NHL Canadian Corner – February 23, 2012.

Erik Karlsson breaks team record as Senators thump Capitals…Jaromir Jagr has advice for Oilers winger Ales Hemsky…Curtis Glencross could be close to returning to Flames lineup…Leafs goalie coach defends Reimer and Gustavsson…Canucks forward David Booth to play in hometown for first time as a pro as Canucks face Red Wings…Jets Alex Burmistrov on cusp of stardom…Not much optimism left this season for Canadiens.


Karlsson breaks a team record in win over Capitals.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Defenseman Erik Karlsson broke the Senators team record for assists (47) by a defenseman, as he helped his teammates crush the Washington Capitals 5-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is not only leading all NHL defensemen in scoring by a wide margin, he’s also ninth overall in league scoring.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jaromir Jagr believes a change of address could work wonders for his friend, and struggling Edmonton Oilers winger,  Ales Hemsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hemsky could indeed by changing addresses if he keeps insisting on a long-term extension with the Oilers.

CALGARY HERALD: Winger Curtis Glencross could soon return to the Flames lineup after being sidelined since mid-January with a knee injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames could certainly use his offense and grit as they battle for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs goalie coach Francois Allaire is sticking up for struggling charges James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some critics are blaming Allaire for the struggles of those two this season.

VANCOUVER SUN: Detroit native and Canucks forward David Booth will be playing professionally in his hometown for the first time tonight, as the Canucks face the Red Wings.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Young Jets forward Alex Burmistrov has made significant improvement this season and is on the cusp of NHL stardom.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: There are few reasons to be optimistic as the Canadiens season winds down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, it’s been a disappointing season for the Canadiens, but this could also provide this franchise with a much-needed shake-up, to spur it out of the mediocrity it’s been wallowing in for the past sixteen years. Fortunately, there is a good foundation (Carey Price, PK Subban, Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole,  Josh Gorges, Tomas Plekanec, David Desharnais, Lars Eller) upon which to rebuild, and some promising talent (Alexei Emelin, Louis Leblanc, Raphael Diaz) who could play big roles with the club in the future.


  1. Francois Allaire had great success with Patrick Roy and Jiggy but to me, he has had limited success with many others for the most part. Exactly just why that is remains a mystery.

    As Greg Millen of Leafs TV recently asked how come nobody is using Martin Brodeur’s style as a model to teach other goal tenders the game? I mean with 4 Vezina trophies, 5 Jennings trophies, 3 Stanley Cups, career shutout and wins leader who uses a hybrid style of both stand up and butterfly, Millen does make a good point.

  2. Hi Lyle, thx for the great site and coverage of all the hockey news, again. I too am a frustrated Habs fan, but why would you think the habs have been mediocre for 16 yrs? I know after the Roy trade and following near bankruptcy it sucked, but they had the best record in the east a few years ago, the ECF a couple years ago. I know those were a long time coming but those were solid hard working teams there. I don’t know, maybe I just don’t understand why it’s the “cool” thing to say the habs are pathetic and free falling from being relevant. One underachieving and injury plagued season after the lock out discounts all the hard work of those previous years? I don’t think most fans think so. Every away game has a noticeable amount of Canadiens sweaters in the crowd.
    I do agree that this season will trigger some sweeping changes and some are needed (Gomez, established respected coach, possible new GM, high end draft pick), but I don’t think many professional hockey analysts thought they would be in draft lottery position.
    The most massive reason for sitting where they are is lack of PP stud. Wiz filled a huge hole last year and was huge. Markov was expected to be back (cue laughs) and run the PP. IF the Canadiens PP was running at league average, or slightly better, you can be sure that they wouldn’t have blown as many leads as they have because teams would have been too far back. Probably would have meant atleast 5-6 more wins and a playoff spot.
    I’m not trying to vent here, just don’t know why ppl are discounting a few more than stellar seasons and playoffs because of the current season.
    The new direction is nice, size and skill, and hopefully they can add more at the draft table and July 1st.
    Again, sorry to vent a bit Lyle, I know your a solid hockey guy. I just think there have been some nice positives in the last 8 years that have made it fun to cheer the the Canadiens and it’s not all bad.

  3. SmielmaN: I think their record over the past 16 years speaks for itself. They’ve only had one season where they were among the league’s best teams (2007-08), and failed to build on the promise. I’ve acknowledged they’ve currently got some quality talent to build upon (and I think the signing of Cole last summer was one of the best free agent signings by the Habs in years), but this team has been spinning its wheels for too long. 2010’s march to the Eastern Conference Final was an aberration, riding a hot goalie to two upsets. The Canadiens have a good base of talent to build upon, but I’m not confident with the current management that they can get it done. I hope I’m proven wrong, but I doubt I will. As a Habs fan myself, I used to preach patience with this team, especially in the last decade when they began to rebuild with youth. Since Gainey’s panicky summer of 2009, I’m no longer confident in the management of this team.

  4. Yeah I hear ya. I just think, compared to many other teams, the last 10 years could have been a lot worse. We will see what molson does with the management team heading into next year. I also totally agree on Cole, I didn’t realize how good a player he was, i mean, I hated him cause he would kill the habs and got dirty, but it’s great he’s there to provide a solid example. I also like the core, just need another large scoring winger and a solid D man (Suter?). Like I said, it could be worse. At least there’s been some success in the last 10 years, but I hear your points. Hey, at least they are grabbing a solid draft position this year that we haven’t had since we got a large cowboy named Price. :)

  5. As a longtime Habs fan, I absolutely agree with the comments here. We should not accept 16 years of not being among the elite – we should be expecting excellence like Detroit, San Jose, Vancouver have shown over the last 10 years, and there’s no reason why it can’t happen in Montreal – great fans, lots of money and some really elite emerging talent. They need new management, new patience – and a #2 overall lottery pick wouldn’t hurt – that Grigorenko looks like the real deal, and these days elite draft picks are having big impact within 2 years after the draft.

    The team just has to make the right decisions at the deadline and this summer. My biggest concern right now is getting rid of Gauthier and getting Price and Subban under contract.

  6. Josh Gorges has quietly been a great player for the Habs this season. How he is a significant plus player on that team is astounding.

  7. Well I have a tendency to agree and disagree with both sides of the argument. There was a time that in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that I was very disheartened about the team. Then Gainey took over the team and gradually we began to climb back up the mountain. Then it seemed like Gainey lost his desire to improve the team and then he made the big change which I did not think was all that bad except for Gomez and even he looked like a good player until he actually got here. I Think Gainey lost his desire around the time of the death of his daughter, unfortunately that cause problems for our team but had Gainey been able to continue I believe that we would have continued to improve. You cannot discount the fact that Markov’s absence has made this a non playoff team. You also cannot discount the fact that poor decisions were made last summer as to what UFA we should resign. I have little doubt in my mind that with a better PP we would have a playoff position right now. Having said all that this is a chance for a new beginning, to trade away some veterans obtain some quality draft picks and move this organization back to where it belongs at the top of the pack. So although I believe that this team was much better on paper than it showed this year I also believe that it is time to take a step back in order to improve the entire organization from Management/coaching down to the overall depth in Hamilton.

  8. Great post Senet