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Bulldogs Report - Oct. 7, 2009

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL - Much like the Canadiens, the Hamilton Bulldogs also have their fair share of new faces in the lineup this season. Here’s a look at the revamped roster now under the watchful eye of new head coach Guy Boucher.

Up front

Three new local products will be looking to fill the net in Steel Town this season. After posting 66 points in 80 games for the Portland Pirates, Mathieu Darche is set to continue his scoring ways in his 10th AHL season. The veteran winger also boasts over 100 NHL games under his belt.

Newly-signed Maxime Larcroix brings more depth at forward for Boucher. A solid two-way contributor, the 22-year-old picked up his first point in his first game with the Bulldogs on October 4 against the rival Marlies.

He may still be sidelined with a knee injury, but Dany Masse shouldn’t be overlooked. Masse may still be a few weeks from returning as he recovers from knee surgery, but he did pile up 110 points in only 68 games for the Drummondville Voltigeurs last season under Boucher.

Far from unknown to Habs fans anymore, Eric Neilson made quite an impression during the preseason by dropping the gloves three times in one game against the Senators at the Bell Centre on September 18. Neilson also racked up 207 penalty minutes in 50 games for the Peoria Rivermen last season before signing with the Bulldogs this summer.

Other new faces at forward include signee Mikael Johansson and Tom Pyatt, who was acquired in the Scott Gomez deal with the Rangers. 

On the blue line

Two new defensemen will be joining the fray in Hamilton this season, including one D-man who needs no introduction. P.K. Subban will likely come as advertised after posting 76 points in 56 games with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls last year. As quick on the ice as he is comfortable in front of a mic, Subban is likely counting the days until he packs his bags for Montreal.

No stranger to Hamilton, Andre Benoit is back on the Bulldogs’ blue line after spending two seasons in Europe. The veteran rearguard helped lead the ‘Dogs to the Calder Cup in 2006-07.

Between the pipes

Fresh off backing up Roberto Luongo last season in Vancouver, Curtis Sanford will look to claw his way back to the NHL by protecting the Hamilton crease. After making 35 appearances for the Canucks, Sanford then promptly led the Manitoba Moose all the way to the Calder Cup Final last season thanks to a sparkling .936 save percentage.

Set to make their home-ice debut this Friday against the Ice Hogs, the Bulldogs will clearly have a number of players eager to make a strong first impression. 

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Manny Almela

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