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Canadiens acquire Schneider from Thrashers

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL (AP) -The Montreal Canadiens are hoping a key player from their last Stanley Cup team will help end the longest championship drought in their 100-year history.

The Canadiens acquired defenseman Mathieu Schneider from the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday for two draft picks.

Schneider began his 20-year career with Montreal and helped the Canadiens win their 24th Stanley Cup in 1993.

"I'm just thrilled. I can't say enough," Schneider said in a conference call from Los Angeles. "Maybe this is an omen, hopefully."

Founded in 1909, the Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup in 1916, one year before the formation of the NHL. The franchise's longest previous championship drought was 13 years, from 1931 to 1944.

Schneider, a 39-year-old native of New York City, was a teammate of Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau and assistant Kirk Muller on the 1993 team.

"I don't think it'll be strange," said Schneider, who will join the team Tuesday for an afternoon practice at their suburban facility. "The thing is they are very, very intelligent hockey people."

Montreal has dropped 10 of its last 13 games, including a 4-2 loss in Vancouver on Sunday. The Canadiens' power play has struggled to replace valuable contributions made over the last few years by point men Sheldon Souray and Mark Streit, who each left over the previous two offseasons as free agents.

"We were looking for a defenseman who could contribute offensively," general manager Bob Gainey said in a release. "Mathieu, an experienced player with a lot of offensive upside, will bring depth to our core group of defensemen and will be an asset on our power play."

The Canadiens are 1-3 on a season-high six-game road trip that continues Wednesday in Washington. They entered play Monday tied with the New York Rangers for fifth in the Eastern Conference.

The Thrashers received a second-round pick in 2009 and a third-round selection in 2010 for Schneider, who has four goals and 11 assists in 44 games this season.

Schneider has 216 goals and 501 assists in 1,241 career games. He also has played for the New York Islanders, Toronto, the New York Rangers, Los Angeles, Detroit and Anaheim.

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