Posted on 3 July 2015 | Comments OffMONTREAL – Much like fine wine, some things just get better and better with age. That’s certainly been the case with Andrei Markov. At 36 years old, the Russian defenseman will begin the second year of a three-year contract in 2015-16, which will also mark his 15th season in the NHL ranks, all spent with the Canadiens. Needless to say, he’d like the upcoming campaign to be as memorable as the last. On November 2, 2014, the veteran rearguard joined Doug Harvey in third place among the Canadiens' all-time point leaders on defense, before surpassing the Hall-of-Famer three days later by picking up an assist against the Buffalo Sabres. It’s improbable that Markov will take over second spot on the list next season, as the Russian still sits 80 points back of Guy Lapointe. Nevertheless, Markov has much to be proud of. He’s amassed 492 points in 846 career games, including 50 points in 2014-15 alone. At Markov’s age, racking up 50 points isn’t something you take for granted. Interestingly enough, it’s his third-highest point-haul since the start of his NHL career, having put up 58 points in 2007-08 and 64 points in 2008-09. This past season, 23 of Markov’s points came on plays in which P.K. Subban also factored in on the scoresheet, tops among any two defenders league-wide. Markov finished 11th in the league in points among defensemen last year, and only one player older than him, Mark Streit, finished inside the Top 10 in that category. Streit collected two more points than Markov to stand 10th in points. If the Canadiens’ No. 79 is a man of few words – even more so when asked to discuss his performance on any given night – his defense partner didn’t shy away from letting people know just how good Markov really is when he made team history last November. “Those accomplishments will have their place in the record books for a very long time. Being in the Top 3 as a defenseman on any list of leaders is a big achievement, especially with one of the most prestigious teams in professional sports. He’s special. I admire him,” shared Subban, who credits Markov with teaching him a lot over the years, while also praising his leadership, wisdom and incredible work ethic. “I’m trying to follow his lead as much as possible. I hope I can hit those same marks one day. He really wants to win. He really does. He has a passion for the game and he wants the team to have success. That’s one of the qualities that true leaders possess.” While Markov clearly enjoyed a stellar season, his comments at the Canadiens’ end-of-season media opportunity didn’t necessarily reflect that. “Am I satisfied? Yes and no,” offered Markov. “I trained all summer to get better for the season. I’m not looking for excuses right now. I probably need to play better, especially in the playoffs. I’m not happy with the way I played in the playoffs, but I can’t do anything about it now. I can only learn and get ready for next season.” One of four players sporting an “A” in 2014-15 – along with Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Subban – Markov has always been a quiet leader in the Canadiens’ dressing room, preferring to lead by example. While general manager Marc Bergevin is steadily spearheading a youth movement in Montreal, Markov will continue to be a good mentor for youngsters like Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn, just like he’s been for Subban for years. “We need to work harder,” stressed Markov. “We have a lot of young guys who can be better next season, and they will be. We have to stay positive and look forward. You always have to believe in your team. We’re headed in the right direction. We were good during the regular season, but not so much in the playoffs. That’s life. That’s sports. We’re looking forward and we’re going to work even harder. ” That being said, what do the Canadiens need to improve upon come October? “I think we need to improve in many areas. We need to get better offensively. We have to get better defensively,” concluded Markov. “You always have to keep improving.” That’s something Markov understands more so than most. Élise Robillard is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.
Posted on 3 July 2015 | Comments OffA veteran of the American daytime soap opera circuit, William deVry starred in Port Charles, All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful before joining the cast of General Hospital in 2013 and remaining a fixture on the medical drama ever since while portraying the role of Julian Jerome. A Montreal native, deVry fell in love with the CH long before making the move to Hollywood to pursue his acting career, watching the likes of Guy Lafleur and Larry Robinson don the bleu-blanc-rouge at the Forum. We caught up with the Canadian television actor and soap opera mainstay to learn more about his love for the CH. How long have you been a Habs fan? WILLIAM DEVRY: I was born in Montreal, but I lived in Mont St. Hilaire. We left for Africa when I was three and came back when I was six, so I’ve been a fan pretty much from the time we got back. That’s when I realized what hockey was. I think I was a bit too young before that to realize just how important the Canadiens were. If I’d been in Montreal earlier, I probably would have been a fan even sooner. When we got back from Africa, my dad started taking me to games. When I was 12, I started taking the bus out of Mont St. Hilaire to Longueuil, and then from Longueuil I’d take the metro to Atwater to go see games at the Montreal Forum. After the game, I’d wait to get players’ autographs on my hockey cards. I’m stunned at how many I’ve got signed. It was a lot of fun back then. Who were some of the players you idolized growing up? WD: Obviously, Guy Lafleur is first and foremost from my time. He was just a really nice guy. He was really good to the kids who would wait outside the rink. He stood out there and signed all the autographs. He never seemed to be in a rush. Larry Robinson and Mats Naslund would sign autographs, too. I just have a ton of them. Even the guys that were in Montreal for a year, I have signed cards of theirs also. Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Bobby Smith, Ryan Walter, Stephane Richer. The list keeps going. They were all important in their own right. Did seeing players like Guy Lafleur and Larry Robinson take the time to sign autographs for fans have an impact on you later in life as an actor with a fan base of his own? WD: Absolutely. I’ll always remember all those guys who took the time to meet with fans. Nowadays, I pretty much make time for anybody. I try to schedule my time knowing that that’s going to happen. I do my best to spend as much time with fans and sign as many autographs as I can. Autographs aren’t necessarily the popular thing right now, though. It seems to be more about pictures and selfies. Regardless, it leaves an impression on people. Even if it’s 30 seconds, people really enjoy it. Did you play hockey as a kid? WD: I kind of grew up in a split-parent household for a while there. I played a lot of baseball in the summer, but come winter we’d be out there playing hockey every day on the Richelieu River. As soon as I got back from Africa, I put on a pair of skates. It’s a shame that I never played organized hockey until I was old enough to drive. But, like anyone growing up near a body of water, in the winter time, you’re there until you can’t see the puck anymore at night. When I see coverage of the Winter Classic and they talk about players growing up in Canada skating on rivers, lakes, ponds and outdoor rinks, I definitely identify with that. What are some of your best memories watching the Canadiens over the years? WD: When you’re young, you might not realize at the time that this is a moment that I need to remember. As you get older, you start remembering things and you make it a habit of remembering those moments like the ’86 Cup and the ’93 Cup. For me, though, it was just those moments with the players after the game. That seemed to be, more than anything, what I remember the most, as opposed to any particular games. And, I went to a lot of games. Like hockey players, actors have to put in their fair share of prep work. Do you think you have anything in common with the guys out there on the ice in that regard? WD: I think a lot of actors who played sports as youths got the work ethic from good coaches along the way. The coach who instilled that work ethic on me was my volleyball coach Robert Bonenberg out of Richelieu Valley Regional High School. We finished every year 30-0. We just dominated for five years, every year I was there. But, there was no lack of discipline, either. I remember one time I skipped practice to go see a Canadiens game. I ended up sitting on the bench for the first half of a tournament and I was one of the star players. (Laughs) You had to work hard. You had to follow the rules, and a commitment was a commitment. That’s kind of how I went into things with acting. There was no turning back. There was nothing to fall back on. How often do you get to watch Canadiens games given your busy and demanding schedule? WD: I pretty much get to watch every game out here in California. I often can’t watch them live, though, because they generally start at 4 p.m. If I’m not home, I’m always recording them. I have to stay off of social media while they’re on, because that’s a real pain. Even my phone knows that I check the Canadiens’ results, so it sends me the score sometimes. I’m like – “How do you make this stop?” So, I just turn my phone off until after I watch the game. (Laughs) I don’t think there are very many games that I’ve missed. We were in Italy last year, and unfortunately I was sitting in the Four Seasons Hotel at four o’clock in the morning, Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, watching on my computer when the New York Rangers won in May 2014. I just sort of shut off my computer, closed the MacBook Pro, crawled into bed and went to sleep. What are some of the most unusual places you’ve watched a Canadiens game? WD: I’ve watched them all over the world. I’ve watched them in France, Belgium and Italy. I’ve pretty much caught them wherever I’ve gone. If it’s available somehow, I’ll definitely watch it. I even took a picture in front of the Vatican during the series against the Rangers. I was on my knees praying in a Canadiens T-shirt. I always love watching them play at the Bell Centre, though. I probably get back to Montreal twice a year. Have you managed to spread your love for the Canadiens around and turn people into Habs fans along the way? WD: (Laughs) Are you kidding me? I’ve got all the girls who follow me on Twitter watching the Habs. They’re keeping track of the team. There are also a bunch of Canadians on the General Hospital set. One of the guys, Dominic Zamprogna, is a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He’s been in absolute pain for over a decade probably. Jason Thompson is an Edmonton Oilers fan, so he hasn’t really been much better off either in recent years. It’s say to say there’s not too much influencing going on, I guess. We’ve got Michelle Stafford, who’s a die-hard Los Angeles Kings fan. These guys know hockey inside and out. Those are kind of the three people on the show, not including myself, who are die-hard hockey fans. There’s also Nancy Lee Grahn, who is my co-star and love interest on the show. She claims to love the Blackhawks because she’s from Chicago. It would be difficult influencing anybody to be a Habs fan in that room. But, you have managed to turn your long-time girlfiriend, actress Rebecca Staab, into a loyal Habs supporter. True or false? WD: She’s become a real die-hard now. When the Canadiens won the first two games against Ottawa in Round 1 of the playoffs this year, and the Senators put Craig Anderson in goal, you just don’t look forward to facing him. Everybody was talking about a sweep after Game 3, and I was telling people to calm down. I really hate giving the other team any ammunition. Then, Ottawa won the next two games. I remember waking up on the morning of Game 6 feeling really good about it. Near the end of the game, as it was winding down, I was kind of going through my cards, just looking at them. I’ve been an avid collector since I was a kid. She’s like – “Why aren’t you watching the game?” I said – “The Canadiens are going to win. I know it. They’re going to win.” She was on the edge of her seat making all of these noises that I normally make. For once, I was just totally at peace. I just had a feeling about it. I don’t know why. I was just going to look at my cards and be relaxed. I didn’t need to get all wound up. She was doing it for me. It was hilarious. Do you often wear Habs gear around Los Angeles? WD: I always go to work wearing something representing the team. Zamprogna is a Maple Leafs fan, so when he sees me he always says something like – “Oh God! That is so obnoxious, dude!” (Laughs) I’ve got the Canadiens jersey or the hat on. Sometimes, I’ll even come in with my Montreal Alouettes sweatpants. It cracks me up. I’ve got a lot of stuff in my dressing room at work. Pennants, calendars and stuff like that. Have you ever tried to get something Canadiens-related incorporated into a General Hospital script? WD: I’ve tried, but these guys are a little bit difficult to do that stuff with. I probably could have managed to do something like that in the past. Fans often ask me if Julian can maybe be a fan of the Canadiens. I reply that it’s unlikely. I might try to sneak it in one time, maybe like a red T-shirt underneath a black button-down shirt. That’s just reaching for it right there, though. The writers won’t let me do anything too obvious. That being said, which Canadiens player(s) do you think would be a good fit for General Hospital down the road? WD: Carey Price is just so good in front of the camera. He’s so calm. His deliveries are really dry. He’s the first guy that comes to mind. Torrey Mitchell is another name that comes to mind. He might do well. [Former Habs defenseman] Mike Weaver would make a really good character actor, but I think he’s just too pretty to intimidate anybody on TV. (Laughs) He’s just got that perfect character actor face where he could probably work from the time he hangs up his skates until the end of time. Just how avid a hockey card collector are you? WD: I started collecting baseball and hockey cards when I got back from Africa. I’ve got a bunch of cards of Maurice Richard, Henri Richard, Jacques Plante and Toe Blake. I go pretty far back with some of these guys. I’ve got a Boom-Boom Geoffrion rookie card. I’ve got a Doug Harvey rookie card. I’ve got a lot of these guys’ cards. I’ve been collecting them all, Cournoyer, Lafleur, Roy. I even have Tom Johnson and Gump Worsley cards in my collection. Is it tough being a Habs fan in the City of Angels? WD: Once in a blue moon, I get the French TV feed and I really enjoy that. That’s what I miss about the local feeds in Canada. I really enjoyed watching Dick Irvin on Hockey Night in Canada. His dad had such a huge history with the Canadiens. I miss those guys. I miss listening to them. Now, you get a lot of NBC feeds out here, and it’s just not the same. I miss being in Canada and watching it with the local broadcasters. Interview conducted by Matt Cudzinowski.
Posted on 3 July 2015 | Comments OffMONTREAL – Even at the Midget AAA level, Torrey Mitchell was a consummate leader among his teammates. While plying his trade for the Riverains at College Charles-Lemoyne in Sainte-Catherine during the 2001-02 campaign, Mitchell began to realize his potential, particularly in the latter stages of the regular season and on into postseason play. That ultimately set the table for the Greenfield Park native to head south of the border to begin shaping his path towards the NHL ranks. “Torrey always played on one of our top two lines, but with the way he exploded at the end of the year, scouts really took notice of him. They thought he could go in the first round of the QMJHL Draft. But, his dad, Steve, said he was headed to prep school in the U.S. If he didn’t go to the Hotchkiss School [in Connecticut], he would have been a first-round pick,” offered former Riverains head coach, Martin Russell, who now helms the women’s squad at Cegep Edouard-Montpetit. “If I remember right, I think he scored 15 goals all regular season long and then added 13 more goals in the playoffs alone. His strength was always his skating. Not only could he score goals, but he was smart with the puck, too. He was good at both ends of the ice and very strong on the penalty kill. Everyone following Junior hockey in Quebec was impressed by it.” Russell was among Mitchell’s biggest fans in La Belle Province that season, citing his former charge’s relentless work ethic, infectious energy and competitive spirit as the characteristics that still stand out today. Mitchell wasn’t the tallest or most powerful member of the Riverains that year, but that didn’t stop him from doing everything he conceivably could to hone his game for the most critical time of the season. It was a year-long process that, according to Russell, spoke volumes about Mitchell’s desire to succeed. “The year before joining us, when he was in Bantam AA, Torrey was very small. When he came on board, he was probably 5’9”. He probably reached 5’10” or 5’11” during the year. He really grew that year and worked on building himself up to get a lot stronger,” shared Russell, who recalls Mitchell getting off to a slower-than-expected start with the Riverains, particularly in the goal-scoring department, before finally closing out the campaign on a high note with 56 points in 41 games to finish 12th in the league in scoring. “I remember him at practice. He’d shoot and miss by two or three inches again and again. Little by little, though, he started figuring things out. He just kept at it, trying, trying and trying again. He ended up adjusting the speed and height of his shot. Then, he broke out, going top-shelf and finding the corners all the time. What wasn’t going in before Christmas was suddenly going in. I don’t know how it happened. I can’t explain it, but it really changed his game.” And, it ultimately helped to pace the Riverains to a remarkable campaign, one that culminated not only in a Quebec Midget AAA title, but in a bronze medal at the Air Canada Cup in Bathurst, NB. It was there that Mitchell really did make an emphatic statement to the hockey world about his character, and what type of player he was going to become down the line. “I remember heading into that game, Torrey had a bad groin injury and he couldn’t play. Neither could another guy, Matthew McIntyre. We still had them in the lineup, though. At the end of the first period, there was a brawl and I think eight guys got kicked out of the game. At that point, Torrey came to see me and said he wanted to go out there,” recalled Russell, reminiscing about the Riverains’ 6-4 victory over the Red Deer Chiefs. “His parents had left the rink by then. They thought he wasn’t going to play. He finally got out there and scored right away. Then, he picked up an assist on the game-winner and added the insurance goal. At the time, I was surprised about it all, but looking back I shouldn’t have been. I’d never seen something like that before, a guy being injured like that and wanting to play that badly. You rarely see guys who are willing to play at any cost.” That’s just who Mitchell is, according to his former bench boss, who has always respected the way in which the Canadiens’ No. 17 has gone about his business in order to succeed at every level. “From start to finish, Torrey has always been a worker and he’s always been a team guy. He always did what was asked of him. That made him stand out from the crowd,” confided Russell, who also boasts the likes of Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and current Riverains head coach Guillaume Latendresse as former pupils who’ve donned the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge over the years. “He definitely brings a good atmosphere into the locker room. He keeps things light. But, when it was time to compete, Torrey was ready to play. When it was time to work and win, you could count on him. I could tell you that he didn’t enjoy losing. He picked his spots to have fun, but not after a loss.” Fortunately, the Riverains rarely came out on the wrong side of the scoresheet that year. Mitchell even secured a league All-Star selection and playoff MVP honours after pacing the Quebec Midget AAA ranks in postseason scoring with 13 goals – including three game-winners – and 27 points in 19 games. It was certainly a season to remember for the Selwyn House grad, who still fondly recalls his time under Russell’s watch. “I’ll always remember Martin for being really demanding. He was hard on the players. He focused on all the little details of hockey that you really don’t generally know about when you’re starting out. And, we had a really good team. We were very close,” mentioned Mitchell, who went on to play two seasons at Hotchkiss before joining the University of Vermont for three years prior to making the jump to the NHL with San Jose in 2007-08. “Playing in the playoffs in that tiny little rink in Sainte-Catherine. People packed this small little barn every night. I’ll never forget that whole playoff run. We were sold out every time. It was cool and a lot of fun.” Needless to say, Russell couldn’t be prouder to see Mitchell enjoying life in Montreal these days, taking to the ice for his hometown team on hockey’s biggest stage. “I’m very proud that Torrey remembers what I taught him. He made it because he’s a devoted and caring athlete who focuses on learning things all the time. It’s a credit to him to have been able to take what I taught him and bring it to a higher level,” concluded Russell. “When he was traded to the Canadiens at the trade deadline in March, I was really happy about it, especially for him and his family. San Jose was far. Minnesota and Buffalo were, too. It’s nice to be able to see him play at home in a Canadiens uniform.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
Posted on 2 July 2015 | Comments OffBROSSARD – If anyone understands the inevitable risks and rewards that come with the opening of the unrestricted free agent market on July 1, it’s general manager Marc Bergevin. On Thursday, Bergevin met with members of the media at the Bell Sports Complex to address several moves the Canadiens’ brass elected to make on Canada Day, including trading veteran Brandon Prust to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for 24-year-old Zack Kassian and a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. “When you make a trade, there’s always risk involved. You have to look at the potential upside, though. We know that when it comes to the level of consistency and stability [in Kassian’s case], it might not be there. That’s the case with a lot of young players, though. He’s just 24 years old. If he reaches his potential, I think we can have something good going for a long period of time,” offered Bergevin, who insisted the Canadiens did their fair share of homework on the Windsor, ON native prior to bringing him on board. “That’s what we’re hoping for. There’s always a risk. It will be up to him to perform and do what he needs to do to have a good career in the NHL.” That being said, Bergevin isn’t exactly certain where Kassian will fit in the Canadiens’ lineup come early October. While he does believe the right-winger has the potential to be a top-six forward in time, the former 13th overall selection of the Buffalo Sabres back in 2009 will ultimately have to earn that type of role and responsibility with consistent play within the confines of head coach Michel Therrien’s system. “Zack is a young guy who is trying to find his way. He’s a young player with upside. We feel that if he does reach his potential, we might have something here. He has a one-year contract and so does Brandon. It’s pretty close that way. We do save money on the cap, but at the end of the day we feel that he can provide some offense if he reaches his full potential. He has that. We can’t do it [for him]. He has to do it. He has a chance to do it here,” mentioned Bergevin, before expanding upon some additional qualities the 6’3”, 214-pound forward will bring with him to Montreal. “You need to be able to influence the puck. He’s a big body. He needs to take time and space [away from opposing players] and lean on people. I don’t expect him to run people over. For a big man, he has skill and some hands. We expect him to provide that.” In addition to praising the steady progress Greg Pateryn made during the 2014-15 campaign which earned the Sterling Heights, MI native a two-year contract extension on Wednesday, Bergevin also briefly discussed the ongoing contract talks with restricted free agent Alex Galchenyuk, who received a qualifying offer on July 24. Confident a deal will be struck with the American youngster sooner rather than later, Bergevin again emphasized that the position No. 27 will play in 2015-16 is still somewhat up in the air. “[Alex playing center] isn’t something we’ve put by the wayside. I never said he wouldn’t become a centerman. There’s still a possibility that he becomes one. I don’t want to put any pressure on a young player that if he plays, he has to play center. He’s a player that we drafted. Even in Junior, he was playing left-wing,” explained Bergevin, who saw Galchenyuk put up 20 goals and 46 points in 80 games last season while plying his trade primarily at wing. “Center is a tough position. You have to be responsible in all three zones. It takes a while to get that. I hope he will, but I can’t tell you that today.” Bergevin did confirm, however, that his efforts to improve his lineup certainly aren’t done yet. The free agent period has just begun, so he’ll continue to explore any and all viable options to give his hockey club a chance to take another important step forward next season. Nevertheless, Bergevin insists he’ll also be looking within the fold for additional help, meaning that youngsters like Charles Hudon, Sven Andrighetto or Christian Thomas might just get a chance to strut their stuff with the CH on a consistent basis next year. “In our line of work, you always have to keep an eye open to improve your team. But, at the same time, that’s the reason why there’s the NHL Draft every year. At a certain point, you have to look at what you’ve got. We’re really looking to give our young guys a chance to show what they can do,” confided Bergevin, who also plans on giving first-rounders Nikita Scherbak and Michael McCarron every opportunity to showcase their progression leading up to the start of a new campaign. “There’s always place for young guys. You can improve your team in three ways. Via a trade, free agency and the NHL Draft. Ask any general manager and he’ll tell you that the best of those three ways is to develop young players and bring them to the next level.” Fortunately, the Canadiens are rich in that department already. Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
Posted on 2 July 2015 | Comments OffMONTREAL – Zack Kassian is looking to make the most of a fresh start in Montreal. After struggling to find his spot in the Canucks lineup during his time in Vancouver, Dale Weise arrived in Montreal in February 2014 ready for a new beginning. The change of scenery helped the then-25-year-old forward rekindle his offensive spark, helping him post career-highs across the board in his first full season as a Hab a year later. Zack Kassian is hoping for the same. Traded to the Canadiens along with a 2016 fifth round pick in exchange for Brandon Prust on July 1, Kassian joins his third NHL team since being drafted 13th overall by the Sabres in 2009. It wasn’t a call he was expecting to field while celebrating Canada Day in cottage country, but the 24-year-old winger is looking forward to finally carving out a niche in his third NHL home. “I couldn’t be happier. Original 6 team, best fans in the league. Coming in playing in front of that home crowd was always a pleasure,” shared Kassian via conference call from Muskoka, ON. “It was an emotional day. My mom was very excited and Montreal is my dad’s favorite team. It was a pretty special feeling. I consider myself lucky to be a Canadien.” Hampered by a back injury and broken finger last season, Kassian took part in just 42 games with the Canucks in 2014-15, but still managed to hit double digits in goals. While he hasn’t been able to find the offensive touch that saw him finish as a near-point-per-game player in Junior as an NHLer, the Windsor, ON native knows he can bring other elements to the lineup that don’t always appear on a scoresheet. “I can play physical, I can grind it, and I like the cycle game, but at the same time, I like to make plays and I like to score goals. When I’m at my best, I can do both,” described Kassian, who confirmed he’s now injury-free. “When you’re young and you come into the league, you have to kind of find your role and find what you can do. There were a lot of bumps in the road, but I think over the years, I gained a lot of maturity. I’m excited to be part of the Canadiens and I’m excited to have a fresh start and become the player I can be.” At 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, Kassian arrives in Montreal as the biggest player on the Habs roster. Having spent time lining up alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin in Vancouver, the imposing winger is no stranger to digging pucks out for sharpshooting linemates. He knows he could earn a spot on one of the Canadiens’ top two lines by using his body to his advantage, but he’s ready to contribute no matter where he finds himself on the team’s depth chart come September. “Montreal is a good, deep team. Anywhere I can fit in and help the team win, I’m more than happy to do so,” said the 2010 Memorial Cup champion, who has 25 goals and 66 points in 198 career NHL games. “I don’t look at it as Top 6 or Bottom 6; if you look at the teams that are winning nowadays, they have four lines that all play. Anywhere the coach wants me, I’ll thrive in that role and try to make the team better. “I never asked for a trade, but obviously I was open that if a team wanted me, I was more than welcome to going somewhere I was wanted. I really feel like Montreal is a great fit for me. I’m ready to do everything to help the team win,” he underlined. “No one wants to get traded two times, but it’s a learning curve. I’m excited to be a Montreal Canadien and I really want to make this home.” Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Posted on 2 July 2015 | Comments OffPRESS RELEASE MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Thursday that forward Christian Thomas has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract with the Club (2015-16). Thomas, 23, played 18 games with the Canadiens in 2014-15. He scored one goal, his first career goal in the NHL, on February 12 against Edmonton. He averaged 9:05 of ice time per game and was assessed seven penalty minutes. The 5’09’’ and 178 lbs forward also appeared in 52 games with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, recording 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists). Two of his goals were scored on the powerplay and he totaled 125 shots on goal. Thomas has played 21 career regular season games in the NHL. The New York Rangers’ second-round selection (40th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto native was acquired from the Rangers on July 2, 2013 in return for forward Danny Kristo.
Posted on 1 July 2015 | Comments OffPRESS RELEASE MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Wednesday that the team has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract (2015-16) with free agent forward George "Bud" Holloway. Holloway, 27, played 42 games with Bern in Swiss National League A in 2014-15, recording 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists). The 6-foot, 200-pound right-winger had a plus-7 differential and served 24 penalty minutes. Since making his professional debut in 2008-09, Holloway has collected 120 points (54 goals, 66 assists) in 191 games with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs. He also played in the ECHL in 2008-09 and in Sweden (2011 to 2014). A product of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, Holloway totaled 197 points (95 goals, 102 assists) in 282 regular season games in the juniors. A native of Wapella, Saskatchewan, Holloway was selected in the third round, 86th overall by the Los Angeles Kings at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Posted on 1 July 2015 | Comments OffMONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Wednesday that the team has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract (2015-16) with free agent defenseman Mark Barberio. Barberio, 25, played 52 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2014-15, recording seven points (1 goal, 6 assists). The 6-foot-1, 199-pound defenseman served 34 penalty minutes with an average of 16:46 time on ice per game. “There are a lot of defensemen in Montreal. My goal is to arrive at camp in the best shape possible to earn a spot on the team,” said Barberio via conference call from Albany, NY. “I think competition between players pushes everyone to get better.” Since making his professional debut with Tampa Bay in 2012-13, Barberio has played 103 regular season games, contributing 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists). He scored one goal on the powerplay, with a +4 differential and 44 penalty minutes. In three seasons with Norfolk and Syracuse (AHL), Barberio harvested 134 points (30 goals, 104 assists) in 215 games. He won the Calder Cup in 2012 with Norfolk. A product of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Moncton Wildcats, Barberio collected 168 points (46 goals, 122 assists) in 261 games in the juniors. He took part in the 2010 Memorial Cup tournament with Moncton, totaling four penalty minutes in three games. A native of Montreal, Barberio was selected in the sixth round, 152nd overall by Tampa Bay at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. “This is really special for me. When my agent told me today that the Canadiens were interested in me, I was so excited. I couldn’t let the opportunity to play for the Montreal Canadiens pass me by. It was my favorite team growing up and I’ve always been a Canadiens fan,” shared Barberio. “To join the Canadiens organization is a dream come true.”
Posted on 1 July 2015 | Comments OffMONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Wednesday that the team has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract (2015-16) with free agent defenseman Joel Hanley. Hanley, 24, played 63 games with the AHL’s Portland Pirates in 2014-15, recording 17 points (2 goals and 15 assists). The 6-foot, 180-pound defenseman had a plus-7 differential and served 34 penalty minutes. He also suited up with the ECHL’s Gwinneth Gladiators for three games, scoring once. Since making his professional debut in 2013-14, Hanley has played 78 regular season games with Portland, contributing 22 points (2 goals and 20 assists) with a plus=3 differential and 99 penalty minutes. The Keswick, Ontario native produced 75 points (17 goals, 58 assists) and 127 penalty minutes in 131 games with UMass-Amherst University (Hockey East), from 2010 to 2014.
Posted on 1 July 2015 | Comments OffPRESS RELEASE MONTREAL (July 1, 2015) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced today the acquisition of forward Zack Kassian and a fifth round pick in 2016 from the Vancouver Canucks, in return for forward Brandon Prust. Kassian, 24, played 42 games with the Canucks in 2014-15 recording 16 points (10 goals and 6 assists). One of his tallies came on the powerplay while three others were game winners. The 6'3'' and 214 lbs forward also delivered 88 hits and served 81 penalty minutes with an average of 12:37 time on ice per game. Since making his NHL debut back in 2011, Kassian has played 198 regular season games with the Canucks and Buffalo Sabres. He has collected 66 points (35 goals and 31 assists) including four powerplay goals and six game winners. He served 307 penalty minutes. A native of Windsor, Ontario, Kassian was a first round selection, 13th overall, by Buffalo, at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. A product of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes and Windsor Spitfires, he earned a silver medal with the Canadian squad at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship. Kassian also took part in the 2010 Memorial Cup tournament, recording five points (2 goals and 3 assists) in four games, helping Windsor capture the CHL championship. The 31-year old Brandon Prust registered 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) in 82 games with the Canadiens in 2014-15. He led the team with 134 penalty minutes, added 122 hits and averaged 12:57 of ice time per game. The London, Ontario native joined the team as a free agent on July 1, 2012.