Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Your Canadiens for January 25, 2012

Updates for the morning of the Canadiens' final game prior to the All-Star Break, which will be a break for everyone except Carey Price and Raphael Diaz who head to Ottawa to participate in the game and festivities. Price was named to the game itself, while Diaz will participate in the skills competition as one of the selected "YoungStars."

- Rene Bourque (flu), Travis Moen (upper body), and Petteri Nokelainen (ribs) all missed practice yesterday. Of the three, only Bourque is expected to play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, so the Canadiens called up Andreas Engqvist to fill in if needed. Engqvist dressed for the Bulldogs last night, but was held off the scoresheet for what has been a rare time of late. In his last 14 AHL games, he has scored 9 goals and 8 assists, giving him 23 points in 27 games to rank second on the 'Dogs behind Aaron Palushaj. Something you may not have known about Engqvist is that he is an avid Tweeter (even if some/most of his posts are in Swedish); follow him here: @aengqvist.

- Carey Price (cut) practiced yesterday, relieving any concern that his self-inflicted accidental wound might be more serious than anyone knew. He will start tonight. Ryan White, meanwhile, has been cleared for contact and practiced with his teammates yesterday. He should be available to make his season debut after the All-Star break.

- The Bulldogs were defeated 4-1 by Lake Erie last night as it appears their hot run is officially over. They will need to get hot again to remain in the tight playoff race. Louis Leblanc scored the team's only goal, his 9th of the season, with assists to Brian Willsie and Frederic St. Denis. Leblanc, who had 9 shots on goal in the game, is having a strong rookie campaign with 16 points in 23 games.

- Brendan Gallagher is expected to return to the Vancouver Giants' line-up tonight after missing just over a week with an upper body injury. The injury was sustained after he fell awkwardly into the boards on a relatively clean hit from fellow Habs' prospect Patrick Holland. The Giants had a 2-3-0 record while Gallagher was missing.

- As the All-Star break will soon be upon us, the Canadiens were forced to again answer questions about the health of Andrei Markov. The update remains that he "continues to progress," but there is absolutely no timetable for his return at this point. The Habs still refuse to acknowledge the possibility of him being shutdown for the season.

- The Habs aren't the only team struggling this season and with possibly "tanking" for a top pick on their mind. There is quite the logjam in the basement of the Eastern Conference standings. Spots 11 through 15 are being shuffled on a daily basis! Check it out as of today:

Three Western Conference teams have fewer than 45 points, so as of today (pre-draft lottery), the teams above would pick 4th to 9th (in reverse order) at the 2012 Entry Draft. If the Canadiens can't fall low enough to land the top 2 pick required to add Mikhail Grigorenko to the roster, they will be an a somewhat awkward position with the top 10 prospects dominated by defensemen (and having taken a d-man in the first round each of the last two years, it doesn't seem like the best of plans). With a top 10 pick, the Habs may consider 6'2" center Brendan Gaunce, or quick rising Russian Alexander Galchenyuk, though a lot could still change between now and then.

No comments: