All Habs Headlines: Thursday January 3, 2013
To kick off the New Year, All Habs welcomes the return of Headlines – your recap of the latest must-reads on your Montreal Canadiens and the NHL at large.
ALL HABS HEADLINES
► Galchenyuk and Collberg to Play for Gold: Canadians set early alarm clocks this morning to be up to watch Canada take on Team USA in the World Junior Championship semi-final, but the game had many wishing they’d slept in instead. The Canadians on ice didn’t look like they had woken up till minutes into the third period, utterly dominated by the Americans who took the game handily by a 5-1 score.
Alex Galchenyuk was held pointless for the first time in the tournament, again in relatively limited minutes (14, most of which came in the first two periods). He played a solid game overall, registering 3 shots on goal and generating multiple scoring chances with forechecking pressure and creative puck movement. He was surpassed for the American scoring lead by John Gaudreau, a Calgary draft pick who scored twice and now has 7 goals in the U.S.’s last 3 games.
The U.S. will take on Sweden who beat Russia 3-2 in the other semi-final. Canadiens’ prospect Sebastian Collberg was held pointless in the game, but scored the only goal in the deciding shootout, and will thus get to face off against Galchenyuk in the finals. This means that, no matter what the result, a future Hab takes home a gold medal on Saturday.
Read more: Team USA beats Canada 5-1 in semifinal
* Check the right sidebar for the latest results from the World Junior Championship as well as WJC scoring leaders and upcoming game times. Also register your vote in the All Habs Poll of the Week: Who do you want to wear the gold – Galchenyuk or Collberg? *
► As the Lockout Turns…: Another long night in the soap opera that has been NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations didn’t produce a deal, but also didn’t end in disaster. The NHLPA’s self-imposed deadline to file a Disclaimer of Interest, which would effectively dissolve the Union and throw a new wrench into the process, came and went as the parties continued to talk at midnight. In the hours preceding the deadline, words from TSN pundits Darren Dreger and Pierre Lebrun indicated the proceedings might not have been going particularly well, with both starting they’d been hearing frustration from both the players and league about the others’ inflexibility.
There was word of some positive later in the night, with a report that the NHLPA may have abandoned their desire to put a cap on escrow amounts in the new agreement, thus taking another step closer to the NHL’s proposal. No news, however, on if the main remaining sticking points – the salary cap for 2013-14 (and beyond) and the players’ pension plan – are any closer to being resolved. The two sides meet again at 10 AM this morning as we enter the final week to strike a deal before the season would be wiped out.
► Bulldogs Set Ominous Team Record: The Hamilton Bulldogs are a young squad this season, and injuries to veterans Aaron Palushaj and Blake Geoffrion have left them very thin offensively. But last night was a new low, as the club was shutout for a third consecutive game, blown out 6-0 by the rival Toronto Marlies, setting a team record for the longest consecutive goalless streak.
In a strange low-shooting affair (Toronto outshot Hamilton 19-14 on the night), the ‘Dogs were dominated in virtually every area, but nowhere more so than on special teams, with the Marlies scoring 3 powerplay goals and once shorthanded, while killing off 4 Bulldog powerplays that included a 53-second 5-on-3 advantage.
Hamilton has now lost 8 of its last 9 games and sits alone in last place in the American Hockey League. At this point, General Manager Marc Bergevin is likely waiting until either the lockout is resolved or the NHL season is cancelled before deciding on what changes to bring about with the Canadiens’ affiliate.
The ‘Dogs will continue to try to right the ship with home games on Friday and Saturday night. Follow along with me as I Tweet live from Copps Coliseum (@DanKramerHabs) during both of the weekend’s games, and be sure to tune into Abe Hefter’s Locker Room on Montreal’s CJAD 800 AM Saturday night at 6:45 PM as we talk Hamilton hockey to tee up the game.
Read more: Last-place Bulldogs lose third straight game
► Will Archambault be Signed?: The Canadiens don’t have many forwards graduating to the AHL from the CHL ranks at the end of this season, but the one player who is due for a contract is Drumondville winger Olivier Archambault. The 5’11″, 192 lbs offensive forward is producing at a better clip than in either of his past two seasons, though December was a quieter month for him with 8 points in 10 games.
If the Habs don’t sign Archambault at season’s end, they will lose his rights, so a decision must be taken one way or the other. As such, multiple members of the Canadiens organization, including scout Serge Boisvert, director of player recruitment Trevor Timmins, and even general manager Marc Bergevin, have taken in Voltigeurs games this Fall.
Boisvert was quoted as saying that Archambault had, “improved his work ethic and consistency, but is capable of more. He needs to be more mature in his game, adapting his style to various situations as needed.”
Archambault was Montreal’s fourth round choice in 2011, and the odds of a player taken in that round making the NHL are stacked against them. But the Canadiens are doing their best to develop Archambault into an asset, and so now it’s on him to prove he’s worthy of being signed.
Read more: Archambault doit “en donner plus” selon Boisvert (French)
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