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Sabres salute Thomas Vanek with video tribute during Canadiens’ Buffalo visit

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By Mike McMahon 

Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek returned to the First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Sunday for the first time since the Sabres traded him to the New York Islanders back in October. The Sabres honored their former scoring leader with a video tribute during the first period.

The crowd showed its gratitude with a standing ovation while Vanek stood near the Habs’ bench and saluted the fans.

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  • Published On Mar 17, 2014
  • GIFS: Ottawa players show frustration, anger after Montreal’s OT game-winner

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    (Francois Lacasse/Getty Images)

    The Canadiens scored three goals in less than four minutes to send the game to OT. (Francois Lacasse/Getty Images)

    By Darian Somers

    It just kept getting louder and louder in Montreal as the Canadiens rallied from down three goals to the Senators with less than four minutes left to play, tying the game and forcing overtime. The last two goals were hotly disputed by Ottawa.

    Senators goalie Robin Lehner complained that Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban was in his crease when David Desharnais scored the tying goal in the final second. When Habs blueliner Francis Bouillion tallied the OT winner after the play arguably could have been blown dead, the Senators boiled over.

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  • Published On Mar 15, 2014
  • VIDEO: Dustin Tokarski is the victim of a bad bounce for center-ice goal

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    By Mike McMahon

    Canadiens back-up goaltender Dustin Tokarski had a moment he’d like to forget in Anaheim tonight.

    The 24-year-old goalie thought he was playing a center ice dump-in from Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin, until the puck took a crazy bounce of the stanchion and found its way into the unoccupied net.

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  • Published On Mar 06, 2014
  • Canadiens goalie Price aggravates Olympics injury, out at least two games

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    Carey Price was dominant in the Sochi Olympics, blanking the U.S. and Sweden to guide Canada to a gold medal.

    Carey Price was superb in Sochi, blanking the U.S. and Sweden to lead Canada to a gold medal. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Allan Muir

    Add Carey Price to the list of Olympic casualties.

    The all-tournament goaltender suffered a lower-body injury while leading Team Canada to gold in Sochi but was expected to be ready to go for the Canadiens on Wednesday night against the Red Wings and coach Mike Babcock. Plans changed though when Price came up limping after facing his first shot in practice on Wednesday morning.

    Montreal coach Michel Therrien said that Price is expected to miss at least two games, which means he’ll be out on Thursday for the match against the Penguins and Team Canada mate Sidney Crosby.

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  • Published On Feb 26, 2014
  • Could playing in the Sochi Olympics change P.K. Subban for the better?

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    P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens

    Though he’s won the Norris Trophy, P.K. Subban still have much untapped potential. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    At the 1976 Canada Cup tournament, a young Guy Lafleur was over the moon to learn that he’d been assigned to share a room with his idol Bobby Orr. Though they were rivals in the NHL, the two quickly hit it off and spent hours talking about the game, about winning, about getting the most out of their God-given talent. Lafleur later said the experience of playing with the legend whose poster hung in his locker changed his life.

    Five years later, at the 1981 Canada Cup, Lafleur paid that debt forward by taking a young Wayne Gretzky under his wing. Six years after that, it was The Great One’s turn to challenge a rising star, to help him build a bridge from stardom to hockey immortality.

    “I learned so much about how the great players work and conduct themselves,” Mario Lemieux said years later. “Remember, I was only 21 years old at the time. To be around guys like Wayne and Mark Messier and Paul Coffey, guys who’d already had so much success and had won Stanley Cups, was a tremendous learning experience. It gave me an opportunity to start my career and really learn what it meant to be a champion and the best in the game.”

    That opportunity for one generation to pass along its wisdom to the next will present itself again next month in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Returning home with gold will be the primary goal of every player who heads to Sochi, but for young ones like P. K. Subban, John Tavares and Matt Duchene, the opportunity to study under a master for two weeks could wind up being more important to them and their careers than a medal that ends up in a drawer somewhere.

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  • Published On Jan 10, 2014
  • Montreal mayor angers Canadiens with David Desharnais tweet

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    By Allan Muir

    Barely a week has passed since he was elected as Montreal’s mayor, but Denis Coderre already has managed to run afoul of the city’s most famous inhabitants.

    Coderre angered the Montreal Canadiens as a result of the in-game tweet above that he posted on Sunday night:

    Translated: “Hello? Can we get a one-way ticket to Hamilton for David Desharnais please…”

    That’s hardly the hottest sports opinion in town. Desharnais, who signed a four-year, $14 million contract extension in March, is off to a disastrous start with just one assist through his first 17 games. That’s made him a popular target for boo-birds both at the Bell Centre and online.

    Coderre, though, is a unique case. Going by his post history, he spends a fair amount of time tweeting passionately about the Habs. Clearly, the guy is a big fan. But now that he’s the mayor of the town, he’s not just one online voice among thousands. People are going to take notice, including the ones wearing bleu, blanc et rouge.

    Max Pacioretty was one Canadien who caught wind of what the mayor-elect said, and it left him steaming.

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  • Published On Nov 11, 2013
  • Canadiens coach Michel Therrien may know what he’s doing with P.K. Subban

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    P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens

    P.K. Subban’s pride may be hurt by having to sit late in close games, but his team comes first. ( Francois Lacasse/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    You know how it is with the NBA. Watch the final four or five minutes of any game and you’ve probably seen all the drama.

    It’s getting to be the same way with the Montreal Canadiens.

    The biggest story in La Belle Province these days isn’t whether the Habs won or lost, but whether Michel Therrien played P.K. Subban in the dying minutes of a close contest. Because, in a lot of games lately, the coach of the Canadiens has concluded that it’s safer to glue the All-Star’s behind to the bench during crunch time.

    Subban, you might recall, won the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL last season, making him the sort of guy most coaches would want on the ice with the game on the line. Of course, no one is suggesting he won that award because of his unmatched shutdown abilities. He is, first and foremost, an offensive weapon, someone who helps keep the puck out of his net by moving it as far from his zone as possible.

    But that hasn’t been enough for Therrien.

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  • Published On Nov 07, 2013
  • Lars Eller: Edmonton Oilers “play like a junior team”

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    Lars Eller apparently doesn't subscribe to the maxim that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. (Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)

    Lars Eller apparently doesn’t subscribe to the maxim that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. (Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    It’s never a good idea to provide the opposition with bulletin board material, even if the game ahead is a low-wattage interconference matchup, like the one tonight between the Oilers and Canadiens.

    Still, you have to admire the willingness of Montreal forward Lars Eller to offer up an unvarnished opinion.

    Asked his thoughts on the Oilers, Eller had this to say:

    “With this team it can be anything. They play a bit like a junior team sometimes. They take a lot of risks and lots of chances. They are a little all over the place. There isn’t a lot of structure in their game always.”

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  • Published On Oct 22, 2013
  • Horrifying injury to George Parros won’t affect the fighting debate

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    George Parros of the Montreal Canadiens hits the ice face first during a fight with Colton Orr.

    Montreal enforcer George Parros hit the ice face-first and suffered a concussion. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    The story out of Montreal last night should have been about James Reimer making his case to be the starting goalie for the Maple Leafs, or the beast-mode performance from Lars Eller, which seemed to hint at what might lie ahead this season for the Canadiens’ promising young center.

    Instead, last night’s season opener between Toronto and Montreal was defined by a grim injury to Canadiens enforcer George Parros that left the veteran forward prone on the ice and sucked the air out of what had, up to that point, been a rollicking Bell Centre.

    Early in the third period of the Maple Leafs’ 4-3 win, Parros was doing what he gets paid to do: trading punches with Toronto tough guy Colton Orr. It was their second fight of the night. As the brawl wound down, Orr lost his balance and fell to the ice. On the way down, he grabbed Parros’ jersey and pulled him down. It was the sort of tumble you see all the time at the end of a punch-up, when both parties are usually exhausted. Only this time, Parros was unable to get his arms up and brace for impact. He fell hard, unprotected, face-first on the ice.

    At first, Parros appeared to be unconscious. Soon, he was moving. The nine-year veteran attempted to get up after receiving medical attention, but the trainers advised him to lay back down as they called for a stretcher. Parros was then taken to a hospital, where it was reported that doctors had diagnosed him with a concussion. It’s unknown at this point how long he’ll be out of the Canadiens lineup. He is, however, out of the hospital.

    It was a horrifying moment. And it’s not surprising that it quickly ignited another chapter in the endless debate on the place of fighting in hockey.

    But as bad as it looked — and as much as the anti-fighting advocates might hope otherwise — this incident won’t change anything.

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  • Published On Oct 02, 2013
  • George Parros’ injury in fight draws mockery on Instagram

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    Maple Leafs fans mocking George Parros

    Maple Leafs fans making fun of Canadiens’ enforcer George Parros after he was injured in a fight with Colton Orr.

    By Allan Muir

    The deep-seated rivalry between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs goes beyond hockey. For generations of Canadians, it represents the Two Solitudes of French-speaking and English-speaking culture.

    It can get a bit intense, as good sporting rivalries will, but most understand there’s a limit to how intense — that there’s a line that should not be crossed. Most.

    Last night, a couple of Toronto “fans” decided to toss basic human empathy aside and cross it.

    In the wake of George Parros’ spirit-crushing injury last night, a pair of Leafs supporters decided it would be LOL funny to mimic the Canadiens’ enforcer as he lay prone on the ice. Oh yeah, they even called it “Parrosing” because hey, it’s just like planking!

    A CBC reporter, Mathieu Gohier, found the image on Instagram and posted it to Twitter.

    Here’s hoping these two have fun defending themselves.


  • Published On Oct 02, 2013


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