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Canadiens claim Betts off waivers from Flyers

Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 12:33 PM / News

By Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

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Canadiens claim Betts off waivers from Flyers
The Montreal Canadiens filled a major hole in their lineup Wednesday when they picked up center Blair Betts off of waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Canadiens sorely lacked a center who can win faceoffs and kill penalties, so when Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren unexpectedly put Betts on waivers Tuesday, it could not have been a better fit to fill that need for Montreal.

Betts, 31, led Flyers forwards last season in faceoff percentage (50.3 percent) and shorthanded ice time per game (3:37). Plus, at a listed 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Betts adds some much needed beef to a Canadiens forward group lacking in size.

The Canadiens were counting on rookie hopeful Andreas Engqvist to perhaps fill that fourth-line center role, but his performance in training camp has been less than stellar and entering the regular season with him in that role would have represented a major question mark.

Betts, who has played in nine NHL seasons for the Calgary Flames, New York Rangers and the Flyers, represents far more of a proven commodity.

There is a link for Betts with the Canadiens as assistant coach Perry Pearn served the same role with the Rangers while Betts played there. He was also a teammate of Canadiens center Scott Gomez for two seasons in New York.

The Canadiens open the season Thursday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.
Quote of the Day

I think everybody wanted the puck tonight. Everybody wanted to be part of the solution and it reflected on the way we played. It's tiring when you have to chase the puck but tonight was one of those nights where everyone really wanted to make a play and wanted to have an impact on the game.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis after a 2-0 win against the Flyers
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