2008–09 Montreal Canadiens season
|2008–09 Montreal Canadiens|
|General Manager||Bob Gainey|
|Coach||Guy Carbonneau (Oct–Mar)
Bob Gainey (interim) (Mar–Apr)
|Alternate captains||Chris Higgins (Oct–Jan)
Mike Komisarek (Jan–Apr)
|Average attendance||21,273 (100%)
|Goals||Alexei Kovalev (26)|
|Assists||Andrei Markov (52)|
|Points||Alexei Kovalev (65)|
|Penalties in minutes||Mike Komisarek (121)|
|Plus/minus||Alex Tanguay (+12)|
|Wins||Carey Price (23)|
|Goals against average||Carey Price (2.83)|
The 2008–09 Montreal Canadiens season was their 100th season of play and 92nd in the National Hockey League (NHL). The organization was celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1909. The Montreal Canadiens hosted the 57th NHL All-Star Game at the Bell Centre on January 25, 2009, and the 59th NHL Entry Draft in June 2009 as part of the team's celebrations for its centennial anniversary. Key dates prior to the start of the season include:
- The 2008 NHL Entry Draft took place in Ottawa on June 20–21.
- The free agency period began on July 1.
- 1 Offseason
- 2 Pre-season
- 3 Regular season
- 4 Standings
- 5 Schedule and results
- 6 Playoffs
- 7 Player statistics
- 8 Roster
- 9 Awards and records
- 10 Transactions
- 11 Draft picks
- 12 Broadcasting
- 13 Farm teams
- 14 See also
- 15 References
Throughout much of the off-season, Canadiens' General Manager Bob Gainey pursued a possible contract with unrestricted free agent Mats Sundin, formerly the captain of Montreal's historic rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The signing efforts started prior to July 1, 2008, and continued into August, as Gainey was still actively pursuing Sundin. This, despite the fact that Sundin's agent mentioned his player "wasn't close" to making a decision on his future, and was strongly considering retirement. The chase ended with the acquisition of forward Robert Lang from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canadiens also acquired veteran forward Alex Tanguay from the Calgary Flames in exchange for the 25th overall pick in the 2007–2008 entry draft. Enforcer George Laraque and goaltender Marc Denis were signed to the team through free agency. Unrestricted free agents Michael Ryder, Mark Streit and Bryan Smolinski did not return to the team.
The pre-season schedule consisted of the team playing nine games in 13 days. The team claimed victory in six of these encounters. The initial game of the pre-season was played against the Boston Bruins in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Canadiens took part in the CBC's Kraft Hockeyville Series by playing a game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Sporting Centre Benoît Levesque in Roberval, Quebec.
Centennial year celebrations
The team has announced its intention to retire two uniform numbers during the 2008–09 season. As of March 2009, the only confirmed number is Patrick Roy's number 33, which was retired on November 22, 2008. In celebration of the Montreal Canadiens' centennial, the 2009 NHL All-Star Game was held in Montreal on January 25, 2009, and the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, scheduled for June 2009, was awarded to the city.
On October 10, the Canadiens embarked on a trip for three consecutive road games where they opened the season against the Buffalo Sabres, at the HSBC Arena. Montreal lost the opening game of the season in shootout, but subsequently won 6–1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 11 and 5–3 against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 13. The team returned to Montreal after four days on the road and a 2–0–1 record. The Canadiens hosted the Boston Bruins for their 100th home opening game and won 4–3 in shootout, with Alex Tanguay scoring the winning goal.
On October 18, Saku Koivu achieved his 422nd assist with the Montreal Canadiens and surpassed Maurice "the Rocket" Richard at number seven for all-time assists in franchise history. Two days later, he got his 600th NHL career point when the Canadiens defeated the Florida Panthers 3–1.
According to a Forbes report published in late October 2008, the franchise ranks as the third most valuable in the NHL at US$334 million, making an 18% increase in the past season. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings were respectively ranked first and second in the report. The Canadiens finished October with a 7–1–1 record in Minnesota and concluded the month with two consecutive road wins and a perfect overall road record.
On November 1, against the New York Islanders, Andrei Markov became the second defenceman in franchise history, after Guy Lapointe, to get five points in his first five road games of the season. On November 10, the league announced that forward Tom Kostopoulos was suspended for three games after hitting Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Van Ryn from behind. On November 11, Chris Higgins got his first NHL career hat-trick in a 4–0 win against the Ottawa Senators. On November 22, the jersey number 33 of legendary goaltender Patrick Roy was retired.
On November 24, against the New York Islanders, Ryan O'Byrne scored on his own net during a delayed penalty call, where Carey Price was pulled off for an extra attacker. On November 29, Mike Komisarek—who was not playing due to injury—temporarily took a place behind the bench as an assistant coach, in replacement of Doug Jarvis, who was at his father's bedside. Rookie right winger Matt D'Agostini was recalled from Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League (AHL) and Roman Hamrlik got his 400th NHL career assist in a 3–2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
On December 2, Saku Koivu achieved his 612th point with the Montreal Canadiens after recording two assists in a 5–4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. He tied Mats Naslund at 11th for all-time points in franchise history. Koivu then surpassed Naslund on December 6 after recording an assist in a 2–1 overtime loss over the New Jersey Devils. Matt D'Agostini scored his first NHL career goal and point and Roman Hamrlik played his 100th game with the club.
The Montreal Canadiens celebrated the 99th anniversary of the franchise on December 4 with a 6–2 win over the New York Rangers. Matt D'Agostini got his first NHL assist in a two-point performance. Georges Laraque got his first two points with his new team. D'Agostini had a successful debut with the team, recording six goals and two assists in his first 11 games. On December 13, Ben Maxwell played his first game in the NHL against the Washington Capitals after Saku Koivu was placed on the injured reserve list. On December 18, against the Philadelphia Flyers, Alexei Kovalev got his 900th NHL career point.
After the Christmas break, the Canadiens were back in action on the road on December 27 and won 3–2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Montreal Canadiens enjoyed their 3000th franchise victory, with a 5–2 win over the Florida Panthers at Sunrise on December 29, solidifying their place as the most successful team in NHL history. Andrei Kostitsyn and Maxim Lapierre scored their first career hat-tricks during this road trip.
General Manager Bob Gainey presented his mid-season report on January 13. He stated that he was looking to improve the team's power play, which was 26th in the league, and he wanted to acquire a proven player capable of helping the power play. When asked by a reporter what was his best transaction since taking over as the team's general manager, he answered that the hiring of Guy Carbonneau as head coach was his best move.
In order to help bolster their power play, Bob Gainey acquired Matthieu Schneider from the Atlanta Trashers for a combination of draft picks. This is Schneider's second tenure with the Canadiens, who began his career in Montreal after being drafted by the team in 1987.
On February 17, Alexei Kovalev was asked by Managing Director Bob Gainey to go home and take a rest. He missed two games. There were rumors that he would be traded and the city was abuzz. Kovalev rejoined the team on February 21 and scored one goal and added two assists in a convincing 5–3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Kovalev received the first star of the game to the delight of the Montreal crowd.
A reporter for the Montreal newspaper La Presse stated on the evening of February 19 that the February 20 edition of the paper would have an exposé that would make the Kovalev situation seem inconsequential. The paper reported that Roman Hamrlik and brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn were involved with a person believed to be part of an organized crime ring in Montreal. Although the players have admitted that they know the person in question, no accusations nor proof has been provided indicating that the players were involved in any illegal activities. The article has since been written off as tabloid journalism and a major example on how the Montreal media negatively treat the Canadiens players.
On February 26, Gainey traded Steve Begin to the Dallas Stars for Doug Janik, who was immediately sent to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Begin, who was often a healthy scratch during the season, would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Saku Koivu scored his 624th point with the Canadiens with an assist in a February 27 game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He became the tenth all-time leading scorer in Canadiens history, surpassing Elmer Lach.
The Canadiens claimed Glen Metropolit off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers on February 27. Metropolit was practicing with the Flyers earlier in the day when Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren informed him, "I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that you're playing tonight. The bad news is that you're playing for the Canadiens." The Canadiens were in town playing the Flyers that same day and Metropolit simply moved his equipment to the visitor's dressing room.
Approaching the NHL trade deadline, Bob Gainey traded for Mathieu Schneider and claimed Glen Metropolit. Gainey confirmed that he couldn't risk trading away his young prospects for any "rental players."
On March 9, Gainey announced that he was replacing Guy Carbonneau as head coach until the end of the season. Don Lever was named assistant-coach.
Patrice Brisebois played his 1,000th NHL game on March 14 in a 3–2 lost to the New Jersey Devils. During that same game, Martin Brodeur tied the all-time NHL record for career wins with 551, tying Canadiens great Patrick Roy, who was in attendance at that game. Brodeur was given the first star of the game and received a standing ovation from his home province crowd.
Alex Tanguay scored a season-high five points (two goals and three assists) on March 24 in a 6–3 win against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Bell Centre.
Alexei Kovalev scored his 100th goal as a member of the Canadiens (and 23rd goal of the season) in a 4–1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 31.
|1||z – Boston Bruins||82||53||19||10||274||196||116|
|5||Toronto Maple Leafs||82||34||35||13||250||293||81|
|1||z – Boston Bruins||NE||82||53||19||10||274||196||116|
|2||y – Washington Capitals||SE||82||50||24||8||272||245||108|
|3||y – New Jersey Devils||AT||82||51||27||4||244||209||106|
|7||New York Rangers||AT||82||43||30||9||210||218||95|
|12||Toronto Maple Leafs||NE||82||34||35||13||250||293||81|
|14||Tampa Bay Lightning||SE||82||24||40||18||210||279||66|
|15||New York Islanders||AT||82||26||47||9||201||279||61|
bold – qualified for playoffs, y – division winner, z – placed first in conference (and division)
AT – Atlantic Division, NE – Northeast Division, SE – Southeast Division
Schedule and results
Win (2 points) Loss (0 points) Overtime/shootout loss (1 point)
|2008–09 game log|
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2009)|
The Montreal Canadiens clinched a playoff spot following a 5–4 overtime loss against the Boston Bruins on April 9, 2008, their 81st game of the season.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: vs. (1) Boston Bruins
The Montreal Canadiens earned the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference by finishing with 93 points in the conference. With key players missing such as Andrei Markov, Mathieu Schneider, Alex Tanguay and Carey Price(who was struggling), they were swept in four games.
|2009 Stanley Cup playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarter-finals vs. (1) Boston Bruins
* Player scoring winning goal is shown in italics.
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/− = Plus/Minus; PIM = Penalty Minutes
Note: GP = Games Played; TOI = Time On Ice (minutes); W = Wins; L = Losses; OT = Overtime Losses; GA = Goals Against; GAA= Goals Against Average; SA= Shots Against; SV= Saves; Sv% = Save Percentage; SO= Shutouts
†Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Canadiens. Stats reflect time with Canadiens only.
‡Traded mid-season. Stats reflect time with Canadiens only.
|Montreal Canadiens staff|
Awards and records
On April 11, following the final home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team announced its award winners for the season.
|Carey Price||Molson Cup||Awarded to the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and with the most "three stars" recognitions.|
|Patrice Brisebois||Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee||Nominated by the Writers Association for league-wide recognition.|
|Maxime Lapierre||Jacques Beauchamp Trophy||Awarded by the Sports Writers Association of Montreal to a player for recognition of his outstanding achievement in the game of hockey.|
National Hockey League Awards
Elected to starting lineup
- Alexei Kovalev (RW) (Captain/Eastern Conference All-Star Team, All-Star Game MVP)
- Mike Komisarek (D)
- Andrei Markov (D)
- Carey Price (G)
- Guy Carbonneau (Assistant coach)
Bill Masterton Trophy nominee
|Alexei Kovalev||200th point with the Montreal Canadiens||October 12, 2008|
|Mike Komisarek||300th NHL career game||October 18, 2008|
|Saku Koivu||422nd assist with the Montreal Canadiens
7th all-time in franchise history
|October 18, 2008|
|Saku Koivu||600th NHL career point||October 20, 2008|
|Andrei Markov||500th NHL career game||October 25, 2008|
|Josh Gorges||1st goal with the Montreal Canadiens||November 24, 2008|
|Roman Hamrlik||400th NHL career assist||November 29, 2008|
|Matt D'Agostini||1 NHL career goal
1st NHL career point
|December 2, 2008|
|Roman Hamrlik||100th NHL game with the Montreal Canadiens||December 2, 2008|
|Saku Koivu||612th point with the Montreal Canadiens
T-11th all-time in franchise history
|December 2, 2008|
|Roman Hamrlik||1100th NHL career game||December 4, 2008|
|Matt D'Agostini||1st NHL career assist||December 4, 2008|
|Saku Koivu||613th point with the Montreal Canadiens
11th all-time in franchise history
|December 6, 2008|
|Alex Kovalev||1100th NHL career game||December 9, 2008|
|Ben Maxwell||1st NHL career game||December 13, 2008|
|Alex Kovalev||900th NHL career point||December 18, 2008|
|Andrei Kostitsyn||1st NHL career hat-trick||December 27, 2008|
|Maxime Lapierre||1st NHL career hat-trick||December 29, 2008|
|Max Pacioretty||1st NHL career game
1st NHL career goal
1st NHL career point
|January 2, 2009|
|Marc Denis||1st game with the Montreal Canadiens||January 2, 2009|
|Max Pacioretty||1st NHL career assist||January 7, 2009|
|Robert Lang||2nd NHL career hat-trick||January 7, 2009|
|Yannick Weber||1st NHL career game||January 8, 2009|
|Patrice Brisebois||364th point with the Montreal Canadiens
5th all-time for a defenceman in franchise history
|January 8, 2009|
|Gregory Stewart||1st NHL career assist
1st NHL career point
|January 17, 2009|
|Andrei Markov||300th NHL career point||January 17, 2009|
|Alex Henry||1st game with the Montreal Canadiens||February 1, 2009|
|Mathieu Schneider||1st game with the Montreal Canadiens (since returning to the team)
200th point with the Montreal Canadiens
|February 18, 2009|
|Saku Koivu||623rd point with the Montreal Canadiens
T-10th all-time in franchise history
|February 24, 2009|
|Saku Koivu||624th point with the Montreal Canadiens
10th all-time in franchise history
|February 27, 2009|
|Glen Metropolit||1st game with the Montreal Canadiens||February 27, 2009|
|Patrice Brisebois||1000th game in the NHL||March 14, 2009|
|Alex Kovalev||100th goal with Montreal Canadiens||March 31, 2009|
|Yannick Weber||1st NHL career assist
1st NHL career point
|April 9, 2009|
|Yannick Weber||1st NHL career goal
1st NHL career playoff point
|April 20, 2009|
The Canadiens have been involved in the following transactions during the 2008–09 season.
|June 20, 2008
||To Montreal Canadiens
5th round pick in 2008 (RW – Maxim Trunev)
|To Calgary Flames
25th overall pick in 2008
(RW – Greg Nemisz)
2nd round pick in 2009 (D – Stefan Elliott)
|September 12, 2008
||To Montreal Canadiens
|To Chicago Blackhawks
2nd round pick in 2010 (C – Jared Knight)
|January 5, 2009
||To Montreal Canadiens
T. J. Kemp
|To Pittsburgh Penguins
Conditional 2010 seventh round draft pick
(LW – John Westin – condition not met)
|February 16, 2009
||To Montreal Canadiens
Conditional 2009 3rd round draft pick
(C – Joonas Nattinen)
|To Atlanta Thrashers
2nd round pick in 2009 (LW – Jeremy Morin)
3rd round pick in 2010 (D – Julian Melchiori)
|February 26, 2009
||To Montreal Canadiens
|To Dallas Stars
|February 27, 2009
||To Montreal Canadiens
|To Philadelphia Flyers
claimed off waivers
Free agent acquisitions
Players lost to free agency
|Round||#||Player||Position||Nationality||College/junior/club team (league)|
|2||25||Danny Kristo||RW||USA||US National Team Development Program (NAHL)|
|3||86||Steve Quailer||RW||USA||Northeastern University (Hockey East)|
|4||116||Jason Missiaen||G||Canada||Peterborough Petes (OHL)|
|5||138||Maxim Trunev||F||Russia||Severstal Cherepovets-2 (Rus3)|
|7||206||Patrick Johnson||F||USA||University of Wisconsin (NCAA)|
|Canada||English: CBC, TSN, NHL Network; French: RDS, RIS, RDS.CA|
|USA||Versus, ESPN, NBC, CBS, Fox, HDNet, NHL Network, RDS.CA|
|Europe||NASN, NHL Network, RDS.CA|
|Russia||NTV (Russia), RDS.CA|
- ESPN.com news services (January 23, 2007). "Montreal to host '09 All-Star Game". ESPN. Retrieved July 27, 2008.
- TSN.ca news service (August 4, 2008). "Barry: Sundin isn't close to making a decision on his future". TSN.ca. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
- "Canadiens acquire Robert Lang from Blackhawks". CBC Sports. September 12, 2008. Archived from the original on September 23, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
- "Canadiens trim Sabres in Roberval, Que.". CBC Sports. September 24, 2008. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
- Almela, Manny (October 1, 2008). "Max-imum overdrive". Canadiens.com. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
- "Habs to retire Roy's No. 33" (Press release). Montreal: Montreal Canadiens. September 11, 2008. Archived from the original on October 2, 2008. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
- "7 Quotes 'Things they said in montreal this week'". Montreal Gazette. Canwest. October 6, 2008. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
- "Recap: Canadiens @ Sabres – 10/10/2008". NHL.com. Associated Press. October 10, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2008.
- "Recap: Canadiens @ Maple Leafs – 10/11/2008". NHL.com. Associated Press. October 11, 2008. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
- "Recap: Canadiens @ Flyers – 10/13/2008". NHL.com. Associated Press. October 13, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- Rossi, Rob (October 29, 2008). "NHL Team Valuations: No. 3 Montreal Canadiens". Forbes. Archived from the original on November 2, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
- "2008–2009 Regular Season Schedule/Results". Canadiens.com. October 30, 2008. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
- "Recap: Canadiens @ Islanders – 11/01/2008". NHL.com. Associated Press. November 1, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- Kimelman, Adam (November 10, 2008). "Exclusive: Kostopoulos suspended 3 games". NHL.com. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Recap: Senators @ Canadiens – 11/11/2008". NHL.com. Associated Press. November 11, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- Almela, Manny (November 22, 2008). "Home sweet home". Montreal: Canadiens.com. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Markov goal caps three-goal second period in Habs 3–2 win over Sabres". Montreal: NHL.com. Canadian Press. November 29, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Recap: Canadiens @ Sabres – 11/29/2008". NHL.com. Associated Press. November 29, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Recap: Thrashers @ Canadiens – 12/02/2008". NHL.com. Associated Press. December 2, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Recap: Rangers @ Canadiens – 12/04/2008". NHL.com. Associated Press. December 4, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Matt D'Agostini – 2008–2008 Game Log". NHL.com. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Canadiens 5, Islanders 1". Archived from the original on June 11, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- 2008 NHL Entry Draft Results nhl.com
- Montreal, Hamilton Affiliate With Cyclones For 2008–09