Posted on 13 February 2016 | Comments OffMONTREAL – If you thought you caught a glimpse of former Canadiens defenseman Jaroslav Spacek in town recently, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. Though he only called Montreal home for a little over two years, it was enough time for Spacek to fall in love with the city. Traded by the Canadiens to the Carolina Hurricanes in December 2011, Spacek decided to return to his native Czech Republic to wrap up his professional career where it all began. The 42-year-old, who celebrated his birthday this past Thursday, recently made a rare visit to Montreal. It was more than just a courtesy visit for him, though. The 880-game NHL veteran now occupies an important position as an assistant coach on the Czech national team. The job will bring him to North America for the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto this coming September. Although he’s thoroughly enjoyed his new role behind the bench since taking on the challenge two years ago, Spacek readily admits that becoming a coach was not always part of his post-retirement plan. “Earlier in my career, I was probably thinking that I would go into coaching after I’d retire,” admitted Spacek, who first joined the Canadiens as a free agent back in July 2009. “Later on, I didn’t really want to do it anymore. When I moved back home to the Czech Republic, I started working for Martin Straka, who owns HC Plzen, the team from my hometown. At first he asked me to play, but I told him that I was done playing. Then, he asked me if I wanted to help him out with his defensemen. I started going on the ice with them. Two years ago when Vladimir Ruzicka became head coach of the Czech National team, he asked me to join them as an assistant coach and I accepted his offer.” International competition has not been kind to the Czech Republic. The past few years have seen the squad settle for a disappointing sixth place finish at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. That was followed up by a fourth place finish at the last two World Championships. Spacek, however, is optimistic about his team’s chances in the World Cup. Unlike most other countries, the influx of young talent on the Czech roster is lacking, which could prove to be a potential red flag as hockey becomes a more youth-driven sport. “I think there’s starting to be a problem with Czech hockey. There’s hasn’t been a lot of good young players coming up in our program and making it to the NHL with the exception of David Pastrnak in Boston. It’s a small program,” explained Spacek, who is not the lone former Canadiens player amongst the Czech Republic hockey brass, seeing as Martin Rucinsky is the side’s general manager. “Up front, I think we’ll be okay, but we’ll have some trouble at the blue line. We have some good goalies with Petr Mrazek and Michal Neuvirth, too.” The trip to Montreal not only affords Spacek the opportunity to evaluate the performance of countrymen Tomas Plekanec and Tomas Fleischmann, but also gives him a chance to reconnect with friends he made over the years in Quebec. Quick to admit that he misses the sights and sounds of the historic Bell Centre, Spacek has countless memories from his 162-game stint in a Canadiens uniform. “I remember every time I scored a goal,” cracked the former No. 6, who scored four goals during his time with the Habs. “I’ll always remember my first year here when we reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Too bad I missed some time because I was hurt a little bit. The people and the fans here are great. If you play well, they know it. But if you play bad, they let you know. That’s what I liked about this building. There’s so much life in it.” Hugo Fontaine is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Jared Ostroff.
Posted on 13 February 2016 | Comments OffBUFFALO – The Habs scored four goals, but it wasn’t enough to leave Buffalo with two points. Buoyed by a pair of two-goal nights by Sven Andrighetto and Alex Galcheyuk, the Habs were able to light the lamp four times in Buffalo, marking the 29th time they’ve scored three or more goals in a game this season. That’s been a recipe for success for the Canadiens throughout the campaign, as the team had gone 24-2-2 when getting three or more in a game – and 16-0-0 when scoring four or more – prior to Friday’s game against the Sabres. “We scored four goals. When we talk about our game plan, that’s exactly how we want to play,” confirmed Max Pacioretty, who picked up his 39th point of the campaign with an assist on Andrighetto’s opening marker. “That team played last night so we want to wear them down in the first two periods by making them skate and then try to take over in the third. Other than some mental lapses on their goals, I really thought we played a strong game and executed our system very well.” Despite getting on the board early on Friday night, the Habs still skated into the first intermission down 2-1 to their hosts, before spotting the Sabres a 4-1 lead just over two minutes into the second frame. That’s when Galchenyuk and Andrighetto got to work, with the former wiring two perfect one-timers past Chad Johnson on the power play and the latter picking off a pass from Johnson and depositing it in the back of the Sabres’ net. “Sven is like a water bug,” described Pacioretty of his newest linemate. “He moves well. He can make plays and it was really nice playing with him. I feel like our line can do some good stuff if we keep playing like that. We definitely had a lot of opportunities to tie that game in the third and he was a big reason for that.” Enjoying over 15 minutes of ice time in a game for just the second time this season – and the first in regulation time – Andrighetto made a case to cement his spot to the right of the veteran duo. With three shots, two hits, and his first-career multi-point night, the 22-year-old winger had no problem finding chemistry alongside his captain and the playmaking center. “It was my first game with them and I think it started off well,” understated the rookie winger after earning third-star honors for his efforts. “I tried to bring my speed in for these two guys and they make it pretty easy to play with them. We had lots of chances to score a couple more goals and win the game. At the end in the last period, we had a couple of bounces that didn’t go our way. If they go in, we win the game.” Buzzing throughout the final 20 minutes, with two shots ringing off the post and a handful of rebounds popping out just beyond their reach, the Habs came close to picking up the tying marker in the dying minutes of Friday’s game. Not willing to look for silver linings or moral victories, Galchenyuk admits the loss to the Sabres is a tough one to swallow, but he’s planning to carry the momentum from the final 20 minutes in Buffalo into Monday’s game in Arizona. “At the end of the day, at this time of the year, when you lose there’s nothing positive – especially when you’re in the position we’re in. We know we can play better, especially with the way we played in the third. If we play three periods like that, there’s no way other teams can beat us,” stressed Galchenyuk, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Friday by registering his fifth-career multi-goal night. “We were losing by three goals at one point and we almost came back. You sit back and think about how if we had won this game, the kind of buildup that would have been for us. But we lost the game and we have to move on,” he added. “There’s still hope, there’s still a chance, we still believe in ourselves, and now we have to go out and prove it.” Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com
Posted on 13 February 2016 | Comments OffBUFFALO -- Here's a numerical look at Friday night's game against the Sabres in Buffalo. 50 – Number of times the Habs have faced the Sabres on a Friday night in Buffalo in the teams’ respective histories, with the Canadiens now owning a 18-26-4-2 record in those outings. 67 – Consecutive number of games in which Max Pacioretty has registered at least one shot on goal, including 56 regular season games and 11 playoff tilts. 8 – Number of games Paul Byron was forced to miss with a lower body injury before making his return to the lineup on Friday against Buffalo. 2 – Number of times Greg Pateryn has suited up for a game in 2016, having played on January 9 against Pittsburgh before facing the Sabres on Friday in place of injured blue-liner Nathan Beaulieu. 3:44 – Amount of time needed by Sven Andrighetto and David Desharnais to snap their respective eight- and seven-game pointless streaks thanks to Andrighetto’s opening goal in the first period. 1 – Number of multi-point games enjoyed by Andrighetto in his young NHL career to date, potting a pair of goals in Buffalo to register his first-ever multi-goal night. 409 – Number of assists racked up by Andrei Markov in his Canadiens career after chipping in with helpers on both of Galchenyuk’s second-period goals, passing Elmer Lach to take the ninth spot on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard in that category. 29 – Number of times the Habs have scored three or more goals in a game this season, owning a 24-3-2 when potting at least a trio. 22 – Number of power play points accrued by P.K. Subban this season, tying him with Erik Karlsson for third in the league in that category so far in 2015-16. 5 – Number of multi-goal games registered by Galchenyuk in his career to date, celebrating his 22nd birthday on Friday by potting a pair against the Sabres. 8 – Consecutive number of games in which Subban has picked up at least one point, marking the longest point streak by a Hab since Markov maintained a nine-game sequence in January 2009. - canadiens.com
Posted on 12 February 2016 | Comments OffMONTREAL – Looking for the best musical playlist for Valentine’s Day? Rest assured, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or not, this is the perfect time of year to get reacquainted with some of the best love songs of all time. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and prepared a list of some of our favourite song titles. They’re perfect for a memorable first date, a special event, or even a quiet evening at home. Our top francophone tracks include – Je t’Emelin, La vie en De La Rose, Pour que tu m’aimes enCarr, and the Vincent Vallières smash hit, On va s’aimer enCarr – while tracks like First Time Eller I Saw Your Face, Torrey Madly Deeply and EndLessio Love have been heating up the English radio airwaves for years. Every Canadiens fan will find the perfect song to serenade their valentine. Check out our complete playlist here : Je t'Emelin - Lara Fabian I Wanna Dance With Subban-y (Who Loves Me) - Whitney Houston Kiss From De La Rose - Seal Carey Little Thing Called Love - Queen La vie en De La Rose - Édith Piaf EndLessio Love - Diana Ross & Lionel Richie First Time Eller I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack Markov You Feel My Love - Adele On va s'aimer enCarr - Vincent Vallières WonderWeise - Oasis Carr-zy in Love - Beyoncé & Jay-Z Torrey Madly Deeply - Savage Garden Pour que tu m'aimes enCarr - Céline Dion Élise Robillard is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.
Posted on 12 February 2016 | Comments OffCANADIENS (27-24-4) vs BUFFALO (21-28-6) TV: RDS, SNE 7:00 p.m. The Canadiens kick-off a three game road trip with a Friday night contest against the Sabres at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. In front of a particularly loud Bell Centre crowd on Tuesday night, the Canadiens extended their win-streak to three games with a decisive 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The trio of Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk combined to score three of the Habs four goals, resulting in the trio sweeping the three stars of the game honors. In his third straight start between the pipes, netminder Ben Scrivens turned in another stellar performance kicking aside 37 of the 39 shots fired his direction, resulting in a save percentage of .949. Coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Scrivens will be back between the pipes against the Sabres. At the other end of the rink, Chad Johnson will be in goal for the Sabres. After news broke that Brian Flynn is expected to miss six to eight weeks of action after suffering a lower-body injury on February 9, the Canadiens subsequently recalled forward Jacob de la Rose from the St. John’s IceCaps. With regards to lineup changes, Paul Byron travelled with the team and could be back in uniform on Friday night after missing the last eight games with a lower-body injury. In addition, Greg Pateryn will be back on the blue line replacing Nathan Beaulieu who was injured on Tuesday. In the Sabres camp, the club suffered a 5-1 defeat in the most recent matchup at the hands of the Flyers on the road in Philadelphia. Despite six opportunities with the man advantage, only Jamie McGinn would find the back of the net. Following Friday night’s clash in Buffalo, the teams will meet again in Montreal on March 10 before concluding the season series with a game in Buffalo scheduled for March 16.
Posted on 11 February 2016 | Comments OffMONTREAL – Tomas Plekanec’s line might be firing on all cylinders, but counting on a single trio to deliver the bulk of the offensive punch isn’t a recipe for success down the stretch. Plekanec himself – flanked by Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher – has torched the opposition for three goals and eight points over the last four games, helping to get the Canadiens back on track heading into a three-game road swing featuring stops in Buffalo, Arizona and Colorado over the next six days. It’s a critical trek, to say the least, and Michel Therrien’s troops up and down the lineup are well aware of the need to step up their contributions offensively if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive. In short, the Canadiens' No. 14 – and his linemates – can’t be the only ones registering their names all over the scoresheet on a nightly basis. “We need to follow up on what other guys are doing if we want to have success and keep it going. At the start of the year, everyone was chipping in and there was a different hero each game,” shared David Desharnais, who has been held without a point over the last seven games. “You can’t get discouraged, though. When it’s our turn, we need to make it happen. Right now, Pleky’s line is doing really good work. If we want to string wins together, it can’t always be the same guys contributing. We just have to be ready when it’s our turn.” Desharnais, who hasn’t beaten an opposing netminder since Jan. 23 and has been held to just one goal in his last 15 games, knows stat lines like that aren’t good enough given the situation the Canadiens currently find themselves in. The fact that Plekanec recently turned the tables on a rough stretch of his own, however, is providing the centerman with some all-important inspiration heading into Friday night’s contest against the Sabres. “I can really look at what a guy like Plekanec is doing right now and be inspired by it. I know I need to do more,” admitted Desharnais, who has nine goals and 24 points in 55 games during the 2015-16 campaign. “Everybody goes through tough times. Pleky is playing really, really well right now, and I need to get on a roll like him.” With that in mind, Therrien added young gun Sven Andrighetto to Desharnais’ line – that also includes captain Max Pacioretty – during the second period on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, hoping the Swiss winger’s quickness and intensity can get them going in the right direction. “I can bring speed and energy. It’s a good opportunity for me to play with those two guys. They’re excellent players. It’s a great chance to learn, to find my place and make them better, too, with my skills,” said Andrighetto, who will play his 22nd game of the season with the CH on Friday night. “I wouldn’t say that I feel pressure playing with those guys. I’m excited about the idea. I’m hoping it works.” As does Therrien, who is also counting on Desharnais and Pacioretty to display some of the magic they’ve managed to generate in recent years while serving as the Canadiens’ most-utilized duo since 2011-12. “[In their case], we want to keep things the way they are right now. Guys like Pacioretty and Desharnais have had success in the past together. I still have faith that they can do it again,” said Therrien, who may also have speedster Paul Byron back in the lineup against Buffalo. “That’s a duo that has always had the ability to perform and produce. That’s why I have confidence in them.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
Posted on 10 February 2016 | Comments OffBROSSARD – It looks like the Canadiens could have Paul Byron back in the lineup at some point during their upcoming three-game road trip. Byron, who has missed the last eight games with a lower-body injury, was one of four players who took part in an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex on Wednesday afternoon under the watchful eyes of assistant coach Clement Jodoin and goaltending guru Stephane Waite. It marked the first time that he’d skated alongside teammates since his rehab work began. Following the on-ice session, the 26-year-old Ottawa native confirmed that he’ll practice with the rest of the team on Thursday morning before they travel to Buffalo for Friday night’s tilt against the Sabres. “I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to play, but right now it’s just day by day. I’m getting better on the ice, so the decision will really come down on Friday,” said Byron, who is cautiously optimistic about returning to active duty against Dan Bylsma’s squad at the First Niagara Center. “I felt really good out there today. I’m feeling confident. I’m getting better every day.” Byron had been enjoying a strong campaign before going down back on Jan. 19 in a tilt against the Boston Bruins. He’d put up a career-high eight goals – three of which came in short-handed situations – in 35 games with the CH, and was also a mainstay on the penalty kill prior to being sidelined. “I’m disappointed that it happened. I wanted to play every game this year,” said Byron, who prefers to look at the injury as somewhat of a blessing in disguise rather than really let it get him down. “The good thing about it is that I got a lot of rest. We’ve got a lot of back-to-back games coming up in the last three weeks, so I’ll have fresh legs. When I’m ready to play, I hope I can help the team.” That being said, it hasn’t been easy for Byron to watch his teammates battle it out from afar as of late. “Most of the injured guys are down there in the training room or the lounge watching our games. For us, it’s very hard watching our teammates out playing,” explained Byron, who was claimed off waivers by the Canadiens from the Calgary Flames in early October. “We’re all pretty competitive guys. You see a call or a hook, and you’re kind of yelling at the TV just like you’re playing.” Byron’s fire and intensity will be a welcome addition to the group when he finally gets the green light to suit up. It will surely come in handy as the Canadiens try to climb back into the playoff race following a lacklustre two-month stretch that saw them struggle to put up numbers in the win column. The five-year NHL veteran, however, couldn’t be more impressed by the way in which his teammates have turned things around over the course of the last three contests. “I think everybody in this dressing room is confident. Everybody is playing well. Everybody is playing strong. We knew it was just a matter of time for us,” said Byron, who is averaging just over 13 minutes of ice time per game this season. “I hope everybody keeps working. We have a lot of games left and we have to keep playing well.” For his part, fellow penalty-killing specialist Lars Eller is eager to see Byron’s return on the horizon. “When he’s healthy, he’s going to make our team better,” praised Eller. “I think he’s been playing great since he came here. He’s going to add some speed, some offense and some grit. He’s a good player.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
Posted on 10 February 2016 | Comments OffMONTREAL – With eight points in his last four games, it’s safe to say Tomas Plekanec is back on track. After putting up four points over the weekend against Edmonton, Plekanec put up three more points in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre, pacing the Canadiens to their third straight victory – and their first regular season win over the Florida-based franchise on Quebec soil since April 18, 2013. The Czech centerman scored his 11th and 12th goals of the year on Tuesday night, and also chipped in with his 30th assist. Everything seems to be clicking for Plekanec, who had been held off the scoresheet for six consecutive games before finding his groove again over the course of the last few outings. “It’s all about confidence. It’s about finally getting some good, good bounces. I’m not a fan of using the bounces excuse, but if you look at the goals tonight – like the one where I slid it through [goaltender Ben Bishop’s] pads and it went in – you start playing with confidence,” said Plekanec, who lit the lamp just four times between Nov. 5 and Feb. 3, before registering three goals in his last three games. “It was hard [during that period]. It was a little bit longer than it should have been.” Being featured on a line with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk has helped Plekanec’s cause, too. The trio gave Jon Cooper’s contingent far more than it could handle in the second meeting between the two clubs this season. Plekanec simply couldn’t say enough good things about the way both youngsters have been performing as of late. “Playing with Gally and Chucky, they do such a great job. They’re so strong on the forecheck and making plays, and I’m trying to back them up. Things have worked well the last few nights, and hopefully we can keep that going,” said Plekanec, who picked up the primary helper on Gallagher’s 14th goal of the year in the opening frame, before benefitting from a Galchenyuk feed to give the Canadiens a 4-1 lead just over six minutes into the third period. “I think we complement each other really well. We all have a certain role on the line that we’re trying to do.” Head coach Michel Therrien shared similar thoughts in his post-game press conference, acknowledging the chemistry that Gallagher, Plekanec and Galchenyuk have forged during the club’s current streak. “That line was dominant again tonight. I like the way they’re playing, the way they go to the net and make good plays,” said Therrien, who watched as the trio combined for six points and 14 shots on goal. “They’ve got a lot of poise with the puck. They keep things simple and they don’t complicate things. They were rewarded again tonight.” Goaltender Ben Scrivens, meanwhile, has quickly taken notice of just how critical a player Plekanec is to the success of the group every time they hit the ice. “He’s playing extremely well for us right now. It seems like he’s either scoring every night or at least generating chances and making the guys on his line better,” praised Scrivens, who made 37 saves to pick up his third career win in a Canadiens uniform. “That’s what we need from him and it’s great to see him step up and be a leader just by his actions on the ice. He’s not the loudest guy in the room, but the other guys have noticed what he’s doing on the ice.” It’s hard not to take notice. Plekanec has been a clutch player for a Canadiens team looking to right the ship coming out of the All-Star break, and with his help they’ve done exactly that. Now, they’ve got to keep it going one game at a time in an effort to keep their playoff hopes alive. “It definitely feels good. That’s what we’ve been looking for over the last couple of months,” said Plekanec, whose squad will begin an extended three-game road swing on Friday night in Buffalo, before traveling to Arizona and Colorado. “Now, it’s the biggest road trip of the year coming up for us. We’ve got to come out really strong, get those games and put us back on the board.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
Posted on 10 February 2016 | Comments OffMONTREAL -- Here's a numerical look at Tuesday night's game against the Lightning in Montreal. 2:51 – Time elapsed in the opening frame before defenseman Nathan Beaulieu made his presence felt in his return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two games. Beaulieu dropped the gloves with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette to get the contest started on a high note and bring out some raw emotion, too. 50 – Percentage of the Canadiens’ total fights during the 2015-16 campaign that Beaulieu has been involved in, getting into a tussle on three occasions out of the six times one of Michel Therrien’s troops has elected to go toe-to-toe with an opponent. Beaulieu leads the Canadiens in fighting majors on the year, two bouts clear of both P.K. Subban and Torrey Mitchell. Former Habs rearguard Jarred Tinordi has the other. 8 – Number of times veteran Tomas Plekanec has hit the 40-point plateau over the course of his NHL career, accomplishing the feat once again on Tuesday night by picking up an assist on Brendan Gallagher’s 14th goal of the season just under six minutes into the opening frame. 30 – Number of assists Plekanec has amassed in 2015-16, reaching that particular mark in a single season for the sixth time in his career since debuting with the CH back in 2003-04. 8 – Number of points Plekanec has amassed over the last four games (3G - 5A), adding to that tally with the helper in the first period and a goal in the second and third frame. 8 – Number of multi-point games the Czech centerman has amassed so far this season, moving him into a tie with P.K. Subban for second spot on the team. Max Pacioretty leads the way in that department, having registered multi-point efforts nine times on the year. 18 – Number of hits the Canadiens dished out during the first period alone on Tuesday night as they tried to give Jon Cooper’s squad all they could handle during the opening 20 minutes of play. Seven players amassed at least two hits each, with Pacioretty leading the way with three. 7 – Number of consecutive games in which P.K. Subban has registered at least one point, adding to that tally by picking up an assist on Devante Smith-Pelly’s tally late in the second period on Tuesday night. That’s a new career-high for the Norris Trophy rearguard, who has amassed 10 points during that span. 4 – Number of victories Ben Scrivens has registered over the Tampa Bay Lightning during his NHL career – including Tuesday night’s win in Montreal – the most he’s managed to string together against any club league-wide. 1,028 – Number of days that have elapsed since the Canadiens last managed to best the Tampa Bay Lightning in regular season play in Montreal, before earning the all-important win on Tuesday night. Prior to their latest triumph on home ice, the Canadiens hadn't defeated the Florida-based franchise at the Bell Centre since April 18, 2013. - canadiens.com
Posted on 9 February 2016 | Comments OffThe Montreal Canadiens have a new farm team this season, the St. John's IceCaps. To help Canadiens fans track the team's performance in the AHL, we have invited Charles Dart, website contributor of the IceCaps' official website to prepare a bi-weekly summary of the action in Newfoundland. ST. JOHN’S – It’s been a tough month of hockey into the New Year for the St. John’s IceCaps. As per the last IceCaps report on Jan. 26, the club started off 2016 with a win, followed up with a five-game losing streak. St. John’s seemed to turn things around starting with a 6-4 victory against the first-place Toronto Marlies (TOR) on January 17th followed up by an overtime loss to Bridgeport (NYI), and two wins versus the Albany Devils (NJ) on the 22nd and 23rd. However, the IceCaps are 0-4-1- in their last five since then, and have only managed eight goals in that span while allowing 20. The team has not scored more than three goals in a single game since January 22nd, and has only managed five, three-plus goals-for games in 2016 with a 4-9-2-0 record to show for it. This past weekend, the IceCaps hosted the Utica Comets (VAN) at Mile One Centre and sported their special edition tribute jerseys that celebrated and honoured the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. On Friday night, St. John’s outshot Utica 42-32 but dropped a 5-2 decision. Goaltender Eddie Pasquale stopped 26 of 28 shots in relief of Zach Fucale, who gave up three goals on four shots to start the game. Pasquale got the nod in net for Saturday’s contest and played well once again with another 26-save performance. However, St. John’s gave up the tying goal with 1:28 remaining in the third period and the IceCaps went on to lose by a score of 3-2 just five seconds into overtime. “It’s very disappointing. It stings. It hurts, what can you say,” said head coach Sylvain Lefebvre following Saturday night’s loss. “With a minute-and-a-half to go, you’re expecting them to pull the goalie. We lined up two or three mistakes after playing a pretty solid game. You can spell it [loss] how you want, it’s a big one.” Lefebvre didn’t spend a long time dwelling on the past, but he was obviously disappointed after his team played well. “As a whole, we can be as disappointed as we can be, but we need to roll up our sleeves. There’s another big team coming in [that] we’re fighting against to make the playoffs and it’s going to be hard-fought,” said Lefebvre. “Then we have Toronto coming in. It doesn’t get easier and we know that.” Not all IceCaps news from The Rock has been dark and foggy: • NHL All-Star MVP John Scott and his wife Danielle welcomed healthy twin daughters on February 5th. He did not play in the weekend series versus Utica as he was in Michigan with his family. • Rookie Michael McCarron and Morgan Ellis took part in the AHL All-Star festivities on January 31st and February 1st in Syracuse. McCarron potted a goal in the All-Star Classic and went four for five in the Rapid Fire event. Ellis recorded an assist in the Classic and clocked in a 100.0 mph slap shot at the Hardest Shot event. • Shane Bakker and Alexandre Ranger were signed to PTO’s and made their IceCaps debuts versus the Comets. Bakker played 15 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs last season, and pummeled Darren Archibald on his first shift with St. John’s. The IceCaps host the Syracuse Crunch (TBL) tonight and Wednesday night before wrapping up their six-game home stand with games against the Marlies on February 13th and 14th. St. John’s will pack up and head to New York State to play Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, Utica, and Syracuse once again on February 27th before returning home. Charles Dart is a writer for the St. John’s IceCaps. Twitter: @CharlesMDart