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. adam76 says:

    Highest ratings in 30 years and growth in every key demographic.  

  2. Slovak says:

    I thought I was making a joke finally about my only topic here but clearly was’t good enough :))

  3. 24moreCups says:

    I agree that when Markov is on the ice with our team he is a huge addtion and can make a difference but I also sorta agree with some posters who think that his “best” years might slowly be comming to a end.

    He also had 2 big injuries this season and I don’t think he fully recoverd from his first injury before he got his second season ended injury.(since he also came back earlier from his first injury then expected)

    Plus we have P.K who is a young talented player with right handed shot who can play the point on the PP, and who I think can one day be our new Markov type player. He still has much to learn but I see a bright future for him.

    Also hopefully Weber can turn out to be another talented D man for us.

  4. punkster says:

    Shame on me! How could I have missed those gems? I sincerely apologize for my obvious negligence.

    As for committment, yes. Hawks in 5.

    Now to the most important item in your comment. Anka wrote a tremendous number of great hits for so many artists but the one that will always remain number one in in my heart was his very own hit, Diana. Enjoy.


  5. SeriousFan09 says:

    I’d say 2008 was a brilliant year for defencemen and 2009 impresses me as well despite it being so early. Six players made the NHL and several more are already looking they’ll get in for next season. 


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  6. HFX-HabFan says:

    Man that draft year was sweet.  Erik Johnson and Jordan Staal don’t look as good compared to the next two picks (Toews and Backstrom).  Others in the first round off the top of my head?  Okposo, Little, Kessel, Brassard, Mueller, Frolik, Bernier, and of course Giroux.  It’s unfortunate that we won’t have a lot to show for what will go down as one of the best draft classes (though I doubt anything tops ’03).

  7. andrewberkshire says:

    Agreed, but Jordon isn’t.

  8. SeriousFan09 says:

    So he was drafted 2nd overall, would anyone who doesn’t have a brain injury not choose Toews or Backstrom over him right now? He got drafted 2nd overall because he’s the brother of Eric Staal, he’s not a Franchise player certainly. He does not have the scoring touch nor the playmaking ability that makes him a good choice for a centre for Montreal, that leaves his selling point as being ‘the big centre’ and being able to do the penalty kill, excuse me if I have higher expectations for trading Markov than that.

    Markov’s had a bad year, but he’s still a very poised, intelligent defencemen with an excellent ability to read the play, play the tough minutes and a brilliant first-pass ability. His PP skills are needed and I want him mentoring P.K. Subban, a skating defencemen himself to learn from a top-ranked veteran is not a bad idea. We can’t just dump Markov, pick up a big centre who doesn’t have real scoring ability and than put the fate of the defence on Subban’s back. You want your Championship HH, you don’t throw away a Top-10  NHL defencemen for a marginal 2nd-line centre. Markov and Subban would be great, why mess around with that? Stop letting the height blind you and examine the skill, which isn’t what you seem to think it is.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  9. andrewberkshire says:

    He was drafted 2nd overall because the Penguins scouting that year was utter crap. Don’t throw up drafting position unless you think Price should have started in all the playoff games this year. Draft position means nothing. Markov isn’t getting on in years, he’s in his prime for christ sake. 31 isn’t old. If Markov is ever traded it’ll be next year at the deadline and it’ll be for a hell of a lot more than a checking line center who can’t win faceoffs.

  10. HardHabits says:

    Eric Staal is worth Markov hands down.

  11. JD_ says:

    Hold on there, Punkster Dave.

    I’ve culled the following from some of my posts last year:

    “…there’ll be a wholesale player purge…”  – JD, HI/O

    “…there’ll be the signing of a few huge Cap (incredibly enough, I also capitalized it) hits…” – JD, HI/O

    “…there’ll even be a deep playoff run…” – JD, HI/O

    What can I tell you? It’s all there.

    By the way, I have Chicago on the line: They want to know if you’ve committed.

    As for Markov-Staal, I am reminded of this Paul Anka hit:

    Havin’ my baby
    What a lovely way of sayin’
    How much you love me
    Havin’ my baby
    What a lovely way of sayin’
    What you’re thinkin’ of me
    I can see it, face is glowin’
    I can see in your eyes
    I’m happy you know it

  12. HardHabits says:

    Staal was drafted 2nd over-all. He’s higher up the depth chart for a centre then the Habs have had for years and he’s big. Markov is getting on in years and is going to have a hard time coming back from both a severed tendon and torn ACL in the same season. He wasn’t great at the Olympics either. I think the post Markov era is approaching. Anyways no way in hell Pittsburgh would make that trade.

    If Markov didn’t have both those injuries it would be closer or maybe advantage Markov but to say that the trade isn’t good for the Habs is ludicrous.

  13. kempie says:

    Markov for Staal? Jordan Staal? Tell me this is a joke. I wouldn’t trade 79 for the whole Staal family.

  14. ooder says:

    Staal is a third line center on most teams.

    he’s big but not very good.

    maybe a second line center but not more then that.

    while markov is a legitimate number 1 d man


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

  15. HardHabits says:

    will ruin Montreal

    I love my city too. The jazz fest might be a nice tourist attraction but for me it’s a summer thing to do like walking down the street. 

  16. kempie says:

    Ya I know all that but it’s tough to ignore that he’s a UFA. Man I would have loved to have him a few years ago.

  17. Chris says:

    He turns 38 this coming season and has chronic back issues.  So while that 25 goal season looks awfully nice, the age and the fact that he has missed 66 games over the last 3 seasons is worrisome.

  18. 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.  🙂

  19. punkster says:

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



  20. Muckbringer says:

    we all love this team, chill

  21. 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…

  22. Muckbringer says:

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


  23. andrewberkshire says:

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

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. HardHabits says:

    I would make that trade in a heart-beat.

  27. 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.

  28. andrewberkshire says:

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

  29. 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.


  30. 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.

  31. 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.


  32. 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.

  33. 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…

  34. 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? 😉


  35. 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.

  36. 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…

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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”

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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

  44. dpthehabsfan says:

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

  45. 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.”

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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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