with his teammates in a non-contact jersey. However, he left the ice early, and after practice, Martin stated that he had suffered a bit of a setback and remains out indefinitely. I'm sure Canadiens fans won't be too terribly heartbroken at that news.

- In an interview through a translator, Alexei Emelin was informed of his Boom! nickname. He said he was aware of the #EmelinBoom movement and enjoyed it. He was said to seem personable and in a generally good mood.

- Yesterday was the first on-ice day at Team Canada's World Junior Championship selection camp. In last night's scrimmage, Michael Bournival and Brendan Gallagher's Team White posted a 3-2 victory, though both were held off the scoresheet. Bournival did little to distinguish himself and will have to be better tonight. Gallagher played a pretty strong game, including hitting the post on a quality scoring chance (Gallagher hitting the post? Where have we seen that before?). Nathan Beaulieu picked up an assist for Team Red in a losing cause. Game 2 goes tonight, after which some cuts are to be expected. You can watch the scrimmage live as of 9:00 PM EST here:
(sign-up is required, but it's free)

- At the WJC camp, a number of player interviews were conducted. We learned a few interesting details, like that Brendan Gallagher has Justin Bieber on his iPod, and would invite Martin St. Louis, Carrie Underwood, and Barack Obama to dinner. Perhaps worse is that he indicated his favourite karaoke song would be, "some ABBA." He lists Underwood as his top celebrity crush. Wonder what Mike Fisher has to say about that.

- The Hamilton Bulldogs went 2-1 in their 3 weekend games, finally getting players back from both Montreal and injury and starting to look like a real team. Yesterday's 2-1 victory included goals from Alexander Avtsin and Michael Blunden.

- There is an NHL trade freeze in effect during the holidays every year, and it begins December 19th. Expect possibly some minor activity this week leading up to that day, as GMs won't be able to make any trades between the 19th and the 27th.

- Former Habs defenseman Chris Chelios is being inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame tonight in Chicago.

- I sent a Tweet to Hamilton Bulldogs defenseman and Habs prospect Brendon Nash to see how he was recovering from September shoulder surgery. Nash hasn't played a game this season, unfortunate timing for him given the spots that were most certainly available on Montreal's back end. Nash was courteous enough to respond with the following:

Thanks Brendon! Best of luck in continuing your recovery, and hope to see you back on the ice soon!

- Speaking of Twitter, Canadiens prospects and fellow Michigan defenseman Mac Bennett and Greg Pateryn joined the social network not long ago. You can give them a follow at @Mac_Bennett and @Greg_Pateryn respectively.

To see updates from all members of the Habs' family on Twitter, follow my list here:

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