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Title - Hockey is Canadien
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Follow Me on TwitterDean Eastman is the Montreal Canadiens' correspondent for OurHometown.ca Dean was born in Cornwall and raised in Long Sault and has been a loyal Habs fan since the days of the Pocket Rocket and the Roadrunner. He now calls Whitby, Ontario home to his wife Heather and young son Eric. Dean is passionate about his hockey, whether it be from the junior or professional ranks. Dean will provide current news and views on the Montreal Canadiens' organization from a global perspective. If you have questions or wish to contact Dean, you can email him at deastman@ourhometown.ca
Dean Eastman and his Ceremonial First Puck
Dean Eastman
OurHometown.ca

Dean Eastman and his Ceremonial First Puck
This is quite an honour for me to be able to deliver news and views to you Our Hometown (OH) readers on the Montreal Canadiens’ organization. In my opinion, Andrei should come into camp this season, keep his comments to himself and focus on getting his first line job back from newcomer Erik Cole.
PHOTO CREDIT - OurHometown.ca

Whitby - Aug. 15, 2011 - This is quite an honour for me to be able to deliver news and views to you Our Hometown (OH) readers on the Montreal Canadiens’ organization. My intention is to keep you briefed on Habitant-related news as it happens. While I am merely a correspondent for our favourite team, if there ever is a topic you would like to see addressed, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be more than happy to share my opinion.

Hockey, more specifically the Montreal Canadiens, is like a religion for most of us, in and around the Seaway City. This column is your place to have a ‘voice’. Any and all comments are welcome - good or bad.

Beginning with this initial post, you will see my column regularly broken down into different segments:

On The Fly - This section will highlight specific prospects in the Canadiens organization, whether from the junior ranks in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), the collegiate level (NCAA), even right up to the affiliate clubs which include both the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) and the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL). I may even have some interesting Habs-related information from across the pond from time-to-time.

Dump and Chase - Disjointed thoughts on a multitude of Canadiens-related topics.

Coast-to-Coast - News from across the country detailing Canadiens-related roster moves, signings, injuries, etc.

Between The Pipes - Goalie-related news. Check in here to hear opinions on the Canadiens’ goaltending woes from game-to-game.

Gross Misconduct - Topical issues affecting the parent club that have irked me in one way or another.

Sin Bin -I love old-time hockey. I admire the enthusiasm of TSN’s (now Versus and NBC) Pierre McGuire. I miss the days of old with the reporting and commentating of Dick Irvin and Danny Gallivan. I will stand up to anyone who shoots down Bob Cole. I appreciate Don Cherry’s honesty.

The instigating rule should be abolished - I honestly feel the players should be allowed to police themselves. This segment will speak to different issues as they become apparent.

Down On the Farm - News from the AHL affiliate, Hamilton Bulldogs.

Neutral Zone Nailer - News and notes from the Premier ‘AA’ Wheeling Nailers organization of the ECHL.

On the Fly

Alain Berger
Alain Berger, Signed with Montreal, April 2011. Alain Berger is not yet a household name in the hockey world. However, I have had the pleasure of watching this 6.04, 205lb, hard-working right-winger perfect his craft with the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) over the past two seasons.

Berger was born in Switzerland and was drafted 27th overall in the 2009 CHL Import Draft by the Oshawa Generals. After a 19-goal performance in his rookie OHL season (2009-10), Alain tallied 52 points (29 goals) in 65 games last season. He added 5 goals in 10 playoff games with the Generals.

While most Europeans are often considered to be ‘soft’ and normally prefer to shy away from the rough stuff, Alain Berger is quite the opposite. He is not afraid to get his nose dirty; whether it be scrumming in the corner, standing in front of the opponent’s net or even dropping the gloves to protect himself or his teammates, Berger has shown he will do what it takes to get the job done. If Alain Berger has one weakness in his game, it would have to be his foot speed. He possesses one heck of a hard and accurate wrist shot.

Alain Berger has now graduated from the OHL and will be playing his first pro season with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs in 2011-12.

Dump and Chase

Are you like me? Are you counting down the days until NHL training camps open? We are now less than one month away before the Montreal Canadiens open up their 2011-12 training camp.

Cornwall is only about a one hour drive to Pierrefonds, Quebec. The Sportsplexe 4-Glaces will be the Canadiens’ opening venue on September 14.

Here is the rest of the Canadiens’ training camp schedule:

September 14 - 17: Sportsplexe 4-Glaces

September 18 - 27: Bell Centre, Montreal

Sep. 28, October 3 - 4: Verdun Auditorium, Mtl

Sep. 29, October 1: Arena de St. Jovite, Mtl

Gross Misconduct

Andrei Kostitsyn
PHOTO CREDIT - Canadiens.com
So which side of the Andrei Kostitsyn coin do you fall on? I for one am on the plus side of the coin. Andrei Kostitsyn was drafted 10th overall in the 2003 NHL entry draft by the Montreal Canadiens.

Last Thursday, Andrei Kostitsyn was interviewed by a news reporter in his home country of Belarus whereby Kostitsyn admitted that he “does not have a good relationship with his coach (Jacques Martin)”. Kostitsyn obviously did not agree with sharing time on both the first and fourth lines with the Canadiens last year. Or was the translation to English misinterpreted?

Kostitsyn has always had his own share of critics on his style of play and dedication to be the best hockey player he can be during his time in Montreal.

Kostitsyn has been a 20-goal scorer in three of his five seasons with Montreal. While I will never own this Belarusian in a fantasy hockey pool (please take note gentlemen), he does warrant a top-six role with Les Habitants - that is if he could just keep his mouth shut and focus on playing hockey.

While his skill is obvious, Andrei is an enigma; he possesses a blistering and one of the most accurate wrist shots in the NHL, yet he routinely falls into a deep scoring slump each year. He can lay the body when he puts his mind to it, as he has led the team with 140 hits.

In my opinion, Andrei should come into camp this season, keep his comments to himself and focus on getting his first line job back from newcomer Erik Cole. Kostitsyn needs to crawl out of Martin’s doghouse - fast. He and the Canadiens will be better for it.

Post-Game Handshake

As I wrap up my inaugural sports column for OH, I realize I haven’t followed the editor’s wishes. Too much to say in too short a space. However, I hope I achieved my goal in making this an informative read for all.

Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…


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