All Habs GameDay: Sunday February 26, 2012
On this day in hockey history… 1955 – Doug Harvey picked up his 41st assist of the season, to set a new NHL record for assists by a defenseman, as the Canadiens won 4-1 over the Bruins, at the Forum. Harvey surpassed the old mark of 40 set by Toronto’s Babe Pratt in 1943-44.
GAMEDAY: Habs hockey tonight!
Last 10: Florida 5-4-1; Montreal 5-4-1
BankAtlantic Center, 5:00 p.m. EST
TV: RDS, TSN-HABS, FS-F
Projected line combinations (updated following morning skate)
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Erik Cole
Lars Eller – Tomas Plekanec – Andrei Kostitsyn
Ryan White – Scott Gomez - Rene Bourque
Louis Leblanc – Petteri Nokelainen
Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Raphael Diaz - Alexei Emelin
Tomas Kaberle – Chris Campoli
Carey Price - Peter Budaj (confirmed)
Mike Blunden (knee) – Andrei Markov (ACL) - Brian Gionta (biceps) – Travis Moen (upper body)
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Cole – Kaberle - Subban
Kostitsyn – Plekanec – Gomez – Weber – Diaz
Tomas Fleischmann – Stephen Weiss – Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim – Tomas Kopecky – Mikael Samuelsson
Shawn Matthias – Mike Santorelli – Wojtek Wolski
Krys Barch – Jerred Smithson – Jack Skille
Jason Garrison – Brian Campbell
Erik Gudbranson – Ed Jovanovski
Keaton Ellerby – Mike Weaver
Jose Theodore (not yet confirmed) - Scott Clemmensen
Scottie Upshall (sports hernia) - Dmitry Kulikov (knee) - Marco Sturm (knee) – John Madden (foot) - Matt Bradley (concussion) - Marcel Goc (lower body)
GAMEDAY: All Habs Headlines
► Bulldogs pull out win at Bell Centre: It looked like it might finish badly for the Bulldogs who, down 1-0 to start the third period, saw former Canadiens’ draft pick Ben Maxwell score his seventh goal of the season to double the St. John’s IceCaps’ lead. But a one-timer from Hamilton assistant captain Brian Willsie and another from Garrett Stafford tied things up and sent the game to overtime. After Nathan Lawson impressed the crowd of 11,300 with a clutch toe-save against Jason King to prevent the game from ending there, the two teams headed to a shootout. It was Ian Schultz who scored the winner on former Hab David Aebischer, who had otherwise recorded 22 saves (plus two more in the shootout). Hamilton next plays the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum at 5:00 p.m. EST.
►Habs Prospects shine: With a pair of goals, Brendan Gallagher became the all-time leader in career points with the Vancouver Giants in a 5-3 win over the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday night. Gallagher eclipsed the previous franchise mark of 273 points held by Adam Couchaine.
Patrick Holland scored twice to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 7-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs. It was a four point night for Holland who also had two assists, giving him 92 points on the season.
Danny Kristo set up a shorthanded goal late in the third period to register his 100th career point as his University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux fell to the University of Denver Pioneers 5-3. Despite being on the wrong side of the scoreboard, Kristo led his team with a plus-2 rating and four shots on goal.
► MSM steps in it: Twitter was abuzz on Saturday afternoon when radio personality Tony Marinaro announced that he had a scoop and would be appearing on CTV Montreal’s Sports Extra to reveal all. Host Brian Wilde began the “Pierre Gauthier, GM of the Montreal Canadiens, is no longer at the helm completely but moreover a figurehead of the Montreal Canadiens.”
Wilde then turned to Marinaro who announced, “I have it on good authority that Geoff Molson and his brothers have taken a bigger role with the Montreal Canadiens. Things have changed with the Montreal Canadiens over the past couple weeks. It is Geoff Molson that is right now at the forefront. He is being kept abreast of every single thing that’s going on. He is basically calling the shots. If he wants to make a deal, he’s gonna make a deal. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. He’s the guy, the general manager right now. Pierre Gauthier has basically been sidelined. Geoff Molson has taken a much bigger role within the Canadiens organization.”
Marinaro added, “I can tell you that within the past couple of months, as a matter of fact, Geoff Molson has met with his captain and his assistant captains. He’s been talking to them trying to find out what’s going on in the locker room, what’s going on within the organization, the feel that the players have.”
Stu Cowan, from the Montreal Gazette, also a guest on the show, chimed in saying, “It makes perfect sense to me. I think it’s a smart decision.”
So what do we have here? Does Canadiens owner Geoff Molson have final say on any move made by the hockey department? That’s no surprise, and is certainly not a scoop worthy of the hype. But if what Marinaro says is true, that Molson is “ the general manager right now” — well that’s a whole different kettle of fish. But do we really believe that Molson, with no hockey operations experience, is on the phone crafting deals?
Canadiens’ players, when contacted, claimed they knew nothing of a change in management structure.
In response to the scoop, Molson, on his Twitter account, wrote “Les rumeurs du congédiement de Pierre Gauthier sont fausses. Rumours of Pierre Gauthier’s firing are false.”
TSN’s Bob McKenzie contacted the Canadiens “regarding role and powers of Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier and influence/power of team president Geoff Molson.” McKenzie posted the following to his Twitter account, “I asked Molson if hockey decision-making process/protocol with MTL any different now than at beginning of season? His response: “No.” Follow-up: So are you saying there’s been no change in power structure? Response: “No change.” On Molson being de facto GM: “Not true.”"
Meanwhile Wilde has distanced himself from the Marinaro story deleting promotional tweets from his Twitter timeline. Marinaro, on the other hand, seems to be basking in the attention retweeting this message: “Tony Marinaro, is now trending in Canada.” Perhaps that was the ultimate goal from the outset.
► New at All Habs Hockey Magazine:
Quem e Esse cara? — Blake Geoffrion (in Br. Portuguese)
► Puck’s take: Need to know who will win tonight? You can find Puck the Bunny’s prediction here. (check back later) His record is an impressive 18-8-4.
► Geoffrion speaks: Canadiens fans got their first look at Blake Geoffrion on Friday night at the Bell Centre when he suited up for the Hamilton Bulldogs. At one point the weight of the jerseys hanging in the rafters seemed too much to bear for the fourth-generation Canadien as he landed on the ice without an opposing player around. But it’s clear that Geoffrion understands the opportunity that he is being given, and has a deep respect for the history and traditions in Montreal.
You can watch his interview (in English) here.
(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)