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Sunday Habs Headlines: “All but assured” that Ilya Kovalchuk is a Montreal Canadien next season

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In today’s links, the Canadiens’ off-season plans may already be coming together, Brendan Gallagher discusses his future, checking in on the Habs’ isolation activities, and more.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens news and notes

  • Eric Engels says it’s “all but assured” that Ilya Kovalchuk will be back with the Canadiens for 2020-21. He also predicts Max Domi will claim a centre role over Jesperi Kotkaniemi next season. [Sportsnet]
  • Brendan Gallagher is currently under one of the most team-friendly deals in the NHL, though the benefit has been far from mutual with how often the Canadiens have missed the playoffs. That lack of success will be a factor when free agency looms for a player who says “the most important thing is to win.” [Journal de Montreal | Google Translate]
  • It’s a familiar comment from members of Montreal’s current leadership group, as frustration with unsuccessful seasons begins to mount. [Radio-Canada]
  • Dale Weise hasn’t heard anything from a league source about an impending return to play. [Sportsnet]
  • La Presse writers review the predictions they made at the start of the season. [La Presse]
  • Recently celebrating his 60th birthday, look back at Claude Julien’s hockey career to date. [Journal de Montreal]
  • The signing of Vasili Demchenko shouldn’t be the final bit of work put in to find a backup goaltender for next season. [RDS]
  • Joel Armia introduces us to his puppy, Otso. []
  • Paul Byron has been reading Star Wars books and playing lots of board games over the past month and a half:

Around the league and elsewhere

  • The end of the NHL season usually sees the top teams trying to hit their peak while the bottom clubs coast to the finish line with the off-season in sight. During this pause, that cooldown for the non-playoff teams has extended, while those on contenders are staying sharp for a Stanley Cup run. That growing difference in motivation could make for some interesting games if the regular season does resume. [The Athletic]
  • The 2003 NHL Draft is considered one of the best the league has ever seen. If Alex Ovechkin had been born two days earlier, he would have joined that class. [Journal de Montreal]
  • The suspension of live sports around the globe was a major boost to an already burgeoning esports sector. [Le Soleil]
  • Steven Stamkos has recovered from his surgery, and ready to go whenever NHL games are played again. []
  • Former NHLers Scott Darling and Eric Fehr describe the scramble to get home between the suspension of European league seasons and the cancellation of international travel. []
  • The NFL just wrapped up a three-day draft event without any major technical hiccups. Something to relieve any apprehension the NHL had about conducting this summer’s draft in a virtual fashion. [TSN]
  • Sidney Crosby shared a message of support for the families and friends of the victims of last weekend’s mass shooting in his home province of Nova Scotia. []