Updates on the Habs, Flames, Oilers, Jets & Senators.

Concerns over the Canadiens defense corps, Jay Bouwmeester expects to step into a leadership role, an update on the ankle injury of Oilers blueliner Ryan Whitney, Jets forward Bryan Little on moving from anonymity in Atlanta to celebrity in Winnipeg, and Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson believes he’s ready for a leadership role. 

MONTREAL CANADIENS.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Red Fisher considered the Canadiens hopes to win the Stanley Cup in 2012 are, at best, a long shot because of the major questions involving their defense. Fisher expressed concern over the ability of Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges to remain healthy following knee surgeries, though he suggested if they can stay healthy, the Habs could finish higher than sixth overall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They did play reasonably well last season with Markov and Gorges sidelined, but one has to wonder how much better they might’ve done had those two not missed most of last season to injury. Habs fans will be keeping their fingers crossed.

CALGARY FLAMES.

CALGARY SUN: Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun reported Flames blueliner James Bouwmeester expects to take over the role of the club’s top defenseman following Robyn Regehr’s trade to the Buffalo Sabres in June.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bouwmeester has been a bit of a whipping boy for the Flames woes over the past couple of seasons, so there’ll be considerably more attention upon his performance this season. 

EDMONTON OILERS.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples recently reported Oilers head coach Tom Renney said he’s optimistic defenseman Ryan Whitney will be healthy and ready to go in time for training camp. Whitney’s season was cut short last year to an ankle injury. Staple suggested without Whitney, the Oilers could expect to finish near the bottom end of the draft lottery once again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t disagree with Staples assessment. The Oilers need a healthy Whitney if they hope to move up in the standings.

WINNIPEG JETS.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen reports Jets center Bryan Little admitted he’s going to have to adjust to losing the anonymity he enjoyed in Atlanta for the celebrity he’s going to face in hockey-mad Winnipeg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll all have to adjust to it, and those who aren’t used to it should perhaps turn to teammates like Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien, who know what it’s like to play in a hockey-mad city.

OTTAWA SENATORS.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren reports young Swedish defenseman Erik Karlsson remembers how well he was treated by countryman Daniel Alfredsson when he first joined the Senators, and is willing to do the same for the club’s Swedish prospects, like David Rundblad, Andre Petersson, Robin Lehner and Mika Zibanejad.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good to see Karlsson willing to help his fellow countrymen, even though he’s not much older than they are and only has a handful of NHL seasons under his belt.

6 Comments

  1. Yemelin might be the sleeper to take off some of the pressure of Markov’s shoulders… Fisher is right saying that it still remains unknown how the two players will perform and how that performance will lift the team, but I would rather look at the Balance up front to state how the season will end, Price has been stellar without Markov and Gorges last year, and I do think he will be even better this year, my concerns are more to see if the Gomez, Gionta, Kostsityn, Eller and Deharnais will be factors in the balance.

  2. Whitney only had an ankle injury didn’t he? Was it more severe then we’ve been lead to believe? Yikes!!

  3. Its show and prove time for J-BO who is quickly becoming one of the most overrated and over paid players in the league.

  4. If Karlsson can have half of the class of Alfredsson, then the Sens have a gem on their hands.

  5. I would like to see Yemelin paired with Markov, and not just for what he can learn. His reputation is that he can bruise and may offer some protection from some of the wear and tear that Markov may need for a while in adjusting back. The adjustment period is high risk for injury, I think. Also, I’m happy to have them as the second pairing, and let Gill and Subban do what they did last year for a while. That really wasn’t such a bad option for us.

  6. The important thing for the Canadiens is to leave one, or both, of Markov and Gorges out of the lineup to start the year. Give them 10 extra games of training time so they don’t rush back. If they dont leave them out then put them in limited minutes to start. They are too valuable to have hurt for the playoffs again. I can’t help but think the Canadiens would have had a better fate with one,or both, of them in the line up. Yemelin may be a sleeper, but I’m not about to count on that. There seems to be a bit of negativity in some media sources regarding the Canadiens going into this year, but I’m not sure I understand why. The team is coming together under Martin and we will have a new powerplay/PK planner this year (and both areas needed some tinkering, and a Markov). Maybe im wearing my habs blinders but I think they are a good team, maybe not first in the east but perhaps better than 6th.