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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens corner: Defiant Ducharme, Niku debut, 10/10 flow



Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme insisted he and his team are blocking out the noise after an 0-5 start.

When asked in French about whether the club’s hopes of getting to the playoffs after their worst start to a season in 26 years, the coach remained resolute.

“What’s happening outside (of our room), it doesn’t influence us really,” shrugged Ducharme to reporters after practice in Brossard. “We’re going to take care of what we have to. There are some (of you) who have left us for dead pretty quick… First, I think we’re going to come out of this. Second, and I think last year was a good example, I think we’re going to come out of it stronger. Because what’s going to happen is once we’re out of this (losing streak), we certainly aren’t going to want to come back. And that will make us better. Now we just have to get out of this. We will and we want to do that tomorrow (against Detroit).

He’s here! He’s new! He’s Sami Niku!

There does appear to be one change for the Montreal Canadiens from the team that lost 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes last night. Defenceman Sami Niku looks set to make his Habs debut after taking regular line rushes at practice this morning. Niku slotted in on the left of Brett Kulak on the bottom pairing. Ben Chiarot was bumped up next to Jeff Petry on the top pair. Which means that Chris Wideman looks like he will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

Niku, who signed a one-year, two way deal with the Habs after being bought out by the Jets, took Wideman’s spot on the power-play. He and Petry swapped spots on different units while the forwards remained the same.

Oh, and his hockey flow is immaculate.

“It’s not a great feeling,” admitted Niku about watching his team’s winless start from the press box. “You can’t do anything to help.” The Finnish defenceman added, “I haven’t played much so I just (have to) get used to the speed. Probably start simple…But I’m confident about my game and I trust my game.”

Here are the Montreal Canadiens lines at practice in Brossard this morning

Drouin – Dvorak – Anderson

Hoffman – Suzuki – Gallagher

Toffoli – Perreault – Caufield

Lehkonen – Evans – Armia

Chiarot – Petry

Romanov – Savard

Niku – Kulak

Here are the tweaked power-play units after the Montreal Canadiens scored their first power-play goal of the season last night.


Drouin – Toffoli – Hoffman




Caufield – Anderson – Suzuki


The Montreal Canadiens continue to search for their first win of the season tomorrow night. They wrap up a four-game home stand against Original Six and Atlantic division rivals the Detroit Red Wings. The Habs then head out on a four-game Western road swing against Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.