Update (audio): Captain misses practice

Saku Koivu was absent from practice in Verdun this morning.

The early word on Koivu is he’s having a treatment day but the club hasn’t said what he’s being treated for. He didn’t play during the OT last night.

Koivu missed most of training camp with a foot injury he sustained playing in Finland during the summer.

In the absence of No. 11, Christopher Higgins centred Alex Tanguay and Guillaume Latendresse this morning


Brisebois on Chicago’s firing of Denis Savard;
Laraque on fighting;
Carbo on Savard and players coming back.

•  •  •

Canadiens have sent Kyle Chipchura to the Bulldogs.

The team announcement:

Forward Kyle Chipchura has been assigned to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. He will report to Hamilton tonight.
Last season, the 22-year old centreman compiled 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) and 10 penalty minutes in 36 games with the Canadiens. He finished the 2007-08 campaign with Hamilton, posting 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) and serving 27 penalty minutes in 39 AHL contests.

Chipchura did not dress for any of the four games the Canadiens have played this season.


  1. HabsProf says:

    With Carbo, Muller, and Jarvis on the bench, does he really need to contact Skrudland?

    “Deserves” got nothin’ to do with it.

  2. HabsProf says:

    SF, huh? I’m in the same state, but a few hours south of you. I’m in Bakersfield.

    “Deserves” got nothin’ to do with it.

  3. T-roy West says:

    I don’t know Kyle personally but I got a chance to see him a few times this summer in St. Albert. His father Wayne and Diane are brother and sister and I’m friends with her husband Joe.

  4. twocents says:

    The nice thing is, with a D like that, we could realistically have several options between now and the trade deadline. Unlike big scoring centers, there are more than a handful top 4 D out there that teams, who start to realize now is not their time, might be willing to unload for prospects.

  5. Habs fan in SF says:

    yeah, and i have tix to that game in denver and i will be proudly wearing my habs jersey at the pepsi center. i’m a former montrealer who now lives in san francisco, and do you montrealers realize the following we have everywhere? i saw them in san jose last year, and my god, it was probably almost 50% habs jerseys there. every time i went to the pisser, it was every other person in a habs jersey yelling go habs go to me. also, i have a habs hoodie sweatshirt, and everytime i wear it anywhere in the city, i get at least one person, very under their breath, say go habs go .. almost like he doesn’t want to be totally in your face about it, but just sort of like so i notice it and it’s just one of those moments where i don’t have to stop and chat, but we both get it. i’m serious. any habs fans who haven’t lived outside of montreal, you can where the CH anywhere in the world, and it’s recognized. how many other sports teams can you say the same thing?

  6. usversusthem says:

    Man, the Avs ended up winning… but Biron, man, Biron. Biron let in 5 goals… and his GAA actually went down. I’m betting they start Niittymaki next game. On a side note, how depressing is it that this is the guy that sent us packing from the playoffs last year? Damn.

  7. lefreak says:

    you are crazy…a kost is good, but nowhere that good yet.

  8. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Let it be known throughout the league that the HABS have arrived for the first time since 1993 as a complete package.

    George took care of ‘business’ because of Heavy weight Thortons actions during the preseason against middle weight Begin…now that sends a message.

    no cheapshot will go unanswered…finally.

  9. HABZ24 says:

    sakus tuff he’ll be ready saturday to kik sum coyote azz.these habs are for real!! fast as greased lightning as talented as weve had in many many years.its awesome to watch .

  10. Ton says:

    I remember back in the 80’s Savard was not respected amongst the group of coaches. Bowman, Sather etc. He was often bypassed for Canada teams and once he had words with Sather during a game. Bowman is conventional, structured, keeps his composure and Savard is an emotional person. I can see Tallon on his way out Bowman family will be calling the shots in Chicago. That was the way to get Bowman to another team out of Detroit. Toronto (LOL) should have hired his son in place on Nuiendyke. Nonetheless Savard did a good job, I can’t see him being happy as a scout or embassodor on the team.

  11. bigbaehr says:

    Love how classy Laraque is. This is no goon who spouts off for no reason like Thornton. His answers are well thought out and respectful. People love him already in Montreal for his fighting skill but wait until he scores his first goal for the Habs. His post goal celebrations in Edmonton were those of a man who loves to play and loves to score and it’ll rub off on the rest of the team and the city.

  12. bidds55 says:

    If I’m Kyle Chipchura, right now I’m on the phone trying to get Brian Skrudland to teach me how to win a draw, every time. That, more than anything else could be Chips ticket back to Montreal. It’s the main reason he got sent down last season if I recall correctly, and it’s the one thing the Habs need him to be able to do. Skrudland made a career out of being able to win a clutch faceoff. 50% isn’t enough though. He’s gott be aiming for 60%+.

    For anyone interested, there is an awesome hockey card show at Centre Pierre Charbonneau in Montreal Oct 24, 25, 26 (the weekend of the HIO summit). I have no affiliation with it, but I’ll be there, as will Carey Price, Andrei & Sergei Kostitsyn and more!

  13. twocents says:

    There are certainly similarities between this team and that one. Good call. Like ’86 we also have a great group of veterans to compliment all this incredible youthful talent. Gainey/Koivu….Smith/Lang….Carbo/Pleks…Naslund/Kovalev…Dahlen/Tanguay…Nilan/Laraque… Ludwig/Komi…Robinson/Markov… Chelios/Hamrlik…

  14. HabsProf says:

    Colorado’s goaltending woes continue. They are leading the Flyers 3-2, but Philly has only 10 shots on goal. Raycroft between the pipes tonight.

    This made me wonder – how long until we play them? Crap, I don’t see them on our schedule until the 13th of February. I imagine things will get sorted out, one way or another, before then.

    “Deserves” got nothin’ to do with it.

  15. T-roy West says:

    Two Cents: I agree another top 4 D would be perfect. Shea Weber anyone? Kidding!Sort of, lol.

  16. T-roy West says:

    I was just thinking that mybe Radulov didn’t want to play anymore for Nashville and now that he might be forced back to the nhl then mybe we could trade for him without having to give up the farm. By the way, if Chipchura is playing in Feb. in Edmonton then you and I get to meet him after the game. But only if I get his aunt Diane and her husband tickets. I will definately get them tickets!

  17. georgesd says:

    Agreed twocents. Well said. Andrei reminds me of Lafleur. Shut in type for 2-3 years and then the explosion. Sergei, wow what he could become. As you say, the young ones are really special. Looks more and more like 86: remember Roy, Lemieux, Richer, among so many others. When the young ones decide to take over the team as they did 22 years ago, this could be the year for the 25th Cup. Carbo was there. He saw what happened and knows what and when and how to do it.

    Go Habs Go. Be well. Georges

  18. twocents says:

    Another top 4 D type would come in handy.

  19. twocents says:


    I see what your saying and I agree the similarity is there in those particular attributes. In a way, I am saying he has the potential to be more complete than Kovalev. He is starting his career with such great defensive awareness and I believe he shows a consistency already from shift to shift that Kovy doesn’t often bring. He is always moving. In the end, I think we agree that S. Kost. has the potential to be truly special, maybe we just diverge a bit on which mold he will be in. I kind of see a lot of Koivu at the beginning of his career in him. But looking at who our respective favourite players are, everything is explained. People always want to see their favourites in the young ones, hoping they can take their place in our hearts when the time comes. How about a cross between the two? What a killer package that would be, no?

  20. georgesd says:


    Maybe it was me. But I don’t remember. Age.

    The reason I see SK instead of AK as the next Kovy is his creativity, his vision. AK I see as a power forward with wonderful skills but basically one who will go to the net. SK, as he gets stronger and faster, will take his game to another level with a lot of help from Kovy himself. All BG needs to do is keep Kovy around for the next 3-4 years.

    Regards, GD

  21. twocents says:

    SK74 is the one playing really well in his own end, making some very imaginative passes, and generally creating space and offense for his linemates, the one who never seems to stop skating.

  22. twocents says:

    Sorry George, but someone beat you to the punch the other day and made that comparison… or wait a minute was that you?

    Anyway I see A Kost. as our next Kovy. I think little K. is a more complete player who will perform more consistently and be a defensive force in addition to his full complement of offensive tools. Big K will be the explosive one. As far as comparisons go, the great thing is that I don’t think we have had a winger, bring the whole package that Sergei does, in a very long time.

  23. RetroMikey says:

    Excellent audio, my daily morning dose while at work!
    Now the situation in Chicago has shocked me!
    Sorry, I don’t buy the dismissal of Denis Savard in Chicago.
    I smell a rat and he’s the GM, Dale Tallon!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  24. 420cups says:

    So true! I live in Toronto I know what ur saying

  25. Ian Cobb says:

    We have our team now and then some. We will stay pat, all the way to the finals.

  26. T-roy West says:

    Marian Gaborik out with a injury already. Good job we didn’t trade for him huh! On a side note what about going after Alexander Radulov?

  27. georgesd says:

    I know.

    I wonder if BG will want to pay the price should the Habs continue to outperform most of their rivals. Price is the key. He could do what Dryden and Roy did. If so, maybe Lang is enough for the push.

    I could be way off. That’s why I’m a Habs backer and not a GM or Coach.


  28. Vid says:

    Congestion at center maybe but even within our pool of prospects don’t we lack that rare, big center that supposedly every team in the NHL desires (ala Ryan Gezlaf)?

  29. georgesd says:

    You heard it here. Here’s our next Kovalev.

    Georges D.

  30. georgesd says:

    Congestion at center 2008 onward. It’s only going to get more difficult at the center position for 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines this and next season.

    Carbo has begun to reduce Koivu’s playing time down to 15 or so min per game. Key reason is our depth and wanting him to have some gas left in the tank come 2nd half and the playoffs.

    If Maxwell lives up to expectations he could be the one to replace Lang at the end of this season, i.e. for 09-10.

    And I really see the potential of Desharnais mixing it up on the 4th line should his development continue as it did last year in the ECHL. He won the scoring championship and both reg season and playoff MVP. He’s 2-3″ shorter than Tampa’s Martin St-Louis. Same weight. Same type of player. But he may not get the chance to be an offensive centerman should Maxwell live up to potential and Koivu resigns w the Habs.

    Chipchura has to have a really good season in Hamilton to prove his value. I don’t see Lapierre losing what he has gained so far. He is far more mature than he was last year. Just like Lats on the wing. He’s going to convince Carbo to play him regularly if he continues to perform on face-offs, killing penalties and gets in the face of his opponents.

    Also, the 1, 2, 3 lines will be more and more comparable in offensive potential. Not sure what Gainey will be tempted to change short term given the depth.

    Haven’t even looked at the wingers. D’Agostini, Pacioretty, Stewart, Trotter and Aubin. What a puzzle to solve. Can’t keep them all.

    And then the Ds next year: Yemelin, PK, McDonagh, Valentenko and especially Weber.

    Georges D.

  31. Woah_Dana says:

    When Sergei joined us last Decemeber, after only a few games I thought to myself.. with a little more ice/life experience in addition to when he gets a bit bigger, he is going to be a fierce force to reckon with. Well, I’m eating my words now because he’s already proven to be that not even a year later.

    I can’t wait to purchase an official SK74 jersey this weekend & wear it proud!

    GO HABS!

  32. HabsColor says:

    This season, sometimes, I cannot figure out who is AK27 and who is SK74 on the ice without seeing the Jersey number.

    This SK74 is amazing!!!

  33. T-roy West says:

    It really urks me when people say negative things about Chipchura. The guy is class to the max. I also don’t think he’s as slow as people think he is. I think he has better offensive ability then Lappierre and would never back down from a fight. He is also a very intelligent hockey player and I think would rarely get caught out of position and made to look stupid. A player with his qualities doesn’t come around often.

    Imagine people on this site saying that he is on the clock. If a player like him is on the clock then that’s pathetic, IMO. If right now I had to choose between keeping Latendresse or Chipchura, It would be Chip’s hands down because he offers more and Lats really is just a third line player if were really being honest. I mean come on, Max Pac can replace him. We “need” people like Chipchura on this team.

  34. showey47 says:

    I agree chips will be back, for one he is pretty much a carbo/gainey clone. What he lacks in foot speed he makes up with hockey sense, grit, character and i feel his offensive abilities are under rated since he has never played with quality linemates at the nhl level. I will be surprised if chipper stays in hamilton all year. i am still convinced gainey is shopping dandy hence why he is getting a regular shift on the 4th line. If dandy does not get traded he is a ufa after this season and will not be back, as is begin and t.k. I only think t.k. will get a contract offer, maybe. This will definatley open a roster spot next season for chipper since laps can also play wing.

  35. Tom S. says:

    I’m a big fan and will always stick up for Koivu, but maybe it’s because I was so into the game last night, honestly, I did not notice he wasn’t playing in the O.T.. That’s an indication we have depth!

  36. jody1974 says:

    Not really…He’s on his way to Mtl

    ” Drive is on for Cup # 25 “

  37. Diana says:

    Koivu missed practice and was at Starbucks on Crescent St. instead!!

  38. New says:

    I think we don’t know what the situation is with Chipchura. Really it depends on him. I think he is a helluva hockey player. I don’t think he will get a chance with the Habs. In Dallas, Philly, Calgary, NJ, places like that he’d do great. Too bad, because this man can be another Rod Brind’Amour. He didn’t look too happy last night during the team intros.

  39. Hoegarden says:

    G, Rude,
    A smart player like Chips will always find a way when speed is not your #1 asset. So, yes it would nice to see him find more speed in his game but the one issue he absolutely has to solve is faceoffs. Lapierre has managed to stay around the 50% mark and Chips will have to do the same. As Arnold would say, he’ll be back !

  40. Keith says:

    I thought that was brutal he was fired, but when they hired Scotty Bowman and Joel Quenneville I knew it was only a matter of time.

  41. Bugs says:

    Saku Koivu. Knocked for: getting old; not kicking Markov’s ass; having worn a blue jersey and for not winning the Cup…yet.
    Peace Out.
    Lord Bugs Potter, esq. Earl of Fluppitburg, Baron of Flopshlupshire and Knight of the Flannel Republic.

  42. G-Man says:

    Chips is excellent insurance against any center being injured. Sending him to Hamilton to stay game sharp is the way to motivate him to get faster and be quicker. The NHL is now played at breakneck speed, so you either jump in or be passed by someone who is quicker. I’m pulling for him because intelligent players are tough to find, and quiet grit is the best kind.

    2008/09 is the season of the Habs

  43. RudeMood19 says:

    Once Chipchura learns to skate much better, he’ll make the team. Right now, it’s looknig bleak for him, but he really needs to improve his skating ability. IMO, Gainey is probably disappointed with Chipchura’s development. I think Chips can be a helluva player, but as of right now, he’s got some work to do

  44. Morenz7 says:

    They’re 2-0 after two games against Manitoba. Looks like the owner’s fear they’d be hopeless was misplaced.


  45. Sakuismyhero says:


    -Celine Dion joins the Habs when Kovalev gets injured and takes his place on the 1st line, claiming that after she did Vegas, nothing seems difficult!!!

  46. The Teacher says:

    Savard fired!!!!

    Replaced by Quenneville…That’s a shocker to me…

  47. DMAN says:

    Does anyone know how Hamilton is doing? Has their season started?

  48. HabsFansince49 says:

    You would have to have absolutely not a grain of intelligence (I guess some are in that category), to even think, not to mention write, in this wonderful forum about trade, especially after last night’s first period demonstration. Let’s consider some other gems on the same level as the notion of trading ANYONE:
    – Bet $1 million on the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup in 4 straight.
    -Sundin returns in February to the Laffs and he wins the NHL scoring title
    – The Expos are resurrected and start in April 2009 in Montreal
    – The City of Montreal agrees to build a downtown hockey complex for the Boston Bruins.

    Any others?

  49. Taipei 101 says:

    Rumor: Koivu and Higgins to Wild for Gaborik? Reunite the Koivu brothers, trade out of conference?

    Just sayin’…

  50. Sakuismyhero says:

    yeah, no thanks.

  51. von says:

    Isn’t Gaborik going to be a UFA after this season? No thanks!!!
    “Obviously it would be great, but they don’t really hang conference titles in this rink. They raise Stanley Cup banners.” – Carey Price

  52. Rugger says:

    Why on earth would we even consider trading anybody at this point of the season? Including Dandy.

  53. lefreak says:

    are you crazy?

    trading 2 big pieces in the lineup for an injury prone ufa to be does not add up (no matter how good he might be cough*fragile*cough*cantplaydefense*cough*), even in bizarro land.

    you should write for the journal de montreal.

  54. Chorske says:

    Are you sharing a rumor or trying to start one?

    Wouldn’t make much sense. We’re scoring goals. We have yet to lose a game in regulation. And who would trade their captain during a centennial year?

    Lets save the “Koivu leaves MTL” rumours for June, when they’ll make more sense. 😉

  55. Taipei 101 says:

    Oh, trust me, I don’t want it either…but I’m just playing along with a buddy in Minny…he’s all over getting rid of Gaborik…and they like Higgins style there.

  56. Habs_008 says:

    There is NO WAY Gainey is going to trade our Captain in our 100th year unless he asks for it. I really like our team, it is too early to tinker with it. Gainey knows that. Even if he has talked with Minny, doesnt mean he is going to pull the triger. This is not nhl 09.

  57. DMAN says:

    What good is a superstar like Gaborik if he doesn’t play. Last year was the first season in his career where he got anywhere near 82 games. 50- 60 games is not good enough. It is too big of a risk to take at such an early point in the season.

  58. DMAN says:

    Higgins must be back. Atleast this way Chips will get a chance to play!

  59. joe the pro says:

    gaborik would be a monumental addition, he’s a young kovalev, but i wouldn’t trade both koivu and higgins, just one of them would be enough plus a 1st round pick

  60. DMAN says:

    in that case sign him in the offseason as a UFA if Gainey doesn’t plan on bringing back Kovalev. I would be for that, but I am not for moving important pieces for him this early in a very important season.

  61. Habs_008 says:

    Its way too early in the season to talk trade, Minny will wait until the deadline when the demand will be at a high. Gainey is too smart to make a move like this right now.

  62. HabsProf says:

    Sad to see Chips sent down, but it was an inevitability when Lang was signed. Lapierre was not about to cede his spot to Chips.

    He’s still only 22, but he either makes the team next year or he is gone.
    “Deserves” got nothin’ to do with it.

  63. Habs_008 says:

    I am guessing their will be a spot for Chips next year. We are going to lose a few players to free agency we will need him. He is going to be a good 3rd liner for us.

  64. Rugger says:

    I do not think he will be in the org. next year. I just do not think he has what it takes to win a position at center (face offs?). I can see him traded for a #2 around the trade deadline.

  65. vaya_ says:

    hmm, begin, kostopoulos and dandenault will be free agents at the end of this year… doesn’t anyone else believe chipchura could become a great shutdown forward once room opens up for him? i don’t see why we should trade him now and regret it later…

    that said, i can see him going in a trade at the deadline, since he’s a 1st rounder with potential and could grab a spot somewhere else. still, if his name doesn’t come up in trade talks at the deadline he’ll probably earn his spot next year along with bgl and lapierre, and one of either begin or kosto.

  66. Will Longlade says:

    Chipchura will get another opportunity to play for the Habs. Players with his grit & leadership skills are hard to come by. I don’t see the Habs trading him away anytime soon.

  67. georgesd says:

    Chips is a good player. If he had started training camp the way he ended it, he might still be with the team.

    As it stands, Lapierre brings a lot more to the team at the present moment. He’s winning his face-offs and playing with a lot of grit and energy.

    I think Chipchura needs to work on his speed. Montreal’s game is all about speed. Lapierre, Bégin, Dandenault, Kostopoulos. On another team, say Vancouver, he probably wouldn’t be so slow. This past summer would have been a good time for him to improve on his speed. Like Lats. I don’t think he got the message. Lats did.

    Now, he has to win back his stature with the team back in Hamilton. It’s a huge challenge. Maybe an injury, maybe a trade, maybe good playing time in Hamilton.

    No matter how he cuts it, he has to get back to his strengths: work ethic, intensity, intelligent play, leadership especially. This isn’t the farm team of a mediocre NHL team. This is probably the best farm team/system in all of hockey.

    He’s up against a guy like Desharnais. A scorer who could eventually find himself with the Habs much like a guy like Guy Carbonneau did way back. Carbo was the best ‘offensive’ player in the QMJHL at the time. He fought for the only available position on the Habs, i.e. defensive specialist.

    Desharnais could beat him to it. Time will tell.

    Georges D.

    I believe he’s got the challenge of a career.

  68. 24 Cups says:

    georgesd – well said, best post of the day. Habs are very talented up front and the fact this kid can’t crack the lineup is an indication of that harsh reality. It’s not over for him yet but he is on the clock. In the best interests of the team and the player, I hope he makes it with the Habs in the not too distant future.

    Going for the Brass Ring – 25 Cups in 100 Years

  69. georgesd says:

    24 Cups I appreciate your comment v. m. Georges D.

  70. HabsProf says:

    I really believe he could be a solid 3rd line center. He is known for heady, two-way play. And, in junior at least (I don’t know about the AHL), he was a good faceoff man.

    Let’s see, a decent sized two-way centre with good faceoff skills known for leadership. I still think he can be strong contributor if he steps up. But it will probably not be until next year.

    The one problem with the names you mentioned is that none of them play centre for us. Think he’ll make it as a winger to start?

    “Deserves” got nothin’ to do with it.

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