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!”

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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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