They had to know it would leak out. The NHL is going to announce it’s post season award winners during telecasts of Stanley Cup final games starting Friday. Because it’s a kind of “excuse me” conclusion to and “excuse me lockout season”, there is no effort to bring all of the nominees in to take part in one of those Oscar style ‘envelope please’ type ceremonies. P.K. Subban was asked to pre-record an acceptance speech apparently in Toronto over the weekend. The a full studio television crew on hand for the taping, inevitably somebody was going to blab. That someone told Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos about it and now it’s common knowledge. So be it. And congratulations to P.K. How soon do we find out how Brendan Gallagher fared in the Calder voting? Maybe the TV crews are a little more circumspect out in Vancouver than those in Toronto.
MELANSON RIPS CAREY PRICE
And didn’t you just know that eventually former Canadiens goaltending consultant Roland Melanson would step in with his opinion on Carey Price’s late season struggles.
The Canadiens originally let Melanson go because Price had simply stopped listening to him. Melanson moved on to the Vancouver Canucks. (And, by the way, how’s that going?) Melanson is spending the summer back home in New Brunswick where the French daily L’Acadie Nouvelle caught up with him. Opined Melanson, “Carey hasn’t stopped deteriorating since I left. He’s all over the place now. At some point, there has to be some accountability in the school yard. The position requires a lot of work and Carey hasn’t been consistent. He let things slide in practice and it caught up to him during games.”
Basically Melanson was ripping the recently fired Pierre Groulx. It should be mentioned right here that, in the three Melanson years Price had a .915 save percentage. In Price’s three years with Groulx it was .917. Other than the fact that it is really bad form to be criticizing players on another team let alone a fellow goaltending coach, it might be good exercise to consider the source and form your own opinion on Melanson’s opinion and it’s motivation.
Oh, there was also this. When asked if he would return to the Canadiens if the situation ever materialized, Melanson said “he wouldn’t say no.”
Vincent Riendeau, who has been goaltending consultant for the Hamilton Bulldogs is expected to replace Groulx.
SPEAKING OF GOALTENDERS
There was a time when the Canadiens held the rights to Karri Ramo who just signed a contract with the Calgary Flames. Ramo was part of what is becoming an annual goaltending circus with the Tampa Bay Lightning who originally drafted him. In 2009, facing another demotion to Tampa’s Norfolk AHL farm team, Ramo defected to Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. The following summer the Canadiens took over his NHL rights in an even swap for Cedrick Desjardins. In his four years ovewrseas, Ramo was an annual KHL all-star. In 173 games with Avangard, he had a 2.01 GAA and a .923 save percentage. In the meantime, the Canadiens moved Ramo’s rights on to the Calgary Flames in a deal that might, down the road, be Pierre Gauthier’s best trade. He sent Ramo along with Mike Cammalleri and a 5th round 2012 draft pick to the Flames in return for Rene Bourque, forward Patrick Holland and what is going to be a high 2nd round pick in this year’s talent laden draft pool. Calgary is probably going to get a very good goaltender at their end of the deal. The big losers are again Tampa Bay who just can’t seem to get their goaltending situation straightened out. The Canadiens eventually re-signed Desjardins as an unrestricted free agent and then traded him again to Tampa in February for Dustin Tokarski, who is considered to have a high upside at this stage of a young pro career.
KOVALEV TO SWITZERLAND
Alexei Kovalev just can’t let hockey go. At the age of 40 he has signed a contract with Visp in the Swiss League second division. Visp is a mostly German speaking town of 7,000 in south central Switzerland. Their arena holds 4300 for hockey. Kovalev got a taste of Swiss hockey during the lockout when he worked out with the second division Martigny Red Ice. Kovalev has told reporters that he’s interested in opening a hockey school in Switzerland when his hockey career is over. Kovalev had earlier indicated that he wanted to play until he was 50. Kovalev’s last NHL stint lasted 14 games with Florida last season. He scored 5 points.