– The Vancouver Canucks take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre, ending a seven-game road trip while they try to avoid suffering a third straight loss in eastern Canada. (The Canucks lost 5-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and 4-3 to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.)
– It’ll be an emotional, passionate night in La Belle Province, as the Habs franchise honours one of their greatest-ever players, the late Jean Beliveau.
– Beliveau passed away last week at age 83. He won 10 Stanley Cups as a player with the Habs and was only the second player to ever record 1,000 NHL points.
— 25stanley (@25stanley) December 9, 2014
– Hockey Night in Canada‘s montage maestro Tim Thompson posted his tribute to Beliveau online on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, it’s terrific:
– Ryan Miller will start in goal for Vancouver. He was pulled Saturday night in Toronto, after allowing four goals on 14 shots.
– The Montreal Canadiens have lost six of their last seven games.
– Anaheim forward Corey Perry will be out for three-to-four weeks as he recovers from a knee injury – reportedly a sprain. Perry was injured last Friday on a hip-check from Minnesota Wild d-man Keith Ballard.
– “The day after it was pretty stiff, but it’s feeling better every day,” Perry said (NHL.com). “We’re thankful it was only a sprain and not a tear.”
– Commissioner Gary Bettman has given a green light of sorts to prospective owner Bill Foley, allowing the millionaire to start a season ticket drive in Las Vegas to meter locals’ interest in an expansion NHL team.
– Vegas is one of several cities that has been a rumoured target for league expansion recently, along with Seattle, Quebec City, and Toronto (which would potentially get a second team beside the Maple Leafs).
– “Mr. Foley, who is investing a considerable amount of time and effort in expressing his interest, wants to have a good idea as to whether or not it’s a good idea,” Bettman said Tueday in Boca Raton, Florida. “We’re interested to know the results, as well… if he just wants people to sign a piece of paper and say I’m interested, I’m not sure that’s the same as somebody taking a deposit.”
– Of note, Bettman referenced former RIM CEO Jim Balsillie’s aggressive effort to gain grassroots support to move the Nashville Predators to Hamilton: “The only other precedent, which was a bad precedent, was somebody went off without permission and did it in the context of moving an existing club that wasn’t going to move,” he said.