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Thursday Habs Headlines: Jesperi Kotkaniemi is making his case for a key role

In today’s links, Kotkaniemi is forcing the coaching staff to reconsider pre-pause roster, Danault looks forward to facing off against Crosby, Tatar is focused on hockey and healthy, not contracts, and more.

NHL: JAN 27 Capitals at Canadiens Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens news and notes

  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s lineup projection for the qualifiers is rising from depth forward to key centre option. [Sportsnet]
  • Watch him and the other Habs in action yesterday:
  • Tomas Tatar has too much on his plate to worry about future contract negotiations right now. [TVA Sports]
  • Phillip Danault is looking forward to the biggest challenge of his career: matching up with Sidney Crosby over the course of a post-season series. [La Presse]
  • Cale Fleury and Cayden Primeau also spoke about their roles at training camp yesterday. []
  • Cole Caufield, Jayden Struble, and the rest of the 2021 World Juniors hopefuls won’t be on the ice together this summer, and USA Hockey’s Summer Showcase has been cancelled. []
  • Ilya Kovalchuk hopes the Canadiens and his Washington Capitals can meet in the Eastern Conference Final. []
  • The other centre spots are up for grabs, and that could present a great opportunity for Jake Evans. [Journal de Montreal]
  • Montreal vs. Toronto is one of three all-Canadian exhibition matches this month, as the NHL tries to use local rivalries to pique interest for the post-season. [Vancouver Courrier]

Around the league and elsewhere

  • Lars Eller has left Capitals training camp to be with his wife for the birth of their son. [TSN]
  • Cale Makar, Quinn Hughes, and Dominik Kubalik are this season’s Calder Trophy finalists. []
  • The coach of the year award will go to one of Bruce Cassidy, Alain Vigneault, and John Tortorella. []
  • Malcolm Subban is preparing to be the Chicago Blackhawks’ starting goaltender after Corey Crawford received the “unfit to play” tag. []
  • Thanks to the expanded NHL rosters, there are 91 players who’ve spent time in the ECHL in Phase 3 camps. []
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs had been using officials in their training camp activities. The NHL told them to stop. [Sportsnet]