Headlines: Engqvist, Darche, Moen, CBA, Yakupov, Import Draft

Engqvist couldn't stick in the NHL (Bernard Brault, La Presse)

All Habs Headlines: Wednesday June 27, 2012

On this day in hockey history… In 1950, Newsy Lalonde, the player who scored the first goal in Montreal Canadiens franchise history, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, along with Joe Malone, Scotty Davidson, Mike Grant, “Si” Griffis, and Charles Drinkwater.  


Engqvist couldn’t stick in the NHL (Bernard Brault | La Presse)

 Engqvist signs in KHL: It was announced today that KHL club Atlant Mytishi has signed Habs forward Andreas Engqvist, as the large Swede will pursue his career overseas for at least next season.  Engqvist received a qualifying offer from the Canadiens on Monday, meaning that Montreal retains his NHL rights should he ever wish to return.  But he isn’t under contract with the Habs, so he will not use up one of the 50 allowed contracts per organization.  If we assume that all other restricted free agents will be signed, that puts the team at 40 contracted players as of now.

While it isn’t a big loss to the NHL roster, Engqvist was a valuable AHL player, and the Habs will likely look to add a veteran center to Hamilton to make up for his departure.

Read more: Atlant add forward from Montreal

► Darche done? Moen returning?: With July 1st’s free agent frenzy just four days away, it appears the Canadiens will not be making an offer to pending unrestricted free agent Mathieu Darche, who had hoped to be back with the team.  The 35-year old Montreal native wants to remain in the NHL for a few more years, but it is understandable for the Canadiens to seek some fresh blood for their fourth line after a poor season.

However, it is possible this report was premature, with the following Tweets appearing from Darche himself and Renaud Lavoie early this afternoon:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/matdarche52/status/218028895650328576″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/RenLavoieRDS/status/218032442949386240″]

Later in the day, it was revealed that indeed, Darche would be done, as the Canadiens had only a two-way contract to offer him, which he declined.

Meanwhile, negotiations with another pending UFA, Travis Moen, continue, and it is said the two sides are close.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/SNLouisJean/status/217963598121668608″]

With Ryan White inking a 1-year, $687,500 one-way deal yesterday, the Habs secured one piece of their fourth line, and we may see what new face will be joining him come Sunday afternoon.

Read more: Ca sent la fin pour Darche

CBA discussions to begin Friday: The NHL and NHLPA are to begin negotiations towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this Friday, following meetings held by the Players’ Association this week.  The Canadiens were represented by Scott Gomez and Mathieu Darche at these meetings, interesting when you consider that it’s possible neither is back with the club next season.  The PA announced the formation of a 31-member representation committee later in the day, which includes both Darche and Chris Campoli, along with many of the NHL’s ivy leaguers (George Parros, Kevin Westgarth, Dominic Moore…).

Also of note, PA executive director Donald Fehr indicated there will be no gag order on players during the negotiations, leaving them free to share their opinions publicly.  This is in contrast to the NHL, which doesn’t allow owners to comment on the situation.  Fehr also commented that he hopes the next NHL season will begin on schedule even if a new agreement hasn’t been reached.  That would complicate many issues, however, particularly with how teams would manage their salary cap before knowing what changes to its structure might lie ahead.

Read more: Talks on new NHL CBA to begin Friday in New York

CHL Import Draft: This morning, clubs across the Canadian Hockey League got to draft “import” players – most of whom were playing in Europe – to attempt to add to their rosters for the coming season.  The event wasn’t of particular interest for the Habs, since Sebastian Collberg is committed to returning to Frolunda for the coming season, having signed a 1-year deal with the Swedish club, and late round selection Erik Nystrom isn’t particularly coveted at this point, with little indication on his overseas intentions.

A pertinent point is the changing of CHL allegiances for Habs fans, who last year followed Shawinigan, Saint John, London, Vancouver, Tri-City, Saskatoon, and Drumondville with some extra interest.  This year, while there will still be Darren Dietz in Saskatoon (now joined by Dalton Thrower) and Olivier Archambault in Drumondville, the other clubs lose some luster, with Sarnia (Alex Galchenyuk), Kamloops (Tim Bozon), Chicoutimi (Charles Hudon), and Windsor (Brady Vail) deserving of attention instead.

Read more: Canadian Hockey League 2012 Import Draft

► Dangerous tweets:  Twitter is an effective social media.  For hockey fans it can sometimes provide a direct way to hear from players — there’s always great excitement when a new NHL player joins Twitter.  But as we discussed in April’s article titled “When Hockey Players Speak, Fans Listen” this communication without filters can be an opportunity for players to exploit young fans, for fans to exploit players and for a team’s brand to be tarnished.

As the first overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry draft, Nail Yakupov is enjoying his new-found celebrity particularly by engaging his fans on Twitter.

Read more: Nail Yakupov, flirtatious Twitter goofball: His greatest hits

But Yakupov experienced the dark side of Twitter when he was duped by a male posing as a female fan.

Read more: Nail Yakupov: his honeymoon with his female admirers turns sour (in French)

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