Skip to main content


Northeast: Metropolit at home with Canadiens

by James Murphy /
After being picked up on re-entry waivers by the Canadiens just prior to the trade deadline last season, forward Glen Metropolit is finally finding his niche in Montreal.

Well sort of. Metropolit is being used in a variety of situations by Canadiens coach Jacques Martin and is fitting in nicely to the Habs' revamped lineup this season.

Metropolit has 3 goals and 9 assists and was seeing time on all four lines, the power play and the penalty kill as Martin made the best of his versatility. Metropolit is obviously happy to have playing time and to be appreciated by his coach and teammates, but he is also happy to be in Montreal and part of a good group of players.

"You know, I am comfortable now," said Metropolit who recently moved into a downtown residence with his family. "The family likes it, I love the city and really love this team. We have a great dressing room. Lots of character and everyone is buying into what Jacques (Martin) is selling, so it's a good situation."

One of the newest Canadiens, Mike Cammalleri, is happy to see Metropolit once again getting recognized and finding success in Montreal. Metropolit always has been known as a grinder, but given the chance to show his skill, he won't disappoint.

"You think he's a hard worker?" Cammalleri jokingly asked. "He's tricked all of you guys eh? No, you know what? It is great to see him not only get rewarded for his hard work, but also for his play. He's really underrated. He's like that kid that was always the best in street hockey and could stickhandle around everyone, great hands. He's strong on the puck and a really good passer. Jacques [Martin] has him out there to help the team win hockey games not just to reward him."

"'Metro' has had a good start for us," Martin said. "He was injured for a bit and we really missed him. He's a versatile player and he's had good production. He brings a lot, skill and he is a very popular teammate, getting the best out of them."

Cammy gives back to soldiers -- Canadiens forward Michael Cammalleri is giving back to Quebec-based soldiers who have recently returned from Afghanistan by providing tickets to 21 homes games for the troops and their families. Called "Cammy's Heroes," the program will allow 21 members of the Canadian Forces and their families take in a Canadiens game at the Bell Centre. The contribution is being made through the Military Families Fund.

"I wanted to get involved with our troops and come up with something for the soldiers, because I have a great deal of admiration for their courage and commitment," Cammalleri said in a statement.

On each of those 21 game nights, Cammalleri's guests will have the opportunity to meet him before the game, have their photo taken with him, and receive a souvenir gift.

Julien keeps Bruins positive -- Coach Claude Julien always has been known to get the best out of his players, and that's part of the reason he was named the 2008-09 Jack Adams Award winner.

Ironically he wasn't even nominated in 2007-08 when he had an even less-talented squad that was missing key players throughout the season. Now, the Bruins are going through similar injury woes missing the likes of Milan Lucic, Marc Savard and recently David Krejci.

With a 4-2 win over the Sabres on Saturday night, they broke a three-game losing streak and in the process a 0-for-20 stretch on the power play. According to forward Shawn Thornton, one of the main reasons they were able to keep their heads up and get through that funk was Julien's positive and always honest approach.

"I am going to stick behind this group and I will take whatever heat comes my way, but these guys care and are trying," Julien said following the second loss of the recent losing streak in which the Bruins unloaded 43 shots, but were still beaten by Carey Price and the Habs in a 2-1 shootout loss.

Julien's words did not go unnoticed. His players appreciated that he went to bat for them and the way he generally handles things whenever the team hits a rough patch.

"We're usually on the same page in this room and with the coaching staff and there's a lot of communication back and forth," Thornton said. "It's not us against him and him against us. We're all on the same page and we all want to win.

"It's very open-door that way, and we appreciate that as players," Thornton said. "There's no gray area, and if we need to be told, he tells us. As a man, you like to be told when you're not doing something right. And when you're doing something right, nothing is said and you go about your business."

Thornton said that the coach's approach helped the players through their recent stretch of offensive futility, a 0-for-20 run on the power play and a three-game losing streak.

"We all just kept looking at the positives and it worked," said Thornton. "We looked at the fact that we were playing very well defensively and physically and we were getting chances. So when the chances are coming and you stick with it, eventually they will go in."

New approach for Ruff -- As Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News recently pointed out, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has a different approach this season. Gone are the days of tough love as Ruff has essentially decided to use positive reinforcement and let his players critique and correct their own play.

"The old me might have went irate and done something a little bit stranger," Ruff told Gleason after the Sabres lost to the Bruins, 4-2. "We've dealt with some sickness. We're going to back off. We're going to get the guys some rest. We know how hard they worked in the first 10 games."

Heading into Wednesday's game with Edmonton, the Sabres have lost two straight and their lead a top the Northeast Division has dwindled to one point with the Bruins and Senators suddenly rolling toward them in the standings. But Ruff isn't dwelling on mistakes; instead he is finding positives and urging his team to build off them.

"We were hard on the puck and hard defensively," Ruff told the media after the loss at Boston. "That made it really tough on them. Things weren't clicking right off the bat. As things went on we played with more urgency, just maybe a little too late."

As Gleason pointed out, "become bored with the messenger and stop listening to the message" and Ruff has apparently decided to deliver a new message.

Hecht looks to break scoreless streak -- Last week, we chronicled the scoring woes of Sabres forward Derek Roy, who at that point had not scored a goal this season. Well, Roy has gone out and scored a goal per game in his last three games, so why not point out that Jochen Hecht has gone nine games without a goal? Jochen, you can thank us later!

Hecht is in the midst of one of his worst scoring droughts, having scored only once this season, but he is trying to battle through.

"They're due. They're going to come," Hecht told the Buffalo News. "They've got to go in sooner or later. We're getting the chances as a line. I think we've played good so far. When somebody starts scoring, I think the whole line is going to take off and be a big offensive part here."

Linemate Mike Grier knows that Hecht will break through sooner or later.

"He's putting in the work and getting the chances," Grier said. "That's all you can ask for. Eventually, with someone with his skill, he's going to get on a good run here soon."

Murray looking for help -- While the Senators pulled to within one point of the first place Sabres on Tuesday night, General Manager Bryan Murray was at the GM meetings in Toronto still looking to improve and help his team with a possible trade or waiver pick-up.

"We have to make a tweak if we can," Murray told the Ottawa Citizen before heading to Toronto, to discuss head shots, rule changes, equipment standards and maybe a deal or two.

"We have to make a tweak if we can. Very definitely, we have to find a way to get at least one more player here. I'm certainly going to investigate as we go forward here to see if there's anything more we can do, and at some point we'll figure out if we need to make a change."
-- Senators GM Bryan Murray on possibly making a trade or waiver pick-up

"Very definitely, we have to find a way to get at least one more player here. I'm certainly going to investigate as we go forward here to see if there's anything more we can do, and at some point we'll figure out if we need to make a change."

Ottawa started the season 6-2-2 and has struggled with inconsistency ever since going 2-3-0 over their last five games. The Senators are averaging three goals per game, but Murray would like a few more timely goals or "big" goals and is searching for the right finisher for the job.

"I'd like to see a little more scoring obviously, and I think that's a general comment most managers would make around the league today," Murray said.

Cheechoo finally scores -- Forward Jonathan Cheechoo finally broke through and scored a goal Tuesday night, ending a 15-game stretch of futility that went back to April 5, when he was with San Jose.

"It was nice to get the goal. I hadn't scored in a while so I was getting stressed a little bit," Cheechoo said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself to do certain things and scoring is one of them. This will help me relax a bit."

Outdoor game in Toronto? -- Toronto Maple Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke made a pitch for an outdoor game at BMO Field to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman earlier this week. Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment also applied to host an NHL All-Star Game and two NHL Entry Drafts at the Air Canada Centre in the next four years.

BMO Field, the home of Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, has a capacity of a little more than 20,000 for soccer.

"We are looking at feasibility of adding a handful of seats for next year," said Tom Anselmi, VP and COO of MLSE. "We want an outdoor game for Toronto and the league is aware of that. We think it could be spectacular at BMO field. I see filling the seats plus festival seating' on the field for at least 25,000 total attendance."

This season's Winter Classic will take place at Fenway Park in Boston when the Bruins host the Flyers on New Year's Day.

Black and Blue

Boston -- Center Marc Savard had his protective boot removed from his broken left foot this week, but remains at least two weeks away from returning to the Bruins' lineup. Winger Milan Lucic is skating on his own, but is still expected to be sidelined another two weeks with his broken right index finger.

Buffalo -- Defenseman Toni Lydman was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury and goaltender Patrick Lalime also suffering from a groin injury is out indefinitely.

Montreal -- Defenseman Hal Gill (foot) and forwards Georges Laraque (back) and Matt D'Agostini (concussion) were all placed on injured reserve this past week and are out indefinitely. Defenseman Andrei Markov is still on injured reserve and expected to miss three more months with a torn ankle tendon. Defenseman Matthew O'Byrne remains out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Ottawa -- Defenseman Anton Volchenkov is on injured reserve with a dislocated right elbow.

Toronto -- Defenseman Mike Komisarek left Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. Defenseman Mike Van Ryn is out for the season after reconstructive knee surgery last month.
View More