O`Byrne and Boyd finding new life

Two Montreal Canadiens players,expected to find a place on this year's roster, have found new life after being sent off, in different directions, by the team.

Ryan O`Byrne and Dustin Boyd are now finding new life in their new homes. O'`Byrne of course was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, and will see action against his former team tonight.

Boyd was sent down to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs earlier this week,  after twice going unclaimed on waivers.

The 24-year old center was a healthy scratch for most of this season, seeing action in just 10 games with just one goal to his credit and a -6 rating. With the Canadiens deep at the center position, and with an abundance of third and fourth liners available, there is no room for him at the moment.

The call up of Max Pacioretty made it simple to move Boyd to Hamilton, where he will get some ice time. He seems to have  filled Pacioretty's scoring void thus far with three goals in his first two games with Bulldogs on their Western Conference road trip. His third goal was the overtime winner against the Texas Stars on Saturday.

The chances that Boyd returns to the big club seem unlikely, unless the Pacioretty experiment does not work or there is an injury callup. Regardless, the time in Hamilton will give him time to get his confidence back and be at the ready if needed.

The Bulldogs road trip continues with a visit to San Antonio tonight and a stop in Houston on Tuesday. They return to action after the Christmas break, with a visit to the Toronto Marlies, and return home December 28 against the Chicago Wolves.

For O`Byrne, it was another case of being the odd man out on the Canadiens blueline corps. Personal problems had also plagued the 26-year old, with the death of his mother last season and a "purse-snatching" incident on February of 2008.

Like Boyd, earning regular ice time became a problem for O`Byrne (3GP) and he was traded to the Avalanche in November for prospect Michael Bournival. The deal also shaved over $900k in salary of the team's cap.

Right out the gate, O`Byrne saw the ice time he hoped to get regularly with Montreal with over 24 minutes of ice time in his first game for the Avalanche. In 18 games, he is plus 13 and averaging 20:43 TOI in 18 games with Colorado.

"I've had my chance to play some important minutes right off the bat, and help contribute," O'Byrne said after the team's Sunday skate. "I've played with John-Michael Liles, since day one, and we've had some success together. I had some ups and downs there (Montreal) and it was tough to crack the lineup. It was one of those situations where it was time for a fresh start."

His 54 hits, and 47 blocked shots, are already second on the team, a physical asset the Canadiens had hoped to see emerge out of the BC native.

More on O`Byrne's turnaround from the Denver Post's Adrian Dater.

Aside from the first meeting with their former rearguard. Tonight's matchup with the Avalanche (18-10-4) will be another solid test for the Canadiens.

Colorado is 6-0-1 in their last seven games, despite a list of injuries, and are battling for first in the Northwest division it a tight Western Conference. Paul Stastny is expected to return to the lineup tonight.

The Canadiens will go with the same lineup they used in Thursday's win against the Boston Bruins.


Avalanche coverage: From Mile High Hockey 

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