After a day of medicals and physical testing, 41 players hit the ice at Brossard Saturday for the official start of Montreal Canadiens’ rookie camp.

The players will go through their paces through until Tuesday.  Full camp begins Thursday.  The veterans will gather at Laval-sur-le-lac Monday for the annual golf tournament.

A number of players will grab their fare share of attention at rookie camp, including number 34, Michael McCarron, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2013.  McCarron is coming off a hot-and-cold season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

Number 26, Jiri Sekac, was signed out of the Czech Republic as a free agent in January. He already has some substantial hockey mileage under his belt, having played with Prague of the KHL last season.

Catch McCarron and Sekac in action here from Saturday’s on-ice session, along with number 56, Tom Bozon, and 75, Charles Hudon.

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Jiri Sekac was among the 40+ players on the ice today at Brossard as the Habs moved into high gear at rookie camp

Jiri Sekac was among the 40+ players on the ice today at Brossard as the Habs moved into high gear at rookie camp

After gathering at Brossard yesterday for medicals and physical testing, Montreal Canadiens’ rookies took to the ice at the Bell Sports Complex today.  I took in this morning’s session and provided a live stream, which you can see here:

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Sorry, Tomas.

I’m not buying it.

And, I’m willing to bet, neither are you.

It was a travel day for the Canadiens, and prior to departure, a handful of Habs’ players were made available to the media following last night’s 1-0 overtime loss to the Bruins, which squared this series at two wins apiece.  During player availability, Tomas Plekanec told Chris Johnston from Sportsnet, that the pressure is on the Bruins, heading into game five tomorrow night in Boston.


That comment by Plekanec is nothing more than a red herring.  But apparently, some Habs’ fans are biting.


I’m not sure why the Bruins are supposed to “destroy the Habs, ” as suggested by @bouchardmo on Twitter.  The fact of the matter is: not only have the Bruins “not destroyed” the Habs at any point during this series, the Bruins have yet to score a convincing win over the Canadiens.  Sure, that was a mighty impressive come-from-behind win in game two.  But have you seen the Bruins outplay the Canadiens over a 60-minute stretch?

Me neither.

Here’s the deal: the pressure is on both teams heading into game five in Boston tomorrow night.  Simple math will tell you that the winner will be one win away from taking this second-round series and the team that loses game five will be one win away from an early tee time.

It’s as plain as the nose on my face.

Have you seen my face?

No? OK. Let’s try this again.  This best-seven-series, became a best-of-five series and is now a best-of-three series.  The team that wins two of the next three games will move on to the Stanley Cup semi-finals.  But not before it becomes a best-of-one series, in my humble opinion.

It’s Stanley Cup Math 101, folks.  And that’s why the pressure is on the Montreal Canadiens to walk into the Garden and beat the Bruins.  It’s also why the Bruins need to get out there in front of their hometown fans, now that they have re-established home-ice advantage in this series, and beat the Montreal Canadiens.

The pressure is on.  And it’s on both teams.

Funny thing is (and I’m sure there weren’t any Habs’ fans laughing after last night’s overtime loss), this series could be over. Right now.  It could have been over in four straight — for both teams.

If the Habs finished off the Bruins in game two, and scored the winner in O.T. last night, this series would be over.  However, had Boston scored the overtime winner in game one, and then mounted yet another successful comeback in game three (after doing just that in game two) this series would be over, and the Bruins would be the ones moving on.

But this series ISN’T over, and the team that wins tomorrow night will take a huge step in the direction of ending it.

THAT’S why the pressure is on BOTH teams.

Don’t let Tomas Plekanec tell you any different.





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The Montreal Canadiens deserved better on this night.

That, and $3.25, will get you a cup of coffee.

On a night when the Canadiens could have taken a stranglehold 3-1 series lead on the Boston Bruins, they watched helplessly as the Bruins snuck one past Carey Price during a wild scramble in front of the Habs’ netminder to eke (EEK!) out a 1-0 win and send this second-round series back to Boston all tied up at two.

This best-of-five is now a best-of-three.  It could very well end up being a best-of-one.

The hero for the Bruins on this night was Matt Fraser, with the winning goal coming at 1:19 of overtime. Hardly enough time for the ice to dry after 60-minutes of scoreless hockey.  Pretty heady stuff for a guy who was playing in Providence just 24 hours earlier before being called up by the Bruins.

This was a listless game for the better part of 60 minutes, although both teams did have their chances, particularly young Michael Bournival.  Number 49 skated miles out there and got his licks in on Tuukka Rask, but was unable to beat the Boston goaltender, who was seeing the puck all night long.  Bournival finished with four shots on goal; one back of Brian Gionta (who worked his ass off all night) and Andrei Markov.  Lars Eller also put in a strong effort.  However, it was the Gionta, Eller, Bourque line on the ice for the winning (losing) goal, along with Mike Weaver and Douglas Murray.

The Canadiens managed to put together their best period of hockey over the final 20 minutes, outshooting Boston 14-7 in the third. Carey Price? He was perfect through 60 minutes. But, in the end, it didn’t matter one iota.  The Bruins were the ones to “Get Lucky”, with apologies to Daft Punk, much to the stunned amazement of everyone in the building.

Max Pacioretty? One shot on goal. I thought Dale Weise and his one shot on goal was a bigger offensive threat in this game than Pacioretty was.

Thomas Vanek? Zero shots on goal.

Daniel Briere? Not seeing much playoff magic from him these days, although it is rather difficult to produce much playoff magic when you see 8:02 seconds of ice time, as was the case in game four.

Matt Fraser??!?! Really?!?!?!



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Yours truly and Robyn Flynn bring you the Habs’ pre-game show every Saturday on TSN 690 from the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill on Bishop Street.

If you’re in the neighbourhood, come by and say “hi” as we talk Habs.  Stick around for great conversation, and great food!

We’ll bring you special guests each and every week to talk Habs and hockey.  Plus we’ll be taking your phone calls and reading your tweets at

Join us from 5-7 p.m. before we turn things over to John Bartlett and Sergio Momesso for the call of the game on TSN 690 and  

That’s the Irish Embassy Habs pre-game show, Saturday’s from 5-7 p.m., on your home of hockey, TSN 690!

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Michael McCarron (pictured) and Michael Bournival picked up two points apiece and were among the youngsters to raise eyebrows as the Canadiens took to the ice at the Bell Centre in their pre-season opener.

Bournival had a pair of goals and McCarron picked up two assists as the Habs fell 5-4 to the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout.

Bournival showed lots of ofensive spark out there and McCarron displayed some soft hands in setting up both Bournival and Martin St-Pierre.  McCarron went hard along the boards to dish the puck out to Bournival for his first goal of the night.  The Canadiens’ top draft pick of this summer could also be found parked in the opposing crease; which is exactly where you want McCarron’s 6-5 frame to be.

Two other players of note who impressed me up front were Martin Reway and Erik Nystrom: both showed plenty of finesse as skill players with speed. Nystrom also showed he has a little show biz in him with his stick-twirling goal-scoring celebration.

On defence, Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi, both with some NHL experience under their collective belts after last season, aquitted themselves well.  Peter Budaj and Zach Fucale split the goaltending duties: Budaj playing the first half of the game, Fucale — with his rather stark, generic, “no-frills” mask, finishing up and taking the team through the OT and shootout.

Brendan Gallagher, playing on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller, was in “mid-season form” (as we like to say) and took no prisoners, even though it was only a pre-season game. This kid simply doesn’t have an “off switch.”

This was a fairly entertaining, spirited hockey game: as pre-season games go, and as Habs-Sabres games go. Up next for the Canadiens: the Boston Bruins, who are in town Monday night.

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Going to sleep a Ranger, waking up a #HABS



It’s been a “crazy last day” for right winger Christian Thomas.

Thomas, who joins 55 other players for Montreal Canadiens development camp this week, was informed by his dad, former NHLer Steve Thomas, that the Habs had picked him up from the Rangers in a trade that sent Danny Kristo to New York.

“I woke up from a nap after a training day in New York,” said Thomas “I had a phone call from my dad. He asked me if I had figured out that I had been traded. I had no clue what was going on. He told me I was traded to Montreal.”

Thomas got the news yesterday at 5 p.m. At nine o’clock he was on a plane. And today he reported for duty at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

Steve Thomas had 10, 20-goal seasons under his belt when he called it a career in 2003-04. Does Christian see himself following in his father’s footsteps?

Listen in as reporters spoke to Christian following this morning’s dry-land session at Brossard.

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So, Danny Briere is now up for grabs, after being bought out this week by the Philadelphia Flyers. Would you like to see him in a Canadiens uniform?

Thanks…but no thanks.

It was six years ago, almost to the day, that Bob Gainey went hard after Danny Briere: the summer of 2007.  And I mean hard.
Briere was coming off a 95-point season with the Buffalo Sabres and was ready to write his own ticket. And he did.
A ticket that took him to Philadelphia after he rejected Gainey’s overtures.

I remember thinking at the time: Jeez. How much money are you supposed to throw at the guy before he said “Yes.”
Briere never said “yes”…not to the Montreal Canadiens, at least. And I thought to myself: see ya.

Gainey wasn’t shy when it came to going after big-name talent: either through free agency or the trade route. However,
like he always said: it takes two to tango: either way. Briere preferred to tango with the Flyers, where he put up some fairly prolific number before the injury bug got the better of him. However, with two years left in his contract, the Flyers elected to by out the 35-year old: a move that will shave $6.5 million off their salary cap.

Briere figures he still has a year or two left of hockey in him as he looks ahead to life as an unrestricted free agent.  Who am I to doubt the guy? I wish him nothing but the best.

He’d like to stay in the East for family reasons: and with two kids in school, who can blame him? But the Canadiens don’t need Danny Briere any more than they “needed” Jaromir Jagr. And please. Don’t tell me that even if Briere coasts through the regular season, you can count on him in the playoffs.

You think so?

I don’t.

See ya.

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What are the chances that Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin seizes an opportunity to move to the “front of the bus” come draft day June 30th in New Jersey?

With the 25th pick overall, Bergevin recently said that the position leaves the team at the “back of the bus” when it comes to the opening round.

Mark Edwards, the founder and director of scouting for joined me in the Locker Room tonight to assess whether or not Bergevin might attempt try to solidify his hand and make a move on draft day.

Join me in The Locker Room weekends, 6-7 pm, on CJAD800 Montreal.

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Montreal Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin says the Canadiens are at “the back of the bus” as a result of where they sit heading into the NHL Entry Draft June 30 in New Jersey.

At least where the first round is concerned.

Bergevin took time out of today’s news conference at the Bell Centre, held to announce Montreal’s role in the 2015 and 2017 World Junior Hockey Championships, to look ahead to the entry draft.

“We’re in a different position than we were in last year, when we had the third pick overall,” said Bergevin.

“When you’re at 25, you’re sitting in the back of the bus. Obviously, we had a good year, which is why we’re so far back. We’re happy being there, but that said, you don’t get the top players as when you have the third overall pick.”

Is there any chance Bergevin will try to get a seat at the “front of the bus?”

“We always try to see if there are seats available,” said the Habs’ GM with a grin.

Bergevin went on to say that defenceman Alexei Emelin is rehabbing in Montreal and is still on schedule for a return from knee surgery sometime in December.

Listen in as Bergevin fielded questions from reporters about the NHL Entry Draft, and today’s World Junior Hockey announcement, which will see Montreal and Toronto play joint hosts to the 2015 and 2017 championships, with the Bell Centre home to the medal round in 2017.

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