All Habs Headlines: Practice Notes, DSP Excited, No Regrets for Sekac, Coaches Praise Price

(Photo source: @CanadiensMTL )

All Habs Headlines: Wednesday February 25, 2015

On this day in hockey history… 1971 –  Montreal’s Pete Mahovlich scored his first career NHL hat trick as the Canadiens won 5-3 against the Kings, at Los Angeles.
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(Photo source: @CanadiensMTL )



► Montreal Canadiens: Febuary 25

  • The Canadiens were back at practice today in Columbus after a big win in St. Louis.
  • Michel Therrien announced that Carey Price will start in goal against the Blue Jackets.  PA Parenteau and Sergei Gonchar will not be in the lineup on Thursday.
  • Missed Tuesday night’s game? Check out our game report which includes the game summary, video highlights, 3-stars and post-game quotes: Recap – Canadiens vs Blues: Ninth Straight Road Win for Price, New Habs Record

► Lines and defense pairings at practice

It was a maintenance day for Andrei Markov who took part in an off-ice workout.  Devante Smith-Pelly will arrive in Columbus on Wednesday evening.

Pacioretty – Desharnais – GallagherB-tubISXIAA5owm
Eller – Plekanec – Galchenyuk
Prust – De La Rose – Weise
Bournival – Malhotra – Thomas/Parenteau

Weaver – Subban
Gilbert – Beaulieu
Tinordi/Gonchar – Pateryn


  • Growing up in Toronto, Devante Smith-Pelly was a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs along with his family. When asked about that, Smith-Pelly said, “We’ll see how my parents and grandparents transition to becoming Canadiens fans.”
  • He told ESPN, “It’s going to be amazing. You dream as a boy of playing for the Leafs, but playing in Montreal is going to be just as amazing. I’m just super-excited; it’s a great opportunity.”
  • “I’m really good friends with Malcolm [Subban], his younger brother. So I know P.K. a little bit.”  Smith-Pelly was part of the Team Canada 2012 World Junior Championships roster with Brendan Gallagher, Nathan Beaulieu and Michael Bournival.
  • On his role he said, “It was tough this year, I was moved around the lineup and played some positions I’ve never played. So it was hard to get comfortable. But I’m hoping to shore up my consistency level and bring that to Montreal.”
(Source: Devante Smith-Pelley's Instagram account)
(Source: Devante Smith-Pelly’s Instagram account)

No regrets

  • As last summer’s most-prized player Jiri Sekac chose to sign with the Montreal Canadiens after being courted by 12 NHL teams.  He liked the city, the facilities, the organization and his gut feeling about the experience.  He also trusted Habs management when they told him that he would play on the second or third line.  Sekac was to be part of the answer to the team’s offensive woes.
  • Sekac said, “They took me as one of the top goalscorers in the KHL. I didn’t feel like I ever got the chance to prove it, when you get to play one game as a top six it’s not gonna give you good confidence.”
  • It was a difficult adjustment for Sekac because of all of the mixed messages.  He said to the Ducks website, “To be honest, I never really knew what my role was in Montreal. I wasn’t mad about it or anything, but when you’re changing lines all the time, you have a lot of ups and downs. It doesn’t give you confidence or help you with your game. It was kind of tough for me.”
  • On his lack of production Sekac said, “The Canadiens are really a defensive team, and there were a lot of games where we wouldn’t score more than two goals. It’s very hard, even for a player like me, who was playing on the third line or a defensive line, so it’s hard to get some goals. But I’m not making excuses or anything. I think our line was still working pretty well. We had a lot of scoring chances, and I think we played pretty good hockey.”
  • Sekac confirmed that he had good relationships with his teammates — Tomas Plekanec was his best friend on the team — Sekac said that Plekanec was at his house when they heard the nonsensical report about a riff between the two.  Sekac said that the two friends laughed about it.

Price stands alone

  • During Tuesday night’s game, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said that the Canadiens defensive-zone “exit strategy” was built on Carey Price‘s elite puck-handling ability.  As a consequence, the Blues were forced to change their tactics.  Hitchcock said Price is the “only goalie in the league you do that against.”
  • In an interview with ESPN, Hitchcock went further saying, “Same as Marty [Martin Brodeur], no pulse, so calm, everyone feeds off the calmness. He makes everyone around him want to play for him.”
  • Red Wings coach Mike Babcock also chimed in, “[Carey Price] is unreal. Unreal calm — big, square, soft, plays the puck, it doesn’t get any better.”

Young guards

  • Much-maligned Bulldogs coach Sylvain Lefebvre offered his analysis on the three Canadiens defensemen recently graduated from Hamilton to Elliotte Friedman as noted in his 30 Thoughts.
  • On Nathan Beaulieu, Lefebvre repeated words used by Beaulieu himself, “We had to make him understand that creating two chances a game was not good, if he was giving up six.”
  • Lefebvre said that Greg Pateryn has “a great shot, and we used his one-timer.” But Pateryn was counselled to look for other ways of contributing given that he wouldn’t be getting much power-play time in Montreal.
  • Being his own toughest critic, Jarred Tinordi‘s confidence sometimes took a hit.  Lefebvre said, “He’d make a mistake and stay down on himself. He’d be on the bench, upset at letting down his teammates.”

► The trades commence

  • As the trade deadline quickly approaches, more and more teams will be trying to get their lineup ready for the Stanley Cup playoffs. On Tuesday morning, it was announced that the Canadiens had acquired right winger, Devante Smith-Pelly, for the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Jiri Sekac.
  • Canadiens’ general manager had this to say prior to the trade, “You look at our needs and I think he fits what we’re looking for moving forward. He’s a big body with a right shot who goes to the hard areas and to the net. We’re giving up a really good young hockey player too, so there’s a price to pay to get what we want. That was the case for Jiri this time and we wish him the best. Time will tell, but we’ll see where we’re at moving forward.”
  • The two players have very different styles of play as Sekac uses speed whereas Smith-Pelly uses his body. They do however have a similar number of games played this season as well as points. Also their birthdays are just four days apart. Both players at just 22 years of age are more than eager to see what they can bring to their new teams.
  • Smith-Pelly told the media, “I talked to a couple of the guys – I spoke with Nate and Christian – but they’re playing tonight so we didn’t get into it too much. Obviously I know what Montreal is all about hockey-wise. A hockey market doesn’t get much better than that. That’s something I’m familiar with being from Toronto. I know it can get pretty nuts there but I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited.”

Update on injured Gonchar

  • Defenceman, Sergei Gonchar, has been out of the lineup since February 14th after receiving a hit from David Clarkson. Gonchar has had concussion-like symptoms since, until recently, he said they have disappeared.
  • He skated with the team on the 23rd, and joined their road trip this week, but has not yet been cleared to be reinserted into the lineup.
  • Youngster, Nathan Beaulieu, was paired with Gonchar until his injury and is happily awaiting his return, “We’re just fortunate that it was nothing serious. We took some precautions with him, but he’s a big part of our team and we can’t wait to have him back in the lineup.”

► Pacioretty recognized

  • American-native, Max Pacioretty’s, recent play has not gone unnoticed as he was named last week’s third star of the week by the NHL.
  • He was tied for first in the league last week with four goals and a +6 rating. Pacioretty has become a huge part of the Canadiens’ success as a powerful scoring forward.
  • You can find out who the other two stars are here.
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