Canadian Corner – December 9, 2011.

Evander Kane picks up his offense at the right time…Canadiens blow another lead, this time to Canucks…Colby Armstrong returns to Leafs lineup…Oilers Andy Sutton suspended indefinitely…Flames stage comeback win over Avalanche…Senators blow lead to Devils.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Evander Kane is in the final season of his three-year entry-level deal, and he acknowledged the importance of having a strong performance in his contract year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s improvement is largely due to his continuing development as a player, as well as adjusting to the new coaching staff. Still, being in a contract year doesn’t hurt the motivation to pick up his production.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Canucks overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in a shootout.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Mike Boone of “Hockey Inside/Out” examines why the Canadiens have blown so many leads, as well as their poor home ice record this season. Head coach Jacques Martin chalks it up to the younger players in the lineup still learning their game at the NHL level, expecting things to improve as time goes on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not gonna sit well with impatient Habs fans, who aren’t impressed with their club’s sluggish performance this season. Those calling for Martin to be fired, or a management overhaul, aren’t likely to see their hopes fulfilled, at least not during this season. The front office rationale for the poor play is injuries to key players, combined with the inexperienced youth in their lineup, which means no major changes in the near future in the front office or behind the bench for the Canadiens.

Armstrong back from another injury.

TORONTO SUN: Colby Armstrong is hoping his return to the Leafs lineup will be for a much longer period. He’s been in and out of the lineup since last season due to injuries.

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton has been suspended indefinitely by the league (pending a hearing with league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan) for his leaping headshot on Carolina forward Alexei Ponikarovsky in a recent game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sutton already was suspended five games for an earlier incident this season, and could face 10 games for his latest infraction.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames scored three goals in the third period to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators blew a 3-0 lead and fell to the New Jersey Devils 5-4 in a shootout.




  1. At least Leaf fans can take time off from the rumour wagon after midnight tonight with Burkie’s Christmas trade talk freeze starting.
    Really nice to have Army back,expect the PK to improve with him on the ice.

  2. The problem with that analysis of the Canadiens is that it is not necessarily the young players who have been lettng the team down. True they have made mistakes but the play of Hal Gill, Brian Gionta and Mike Cammalleri is cause for concern.

  3. I had said this at the beginning of the season and was chastized: the Habs have the worst roster in the NHL. If it wastn for carey Price, this team woud be in last place. Switch golaies with Columbis and see where they end up. It really isnt Martin’s fault. What is worse, they have too many older players on the declining years of their careers signed to long-term deals…. in fact, they remind me of the Leafs from 4 years ago.

    It’s sad to see an important franchise not have any success. I lived in Montreal for several years and have a soft spot for them, and also understand their fans’s impatience…

    To top it all off, its not like they have a good group of young players coming up… Leblanc, Beaulieu, and Kristo are the only ones.. and none of them project to be a huge impact player (like Price or Subban).

    Sad, sad days ahead.

  4. Good to hear Armstrong is back. Sounds like he will be hobbled by that injury for quite sometime which could affect his play for the next few months after reading Lupul’s comments when he had the same injury.

  5. Agree with NikK that goaltending has been the saving grace of this franchise. As magical as the run deep into the playoffs a few years back was, it was again made possible by their goaltending (Halak) stopping 50 shots a night. Regardless, I think management saw that run as an assessment that they were much closer to having a Stanley Cup competitive team then they really were.

    Hockey is strange though. This team was able to push Boston last year to OT in game 7. There is some fight to this team come playoff time that I think separates them from many other more talented rosters. I’d never claim they had the worst roster in the league, although they do play like it on some nights.

  6. @bob totally agree I just did a quick look and reading your post made me look it up, kessel and lupul 67 points. Cammelari, gionta,plekanec, Gomez, Cole 76 points. Just some food for thought