DANNY BRIERE? THANKS, BUT NO THANKS #HABS


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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MOVING TO THE FRONT OF THE BUS #HABS


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 HockeyProspect.com 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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#HABS ‘BACK OF THE BUS’: BERGEVIN


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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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NORRIS TROPHY WILL COST #HABS $$$


Some 24 hours ago, PK Subban was named winner of the Norris Trophy as the top defenceman in the NHL.

That’s wonderful news for Subban — and his wallet.

Here’s my take on the situation the Canadiens now find themselves in, when it comes to keeping Subban in Montreal.

Listen to Abe Hefter in The Locker Room, weekends 6-7 p.m on CJAD 800 in Montreal and on WWW.CJAD.COM

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#HABS DRAFT PROSPECT HAS BLEU-BLANC-ROUGE IN HIS GENES


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Anthony Mantha would love nothing more than to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. And the Longueuil native took what “could” be the first step today, when he joined 55 other draft prospects at the Canadiens’ combine at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

Mantha’s grandfather is Andre Pronovost, who won four Stanley Cups as a member of the Habs from 1957-58 through 1960-61. That moment was not lost on Mantha, a 6-3, 200 pound winger who netted 50 goals and added 39 assists in 67 games with the Val-d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL this season.

“It’s my dream growing up,” said Mantha after today’s session at Brossard. “It’s one step away, maybe, right now. It’s a great feeling.”

Listen as Mantha tells me about the initial conversations he’s had with the Canadiens.

The latest rankings by International Scouting Services had Mantha ranked 24th among its top 30 ranked prospects for this month’s NHL Entry Draft. The Canadiens have one pick in the first round, at the number 25 spot. They have three in the second (Nos. 34, 36, 57) and two in the third (Nos. 71, 88).

Centre Bo Horvat, ranked number 10 by International Scouting Services, also took part in today’s combine. Horvat scored 33 goals and added 28 assists in 67 games with the London Knights, Jarred Tinordi’s junior hockey alma mater. Tinordi was the Knight’s captain the one year that he and Horvat played together in London — Horvat’s rookie season in the OHL.

“I learned a lot from him. He was a great captain, a great leader,” said Horvat. “He kind of showed me the ropes and was someone I kind of looked up to last year. I’m really happy for him. It would be something to play on the same team again, that’s for sure.”

Mantha, Horvat, and the rest of the draft prospects performed their on-ice and dry-land sessions today under the watchful eye of Shane Churla, who joined the Canadiens May 27 as their chief amateur scout.

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Ryder to ride off into the #Habs sunset


Michael Ryder fans in this town won’t be happy with this latest bit of news.

Ryder’s agent has informed JF Chaumont of the Journal de Montreal that his client is not part of Marc Bergevin’s plans.

No surprise, if you ask me.

After shaking out the cob webs upon his arrival from Dallas, Ryder went on a tear with the Habs after Bergevin acquired him in late February in the deal that sent Erik Cole to the Stars.  However, the well ran dry for Ryder when the Canadiens needed him the most: down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Ryder, who is looking at unrestricted free agency this summer, came to town for his second stint as a Hab, as a rental player.  So there would be no long-term pain associated with the transaction that sent the underachieving Cole and his fat contract to Dallas.  Any way you slice it, Bergevin comes out a winner in this deal. He was able to shed Cole and his unwieldy contract for a player he wasn’t locked into, long-term, in Ryder.

At the same time, is anybody really surprised at Ryder’s performance as a Hab, this time ’round?  He’s a guy who can still get you 30 goals in a season. But he’s also a guy who has been streaky, with a capital “S”, throughout his career.  As a Hab this season, he had a hot streak, and a cold streak.

Same old, same old, for Michael Ryder.  You want to pull your hair out watching him play.  Just look at my hairline.  Still, Bergevin must now go out and find the potential for those 30 goals elsewhere.  The same way the Canadiens needed to replace Andrei Kostitsyn’s 30 goals.

I’m not saying I would have gone out and signed either player.  I’m just doing the goal-scoring math.

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No surgery on Price’s knee; Eller symptom free


Lars Eller on "Garbage Bag Day"

Carey Price said he knew he was in trouble.

Price suffered a second-degree MCL sprain when he went down on Ottawa’s late game-tieing in game four against the Senators. He tried to skate it off and make the save at the end of regulation, but he knew he was in trouble.

I was just trying to get my butt on the ice and get my knees together, but your knees aren’t supposed to bend like that” said Price, as the Canadiens gathered at Brossard for exit medicals and individual chats with the coaching staff. “I felt a sharp pain, and the pop. It’s a tough way to go out.”

Meanwhile, Lars Eller, said he was close to making a comeback, after being on the receiving end of an illegal check dished out by Eric Gryba that knocked him out of the Ottawa series.

“I wouldn’t put a date on it.  I was getting close.”

Eller said although he has done some tests that point to the fact that he hasn’t fully recovered, he said he is currently symptom free.

“We’ll take it one day at a time and evaluate the situation going forward,” said Eller. “No reason to believe that I wouldn’t recover fully from this.”

Eller said Gryba did not reach out to him, following the incident.

“I have not heard from Gryba.  I don’t know the guy. I didn’t expect anything.  I haven’t really thought about it either.”

While players like Carey Price and Lars Eller look ahead to next season with anticipation, others like Jeff Haplern do so with uncertainty.

Halpern is among a handful of Habs, including Colby Armstrong, Michael Ryder,and Davis Drewiske, who are set to become unrestricted free agents

“I had a real good discussion with management,” said Halpern.  “They need their time.”

Although Halpern acknowledged he’d love to return to Montreal, he was somewhat philopshical about where he is at this stage of his career.

“I’m definitely on the back nine if not staring down that last fairway,” said Halpern. “Being a free agent used to be a good thing.  It’s kind of nice to have that contract as well.  I’ll see how the cards fall.

Three members of the Canadiens are on their way to the World Championsips: Tomas Plekanec for the Czech Republic, Alex Galchenyuk for Team USA, and Rafael Diaz, who will suit up for Switzerland.

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