The Montreal Canadiens are heading back to the Bell Centre in hopes of avoiding a 0-3 series deficit to the defending Champion, Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite playing better than game one, there wasn’t much to be encouraged by based on what we have seen through two games. Even a return to Montreal doesn’t have quite the same feel with just 3,500 fans being allowed in the Bell Centre.
However, one way the Canadiens could get a boost is with the expected return of head coach Dominique Ducharme after missing the last six games with COVID-19. Ducharme replaced Stanley Cup winning coach, Claude Julien, in February and led the Canadiens to a 15-16-7 record.
“Obviously, Luke did a tremendous job with that as well, but Dom talks a lot between periods about in-game adjustments and things that will help us be successful the next period going out,” Eric Staal said via NHL.com. “Sometimes from afar it’s a little bit more difficult, so he’ll be hands-on with us. That’s good for us, so looking forward to having him back.”
The Canadiens will take any boost they can get at this point as they stare down an 0-3 series deficit to the Lightning. They are already facing an uphill battle as the Lightning have previously held a 2-0 series lead eight times and are 8-0 in such a scenario. A return of the head coach may very well change Montreal’s fortunes.
Kings Aquire Arvidsson
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Kings swung a trade with the Nashville Predators as they will send a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 third in exchange for forward Viktor Arvidsson. The 28-year-old scored 10 goals and record 15 assists in 50 games with the Predators last season and has three years remaining on his contract that pays him $4.25 million a season.
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Traded On The Fourth Of July
As mentioned in yesterday’s notebook, the beginning of July normally marks the beginning of NHL free agency and the trade market generally heats up. With the league still in the middle of the Stanley Cup Final, that is not the case this season as free agency has been pushed back to the end of July. However, that won’t stop us from taking a look back at some of the more notable trades on the Fourth of July (or third) in the last 30 years.
July 4th, 1994 – The Calgary Flames trade Al McInnis and a fourth-round pick to the St. Louis Blues for Phil Housley and a pair of second-round picks.
July 3rd, 2006 – The Anaheim Ducks trade Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, 2007 1st, 2008 2nd, and a conditional 2008 1st (Jordan Eberle) to the Edmonton Oilers for Chris Pronger.
July 4th, 2008 – The Tampa Bay Lightning send Dan Boyle, Brad Lukowich to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Matt Carle, Ty Wishart, 2009 1st (Kyle Palmieri), and a 2010 4th.
July 3rd, 2011 – The San Jose Sharks traded Dany Heatley to the Minnesota Wild for Martin Havlat.
July 4th, 2013 – The Boston Bruins trade Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverly, and Ryan Button to the Dallas Stars for Loui Erickson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser.
Honorable Mention: Albeit not a trade, on this day in 2012, defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise both signed 13-year contracts with the Minnesota Wild. This type of contract was forbidden following the signing of the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Coyotes Hire Andre Tourigny
The Arizona Coyotes have a new head coach. Andre Tourigny replaces Rick Tocchet after the Coyotes stumbled to a 24-26-6 season and missed the playoffs. Tourigny spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of Ottawa in the OHL where he won back-to-back Coach of the Year awards in 2018-19 and 2019-20. He previously had stints as an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators as well as an assistant for Team Canada during the 2021 IIHF World Championship.
“I want the players to see it as a fresh start,” Tourigny said via NHL.com. “I don’t want to hold them accountable to what happened in the past. At some point in life when you have a chance to have a fresh start to prove yourself, now you control your destiny. That’s what I want from the players. I want the players to know it’s not about what they did in the past. I want them to arrive here with the philosophy to ‘prove myself. It’s a new coach, a new area, a new culture and I want to prove myself.'”
Final Stanley Cup Game Three Thoughts
This is really it for the Canadiens. Yes, they still have to lose two games before the series is officially over, however, they can’t go down 0-3 to the Lightning and expect nothing better than a gentleman’s sweep. The return of Dominique Ducharme behind the bench will help but the Canadiens, as a whole, must elevate every aspect of their game. The reality is… they won’t be able to. Despite a strong start in game three in front of a limited crowd, at the end of the day, the Canadiens will be looking up at a superiorly talented team one win away from another Stanley Cup championship.