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Posted On Tuesday, 09.24.2013 / 1:44 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Canadiens expect Gionta to play final preseason game

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta is expected to play his team's final preseason game Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators, thereby assuring he will be ready to start the season on time Oct. 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gionta underwent surgery to repair a torn biceps muscle in his left arm in May and there was some question at the beginning of camp on whether or not he would be able to play on opening night.

While nothing is set in stone, both Gionta and Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Tuesday that the plan is to have him play Thursday night.


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 5:10 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Price begins first Canadiens camp with Waite

BROSSARD, Quebec -- A new relationship began to be built Thursday when Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price spent his first on-ice session with his new coach, Stephane Waite.

"He's got an excellent resume; he's had success with other goaltenders," Price said of his new mentor. "I'm looking forward to rounding my game with him."

Waite's resume includes winning the Stanley Cup twice in four seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, helping first Antti Niemi then Corey Crawford backstop their teams through the grind of the playoffs.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 12:04 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Canadiens offer possible glimpse at line combinations

BROSSARD, Quebec -- It was only the first scrimmage of training camp, but Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien may have given a little sneak preview Thursday as to the line combinations he'll use this season.

Canadiens new acquisition Daniel Briere was at right wing on a line with David Desharnais at center and Max Pacioretty on the left, two players who have spent basically the entirety of their professional careers together. With Briere and Desharnais both standing considerably less than 6 feet, it would be a combination lacking size but oozing with skill.

Another combination had Tomas Plekanec and Rene Bourque together at center and left wing, just as they were last season. But the right side was filled by prospect Christian Thomas in the absence of captain Brian Gionta, who is still recovering from a torn biceps muscle. Thomas was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers for Danny Kristo during the offseason.


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Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 3:55 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Canadiens' Plekanec moves past tragic week

BROSSARD, Quebec – Tomas Plekanec has always been one to find his summers a little bit too long, particularly since his Montreal Canadiens have not made the Stanley Cup Final once in his eight seasons with the club.

He is a hockey junkie, and is always itching to play.

But this year, Plekanec wanted to spend a little extra time at his home in Kladno, Czech Republic because, for one of the few times in his life, hockey had to take a back seat to something more serious.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:44 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins' Vokoun good but not good enough

BOSTON -- Under any other circumstances, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun would be a hero. Friday, he just wasn't heroic enough.

With Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask posting a .985 save percentage and two shutouts in their four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Final, Vokoun's performance wasn't enough to allow the Penguins to reach their goal of the Stanley Cup Final.

"Tomas, I thought, was two goals short of brilliant, two goals short of Tuukka Rask in these two games," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said after a 1-0 loss in Game 4 ended Pittsburgh's season. "He was great. Not as many saves as Rask in Game 3, but he was equally up to the task, and he was again tonight. I thought he played outstanding. It was dueling goaltenders there for a lot for Games 3 and 4."

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 2:10 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Daugavins to replace Campbell for Bruins in Game 4

BOSTON -- On most hockey teams, the role of fourth-line center is rarely a source of great debate.

But the way the Boston Bruins are built and the way they play the game makes them unlike most hockey teams.

They are a team built on balance and depth, where the role of top-line scorer is no more or less important than a fourth-line grinder or enforcer.

Many teams say that is the case, but few actually put it in practice the way the Bruins do.

So when Gregory Campbell fractured his right fibula in the second period of Wednesday night's 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, it created a hole far larger than it might have on a typical hockey team losing its fourth-line center.

That hole in the lineup will be filled by Kaspars Daugavins, coach Claude Julien confirmed Friday morning ahead of Game 4 of the conference final at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But filling Campbell's role on the team will be done by committee.

"You don't replace a guy like Gregory Campbell by putting another guy in there," Julien said Friday morning. "He brings a lot. When you lose a guy like him, you realize the hole that he's left.”

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 2:06 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Seguin getting used to playing on Bruins' third line

BOSTON -- Tyler Seguin was chosen by the Boston Bruins with the second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. At the time, the belief around the League was he would be a top-line player with strong production on the offensive end.

Just under three years after he was drafted, Seguin finds himself on the Bruins' third line in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, filling a role he probably never envisioned himself playing at this stage of his career.

Seguin likely will be lining up against the Pittsburgh Penguins alongside Rich Peverley and Kaspars Daugavins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series against the top-seeded Penguins 3-0 with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final as soon as Friday. That is exactly why Seguin has no problem with how he's being used by Boston coach Claude Julien.

"It's an adjustment," Seguin said Friday. "But I think in the back of your head all you think about is going all the way and doing it for your team. Someone's got to do it. In the playoffs there's always someone doing something that they're not used to, whether it's injuries or whatnot. I'm doing what I can [while] being moved out of my regular position."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 9:23 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins stick with Vokoun as Game 3 starter

BOSTON -- Two days of speculation and debate about who would start in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins (NBCSN, CBC, RDS) turned out to be for nothing.

Tomas Vokoun started for the Penguins, as he has in every game for the past month.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma generally does not discuss his lineups with the media, but he did confirm beforehand Vokoun would be in goal for a 10th straight game.

"We're looking for a solid game from our goaltender," Bylsma said. "We've gotten that from Tomas in virtually every game he's played, a real solid performance. He's done that for us, and that's what we need [Wednesday] night. We don't need perfection. We're looking for a solid game in between the pipes and for our goaltender to allow our team to win a hockey game."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 8:21 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins juggle forward lines for Game 3

BOSTON – Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma juggled his forward lines for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden.

Forward Jussi Jokinen was scratched and rookie Beau Bennett re-entered the lineup after a three-game absence. It was Bennett’s second game since May 5, when the Penguins played Game 3 of their first-round series against the New York Islanders.


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Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 4:43 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins' character to be tested in Game 3

BOSTON -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have not been in this situation in years.

No, not the situation where they find themselves down 0-2 to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final heading into Game 3 on the road Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Penguins were in this very predicament in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs just last season, and it didn't turn out very well; they dropped Game 3 in Philadelphia to the Flyers 8-3 before going on to lose the series in six games.

Rather, it is the Eastern Conference Final itself that has been a foreign place for the Penguins since they last won the Stanley Cup in 2009, and their ability to remain in this series will be on the line Wednesday.

Though it is far from ideal, it is a test of character that is somewhat welcomed by the Penguins.

"You don't plan to be in this situation," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said, "but you definitely see what you're made of in these types of scenarios."

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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff