During the past 10 days I was completely disconnected from the hockey world. Traveling in Spain and France, I wasn't able to watch any hockey, check "Q" scores, etc... I guess that's healthy every now and then.
One of the highlights of my trip was having an opportunity to attend a Barcelona FC match. Strangely, it felt like a hockey game because of the high amount of offensive production. "Barce!", as the fans call their club, beat a Greek team named Panathinikos 5-1 in Champion League play. My highlights were:
1) Lionel Messi. Many consider him to be one of the best players in the world. He scored two goals, hit the cross bar and was stopped on a penalty shot attempt. A treat to watch.
2) The stadium. It holds about 92 thousand supporters and the crowd is as passionate as Montreal hockey fans. My fiancee and I paid 55 euro each for nose bleed seats but our birds eye view was extraordinary none the less.
3) The fans. Simply put, they're very passionate people. Throughout the game, whenever the referee made (or didn't make) a call, the fans displayed their displeasure by pretending to axe their own heads off with their hands, as if to say: "off with his head".
Okay. Okay. Back to hockey. Below is a summary of the seven Montreal Junior players who have been attending NHL training camps along with a status report on each player:
Louis Leblanc, Centerman (19), Montreal Canadiens:
The Montreal Canadiens' 1st round pick in 2009 is off to a hot start in the Habs' training camp. He scored a couple of goals in one of the team's Red and White inter-squad games. Today it was announced that Leblanc will play in his first ever NHL game when the Habs face off against the Boston Bruins tomorrow night at the Bell Center. The game will be televised on RDS.
Philippe Lefebvre, Left Winger (19), Montreal Canadiens:
Undrafted in 2009 Lefebvre earned an invitation to the Montreal Canadiens training camp last summer. He made good impression with the team and left with a 3 year entry level contract. Lefebvre was back at the Habs' camp this year however he was cut yesterday and therefore won't have a chance to participate in any pre-season NHL action. Lefebvre will be in the Juniors lineup this Friday night.
Louis-Marc Aubry, Centerman (19), Detroit Red Wings:
Aubry was drafted by Detroit this summer in the 3rd round of the NHL entry draft. Participating in his first camp Aubry played in a number of rookie games. He was cut today along with 12 other junior aged players. He is expected to make his season debut with the Juniors this Friday.
Trevor Parkes, Right Winger (19), Detroit Red Wings:
Strangely he went undrafted last June. But days following the draft he was approached by both the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings with camp invitations. Parkes decided the Wings were a "better fit". He attended their development camp in July and their training camp this September. The Wings sent 13 junior aged players back to their club teams today but surprisingly Parkes name wasn't on the cut list. I'm assuming he's still at the Wings camp and they're deciding whether or not to offer him a contract. If they don't, Parkes becomes available to any another NHL franchise.
Charles-Olivier Roussel, Defenseman (19), Nashville Predators:
Drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2nd round of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Roussel participated in his second training camp this September. Earlier today it was announced that Nashville would trim their camp roster down to 50 players and Roussel would be one of 6 junior players sent back to their respective Junior teams. Roussel will suit up for the Juniors this Friday night.
Charles Landry, Defenseman (19), Tampa Bay Lightning:
He took part in the Tampa Bay Lightning's training camp after being a last minute camp invitee. Landry took advantage of the opportunity earning a 3 year entry level contract that was signed last week. Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman has said Landry will continue his development with the Montreal Juniors Hockey Club for the remainder of the 2010-2011 campaign. Landry is expected to be in the Juniors lineup this Friday night.
Jean-Francois Berube, Goaltender (19), Los Angeles Kings:
He was drafted by Los Angeles in the 4th round of the 2009 NHL entry draft after the Kings traded up a few draft position to snag him. Berube is still participating at the Kings' training camp and is expected to start in nets for an exhibition game this Thursday night.