This all starts two weeks ago, during Hall of Fame weekend. The legendary Scotty Bowman is on hand since, at one time or another, he has coached three of the four inductees. Bowman is asked how many Hall of Famers he coached in his career, so he starts with the St. Louis Blues, who had Doug Harvey and Dickie Moore at the end of their careers, along with a goaltending tandem of Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante.
“They put up big numbers,” Bowman says. “They had 13 shutouts and only 157 goals against in 76 games. We had 22 one-goal games that year.”
The salary cap era has made it incredibly important to find players who can contribute offensively while not breaking the bank. Usually, these players fill in bottom-six roles and eat up the minutes not reserved for the top-line players. Put it this way: it’s not often you find a winger making league minimum playing on the top power play unit.
But every so often, a team will find a steal of a deal. Be it a veteran coming into camp late or a player coming off their entry-level deal that is just hitting their stride, the cost-effective players are the ones that can help make or break a season. The cap flexibility doesn’t hurt, either.
Before we build the most cost-effective roster possible though, some guidelines. First, the players on this list have to have at least eclipsed the 10-point plateau. As nearly every team is closing in on the 20-game mark, the truest value players will be chipping in a point every other game while taking up a fraction of the cap. Second, in order to cut out the players on cheap deals by virtue of being on entry-level contracts, only players on standard player contracts have been included. So even though Nathan MacKinnon is tearing it up for Colorado, the Avalanche playmaker won’t be on this cost-effective list.
Here are the six players providing their clubs with the most bang for their buck: Read more
Montreal Canadiens backup netminder Mike Condon has done tremendous work as Carey Price’s injury replacement, but you can’t fault Canadiens fans for wondering when their all-star goaltender is going to be back between the pipes.
Wednesday, for the first time since his injury, Price took part in full practice, but there’s still no timeline on when the 28-year-old reigning Hart Trophy winner can return to full duty. Price told TSN’s John Lu that the lower-body injury occurred in the contest against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 29, but would not “reveal when it happened or whether it’s a new or old issue.” Price was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 1.
In speaking with NHL.com’s Arpon Basu, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said they’re going to take a patient approach with getting Price back into action. Read more
Travis Hamonic is 25 years old. He’s a mobile, physical defensemen who can munch minutes and has a reasonable amount of offensive potential. He’s a steal against the salary cap, currently leads all defensemen in hits, is a right-shot defenseman and has favorable numbers when it comes to analytics. And his best years as an NHL player could very well be in front of him.
So from the standpoint of New York Islanders GM Garth Snow, there could never be a better time to trade him. But when the player not only asks for a trade, but limits his destination to one of four teams, any leverage Snow had over his possible trade partners is wiped out. There’s nothing the drops a player’s trade market value more dramatically than a desperate need to move him and a limited number of destinations.
Hall of Fame left winger Bert Olmstead, a native of Sceptre, Sask., passed away Monday at 89 due to complications from a stroke, according to the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis.
Over his 14 seasons in the NHL, Olmstead played for the Chicago Black Hawks, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs and was also briefly a member of the Red Wings but never suited up for Detroit. Olmstead broke into the league with the Black Hawks in 1949-50 with a 20-goal, 49-point rookie campaign and finished second in Calder Trophy voting to Bruins goaltender Jack Gelineau.
Olmstead’s greatest successes came while a member of the Habs in the 1950s, though. Olmstead was a gifted playmaker, but wasn’t necessarily known for his own scoring ability, instead using his talents to set up linemates such as Elmer Lach, Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard and Jean Beliveau. Read more
So, what did we learn from the Pittsburgh Penguins shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night? Well, we know Mike Condon isn’t perfect. We also know that Sidney Crosby isn’t perfect, but he’s getting better.
Crosby went into his team’s 4-3 shootout win tied for 175th place in NHL scoring. Two assists later, he moved up more than 50 spots to tied for 124th. But the best part of Crosby’s performance was that he had an impact on the game right at the beginning and right at the end. His shootout goal on Condon, the second the young Canadiens gave up in two shots, put the game out of reach.
It’s impossible to lock up a division this early in the season, but the Montreal Canadiens have already opened up a 10-point lead in the Atlantic Division and have a three-point lead atop the NHL’s standings.
So what do you do when you have the run of the league? Well, you start to have a bit of fun in practice. During Monday’s ice time, the Canadiens threw a wrench in their normal drills by swapping sticks with opposite-handed players and having a short scrimmage. The result is a bunch of NHL players looking like a men’s recreation league: Read more
Montreal Canadiens netminder Mike Condon has been stellar in his five consecutive starts since Carey Price’s injury, and that’s good news because the Canadiens’ Vezina Trophy-winning netminder isn’t going to be back for at least one more week.
The Canadiens announced Tuesday that Price received a second opinion on his lower-body injury and doctors have told him that the diagnosis has remained the same. Price will not need surgery, and the timetable for his return isn’t one that should concern Habs fans too much. Read more