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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

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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

You know what? We've played in some pretty special buildings along this playoff run so far. You start in Detroit, you go to Montreal, you come here … I think it's the first team to beat three Original Six teams to get to the Final if I'm not mistaken. That says how tough the road has been. Those are tough places to win.

— Lightning forward Steven Stamkos after Game 7 win vs. Rangers on Friday in New York