I'm always paying special attention to former Habs to see how they're doing. Most of the time I'm actually rooting for them, too (Benoit Pouliot does not apply). Believe it or not, I was happy for Michael Ryder last year, caff caff.
This year has its fair share of former Habs still playing for the big honours including the Kostitsyn brothers, Hal Gill and Francis Bouillon -- all with the Nashville Predators.
But today I'd like to focus on the unheralded Kyle Chipchura, a guy who hasn't had it easy per se but who seems to have finally found his place on the 4th line for the Phoenix Coyotes.
Chipchura fit in well with the group during his time with the Canadiens but never quite found his spot on the ice. Injuries, a lack of playing time (and a lack of confidence) added with the fact he may have been enjoying the finer side of Montreal just a bit too much, resulted in the rugged center being shipped out to Anaheim during the 2009-10 season.
Now after a few seasons of so-so play with the Ducks, he seems to be playing the 4th line role well with the 'Yotes. And good for him.
For a second there, I didn't even recognize him. He came into the playoffs with an already advanced beard, and looks like a grizzled veteran at the relatively young age of 26.
Kyle Chipchura hammering the last nail in the Chicago Blackhawks' season during a 4-0 win last week. Pic: Getty Images
His line is chipping in and is one of the main reasons why Phoenix is up 2-0 in their series against the Preds, and why they upset the Blackhawks in the opening round. Chipchura also showed some nice hands with a great pass out to Gilbert Brule for a goal, then scored one of his own in the series clinching game against Chicago. He's winning puck battles along the boards, he's going to the dirty areas of the ice, and he's taking the hit to make the play.
All in all Kyle, you are playing the kind of game that all teams need this time of year. Keep it up man and salut from all your friends and fans this side of the border.