NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2021

The Canadiens take a 3-2 series lead over the Golden Knights, Lou Lamoriello is the GM of the Year, Mathew Barzal fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens are one win away from advancing to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final after beating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 in Game 5 of their semifinal series. Nick Suzuki had a goal and two assists, Tyler Toffoli collected two helpers and Carey Price turned aside 26 shots for the win. Max Pacioretty tallied Vegas’ only goal. The Canadiens lead the series three games to two and can put it away Thursday in Game 6 on home ice.

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans on social media took to blaming Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for this loss. They also questioned head coach Peter DeBoer going with Fleury after Robin Lehner played well in Game 4. The problem, however, doesn’t lie with Fleury but with their offense.

Once again, the Canadiens did a fine job shutting down Vegas’ leading scorers. Pacioretty is the only member of the Golden Knights’ top-six forwards to score a goal against the Habs, while team captain Mark Stone is facing some criticism in the local media for failing to step up in this series.

The Golden Knights may be down but they proved in Game 4 they can battle back. However, they no longer have any margin of error. The Canadiens are playing like a team that believes it can win. Price’s goaltending and their defensive play have made the difference so far. If the Golden Knights don’t figure out a way to beat the Habs’ system on Thursday, they’ll be heading to the golf course by this weekend.

For the second straight year, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is the winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

NEWSDAY: Islanders center Mathew Barzal received a $5,000 fine by the NHL department of player safety for his cross-check of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta in Game 5 of their semifinal series.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning may have routed the Islanders in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead but they aren’t taking their opponent for granted heading into Game 6 tonight on Long Island.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles caught a big break when Barzal didn’t receive a suspension for that cross-check on Rutta. It would’ve been a blow to their chances of winning Game 6 to lose their top center.

VANCOUVER SUN: Henrik and Daniel Sedin are returning to the Canucks, this time as special advisors to general manager Jim Benning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll have to wait and see if the Sedins will have significant input into management decisions or if this is just window-dressing.

SPORTSNET: Referee Wes McCauley is not expected to work any remaining games in the semifinal. His last assignment was as a standby referee in Game 1 of the Lightning-Islanders series. He’s not believed to be injured and there is a possibility he’ll work a Stanley Cup Final game. Considered the consensus “best referee in the NHL,” his absence comes as the league faces growing criticism over the quality of officiating in this postseason, particularly in several semifinal games.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis medical examiner determined that Blues alumni Bob Plager died of a cardiac event prior to his SUV crashed in March. Plager spent 11 seasons with the Blues as a player and spent years with the organization following his playing career. He was 78 years old.

WGR 550: Former Buffalo Sabres star Rene Robert passed away yesterday after suffering a heart attack last week in Florida. He was 72 years old.

Robert spent 12 seasons with the Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Rockies from 1970-71 to 1981-82. His best seasons were with the Sabres (’71-’72 to ’78-’79) with Gilbert Perreault and Richard Martin on the fabled French Connection Line. He tallied 284 goals and 702 points in 744 career games, as well as 41 points in 50 playoff contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Robert’s family, friends, former teammates and the Sabres organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2020

The Canucks retire the numbers of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, David Pastrnak regains the lead in the NHL goal-scoring race, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks retired the numbers of future Hall-of-Famers Daniel and Henrik Sedin in a pre-game ceremony before going on to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Jacob Markstrom turned in a 49-save shutout while Brandon Sutter had a goal and two assists. With the win, the Canucks (69 points) widened their lead over the Edmonton Oilers atop the Pacific Division by three points. The Blackhawks (58 points) remain six points away from the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks retired the numbers of Daniel and Henrik Sedin on Wednesday (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cermony was a fitting tribute to the two greatest players in Canucks history.

David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick as the Boston Bruins rolled to a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. With 41 goals, Pastrnak regained the lead in the league goal-scoring race. The Bruins (82 points) opened a three-point lead atop the overall standings over the surging Tampa Bay Lightning, while the fading Canadiens remain seven points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division. Earlier in the day, the Habs also learned defenseman Shea Weber will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lengthy absence of their captain and top defenseman could be the final nail in the coffin for the Canadiens’ playoff hopes.

The Los Angeles Kings snapped a five-game losing skid by upsetting the Calgary Flames 5-3. Cal Petersen kicked out 35 shots while Anze Kopitar collected two assists. The Flames (64 points) cling to the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is doing well after suffering a cardiac incident during Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. He’s undergoing a battery of tests, but Armstrong said things are looking “very positive.” Medical staff used a defibrillator to revive Bouwmeester after he collapsed on the bench during the first period. The game was subsequently postponed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Bouwmeester for a speedy recovery.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets agreed to a multi-year contract extension with head coach Paul Maurice. Contract terms weren’t disclosed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maurice’s future with the Jets was in doubt after the club’s early exit from the 2019 playoffs and their slow start to this season. However, his efforts to keep the club competitive with a depleted defense corps convinced ownership he remains the right man for the job.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes are unsure of the timeline for goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s return. He was scheduled to return to action from a lower-body injury on Monday but reaggravated it during the morning skate.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers placed winger James Neal on injured reserve and recalled Tyler Benson from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders forward Casey Cizikas will miss three-to-four weeks with a leg laceration.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for slashing Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves on Tuesday.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed forward Pierre Engvall to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $1.25 million.

SPORTING NEWS: NBC Sports confirmed Jeremy Roenick will not return as their hockey analyst. Roenick was suspended in December for making inappropriate remarks about his co-workers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2019

Updates on the Bruins and Blues, Sedins inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, John Davidson takes over as Rangers president. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues Game 6 victory in the Western Conference Final generated their highest rating ever for a game on cable TV. Nielsen rating service reported 20.8 percent of homes with a television in the St. Louis market were tuned to that game. The Blues eliminated the San Jose Sharks in that contest to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970.

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins hope to combat their 11-day layoff between series with an intra-scrimmage game tonight at the TD Garden. The Bruins will face off against the Blues in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin were inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame (Photo via NHL.com).

  VANCOUVER SUN: Former Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin were inducted Wednesday into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for the two greatest players in Canucks history. This won’t be the only Hall of Fame they’ll be admitted into shortly. They’re certain to be first-ballot inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2021. 

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday formally introduced John Davidson as their new president.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers wonder how Davidson’s hiring will affect the Rangers’ rebuild. While he’ll have input, I expect he’ll stay out of general manager Jeff Gorton’s way. 

THE DETROIT NEWS:  Team Canada winger Anthony Mantha received a one-game suspension for a hit to the head of Team USA’s Colin White during Tuesday’s game between the two clubs at the IIHF World Championships.

There’s no update on the status of Team USA center Dylan Larkin, who took a shot directly to the groin area during that game. He’s still being evaluated and it’s uncertain if he’ll play in today’s game against Russia. Mantha and Larkin are teammates with the Detroit Red Wings.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Growing speculation out of Edmonton suggests Dave Tippett will become the next head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens home games for 2019-20 will start at 7 pm instead of 7:30 pm. Exceptions will be matinee games scheduled for special events.

ABC/FOX MONTANA: Former NHL goaltender Peter Budaj is the new assistant coach of the Montana State Bobcats men’s hockey team.

 










Sedins Overcame Years of Disrespect To Become Future Hall-of-Famers

Sedins Overcame Years of Disrespect To Become Future Hall-of-Famers

Long-time Vancouver Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin faced a considerable amount of criticism and abuse during their long NHL careers. (Photo via NHL.com)

The imminent retirement of Daniel and Henrik Sedin marks the end of an era for the Vancouver Canucks. The twins spent their entire 17-year NHL careers with the Canucks, becoming the greatest players in franchise history.

Since their announcement, the Sedins have been feted by the hockey media for their on-ice accomplishments, their charitable contributions away from the rink, and their gentlemanly conduct. Opposing players and coaches also expressed their respect of the twins.

It’s weird, though, hearing the word “respect” tied to the Sedins. They’ve certainly earned it, but most of the accolades glossed over just how much disrespect the twins were subjected to throughout their careers.

In his April 2nd tribute to the Sedins, Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre said, “It’s doubtful any two stars in NHL history have not only been criticized but ridiculed as much as the Sedins were.” Even this season, he noted, some local fans and reporters couldn’t seem to get rid of the duo fast enough.

The very attributes that made the twins so beloved among most Canucks followers and garnered so much praise as their careers wind down – their amazing skills and chemistry, their classy comportment, humility and professionalism – often made them targets for abuse.  Because they’re not aggressively physical and didn’t demonstrate any willingness to fight when challenged by lesser-talented foes, they were labeled as “soft” players. 

The criticism began early. As a blogger for Nucks Misconduct observed in Feb. 2015, when the Sedins entered the NHL they were considered “too small”…”not fast enough, there were not tough enough, their game would not translate to North America.” Their physical play was “constantly criticized.”

In a Feb. 3, 2010 piece for ESPN.com touting Henrik as a Hart Trophy candidate, Pierre LeBrun observed how the twins were easily pushed around by opponents during the early years of their NHL development. It was around that time some of their more juvenile critics began referring to them as “the Sedin sisters.”

During the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, NBC analyst Mike Milbury singled out the Sedins, calling them “Thelma and Louise”. When asked about it, Henrik compared the taunt to something out of kindergarten while Daniel said he and his brother didn’t worry about such comments.

In a Dec. 2011 interview with WGN Radio in Chicago, then-Blackhawks center Dave Bolland referred to the Sedins as “sisters” numerous times. He suggested they might sleep in bunk beds, adding, “We’d be sure not to let them on our team.”

In a Nov.1 2013 report covering the announcement of the Sedins’ four-year contract extensions, the Toronto’s Sun’s Mike Zeisberger cited then-Canucks head coach John Tortorella lashing out at the twins’ critics.

“It pisses me off, the reputation that’s still out there”, said Tortorella. “It’s so undeserving and so disrespectful.” He went on to praise their work ethic, especially “underneath the hash marks in the tough areas”. He also pointed out how hard they played along the boards and how well they protected the puck.

Tortorella’s comments did little to dispel that reputation. During a Feb. 2015 interview with a Dallas radio station, Dallas Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin laughed along with the hosts’ sophomoric mockery of the Sedins. “They look funny, they look weird”, said Benn, while Seguin reportedly called them “odd as shit”. Benn subsequently apologized, as did Stars president Jim Lites. 

In a Jan. 20, 2017 interview with Vancouver’s TSN 1040, then-NBC Sports hockey writer Mike Halford noted the aging Sedins still weren’t receiving the respect they deserved. He suggested it could be because they were the face of a team that, during its glory years at the turn of this decade, was among the most despised in the league.

Halford felt that was unfair to the Sedins, speculating there would be a lot of soul-searching among pundits when the twins retired. Judging by the plaudits they’re receiving of late, it appears the contemplation has begun.

This isn’t to imply that the Sedins were precious little snowflakes who never should’ve been challenged or subjected to a critical word. Over the years, many great NHL players faced their fair share of silly name-calling and trash-talking. However, the disrespect the Sedins encountered seemed more strident and enduring. 

Perhaps, as Halford suggested, it’s because they were the twin stars of a once-dominant and reviled Canucks club. The Sedins, however, had little to do with it. Yes, they did at times draw penalties by diving, though they were no worse at it than several of their contemporaries. Besides, it was physical players and agitators such as Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows and Maxime Lapierre who were largely responsible for the club’s reputation back then. 

Maybe it’s because the Sedins are from Sweden, a source of puzzling derision for some North American players, fans and pundits dating back to the mid-1970s, when Toronto Maple Leafs Hall-of-Fame defenseman Borje Salming was targeted as a “Chicken Swede”

Perhaps it’s their low-key personalities. Nothing ever seemed to really bother them. Opposing players would get in their faces with taunts, threats, punches and high sticks and the twins simply wouldn’t engage. In a sport that still prides itself on its rough-and-tumble image, the Sedins’ unwillingness to take part in such antics cast them into a sometimes harsh spotlight.

Maybe it’s because they’re almost inseparable identical twins who share an uncanny on-ice chemistry that baffles their critics. Or perhaps it’s jealousy. After all, any team would be lucky to have a player as talented as one of the Sedins. Having two perhaps seemed a little unfair for some Canucks’ opponents. The rise of social media over the past decade also seemed to fan the flames of spite.

Whatever the reason behind the years of crude taunts and cheap shots, the Sedins rose above it all with a class and dignity deserving of respect and admiration. They took their lumps and kept playing at a high level. They never lost sight of the fact that the purpose of hockey is outscoring your opponent. For 17 seasons, few players did it better or with more consistency than Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

The Sedins will never get their names on the Stanley Cup as players. Their places in hockey history, however, will be forever enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, perhaps as early as their first year of eligibility in 2021.

 











NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2018

Latest on the Canadiens, Canucks and Jets plus an update on John Tavares in your NHL rumor mill.

LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens could continue fielding calls about left wing Max Pacioretty up to the trade deadline but there’s no certainty they’ll move him. It depends upon whether a team will step up with an offer that includes a young center as part of the package. Otherwise, they could retain him and look at reaching a decision on his future in the offseason. Pacioretty is eligible in July 2019 for UFA status.

LeBrun also reports it’s possible the Canadiens could attempt to re-sign pending UFA center Tomas Plekanec if they can get him re-signed for a cheap deal that makes sense. LeBrun still feels there’s a good chance Plekanec could be dealt by the deadline.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Listed the Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks as possible trade destinations for Max Pacioretty.

The Predators have some attractive prospects, such as KHL forward Eeli Tolvanen and Boston University defenseman Dante Fabbro. Sharks forward Tomas Hertl and young center Josh Norris could interest Habs general manager Marc Bergevin. The notion of acquiring sidelined Blues winger Robby Fabbri isn’t far-fetched as the Canadiens are out of playoff contention, plus the Blues also have offensive prospects such as Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou and Klim Kostin.

The Jets have promising youngsters such as Kyle Connor, Jack Roslovic, Chase De Leo, Nic Petan and Logan Stanley. Flames young forward Sam Bennett can skate at center but he’s been slow to develop. They also have prospects Jusso Valimaki and Rasmus Andersson in their system.

Kings prospects Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Kale Clague could be trade chips, but they’re unlikely to part with Gabriel Vilardi. The Ducks have promising youngsters in center Sam Steel and defenseman Jacob Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s possible one of those clubs could make a tempting pitch for Pacioretty at the trade deadline, I’ll be surprised if they actually do so. At this stage I think most of them are more interested in playoff rentals. If the Sharks go shopping it’ll be for a center, not a left wing, as Joe Thornton is currently out for at least several weeks with a knee injury. Pacioretty being eligible next summer for UFA status could make some teams leery of parting with assets for a player who could depart in 2019 via free agency.

As for Plekanec, maybe he stays on a one-year deal but it’ll have to be worth much less than his current $6 million cap hit. I can see him being moved at the trade deadline. 

If NY Islanders center John Tavares become a UFA this summer, the San Jose Sharks could be among the suitors (Photo via NHL Images)

UPDATE ON TAVARES

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox listed several factors that suggest center John Tavares could end up re-signing with the New York Islanders. Eight years of contract security could be comforting for a player who’s suffered two season-ending injuries in the past four seasons. Tavares has said contract talks are always open and “they’ve been great so far.” The transition toward a new arena in Belmont Park marks a return to the club’s geographical heart. Tavares has said that could factor into his decision.

The Isles captain has plenty of praise for head coach Doug Weight and for the club’s depth in promising young talent. Tavares also doesn’t seem bitter about seeing peers such as Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar winning multiple championships while he’s only gotten to the second round once.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Paul Gackle noted the rumors linking the San Jose Sharks to “Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens, Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres and Mike Hoffman of the Ottawa Senators in the rumor mill.” However, he believes the cost of acquiring one of those players could be a couple of their promising prospects, which could undermine the club’s efforts to transition toward a younger roster whilst remaining a contender in the Western Conference.

Gackle also suggests the Sharks might be better off waiting until this summer, when John Tavares might be available via free agency. If Tavares leaves the Islanders, Gackle suggests the Sharks are among the few clubs with sufficient salary-cap space to sign him to a long-term deal worth over $10 million per season while also giving him a viable shot at winning the Stanley Cup. He acknowledges, however, landing Tavares is no guarantee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the Islanders fail to reach the playoffs this year, that’s no certainty that Tavares will hit the open market. I think he’ll need assurances that the club is heading in the right direction and intends on building toward Cup contention. It could also come down to how many teams are in position to pay him top dollar while still giving him a shot at winning a championship. As Gackle notes, there aren’t many clubs in that position. Tavares’ status will remain a hot topic through late-June and will likely ramp up once the playoffs end. 

JETS COULD BE BUYERS

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Chevaldayoff will be a buyer leading up to the trade deadline. “He’s willing to move futures before this deadline if a deal makes sense. The Jets are playoff-bound and he wants to help them,” write LeBrun.

SPORTSNET: In the wake of news Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba will miss six-to-eight weeks with an ankle injury, Elliotte Friedman said the Jets feel they can get by without the sidelined blueliner. He notes Trouba will return later this season plus they also have Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers on the right side. Instead, he thinks they could look for a left-side blueliner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman points out, the Jets are a very good team this year and they know they’re a contender. I expect Cheveldayoff will make a move or two to improve his club’s chances for a deep playoff run. 

UPDATES ON THE CANUCKS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the intentions of Vancouver Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin might not be resolved until season’s end or perhaps the summer. The twins are eligible for unrestricted free agent status in July. Don’t expect them to be moved at the trade deadline as both carry no-movement clauses in their contracts.

Regarding pending UFA defenseman Erik Gudbranson, Bob McKenzie reports the Canucks’ first priority is try to negotiate a contract extension. Discussions are expected to pick up between the two sides over the next week or two. If they can’t work out a new deal, he could become a playoff rental at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sedins aren’t going anywhere at the trade deadline and I wouldn’t be surprised if they return next season on on-year, incentive-laden contracts. I agree with McKenzie that Gudbranson will become a playoff rental if he and the Canucks fail to work out a contract extension before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – January 23, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – January 23, 2018

Top goalie trade options plus the latest on the Canucks and Canadiens in your NHL rumor mill.

Could Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward become a trade target? (Photo via NHL Images)

THN’s LIST OF TOP GOALIE TRADE TARGETS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton lists Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Colorado’s Jonathan Bernier, Carolina’s Cam Ward, Buffalo’s Robin Lehner and Detroit’s Petr Mrazek as his top-five goaltending targets at the NHL trade deadline. All are pending free agents (Lehner and Mrazek will be restricted free agents), potentially making them trade fodder.

Clinton feels a team such as the New York Islanders might benefit from taking a shot at Raanta. Bernier would be a good pickup for clubs that miss out on Raanta. The Pittsburgh Penguins might benefit from an experienced hand such as Ward backing up starter Matt Murray. Lehner could be a good option for clubs seeking a long-term goaltending option. Mrazek’s recent improvement could bolster his trade value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the Coyotes’ struggles, I think they want to retain Raanta. Bernier’s doing a splendid job filling in for sidelined Avs starter Semyon Varlamov so he’s not going anywhere this season. I still have my doubts that the Sabres will move Lehner. 

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford knows Ward well from his days as the Hurricanes’ GM, but with the Canes fighting for a playoff berth I don’t see Ward hitting the trade block. Despite Mrazek’s improved performance, his previous inconsistent still makes him a risky acquisition. 

THE SEDINS FUTURE COULD AFFECT THE CANUCKS TRADE DEADLINE PLANS

SPORTSNET/THE VANCOUVER SUN: Iain MacIntyre and Ben Kuzma speculate the Vancouver Canucks’ plans for the Feb. 26 trade deadline could be affected by their plans for Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The twins are unrestricted free agents this summer but they’ve indicated their willingness to return with the Canucks for another season.

If they’re certain to return, it could make it easier to shop pending UFA winger winger Thomas Vanek for the best return possible. If, however, they’re going to retire, perhaps Canucks management will attempt to re-sign Vanek. Their possible retirement could also determine what they seek in return for defenseman Erik Gudbranson. One certainty is the Sedins won’t be moved at the trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sedins are willing to accept reasonable one-year contracts (say, $5 million each), it could be worthwhile having them back for a final season. Both are on pace for respectable 50-plus point performances this season and their experience and leadership could prove beneficial as the club continues to transition toward a younger roster. 

LATEST ON PACIORETTY AND PLEKANEC

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said he’s finding all the trade talk swirling about him frustrating. He insists he doesn’t want to be traded, adding that his family loves Montreal. 

LA PRESSE:  Alexis Belanger-Champagne reports long-time Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec is trying to ignore rumors he could be dealt by the trade deadline. While acknowledging his name is circulating in the rumor mill, he said he doesn’t know who wants him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty and Plekanec both lack no-trade protection and have no say over their trade status. Of the two, Plekanec seems the most likely trade candidate as he’s a UFA this summer, though his $6-million cap hit could be a stumbling block. If Pacioretty gets moved, that’s more likely to occur in the offseason when the Canadiens could get better offers from clubs flush with extra salary-cap dollars.