Am I the only one who thinks it might be time to give Mathieu Dandenault another crack at playing the blueline?  Ryan O’Byrne is proving that he’s not quite ready for prime time.  And if the Canadiens are not willing to give him the ice time he will eventually need to develop into an effective NHL defenceman (Mike Komisarek didn’t get there overnight), perhaps it’s time to take Dandenault off the fourth line and put him back on defence.

It would be nice to see Dandenault display the form he exhibited when the Canadiens’ first acquired him from the Detroit Red Wings going into the 2005-2006 season. He was absolutely terrific in the playoffs that year.

P.S. Patrice Brisebois isn’t the answer.

The agent for Habs‘ prospect Pavel Valentenko says family finances and personal issues forced his client’s hand.  Rollie Hedges told me yesterday from his Ottawa offices that Valentenko‘s father negotiated the lucrative three-year contract that the young defenceman signed as a result of his need to provide for his family in Russia.

“He came over here as a 19-year old, he wanted to make the Montreal Canadiens’ roster,” said Hedges.  “However he wasn’t able to support his family as he did before he left. There is a human side to every story.  His family depended on him, even before he came to Canada.”

There is no guarantee that Valentenko will be able to play in Russia.  If he is able to play, he will play in Moscow, according to Hedges, who is hoping the Canadiens won’t completely close the door on Valentenko‘s NHL career.

The Habs, who retain his NHL rights, have suspended Valentenko, without pay.

Is Alex Tanguay fitting in nicely as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, or what?  After stealing the headlines at this summer’s NHL entry draft by securing (at the time) exclusive negotiating rights for Toronto’s Mats Sundin, Canadiens GM Bob Gainey went out and stole the show right there on the floor of Scotibank Place, when he instantly improved his hockey club by obtaining Tanguay from the Calgary Flames for a draft pick.

Tanguay and Saku Koivu have found instant chemistry playing on a line with Guillaume Latendresse, with Tanguay scoring six goals and adding five assists in nine games.  Tanguay never came to Montreal to become “the next Guy Lafleur,” as he puts it.  But as it turns out, he’s been putting up Guy Lafleur-type numbers in the early going this season.

Down on the farm, Max Pacioretty‘s name is showing up on the scoresheet a little more often these days.  Pacioretty, who wowed them at Canadiens‘ training camp before being sent down to Hamilton to start the season, assisted on Ben Maxwell’s fifth goal of the season as the Bulldogs beat the Lake Erie Monsters 3-2 last night in Hamilton.

Other ‘dogs active on the scoresheet last night included defenceman Mathieu Carle, who picked up two assists, defenceman Yannick Weber, who helped set up a goal by Mike Glumac, and Matt D’agostini, who assisted on a goal by Ryan White.  Marc Denis kicked out 29 shots for the victory.

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