Postcard from camp

Louis Leblanc at Canadiens development camp on Tuesday.
Pierre Obendrauf, Gazette

As befits a Harvard man, Louis Leblanc will devote some of his summer to thinking.

The Canadiens’ first draft choice in 2009 has completed his freshman year at great Ivy League university. Leblanc must weigh options that include:

• Returning to the Crimson for a sophomore season

• Playing in the Q, where his rights belong to Chicoutimi

• Turning pro and likely spending a season with the Hamilton Bulldogs

Scrummed at Day 1 of the Canadiens development camp, the highest-drafted player on hand would not commit himself to one course of action or another.

Leblanc, who turned 19 in January, said he would consider pros and cons before deciding what would be best for his development.

His stall neighbour – and former USHL teammate – was more definitive.

“I’m the best right winger in Camp,” Danny Kristo crowed, hastily adding “because there are six centres, five left wings and I’m the only right wing here.”


Chalk up another first-round bust.

David Fischer, the
Canadiens’ top draft choice in 2006 (20th overall, two spots ahead of of
Claude Giroux) has not been invited to camp.

The Canadiens have
until Aug. 15 to sign the University of Minnesota defenceman … or not.

team has released Dman Nicklas Torp, their sixth-round draft choice
(163rd overall) in 2007 and Jason Missiaen, a beanpole goaltender picked
in the fourth round (118) of the 2008 draft.

•  •  •

Russians aren’t coming, the Russians aren’t coming,

Canadiens PR
guy Dom Saillant says “let’s put it this way: it’s more complicated to
get them here than others.”

•  •  •


Fortier schooled Gabriel Dumont.

Also impressive: Louis Leblanc
on Michael Cichy. And Danny Cristo on Tanner House (who edges Hunter
Bishop for Best Name at Camp).

•  •  •

Worst thing about
coming to Brossard:

On the Champlain Bridge approach, the giant
TekSavvy billboard featuring the smiling face of Georges Laraque.

•  •

Guy Boucher is attending to family matters and will not be
at development camp until Thursday.

General Manager Pierre
Gauthier will be here on Friday.

•  •  •

Players are
available at 5 p.m.

Safe bet Louis Leblanc will attract the
biggest scrum.

•  •  •

Congrats to good guy Marc De Foy,
locked out Journal de Montrèal beat man, who has won the Elmer Ferguson
Award and election to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

When asked which
cap he’d wear to the HoF ceremony, De Foy said “RueFrontenac, hostie!”


  1. Chris says:

    I’m patient…my ranting and ravings last summer were primarily about what I thought was coming over the next 2-3 years.  I’m just saving all my rantings and ravings for THIS summer for the week leading into free agency.

    Until then, I’m going to be kicking back with you and enjoying the wild and crazy speculation.  :)

  2. punkster says:

    Bob Newhart. “To be or not to be — that is the gazorninplat”.



  3. Muckbringer says:

    we all love this team, chill

  4. Muckbringer says:

    “It’s a good question, but right now I just want to go on vacation and put aside hockey and not think about it.”

    jaro without gill…

  5. Muckbringer says:

    i wish the chips would just fall already…how long has it been, like 2 weeks?


  6. andrewberkshire says:

    And then the team would tank, so it’s a win/win for you.

  7. HardHabits says:

    Staal is a 3rd line centre after Crosby and Malkin. Gomez or Plex would be number 4 on that list. Gimme a break. Markov is no slouch but Staal is younger and has an amazing upside. I can’t believe you think it’s stupid.

    Pittsburgh needs wingers which makes that trade unlikely, not to mention that they probably see Staal as having more value over Markov, even as good as Markov is.

    That would be a good trade IMO.

  8. habs03 says:

    Totally agree,teams like Wash and Pitts have the wiggle room to take a gamble on picks, when Wash drafted Mike Green, they used Det pick to draft him at the end of the 1st round

  9. HardHabits says:

    I would make that trade in a heart-beat.

  10. HardHabits says:

    The biggest glaring non-call emanating from these pages after pouring over every possible line combination, at least as far as the commentariat was concerned,  was that no-one, not ever, not even as a hint did someone conjur up the Kovalev-Koivu-Tanguay trio, which for it’s brief period from inception to its end as a victim of Tanguay’s refusal to play hurt, was the hottest line in the NHL.

    Which disproves the theory about millions of monkeys, keyboards and the works of Shakespeare.

  11. andrewberkshire says:

    Well that doesn’t really alter my point. There are still people around the league who value Higgins as a player.

  12. Bill J says:

    He got Mono just after he got drafted, messed up his development very badly, lost all kinds of muscle and ultimately was never the same since from what I gather.


  13. andrewberkshire says:

    Staal is not worth Markov. Not in a million years. You’re talking about trading a top 5-10 defenseman in the entire league for maybe a top 60 center. That’s insanity. Add in that the most sought after type of player is a puck moving defenseman. If Markov was being dangled there would be bids from at least 18 teams, and we would be getting a hell of a lot more than Jordan Staal.

  14. Bill J says:

    Man all your doing is making me wish Jaro is traded.  Just so you follow him to his new team’s internet blog site.

    You are by far worse then ANY Price fan – hands down!

    You went from being the Cheerleader of the Off-season (For Jaro of course) to competing for biggest d**che on the site.

    Why don’t you find a Jaro Facebook group and you can talk ALL day about your homeboy.

    Here, we are sorry to bore you, but we like to talk about the TEAM – not just one player who doesn’t score goals.


  15. SeriousFan09 says:

    If I was PIT I would draft him in a second, a top scoring winger to play with either Malkin or Crosby? I’ll take that in the draft with my teens pick with the lack of good wingers in the organization. DET loves a reclamation project and WSH, I think they wouldn’t mind inviting a Russian kid to play with the Great 8. I suspect Kabanov will go before MTL would have a chance at him.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  16. joeybarrie says:

    Maybe Markov for Staal if Crosby or Malkin was a toss in… Otherwise, this would be a hugely lopsided trade. Markov is worth twice if not three times more than Staal. In fact Markov has more points per season and he is on Defense. And about his play in the playoffs, he has 5 points in 11 games, and Makov has 4 points in 4 games…….

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  17. punkster says:

    Hey there Oo-man. This certainly isn’t the most most off-the-wall suggestion. I mean we haven’t heard from Habs-Professor yet. He’s bound to weigh in with a doozy or two before the July 1 madness.

    I’m enjoying the wild and crazy speculation again this year. If you go back to last year’s post season rantings, ravings, predictions and recommendations you’ll read quite a few outrageous ones. Funny though, not one poster considered the possibility of a wholesale player purge, the signing of a few huge Cap hits or even a deep playoff run. But then, we’re all experts here and we have learned so much over the past season haven’t we? ;)


  18. SeriousFan09 says:

    Big centre and big scoring centre aren’t the same thing, I don’t see the points production capability in him to make him worth giving up Andrei Markov, whose point production drives the team at times.

    Playoff time, fine he plays tough but again, scoring counts but 3G, 2A at -4, Pleks had better than that in the playoffs over the first two rounds and shut down Crosby. I don’t recall Staal shutting down our top forward, Cammalleri.

    We won a playoff series without Markov, but his not being around is why we got knocked down early in the Conf. Finals because we lacked a stable blueline that could control the play and execute on the PP. Subban stepped up in a huge way for the 2nd round, but his inexperience showed against PHI and that’s the issue, he doesn’t have that NHL experience Markov can draw on and get through as easily. Subban can be great, but he could greatly benefit from learning from a great defencemen.

    Not sure about Hamhuis, adding him I don’t think would make our defence better than what we’d get from Markov and losing the last chunk of our old leadership core for the guy doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t think he could run the PP and do all the things Markov could do and be a mentor to Subban. I have a feeling he’ll be traded on draft day so NSH can move up in the draft order or acquire a scoring forward.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  19. joeybarrie says:

    I haven’t read below, so I don’t know the story, but I have to tell you of all the dumb things I have heard on here, trading Markov for Jordan Staal is the absolute dumbest.  I mean really really dumb.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  20. habs03 says:

    Habs have until Aug 15th to sign him, If we offer him a contract and he refuses which I’m hoping for, I think we get a  2nd round pick. But I think he is turning out to be a failed prospect, but the only bright side about that pick is we had the 16th pick but traded down to 20 and got a 2rd round pick, which we took Mathieu Carle with.

  21. NoTinFoilCups says:

    5’11” and 168lbs. With those numbers he’ll have to be very good to ever make it to the NHL as a defenceman.

  22. habs03 says:

    One of my fav players, ya I know he is dirty, but man its hockey, its a  rough sport. I would take Pronger on our team any day, he has a mean strike. To add to what he said, when asked what he thought about facing such a big guy like Byfuglien, he replied by saying “look at my credentials”

  23. diehardhab says:

    You definitely bring up some good points but consider this:

    • Adding staal would solve a problem we have had for over 10 years. A big centreman.
    • No he isnt the bigtime scorer like his brother but come playoff time man he is awesome. he scared the bejezus out of me this past series.
    • You seem very reluctant to trade markov and i understand that cause this is arguably the best player we have but dont forget we just won a playoff series without him in the lineup.
    • Trading for staal would mean bye bye to plex, and that would free up some room to add a dman to mentor subban. Think someone like Dan Hamhuis. quietly solid in nashville this year and might not be signed cause of the glut of defensemen they already possess 

    Anyways those are just some thoughts to ponder

    You de

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  24. SeriousFan09 says:

    I just point to our post lock-out record without Markov and ask “WHY?”

    Is either team in the Stanley Cup Final not sporting at least one Top 10 NHL defencemen? Was any team aside from ours not have at least 1 elite defencemen and at least 1 other name defencemen on the active roster for the Conference Finals?

    Markov is the team’s best player and he’s worth way more than the guy who got drafted #2 because of Eric Staal’s stats. Dumping Markov and leaving it up to Subban to be our MVP defencemen is frankly insane, J. Staal can’t do half of what Markov does in contributions.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  25. SeriousFan09 says:

    Or sign Plekanec to a good deal, keep him for now and trade him when Leblanc is ready to join the team and get something back for him, in the meantime he keeps playing for Montreal in his current role while another team in need of a quality centre picks him up.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  26. habs4later says:

    Pronger is a real douchebag! I can’t stabd him. hope someone like Byfuglien will bash in his skull.

    listen to what the douchebag(Pronger) said:

    After the game, Pronger was asked about shooting the towel at Eager.

    “I don’t know, did I?,” answered Pronger. “Wow. You’re intuitive. Good for you. Next.”

    Reporters then asked what took place in the verbal exchange.

    “I don’t speak that language, whatever he was speaking,” said Pronger. “I couldn’t hear him.”

    Where’s the puck, Pronger was asked.

    “It’s in the garbage,” Pronger replied. “Where it belongs.”

    He was then asked if he would sell the pucks on eBay.

    “I don’t know. Apparently, it got him upset. So I guess it worked, didn’t it? It’s too bad. I guess little things amuse little minds

  27. dpthehabsfan says:

    So what happened with David Fischer? What’s the scoop?

  28. ooder says:

    the markov for staal trade people talk about here is the dumbest thing i have ever heard of.

    a top defensemen who quarterbacks one of the best PP’s in the league, controls the flow of a game, shuts downt he best players and also is good for 50+ points a season

    for a tall third line center


    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  29. Exit716 says:

    So Montreal took him anyways.


  30. PeterStone says:

    yup, read that book. David Fischer … Not Draftable was the words stamped next to his name by many scouts.

  31. SeriousFan09 says:

    Why should we let the Pens rip us off? Markov, Top 5 or 10 NHL defencemen depending upon who you ask, Staal not a Top 20 Centre outside of his agent, close family and Pens fans, got drafted at #2 because of his brother’s name.

    Not a natural scorer nor does he have playmaker’s vision, I don’t care how good of a penalty killer he is, he doesn’t have the scoring assets of a centre to deliver what the team would require from him. Markov is needed to direct the power play, eat ice time, lead the defence and most importantly for next year, mentor P.K. Subban, the next great skating defencemen of Montreal should be instructed by the best we have now.

    We acquire Staal, we get a 2nd team PP guy whose only flirtation with 30 goals was when he played next to Evgeni Malkin and a great PK man. We lose Markov, we lose our PP and our record goes right below .500 as we all wonder what the hell went wrong when we let our best defencemen go and let it all fall on the head of P.K. Subban to be only our top blueliner. Trying to make it by with one top-ranked defencemen is why the team has such a **** record when Markov isn’t around. Not to mention Subban isn’t fully ready for the responsiblity and shouldn’t have to be.


    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  32. habs03 says:

    Exactly, I also think he’ll be gone by pick 27 but whatever team that drafts him is either going to be thought of as being genius or having missed another one..

  33. HardHabits says:

    When you live in Montreal you can talk. Seriously. I pass by the Bell Centre almost everyday. Talk to me about my city’s team some more and tell me what and how we should think.

  34. diehardhab says:

    If gonchar doesnt resign with the pens maybe we can pull a markov for staal?

    The torch be yours to hold it high!

  35. Mad Habber says:

    Kabanov’s attitude aren’t as bad as the seem. My understanding was he left Russia to play for Moncton (to show NHL teams he wanted to play in the NHL) then left Moncton, because he knew playing in the CHL meant not playing for the Russia WJC squad (which he got left off of anyway).

    Last I heard he was saying “Run to North America” to Russian prospects. I don’t know if he would be there at 27, I think he’ll be gone sooner, but if he is and there aren’t any more or equally skilled/less risk guys, then why wouldn’t they take him. Only so we can hear how they passed on him for Sheahan who is going to be a really good checking liner..

  36. Habsforlife 1959 says:

    Who is going to be signed in the off-season is the biggest issue with the Habs? I hope management comes forward soon and let Habs fans know what direction this team is heading for 2011. A big centre is a must that will give this team a much needed boost to the other top 5 forwards. A block buster trade could benefit the way Habs might deal in acquiring the right guy. Who will be the first to be traded? Who will be the first to be signed?

  37. slapshot777 says:

    Try reading it the right way instead for a change. He said,

    “I’m the best right winger in Camp,” Danny Kristo crowed, hastily adding “because there are six centres, five left wings and I’m the only right wing here.”

    Dany Kristo, will be okay. Right now the Habs have bigger decisions to attend to.



    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  38. habs03 says:

    To add, on just how tricky the draft is, I’ve been reading about prospect Kiril Kabanov who plays with Moncton  Wildcats, came from Russia to play juniors, great skill, size 6’3. He would be one of the top prospect but most likely will fall due to attitude problem, I doubt he will be still there at 27, but what if we were picking 15ish, would you draft him or not. If drafted he could be the next A.Kost, if not could be the next missed one. It so easy to look at things in so many years later.

  39. habs03 says:

    To everyone that calling for the firing Trimmins and so forth. Our prospect depth has only increased since his arrival, I really don’t care if he goes or not, but you can’t fire someone unless you have someone better to replace him, and for most of us fans, our knowledge of scouts isn’t that best, so I hope the people in charge hire the right people for the right jobs. And I’m so sick of people talking about 2003 and so forth. It happens to every team, we were not the only team that passed on Carter, Richards, Giroux, etc, I wouldn’t go as far as saying drafting is just lucky because it takes a lot of hard work and judge of early talent, but every team hits home runs with picks and strikes out with others, ex Flyers are actually rated the 28th team in prospect ranking, go figure with picks of Richards, Carter and Giroux. We have missed on picks and have hit home runs also, Kristo was a go to player on the U.S. Junior team. Fan favorite P.K. was a drafted 43th of the 2nd round, just in the 2nd round there were 5 D-man taken before him, thats 5 D-men in picks 31-42, I guess those scout should be fired too.

  40. ooder says:

    imo drafting players hasn’t been the biggest weakness of the organization.

    it’s been player development and the fact that MTL is a really intense place to play for a young player


    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  41. ooder says:

    oohh.. haha this guy has a sense of humour


    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  42. Mad Habber says:

    He is the only RW prospect there, therefore he is the best & the worst. lol…

  43. Mad Habber says:

    Ever read “Future Greats and Heart Breaks” by Gary Joyce. It’s interesting as he talks about that draft, Columbus let him sit in on there draft prep and they had him as a none draft along with alot of other teams (according to him).

    I’m not critizing the scouting staff however, they’ve missed on quite a few prospects but they could be worse. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that the Canadiens are one of the teams with the most drafted prospects (second I think to Colorado) in the league. Not all of them are playing for the Habs of course.

    Development has been the big let down as far as I’m concerned..

  44. Mad Habber says:

    While I hope for the best with LeBlanc, but there is nothing like rushing the guy. How many times has that happened over the past couple of years. I’d rather he went back to college or preferable played in the Q.

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Postcard from camp

Playing soccer in the sunshine behind the Sportplex 4-Glaces: Tomas Plekanec, Roman Hamrlik, Mike Komisarek.

And the parking lot is full already.

•  •  •

Lines to watch: Plekanec with the Kostitsyn brothers, Robert Lang centring Alex Kovalev and Guillaume Latendresse.

Also Kyle Chipchura, who’s trying to win a job, with Gregory Stewart and Tom Kostopoulos.

An interesting defence pairing on Team A: Pavel Valentenko and Yannick Weber.

•  •  •

First prediction of the season:

Plekanec will play with the Brothers K. Sergei and Andrei are great together, and if Pleks  can figure them out – as opposed to going nuts, like he did with Boris and Natasha two years ago – the line will flat-out fly.

I think Lang will centre the two Alexes, and Latendresse will play with Koivu and Higgins.

The fourth line, most nights, will be Bégin, Lapierre and Laraque. Kostopoulos and Chipchura in the pressbox. Dandenault dealt.

The defence pairings are set, with Brisebois as an extra.

So everything is set. Let’s start the season.

•  •  •

Alex Tanguay is the first number 13 since Billy Boucher in 1921-’22.

Notable 17’s preceding Georges Laraque: Jason Ward, Benoit Brunet, John LeClair, Craig Ludwig, Rod Langway, Murray Wilson, Larry Pleau, Phil Roberto.

Some number 20s before Robert Lang: Bryan Smolinski, Mike Johnson, Richard Zednik, Valeri Bure, Craig Conroy, Sylvain Turgeon, Jyrki Lumme, Mark Hunter, Cam Connor, Pete Mahovlick, Bob Berry, Dave Balon, Phil Goyette and the immortal P.J. Stock. 

Canadiens VP of communications Donald Beauchamp was in the press room telling us about Roberval.

The game against the Sabres will be played in an arena that seats 1,000. That’s fewer fans than are here watching the scrimmage today.

Canadiens Team A will fly out of Halifax Monday night after the game against Boston. They’ll have a morning skate – unsual during exhibition season – Tuesday in Roberval.

Fearless prediction: No one will be in school in Roberval that morning.

•  •  •

Beauchamp also said the team will announce its full slate of centennial activities on Wednesday afternoon.

Still to be confirmed: a game at Olympic Stadium in December, 2009.

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