All Habs Headlines: Galchenyuk, Collberg, Lockout, Bozon

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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!

Read more: World Juniors – USA routs Czechs, sets up semis rematch vs. Canada

* 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.

Collberg has been a main trigger man on the Swedish powerplay (PHOTO: Ken McKenna/HF)
Collberg has been a main trigger man on the Swedish powerplay (PHOTO: Ken McKenna/HF)

“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.

Read more: It May Be One Minute to Midnight for NHL Talks

► 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:

En temps de crise… un peu d’humour

Sports and Tragedy: Good Grief?

Catching the Torch: Dumont Has His Day

Habs Top 10 Momentos de 2012 (Brazilian Portuguese)

WJC: On to Russia

All Habs Top 10: Let Damage Control Begin

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Dan, I simply cant argue with Housley’s coaching to date, they are in semi-finals, that is bottom line!
    I would love to see AG get 20 minutes/game and maybe Housley will shorten his bench in this do-or-die game, who knows?
    Collberg has 3 goals (to lead his team) on only 7 shots; whereas Forsberg has 2 goals on 24 shots.

    Yes, Bozon is a scorer and super PP guy, 6goals/8points in last 3 games, while playing with neither Smith nor Lipon, but what was really nice stat to see was when Blazers got blown out 7-3 in a game last week, Bozon was a +2.

    • Thanks for the comment Don; your feedback is always appreciated as you raise pertinent points.

      I’ll wait for the American team to accomplish anything before applauding Housley’s coaching. To me, with preliminary round losses to Russia and Canada, they’ve yet to win a game they weren’t clearly supposed to (would have been an upset to lose to the Czechs in the quarter finals). We’ll see how they perform against Canada tomorrow and how Housley manages his bench in the final 2 games versus tough opposition.

      Indeed, the shot totals for Collberg and Forsberg are more indicative of their respective play than their point totals, but I’ve also watched most of Sweden’s games. It isn’t just about who is shooting the puck, since that is also in part a factor of ice time, but Forsberg is a player who actually makes things happen. He controls the puck, carries it into the zone, takes it to the net, etc. Collberg is good at finding gaps and getting open, but his contribution to the play generally comes from one-timing passes on goal. Different players, with Forsberg being the much more dynamic and impressive of the two.

      I had concerns with Bozon when he hit his slump, so definitely a bit of a relief to see his stats of late. Haven’t watched him in a while, but he sounds like he’s regained confidence from the interview in the link in this article. Very good to see!

  2. i havent really seen Swedes play, 1 pre game. And i had Forsberg putting on a Hab jersey last june, but Columbus went with Murray (thanks) and left AG for Timmins to pick.

    So in just looking at stats, the shooting percentage just really jumped out and is exactly what the Habs need, a sniper/finisher who sets up shop in Mr.Stamkos’s favourite shooting spot(opposite side from Galchenyuk), especially on the PP.

    Between Collberg-Galchenyuk-Gallagher-Kristo-Bozon the Habs future offense seems to look very bright and Price might not have to stand on his head to get a victory (quality defensive depth is also on its way over next several seasons).

Comments are closed.