Doesn't it feel good knowing that the Montreal Canadiens rookie camp has started? We're that much closer to the new season, ladies and gents.
The eager and hopeful Habs prospects took to the ice in Brossard today, closing out with a red vs white scrimmage that was taken 3-2 by the white squad. Alain Berger, who came in No. 23 in our Top 25 Under 25, netted a pair of goals, including the winner.
"I was pretty happy with the first game, and I worked pretty hard. But there's lots to improve," Berger said, and has set his goal on making the Hamilton Bulldogs this season. "That is my goal. I worked hard for that over the summer. I was back home in Switzerland, for a bit and was back here in August."
Another Hamilton hopeful is 2009 1st round pick Louis Leblanc, who wore a non-contact sweater at today's session as he recoups from shoulder surgery.
"I'm probably ahead of schedule right now. I feel great and started a bit of contact last week," Leblanc said. "Day by day I'm getting better." Leblanc will have to travel to Florida to get the full doctor's clearance to resume a regular playing regimen.
Like Berger, Leblanc is focused on starting his season in the AHL, feeling he's learned all he can in the QMJHL. "Pro is the next step for me. I want to learn from (Bulldogs coach) Clement Jodoin. It's going to be faster, and the guys are going to be bigger, older, stronger. It's another step towards the NHL."
Tons of audio from our friends at HockeyInsideOut.com and a few more links after the jump
The best news of the day however was that acclaimed sportswriter Michael Farber announced that his cancer is in remission. Farber had taken a leave of absence from his senior editor position with Sports Illustrated and his daily/weekly appearances on CJAD and TSN. He returned to the Montreal airwaves in late August.
One of the Habs rookies at this year's camp is Nathan Beaulieu, who received good reviews in the Globe and Mail's preview of Eastern Canadian teams.
"He was projected as a top-eight pick, so when Nathan Beaulieu was still available at 17, the Canadiens grabbed him. The Saint John Sea Dogs blueliner is the first Habs first rounder from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League since Eric Chouinard in 1998. That’s an ominous precedent, but Beaulieu is a better prospect than Chouinard and projects as a top-pair defenseman. He’s a fluid skater, a smart defender, a snazzy passer and a power-play quarterback whose hockey sense is off the charts. He'll need to get bigger to play in the NHL, and will spend another year with the Memorial Cup champions, but Beaulieu could be in Montreal on a Subban-like timeline of two or three years." - Sean Gordon, The Globe and Mail, Sept 11, 2011
It really comes as no surprise, but amidst the recent concerns of fighting in the NHL, NESN is showing a fight a day from the Boston Bruins 2010-11 season. Fans then can vote at week's end for their favorite. Now I do believe fighting is part of the game, but I think over exposure at this time is a bit off key. Then again NESN signed Jack Edwards for five more years..
Speaking of the Bruins, Eric Engels gives his forecast for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The town of Coniston has renamed their arena the Toe Blake Memorial Arena, in honor of it's hometown hero.