Archive for the ‘Montreal Canadiens’ Category

Hey, remember this guy?

Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Maybe this will refresh your memory…

(Photo courtesy of Kara Stabler)

Remember how he wouldn’t play in the NHL? Or probably even be effective at the AHL level? He’s too small. Has that stopped David Desharnais once?

He was undrafted, likely for that reason, but would go 126-248-374 in 199 games with Chicoutimi of the QMJHL.

And then he came to Cincinnati. Remember that? 29-77-106 in 68 games, 33 points in 22 playoff games, and I’m pretty sure a lot of hardware has his name on it from that year.

Then he  left us for the greener pastures of the American Hockey League, just as we expected any guy who’d throw up 106 points in the ECHL would, and in his first two years with the Bulldogs, the Little Engine Who Could had 136 points in 137 games. He broke the Bulldogs’ single-season point record in 2010. He was called up from Hamilton to play his first game with the Montreal Canadiens, rode in a limo from Hamilton to Pittsburgh for that game, and while he didn’t do much in his short stint with the Habs, it was proof of what we already knew: this kid was good.

This year started with another reassignment to Hamilton, and in his 35 games with the baby Habs, he put up 45 points. So long, Desharnais, the NHL has called for real this time. In eighteen games with the Canadiens this season, Desharnais has 5 goals and 6 assists. Last night against the Maple Leafs he showed poise, patience, and the experience of a man with more than 24 games of NHL experience.

Montreal can’t get enough of him. And honestly, we can’t blame them. We couldn’t either.

“Davey’s awesome,” confirmed Pouliot, who has played left wing alongside Desharnais since the speedy pivot was called up from Hamilton on New Year’s Eve. “When he first got called up he was so happy. He kept talking about how excited he was to be in the NHL and to be a Montreal Canadien and now he’s doing more than ever.”

“He’s a small player, but he never hesitates to go into high traffic areas. For sure he’s not going to play like [Milan] Lucic or a big guy like that, but he plays with no fear out there,” added [Habs head coach Jacques Martin]. “I have complete confidence that that’s the type of game David is going to bring for us.”

“It’s amazing. Sometimes I don’t even realize what’s happening,” explained the diminutive center with a grin. “At the same time, I have to keep performing well and I think I’m starting to hit my stride. I have confidence in myself. It’s a psychological thing I guess, but after I scored that first goal [on January 12] everything has gone well and I’ve just kept working and now here I am,” he marveled. “But the toughest part isn’t getting here; it’s staying here. I want to stay here and I’m going to work my [butt] off to make sure I do.”

— “Rave Reviews

He was told a few weeks ago to find a permanent place of residence. David Desharnais has, through blue collar hard work, through battling all night every night, earned his place in the NHL.

But he’ll never play in the NHL.

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– Although it was never a looming possibility, there is one more team to mark off the Chuck Watch map: Hamilton. The Canadiens have hired Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur to be the head and assistant coaches (respectively) of the Hamilton Bulldogs this fall. Cunneyworth was formerly the head coach of the Rochester Americans, who are still in search of a head coach. According to Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, things seem to be at a relative standstill on the Amerks side of things. The other two AHL openings remaining are Binghamton and Springfield.

– Per the Canadiens’ official page, four former Cyclones have re-signed one-year two-way deals: David Desharnais, Cedrick Desjardins, Ryan Russell, and JT Wyman. Wyman, 24, and Desharnais, 23, made their NHL debut with Montreal last season. Wyman, who saw limited action with the Cyclones in 2008-09 in an attempt to convert the winger to a defenseman, had a strong season for the Hamilton Bulldogs, earning himself a 3 game call up, and played his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Desharnais enjoyed a six game stint with the Habs, tallying an assist. He jumped immediately to the AHL after his outstanding 2008 season, putting together 58 and 78 point seasons back to back with Hamilton. His 78 points broke the Bulldogs’ single-season point record held by Jason Chimera. Desjardins and Russell have been limited to AHL duty, but have seen great success in their two seasons apiece. Desjardins, 24, the 2008 Kelly Cup MVP, shared the 2010 Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award with teammate Curtis Sanford, awarded to the goaltending tandem owning the lowest goals against average. Russell, 23, has scored 39 goals in 153 games in the last two years and was a combined +43. He scored the shorthanded overtime game winning goal for the Cyclones in game 5 of the American Conference finals to send them on to the Kelly Cup Finals where they would ultimately win in 6 games. According to Capgeek, all four will make league minimum at the NHL level, and between 60,000 and 65,000 with the Bulldogs.

The NHL trade dead line has come and gone and as expected it didn’t effect us very much, if at all. Here is what we know:

Montreal did not make a move with either Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak. That means the Cyclones’ goal tandem of Jeremy Smith and Robert Mayer will remain intact. I think that is good news for Cyclones fans. Smith and Mayer have had their growing pains, but have been maturing to the pro game quite well. I think the tandem, when combined with the stinginess of the Team’s defense, is quite capable of a playoff run.

The Canadien’s also sent Matt D’Agostini to St. Louis for Aaron Palushaj. This move shouldn’t have any impact on the Cyclones. D’Agostini has spent much of the season bouncing back and forth between Montreal and Hamilton with no trickle down effect on the Cyclones roster. So even though Pulushaj has been assigned to Hamilton there is no reason it will effect the rosters any differently.

– The Bulldogs have also received center Olivier Fortier, who was Montreal’s 3rd round pick in the 2007 draft. Fortier had been playing in the QMJHL up until this point so he is a new face to the mix. There is no word as of yet on whether this will effect the ‘Clones in anyway.

On the Nashville/Milwaukee side of things…

– The Preds didn’t make any major moves but they did acquire some depth. The picked up forwards Dustin Boyd from Calgary for a 4th round pick in the 2010 draft. This shouldn’t cause any player movement since Ryan Jones was claimed by Edmonton after being waived by the Preds. Nashville also acquired defenseman Denis Grebeshkov from Edmonton for a 2010 2nd round pick.

– The addition of Grebeshkov will likely mean the reassignment of a few D-men. The Preds have already assigned Alexander Sulzer and Cody Franson to the Admirals. The move makes Reid Cashman Milwaukee’s 8th defensemen and according to the guys over at the Admirals Short Shifts blog likely means Reid will be Cincy bound.

– In a message relayed from the Short Shift guys via twitter, Admirals forward Dave Scatchard is going to be returning to the line up very soon which would likely send Mark Van Guilder back to the Cyclones.

-Mike-

It’s been a while since our last Cyclones game/team oriented post, sorry for slacking off.

-Since our last post the Boys have rolled out a 9-3-0-0 record which is good enough for 2nd in the North Division and 3rd in the American Conference. The Cyclones currently lead Toledo Walleye by 1 point and trail the Kalamazoo K-wings by 1 point. The ‘Clones have one game in hand on Toledo and Kalamazoo has played one game less. That means tonight’s (1/13/10) game is pretty important.

-The Cyclones took 3 straight from Trenton but the 1st two  left a little to be desired. Sure a win is a win, but the Boys blew four 2 goal leads between the first 2 games allowing Trenton to force the game into a shootout. Luckily, once in the shootout Jeremy Smith came up large and Dustin Sproat was clutch and the Cyclones prevailed.  In the Sunday matinee, the Cyclones went with Robert Mayer between the pipes and he posted a shutout. The Cyclones also posted wins against Kalamazoo (2), Johnstown and Reading during the stretch. The losses came against Toledo and Wheeling (2).

-Speaking of Jeremy Smith, he was forced to carry the load for a few games in the absence of Robert Mayer who was on assignment in Hamilton and performed admirably for a rookie. This year Coach Weber is seemingly experimenting with some goalie strategy. We are familiar with his tendency to alternate goalies which was established in the first 2 seasons. The came last years train wreck between the pipes. This year it seems like Chuck is using a bit more strategy with his two young goalies. When they’re are both here Chuck has done everything from alternating them; rewarding a good game with another start; playing the hot hand; and now it’s been mentioned that he may even be starting his goalies based on their past performances against the opponent.

-Speaking of call-ups and reassignments, it’s been a revolving door around here the past few weeks. We’ve seen Mark Van Guilder come and go twice; Jason Josza and Hans Benson were both called up to the AHL and have since been returned. The Cyclones have received Ian McKenzie from Milwaukee. If I recall, Milwaukee was kind enough to return Reid Cashman to us for about a game before he was recalled again. Currently both Mike Mclean and Dustin Sproat are on assignment with the Admirals.

For the first time under Chuck Weber the Cyclones will be sending 2 to the ECHL All Star Game. Matt Pierce is currently 4th in rookie scoring and when you throw in his +14 rating (which is 11 better than rookie scoring leader Justin Donati, 3 better than 2nd placed Maxime Gratchev, 21 better than 3rd placed Maxime Tanguay and 11 better than 5th placed Pat Galivan) along with his lack of penalty minutes (8 on the season) , it really shows the impact he’s had for the Cyclones and is certainly All Star worthy. Jeremy Smith is putting in a solid performance for a rookie netminder and is sitting near the top of the leader board in several statistics. I think nods should be giving to Scott Reynolds (14g-18a-32pts +14) and Dustin Sproat (11g-17a-28pts +5) who are playing very well and should have been considered as well.

-The special teams are still a case for concern. The Power Play Unit is having trouble converting and is second to last in the league. The answer is not doing as the fans suggest when the yell “SHOOOOT!!” at every opportunity, but to stay with what they’re doing and to be patient. Unless you’re down by 1 with less than a minute to go there is no reason to rush and force things since it really makes no difference when you score on the PP. The Boys are getting chances they just aren’t finishing. The Penalty Kill has slipped to 5th in the league, which is still pretty good. The problem I see is it’s inconsistency. It seems that when they are playing well they will shut everyone down, but when they aren’t on top of it then it is almost as if a goal is eminent. The call ups of Sproat and McLean have probably effected the PK a bit since they were often the 2nd Unit forwards.

That’s all for now. I’ve got a few more topics rolling in my head which I hope to bring you over the All Star Break if not before.
-Mike-

Reports out of Montréal are that yet another Weber product — David Desharnais, 2007-08 Winner of All Things Shiny — has been recalled to the Canadiens. He’s the second one in as many days.

Wyman to Montreal

Posted: 2009/11/24 by Dannie in Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal Canadiens
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Unconfirmed reports out of Montreal point toward former Cyclone JT Wyman being recalled from the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. Wyman played 15 games under Chuck Weber last year in a pet-project attempt to convert the forward to defense. If Wyman cracks the lineup for Montreal (they play Columbus at 7:30pm tonight), he will make the second Weber-coached Cyclones product to make it to the National Hockey League (Greg Stewart, 2006-07, being the other).

Montreal and Nashville’s rookie camp rosters have finally hit the web, and quite a few familiar faces will be making their way to their respective clubs.

MONTREAL: Among the 29 players to hit the ice in Brossard, Quebec with the Habs on September 7th are former league MVP David Desharnais, 2008 American Conference-clinching goal scorer Ryan Russell, 2008 Kelly Cup MVP Cedrick Desjardins, and forward/defenseman JT Wyman. [Full roster here.] Other names of note: Dany Masse & Robert Mayer. Masse, 21, is a QMJHL graduate who had 110 points in 68 games with Drummondville last year, before an injury knocked him out of the postseason. He isn’t expected to spend much time in Cincinnati, but could see some action early on while making up for lost time after missing this summer’s Canadiens prospect camp. Mayer, 19, went 26-25-4 (.900, 3.25) with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. The way the Canadiens’ depth chart looks, if Halak is not moved before the season, he could factor to be the fifth goaltender in the system and could see action in Cincinnati.

NASHVILLE: The Predators open their rookie camp up on September 8th with quite a few familiar names — ’08 Cup winner Ryan Maki, ’09 playoff point-per-game man Ian McKenzie, 26-goal-scorer Mark Van Guilder, as well Mark Santorelli and defenseman Mark Matheson who saw limited action in Cincinnati. They travel to Duluth, GA to battle the Atlanta rookies on September 14 & 15. [Full roster here.] Notable names: Jeremy Smith and Chet Pickard. Mark Dekanich split time in net with Drew MacIntyre in Milwaukee, but with the departure of MacIntyre to Atlanta, it appears to be between Pickard and Smith to fight for the second spot, with the other seeing time in Cincinnati. Smith, 20, went 15-18-5 with Niagara and Plymouth of the OHL, while Pickard went 35-12-3 with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. Chances are, Smith will make an appearance in Cincinnati if Pickard’s success translates to the professional ranks.

–Dannielle