Friday Habs Headlines: Jesperi Kotkaniemi dictating the construction of the Canadiens

In today’s links, ESPN estimates the Habs’ chances this year, all eyes continue to be on Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Bob Cole is returning for a farewell season.

Montreal Canadiens news and notes

  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s surprising pre-season is having a ripple effect on other players, determining whether they play C or W or whether they play at Centre or Place Bell. [Montreal Gazette]
  • Kotkaniemi shone once again in the Habs 5-3 defeat to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. [La Presse]
  • Is there really a gap that Kotkaniemi needs to bridge before he’s NHL ready? [RDS]
  • If the Finnish phenom needs a helping hand, Victor Mete is always there. [Montreal Canadiens]
  • How does Kotkaniemi compare with Filip Zadina so far? [La Presse]
  • The young Pori native has been a breath of fresh air for a franchise surrounded by gloom recently. [Hockey Inside/Out (Video)]
  • The head coach gives Kotkaniemi a ringing endorsement. [TSN]
  • Previewing the Habs season. [ESPN]
  • Jonathan Drouin is feeling much more at ease, back at his natural position and away from the media glare. [RDS]
  • A new season brings new faces: who’s new in town for the Habs? [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Joël Bouchard takes us on a tour of the Laval Rocket dressing room./
  • Carey Price hopes a vintage mask design will bring back a vintage season./
  • The Canadiens star netminder spoke with Pierre LeBrun about a bounce back season and the Habs playoff chances. [The Athletic]
  • Guy Lafleur talks about his fondest memories with the Quebec Remparts./

Around the league and elsewhere

  • The making of Gritty. [The Athletic]
  • Which NHL coaches are under the most pressure entering the season? [The Athletic]
  • Robert Bortuzzo of the St. Louis Blues has been suspended two pre-season games and one regular season game for elbowing Michal Kempny of the Washington Capitals in the head. [Sportsnet]
  • Brian Burke claims to have ordered his coaches to play Colton Orr every night during his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs. [Sportsnet]
  • Phil Kessel has been awarded the Excellence in Cancer Awareness Award by the Prevent Cancer Foundation. [TSN]
  • After all that he went through last year, Robin Lehner knew exactly what he wanted on his mask this season./
View this post on Instagram

Robin Lehner knew what he wanted on his new New York Islanders mask. It was truly special for me to paint this for my friend Robin🙏🏻. He wanted to tell the story about his reality. He wanted the mask to be named My Reality. Robin and I have been working together since Robin was a kid💪🏻. Robin wanted the mask to tell the story about the hell he has been through. You can read his brave story at The Athletic, about mental illness, bipolar diagnosis, suicide thoughts, anxiety, addiction, panic attacks. Now Robin´s new life starts for him and his family and he wanted the mask to testify of his new life☀️. The top of the mask describes how Robin´s reality has been for years... The most important part of mask is the sides, there is the sun at dawn☀️, describing the start of the new life for Robin when he decided to seek help for himself and his family and also follow Jesus and get baptised🙏🏻. It is so brave by Robin to tell his story to help other people. I am so impressed by you Robin. You also made me stronger with your story. This painting was extra emotional for me to create because since I was a kid I also have been fighting anxiety, panic attacks, OCD… And just as Robin I have seeked for help and found strength in my family and God🙏🏻 @robinlehner40 @ny_islanders @nhl @daveart

A post shared by David Gunnarsson (@daveart) on

  • Why did the Leafs sign Adam Cracknell? [The Athletic]
  • Where does your franchise rank in this list of the league’s most miserable fanbases? [ESPN]
  • Barry Trotz is one of six coaches starting new gigs this season. [ProHockeyTalk]
  • A look at Nicklas Backstrom, usually hidden in the shadow of Alex Ovechkin. [Washington Post]
  • Is the salary cap good or bad for the NHL (and professional sports in general?) [Jewels from the Crown]
  • Goaltender chest protector size is coming under the watchful eye of the NHL. [Radio-Canada]
  • Bob Cole will be returning for his 50th and final season with Hockey Night in Canada. [Sportsnet]/

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