Montreal Sheds More Long Term Salary, Sends Bourque to Anaheim for Allen

Just nine days after acquiring veteran Sergei Gonchar from Dallas to enhance their blueline, the Canadiens made another move to increase that depth even further. The Habs traded Rene Bourque, who was currently in the AHL, to Anaheim for Bryan Allen. Bourque had two assists in 13 games this year and posted a -9 rating. He cleared waivers, and played 4 games in Hamilton and got 4 points before being traded to Anaheim today. Allen had 1 points in 6 games this year and averaged 18 minutes of ice tome per night.

After the trades of Moen and Bourque, it makes you think that the cap is not going to rise significantly next season. With numerous young players to sign, the Habs have started shedding salary early, and maybe Marc Bergevin is ahead of the game by doing so, as teams like Chicago and Boston will have to do this again during the summer.

The acquisitions of Allen and Gonchar also shore up the Canadiens’ defense for the playoffs. Markov, Subban, Emelin, Gilbert, Beaulieu, Weaver, and Gonchar make up your main core, and Bryan Allen and Jarred Tinordi are there for injuries, which are bound to happen.

The trade also gives Rene Bourque another fresh start. After an outstanding playoffs, he continued his regular seasons struggles and finally, enough was enough. With Dany Heatley being injury prone and not producing, Bourque may get good shot on the Ducks.

Only time will tell how this trade will pan out. The immediate winner very well could be Anaheim if Bourque starts to play well again, but long term, Montreal wins this one. Cap space is becoming an issue for many good teams now-a-days, especially since there is a huge threat of it not rising this season.

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles @KMKTNF

Bad Blood Up North – Bruins Struggling Against Montreal

The dreadful 1-3 start for the Boston Bruins is slowly drifting behind them, as they climb the Eastern Conference standings. Bruins fans are no longer questioning if they will make they playoffs, but now, how far? It’s been three years since the Bruins hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup, and tension is rising as to if they will be able to do it again in the Claude Julien era. The Bruins thought they had another one in the lockout shortened 2013 season, however, four heart wrenching losses later to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Bruins found themselves scratching their heads and looking for answers yet again. Last year was no different. The presidents trophy team was flying high, sailing into the postseason, and after beating the Detroit Red Wings in five games in the opening round, excitement was drawing. But in came historic, cold-blooded rival, Montreal, and they were ready to put up a fight. Led by star defenseman PK Subban, the Habs marched into Boston, and silenced the big bad Bruins, and ending their season in seven.

Rather than finding answers to what went wrong in 2013, the Bruins raised even more questions. Why can’t they beat those pesky Habs? Well here’s why: For starters, Vezina winning, 56 million dollar man Tuukka Rask is 3-11-3 in his career against Montreal. Those head scratching numbers made the Bruins start to wonder if Rask was the man to lead the way and put their arch rivals down, so instead of starting Rask, they benched him for backup Niklas Svedberg when they went up to Canada to face the Habs on the 13th. The result, no better. Svedberg was dominated in a 5-1 loss, and the Bruins were outshot 34-22 and got worse as the game went on. But stats don’t tell us everything. If Rask can’t win, and Svedberg can’t win, there’s got to be a reason why the Bruins goaltenders can’t stop the Habs from putting the puck in the back of the net, and there is.

Lets flashback to the Bruins cup winning year of 2011, when the dominated Montreal. That Bruins team was known for its clutch scoring, physical presence, and defensive dominance. Despite allowing a late rocket by PK Subban to find the back of the net and tie game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the dying minutes, the Bruins found a way to pull through in overtime as Nathan Horton fired a rocket himself from the top of the circle to put a dagger in it. That same Bruins team dominated Montreal in every way shape and form earlier in the year in Boston, 7-0. That game included multiple fights including the ever so famous (and hilarious) glove dropper between Tim Thomas and Carey Price in which both goalies ended up getting a laugh out of it. It was clear that the 2011 team had an answer for any and every obstacle Montreal threw at them.

So what’s the difference between these two teams? For one, goal scoring. In the two match-ups this season, Boston has been out scored 11-5. They play intimidated, cautious, and far from anything that Bruins fans would call “Boston Hockey”. The Bruins also have almost no physical presence. In 2011, Montreal was the team that was cautious and intimidated, and rightfully so, because Boston responded to any threat with the “don’t poke the bear attitude” meaning they pick each other up when they were knocked down. Tuukka Rask also needs to take a page out of the book of Tim Thomas. Against Montreal, Rask is far from aggressive in the crease, and his numbers are noticeably poor because of it.

Montreal is a fast past, quality goal scoring team that feeds off of the energy the Bell Centre creates for them, and is a huge reason as to why they are first in the Atlantic Division. If Boston wants to go far, and achieve their dreams of hoisting another Stanley Cup, it’s almost certain that they will have to yet again, go through Montreal. The Bruins need to build character, be the intimidator, not the ones who are intimidated. They need a physical presence, a defense and goaltender that is willing to take risks and be aggressive. And they need to create more chances and opportunities to break the stone wall that is Carey Price. If not, they’re just going to be on the driving range, early, just like every other Cup hopeful.

Next matchup against Montreal is February 8th in Boston.

- Anthony, (@AMB__12)

Things are Looking Good in Calgary

Last season, the Calgary Flames started off good. They ended October at 5-5-2, good for 12 points in 12 games. But after that, the young Flames fell off, and ended up with the 4th pick in the draft where they took Sam Bennett out of Kingston. This year, they did the same thing, but even better. Through November, a week before Thanksgiving, the Flames are 11-6-2, with 24 points in 19 games. They sit 3rd in goals for, and 17th in goals against. Mark Giordano has emerged as one of the top defensemen in the league, a title which few gave him last season, and is sixth in the league in points with 21. His partner, TJ Brodie, also has 15 points. The addition of Jonas Hiller has undoubtedly helped this team, as has Johnny Gaudreau’s first full year, but will they be able to keep it up?

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Should Columbus Waive the White Flag?

This NHL season is almost 1/5th old, which is hard to believe. The dreaded Thanksgiving mark is approaching, a time in which GMs have stated that if you are not on the bubble for the playoff race, you don’t have a great shot at making it in April. For teams like Buffalo, Carolina and Florida this could be expected, but one team in particular sits at the bottom of the league, only ahead of the aforementioned Buffalo Sabres, and it is not what they were expecting. The Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Avalanche Struggles


The Avalanche are off to a rough start, but at the same time, Varlamov has been standing on his head 95% for the year and had a chance for the Vezina, after just losing to Rask last year. The Avs had a great year all around, players who no one knew had a great year, not one Avalanche player had a bad game, and every single night they came out to win and nothing less was taken. A loss to them last season was like a loss in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
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The Worst Post-2000 NHL Trades

Every year, teams make trades, primarily at the draft and trade deadline, that will decide the future of their teams. Sometimes, those moves could be costly, whether you are buyers, or you sellers. Most of the time they work out for both teams, or are at least near even, but other times, it becomes anything but that. This list just scratches the surface. It does not include (spoiler), the Luongo trade, the Giguere trade, or the Jagr trade among others.

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Bruins Update

There is no doubt that the Bruins are struggling to start off this year. With a 6-6 record, the Bruins are mathematically the eighth seed in the eastern conference as of now (which isn’t saying much considering they’ve only played 12 games). The B’s have already been plagued with injuries to three of their blue liners, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and Kevan Miller which will be no help in rebounding from this slow start.
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Power Rankings – 10/27/14

1. Anaheim Ducks: Despite being smacked around by the Sharks, the Ducks have started off great this year, behind Frederick Andersen who went 6-0-0. They’re tough and can score. Pretty good combo.

2. Los Angeles Kings: The champs two times in the last three years are right where we expect them to be, even without Slava Voynov. The line of Pearson-Carter-Toffoli has become one of the deadliest in all of the league.

3. Montreal Canadians: Montreal has rebounded well after being knocked out in the Conference Finals last year. Price has been great, and great two way play from forwards have helped them get to where they are.

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Early Season Penguins Roundup

It’s been seven games into the new season and Penguins fans have now been able to catch a glimpse at what the future for the pens might hold.

We have learned early that Christian Ehrhoff and Kris Letang are a great pairing, their style of play compliment each other nicely and they seem to have already built chemistry with each other and know where they are on the ice together.

Letang is entering the season with a lot of changes in his life, he’s coming off a stroke, he has a new coach and general manager, and he even cut his hair.
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All Four Lines Contributing to Isles’ Success

Although it’s only three games into the season, the Islanders look good, very good. The team is coming off three straight wins, one being admist the last home opener at Nassau Coliseum, a game driven by emotions, and a six-goal game at MSG vs the Rangers. The Islanders have found their new success over the start of this season with depth, not only on defense but up front as well. All four lines have been playing well and to their roles, combining to a great team effort.
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Leafs Turn Things Around vs Rangers

After a disappointing start to the season which saw the Leafs drop consecutive games to the Canadiens and Penguins, they seemed to regain their form against the defending Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers.

The season began very similarly to how it had ended last spring.  Outshot by a combined 73 to 52 in the first two games, it seemed that the Leafs were once again going to be the whipping boys of advanced stats like Corsi and Fenwick.
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Front Office Issues in Boston?

Every Bruins fan on the face of the earth remembers the date June 15th, 2011. On this date, the Bruins won game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks to win their first title in 39 years. That championship team was created by GM Peter Chiarelli, and since then he has gotten high praise by Bruins fans, and is regarded as one of the best GM’s in the league. Let’s stop this here and take a look at what Chiarelli has done over the past several years.
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