Title - Hockey is Canadien
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Follow Me on TwitterDean Eastman is the Montreal Canadiens' correspondent for Dean was born in Cornwall and raised in Long Sault and has been a loyal Habs fan since the days of the Pocket Rocket and the Roadrunner. He now calls Whitby, Ontario home to his wife Heather and young son Eric. Dean is passionate about his hockey, whether it be from the junior or professional ranks. Dean will provide current news and views on the Montreal Canadiens' organization from a global perspective. If you have questions or wish to contact Dean, you can email him at
The woes of the Montreal Canadiens continue
Dean Eastman

Hockey is Canadien
The woes of the Montreal Canadiens continue
Week two is now in the books and the woes continue for the Montreal Canadiens. Going into Monday night’s contest versus the Florida Panthers, the Habs sit in last place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 1-4-2. Dean Eastman takes a look back at the week that was.

Whitby - Oct. 24, 2011 - Week two is now in the books for the Montreal Canadiens. Going into Monday night’s contest versus the Florida Panthers, the Habs sit in last place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 1-4-2.

To address the current sad state of affairs, crafty Habs’ General Manager Pierre Gauthier pulled the trigger on a multi-player deal on Sunday that saw my “On The Fly” AHL’s Hamilton Bulldog from last week’s article, Brock Trotter, being shipped to Phoenix with a seventh round draft pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft.

Coming to Montreal is centreman Petteri Nokelainen and going to Hamilton is defenseman Garrett Stafford. Winger Michael Blunden was recalled by the Canadiens as both Andreas Engqvist and Aaron Palushaj were sent to Hamilton.

Dump and Chase

Post-trade Lineup vs. Florida Tonight’s contest will see the following lines iced against the Panthers

1. Cammalleri - Plekanec - Gionta
2. Pacioretty - Desharnais - Cole
3. Moen - Eller - Kostitsyn
4. Darche - Nokelainen - Blunden

1. Gorges - Subban
2. Gill - Diaz
3. Spacek - Weber

Peter Budaj will get the start in nets for Montreal. The Habs will try to win their first home game of the season tonight.

Alexei Emelin is the odd man out with the re-insertion of Spacek. The Habs’ have all their size on the second line (apart from David Desharnais at the centre spot).

Canadiens’ Sick Bay
Jaroslav Spacek: Back in the lineup tonight to face the Panthers. He will skate with Yannick Weber as the third defense pairing.

Chris Campoli: Lower Body Injury (left leg) on Injured Reserve and is out indefinitely.

Ryan White: Sports Hernia Injury and is out indefinitely.

Andrei Markov: **UPDATE** TSN’s John Lu reported this morning that Markov will return from Florida this weekend according to Jacques Martin.

Brendon Nash: Shoulder Surgery and is out indefinitely.

Scott Gomez: Upper Body Injury and is expected to miss one week.


Bulldogs Sit in Third Place in North Division
The Hamilton Bulldogs went .500 over two games this past week. On October 18th, the Bulldogs were shutout by the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-0. Then, on October 21st, the Bulldogs won an exciting 3-2 shooutout victory over the Rochester Americans.
The Bulldogs current record is 3-2-0, good for third place in the North Division, three points behind the division-leading Toronto Marlies, with a game in hand.

Newcomer Garrett Stafford now leads the Bulldogs in scoring as Brock Trotter now finds himself in the Phoenix Coyotes system.

The Week Ahead
The Bulldogs will play three games this week. The team hosts the Rochester Americans on October 27th. The team then travels to Albany for a matchup on October 29th and then return to Hamilton to host the Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames’ affiliate).

Louis Leblanc is expected to suit up on Thursday, the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in the off-season.

Neutral Zone Nailer

Nailers Victory Over Jackals On October 22nd, the Wheeling Nailers beat their new division rivals, the Elmira Jackals 3-2.

Atlantic Division Standings
1- WHEELING NAILERS 3-0-0-0, 6 pts
2- Elmira Jackals 3-1-0-0, 6 pts
3- Reading Royals 2-1-1-0, 5 pts
4- Trenton Titans 1-3-0-0, 2 pts

October 27 - Gwinnett Gladiators @ WHEELING NAILERS
October 28 - Trenton Titans @ WHEELING NAILERS

Canadiens' Junior Prospects

Danny Kristo continues his strong play, now with two goals and five assists, good enough for seven points after only four games for North Dakota.

Jarred Tinordi is still nursing an eye injury. On Tuesday, October 18th, London Knights’ head coach Dale Hunter announced that Tinordi’s swelling around his eye and cheek has reduced considerably and that Tinordi would be re-evaluated by doctor’s later in the week.

On The Fly

Peter Budaj Signs Two-Year Contract on July 1, 2011
First things first. I have never played the position of goalie, albeit one game in Atom House League when my team lost 8-0. From this, I cannot give you a strong analysis of what Peter Budaj (lead photo, above) brings to the table for the Canadiens other than what I have done in my research.

Budaj was the 63rd overall pick of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Budaj is 29-years-old, stands 6’1? and weighs in at 200 lbs. He’s larger than the majority of the Canadiens’ forwards. That being said, Budaj should start approximately ten games for the Montreal Canadiens this season, barring any injuries to Carey Price.

This year is Budaj’s seventh season in the NHL. In 45 games last season with the Avalanche, Budaj had a 3.20 GAA and had 15 wins, 21 losses with four overtime losses.

Tonight will mark Budaj’s first regular season start in nets for the Montreal Canadiens. In my opinion, he is a very good backup netminder that will lead the Canadiens to their first home win of this 2011-12 NHL regular season. Bold statement for sure, but this albatross, we call the Montreal Canadiens, needs to find their way back into the win column, sooner-or-later.

Post-Game Handshake

To be polite, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Petteri Nokelainen to the Canadiens’ empire. To be truthful, Nokelainen is a slim upgrade at the fourth centreman spot over Andreas Engqvist.

Nokelainen is a former 1st round draft pick (16th overall) by the New York Islanders in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. However, Nokelainen couldn’t stick with the Islanders, Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks or the Phoenix Coyotes. Last season with Phoenix, he registered a measely 2 points in 17 games. For any of you having trouble as to how to pronounce Petteri’s last name, please click the YouTube video below, supplied by RunForTheCube. Here, you can learn how to pronounce any other challenging last names in the NHL (I am just trying to add some humour to an already difficult season for Habs’ fans).

I received some interesting emails from OurHometown readers this past week. Here are the best of the bunch:

Shawn Pilon from Cornwall wrote: “One of the reasons the Habs are having a hard time is because Jack Martin refuses to give into his players by making sure he always let’s them know who is boss.

A good coach can make adjustments on the fly as he evaluates his team during play, but Jacques is convinced on giving his line combos 3 to 5 games sometimes to build chemistry. Anyone who has played the game knows that not all players are going to be firing on all cylinders for 82 games.

So in saying that, put your best players together, the first week Patches, AK46 and Plekanec should be playing together. They are hot and having Pleky in the middle just makes them better, but who plays centre? Coin, Coin Desharnais. How can you evaluate Cole on the third line?

Come on Jack wake up!”

Sean Mecteau from Cornwall wrote: “…I could not disagree with you more on your analysis of Rafael Diaz. I for one have not been impressed by his play thus far this season….not in the least.

I understand with the injuries on the back end its asking a lot for a “first year” player to step in and play big minutes, especially in Montreal, but at 25yrs old, Diaz should be showing more poise than he does with the puck, especially in the defensive zone. Not that there is any one particular play or “error” that stands out, I just find he looks very indecisive at times. With three d-men out, and not much going on on the farm, the Habs are kinda “pooched”, but I do think we would have been better off with Woywitka in the meantime. He would have added a little toughness as well, something else they’re lacking. Hey, Bryan MacCabe is still out there….why not??

That bus you have Engqvist and Palushaj on back to Hamilton? (which I do agree with by the way). Keep a seat available for Diaz. And throw Desharnais on there while you’re at it…..or at least under it. lol.

Keep up the good work Eastman”

Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…

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