All Habs Headlines: Wednesday January 2, 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 Plays Little, Makes Highlight Reel: While they’re unlikely to ever admit it, Montreal Canadiens management likely aren’t the biggest fans of Team USA World Junior Championship head coach Phil Housley these days. And not just because the retired veteran of 1,495 NHL games finished his career wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.
With the U.S. posting a dominant win over the Czech Republic this morning, they will advance to the semi-finals against Canada tomorrow (January 3rd) at 4:00 AM EST. Yet despite the fact that top Habs prospect Alex Galchenyuk is tied for the team lead in scoring with eight points in five games, he has struggled to earn ice time from his coach, particularly odd considering the Americans are not overly deep in skilled forwards.
Even with limited minutes, Galchenyuk has found his way on to the scoresheet in every one of Team USA’s games thus far, and though he had just a single assist (in just 11:22 of ice time) in today’s 7-0 victory, it was one worth watching over and over.
With much on the line in their rematch against as tough an opponent as Canada, will Housley – who has been a proponent of rolling four lines – finally lean more on his stars? Join much of Canada in setting your alarm nice and early tomorrow morning to find out!
* Check the right sidebar for the latest results from the World Junior Championship as well as WJC scoring leaders and upcoming game times. *
► Collberg Confident: Young American defenseman Seth Jones received a good deal of flak in the media for providing some pre-World Junior Championship locker room bulletin board material in pronouncing his view that the U.S. was entering the tournament with the best squad. It seems that either Canadiens prospect Sebastian Collberg didn’t notice the heat Jones took, or simply disagreed with the reception his comments received, as he didn’t hesitate to talk up Team Sweden who prepares to face Russia in the other semi-final tomorrow.
“We had a good start against the Finns, and if we keep that pace up for 60 minutes, I don’t think any team can beat us,” said Collberg to Swedish network SVT Sport. Maybe it won’t come off as cocky as Jones’s pronouncement, but the timing is similar in that Sweden has yet to face its biggest tests. Playing outside the “group of death,” their four wins have come against Finland, Latvia, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, yet to do battle with any of Canada, the United States, or Russia. Collberg has been a significant part of his team’s successes, with three goals (all courtesy of his rocket of a shot) and five points in four games tying him for the team scoring lead. He’s not a puck control type of player, so he hasn’t been involved in the play to the extent a Filip Forsberg has, but he is filling his sniper/finisher role adequately.
Read more: Junior Crowns are Gearing Up for Semi-Final (Swedish)
► NHL and Players’ Association Both on the Clock: In what has become a frustrating cliche for hockey fans, today is another critical day in NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. NHL players voted before the holidays to give its executive committee the power to file a Disclaimer of Interest, essentially dissolving the Union, and allowing for the formation of a Trade Association in its place. The ramifications of this would be complex, and likely settled in court, with the most extreme outcome perhaps being a voiding of all current player contracts.
The deadline for the executive committee to use this right bestowed upon them comes at midnight tonight, so by that time we will have a better understanding of where the Union leaders feel the process is at. The players and league officials will continue to meet and negotiate today, and if the PA feels there is a deal to be made shortly, a Disclaimer of Interest won’t benefit anyone. However, there is still the chance that some of the key issues which remain on the table can’t be agreed upon, and the Association may decide it has exhausted all other avenues and has no choice but to exercise this tactic. It should also be noted, though, that even if the Union doesn’t disclaim today, should this process continue on much longer, nothing stops them from re-starting the process at a later date.
Time pressures exist for the league itself, as it is clear that NHL owners do not want to lose the season. Gary Bettman has stated that a 48-game season would have to begin no later than January 19th, which puts January 11th as roughly the latest possible date for an agreement to be reached.
► Bozon Finding Life Without Lipon: The Habs’ third round pick this past June, Tim Bozon got off to a blazing start to the season offensively with a hat trick in the season opener and 14 goals and 31 points in just 17 games by the end of October. But he could not keep the torrid pace, which had many believing his numbers came just from playing with older stars J.C. Lipon and Colin Smith.
Bozon admitted his own rough patch, but has simplified his game, trying to shoot the puck more frequently, and it has paid off. Since Lipon left to join Team Canada for the World Juniors following Kamloops’s December 9th game, Bozon has notched 7 goals and 11 points in just 6 games, including a 3 goal and 1 assist performance in his most recent outing. Certainly encouraging signs for a player touted as a future sniper in the pipeline but who is still very young with another full season of junior hockey ahead of him.
Read more: Bozon, Ully Finding Range
► New at All Habs Hockey Magazine:
Habs Top 10 Momentos de 2012 (Brazilian Portuguese)
Category: All Habs news