NHL Canadian Corner – February 28, 2013.

The Montreal Canadiens get their first win of the season over the Toronto Maple Leafs, plus the latest in Ryan Kesler, Nikolai Khabibulin, Matt Stajan, Robin Lehner and more.

Max Pacioretty (R) celebrates one of his goals against the Maple Leafs.

Max Pacioretty (R) celebrates one of his goals against the Maple Leafs.

LA PRESSE/TORONTO STAR: Max Pacioretty scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. It was the Habs first win of the season over their archrival.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though the game was tied at two after the second period, it wasn’t as close as the score suggested. The Canadiens dominated the Leafs throughout those periods, and blew the game open in the third.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Ryan Kesler will miss four-to-six weeks after suffering a broken bone in his foot back on February 15. He played six games with the injury before it was finally detected.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Another tough break (no pun intended) for Kesler, who had recently recovered from off -season surgeries.

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers potential problem in goal has been resolved for the time being, as Nikolai Khabibulin has been placed on IR for a nagging groin injury. Devan Dubnyk will see the bulk of the starts in goal for the foreseeable future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khabibulin had earned most of the recent starts for the Oilers, creating a “goaltending controversy”.

CALGARY SUN: Flames center Matt Stajan avoided a concussion after suffering a blow to the head from Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle in a recent game. Coyle will not be suspended for the hit.

OTTAWA SUN: Robin Lehner could sit against the Bruins on the one year anniversary of his shutout against them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner also hasn’t played a game yet this season, while Ben Bishop has played well replacing the injured Craig Anderson.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets are struggling at home this season.


  1. I know it was only one loss but last night the Leafs were out played and out manned the whole game. Nonis needs to get something brewing as the Kessel/ Bozak combination is not going to work long term. The Leafs head into March with a tough schedule facing tough customers for 10 of the 14 games playing the Bruins three times, the Sens twice, the Canes, the Pens twice, the Devils and the Lightning. Riemer will help if he can stay healthy and it will give more confidence to the blue line guys because right now they know Scrivens is going to give up an enormous amount of rebounds which makes them over play their D position everytime which usually causes them to end up out of position.

  2. As Lyle said, the win by the Habs over the Leafs was quite convincing and the Leafs are starting to fall back into some old habits that won’t serve them well going forward.

    Perhaps the time has come for a trade if one can be found as this lineup as is not likely to make it to the postseason.

  3. Not to hate on Bozak again but he was on the ice for all 5 goals against and was the direct cause of three of the goals. He is just not suited for the number one line and if the Leafs are going to keep kessel then they need to open up some ice for him by playing him with a guy like McLaren. Like I commented a few days ago try Grabo, Kessel and McLaren together for a few games. See what happens it can’t be any worse.

    • I agree with you about Bozak but if Kessel would even pretend to check it might not put so much emphasis on his line mates, and that includes the defensive pairings. He has got to be the weakest person to play against in the league. Yes, with the puck he can be a handfull but without it, it’s as though he couldn’t care less about engaging anyone.

      • Agree about Kessel but we are stuck with him and his minus rating, zero grit, and perimeter play until someone like the Ducks get stuck with a tough choice like what to do about Perry if he won’t sign and risk loosing him for nothing or trading him for picks and prospects while they try and do damage without him in the playoffs. I still say a Kessel for Perry trade would benefit both teams provided Perry won’t re-sign with the Ducks and the Leafs can ink him to a long term deal on a deadline trade. I don’t believe it would take anything more then Kessel because the Ducks are in a predicament and have limited options. If he won’t re-sign they loose him for nothing, If they trade him most teams will offer picks prospects and 2nd 3rd line guys and not offer a top goal scorer in return which hampers their playoff run. Leafs can offer a potential 50 goal scorer (centered by a big bodied Getlaf). Kessel is only 25yrs old in the prime of his carear signed for one more year at a reasonable rate and gives the Ducks a chance to replace the hole left by Perry.

  4. With Brown running around acting like some knuckle dragging Neandrathal asking whoever he came across, “do you wanna fight me,” and then after being laughed at by the Canadiens he takes a checking from behind penalty which hurt the Leafs.
    I believe the referee saw what he was trying to do and to make sure that he didn’t get the chance to start any unnecessary fireworks he handed him the game misconduct to go along with his five minute major.
    There is a time to fight, especially when it can turn momentum to your teams favour but the last three Leaf games I watched all Brown did during the first periods was try to get someone, anyone, to fight him. Coach’s know that all he wants to do is fight and try to take a player off with him for at least five minutes. Toronto can get by quite well with Brown in the penalty box but other teams might not want some of their players sitting for five or more.
    Old style ” Flyers” hockey might have worked during the 70’s/80’s but players soon catch on to what the goons are trying to do and learn to turn away and let the idiot’s temper get his team into penalty trouble.

    • Your whole comment hangs on to what most are calling a bad call. Good comment.

      • Bad call or not, if it wasn’t checking from behind it probably would have been something else the way that Brown was running around trying to start crap. The referees knew what happened when these teams played the last time and they wanted to make sure that they kept a lid on things. It was pretty easy for them to find the potential troublemaker and neutralize him. His less than intelligent actions cost his team.

        • Carlyle needs to start playing Franson and Fraser at least 20 minutes per game against other teams top line. They are both over +10 on their plus minus but get between 14 and 16 min per game. Carlyle needs to find out if these two are the real deal or not because by playing them limited time and not playing them against other teams best players he is just padding their stats for the off season where they both become RFA’s this summer and the Leafs will be saddled with paying them more then they are possibly worth. Let’s find out how good these two really are because the Leafs are going to be paying either way. Lets face it anything will be an improvement over Dion playing 28 min per game with his wopping minus 9 worst on the team. At least he’s improved over last years minus 10.

          • Once again I agree with you about the need to find out if Franson and Fraser can handle top line minutes. I have a feeling that they can and that would mean Carlyle could start subtracting minutes from Phaneuf.
            Last night Phaneuf was a step behind as well as showed a lack of strength against smaller players.
            It was all left up to Scrivens to hold the fort and he did a damn good job considering.

  5. Lehner is in net for the Sens tonight against Boston. One year anniversary of his shutout in Boston. Goal scored by Karlsson assisted by Spezza & Michalek. Well those 3 are not in the lineup tonight or anytime in the future. Michalek had a set back in practice today… so that’s that.

    As a Sens fan I hoping for a win… but as a realist I think their winning streak ends tonight against a healthy Bruins team… probably the best team in the East.

  6. bad luck and bad decisions continue to dog the Canucks who not only lost Kesler but also lost Volpatti on waivers to the Capitals. the explanation given for exposing Volpatti was that they had to have a roster spot for Pinizzotto who was coming off a groin pull suffered during the lockout and didn’t want to take a chance on exposing extra dmen Alberts or Barker. really? they lost a heart and soul guy who led the team in hits and fights because they didn’t want to risk exposing a guy in Barker who may NEVER play a game for Vancouver and cleared a roster spot for Pinizzotto, a guy who’s never played in an NHL game at 28 years of age. they’ve got a roster spot for David Booth who’s done nothing since arriving in Vancouver but cash a hefty $4.25 million paycheque per year, he got 16 goals last year but only has 103 over 7 seasons, totals that would’ve gotten him bought out on any other team. Volpatti was not only well liked by his teammates but his physical play bought them extra room whereas Booth can claim neither.