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Stanley Cup Final

Canadiens claim Betts off waivers from Flyers

Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 12:33 PM / News

By Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

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.

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory