Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Your Canadiens for April 25, 2012

Getting caught up on a few bits and pieces as the NHL's first round of playoff action nears its conclusion.


Habs prospect Danny Kristo announced officially yesterday that he would return to the University of North Dakota for his senior year.  There could be many reasons for his doing so; a desire to win a National Championship, the want to finish his degree, or perhaps uncertainty over where the GM-less and coach-less Canadiens currently stand.

From a development standpoint, the move seems counterproductive for Kristo.  He has nothing left to prove at the NCAA level, having just set career highs in games played, goals, assists, and points, averaging more than a point per game.  But there is a big jump between college hockey and the NHL, and it would have been nice to see Kristo cutting his teeth at the American Hockey League level starting in the Fall to begin making his adjustment.  As it stands, assuming he signs once next season is over, he'll only begin his first pro season at the age of 23.  Of course, him signing at all remains a question; he could have dropped out of school to become a UFA this summer, but can still opt for unrestricted free agency if he doesn't sign with Montreal at next season's conclusion.  Thus, this isn't good news, but it's too early to say the sky is falling as well.


After previously being named the Canadiens nominee for the award, forward Max Pacioretty was named one of three finalists for the award, technically given to the player best exemplifying the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey, but almost always awarded to the year's best comeback story.  The other finalists are Toronto's Joffrey Lupul and Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson.  I don't get to vote, of course, but my money would be on Max taking this one.


Patrick Holland and the Tri-City Americans find themselves in a 2 game hole after losing the first two outings by identical 5-4 overtime results.  Holland has certainly done his part, however, with 2 goals an an assist in the series opener (named second star), and a goal and a helper in game 2 (named third star).  Holland now has 6 goals and 17 points in 12 games as Tri-City looks to get back in the series tonight.

Jarred Tinordi's London Knights are up 3 games to none in their second round matchup following a 5-2 win last night.  Tinordi entered the series with a surprising 5 points in 10 games, a revelation compared to his limited regular season offense.  He has kept it going with 2 assists through the first three games this round (including one last night) as the Knights look like they will coast through to the OHL finals.

Nathan Beaulieu's dominant Saint John Sea Dogs suffered their first post-season loss last night, 5-4 in overtime, but still lead their series 2-1.  Beaulieu had a powerplay goal in the game but finished a -1.  The offensive blueliner has remained at the point-per-game pace with 3 points in three games this round, now giving him 11 in 11 post-season contests.


Detroit Red Wings' Assistant General Manager Jim Nill spoke yesterday about his talks with Geoff Molson about taking over as Montreal Canadiens GM.  Nill expressed that he had interest in the job, and based on two interviews, saw that the Habs were interested in him, but he decided that it simply wasn't the right time to make such a move.  This talk confirms not only that Detroit had in fact granted Nill permission to talk with Montreal, but both that the GM job in this city remains appealing and that the Canadiens are looking beyond the language factor to find the best man for the job.  What is the actual reason for Nill wanting to end the process?  We'll never know for sure.  He has in the past turned down opportunities for family reasons to remain in Detroit so it may just be that.  Or perhaps he doesn't feel ready to step into such a strong spotlight as that in Montreal.  Or maybe, just maybe, he isn't so keen on the idea of having to take French lessons on the side.  Who knows.

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