Hickey on Hockey Notebook

 

 
 
 
 
Francis Bouillon skates during practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday, October 2, 2014.
 

Francis Bouillon skates during practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday, October 2, 2014.

Photograph by: PETER McCABE, Montreal Gazette

Bouillon finds work in Europe

With Francis Bouillon continuing his career in Europe — he has replaced the injured Ryan O’Byrne on the Ambri Piotta blue line in the Swiss League — we thought we’d check up on some other familiar faces to Canadiens fans. Canadiens prospect Martin Reway is holding his own in the Czech League. The 5-foot-7 forward has seven assists in eight games with Sparta Praha. And 40-year-old Glen Metropolit has three goals and 14 assists in 10 games with the Mannheim Eagles. Metropolit moved to Germany this season after five years in the Swiss League.

Florida attendance pathetic

It will be a shame next fall if there’s an NHL hockey team in South Florida and a brand-new arena in Quebec City is sitting empty. The Florida Panthers continue to provide fodder for the twittersphere with their pathetic attendance. The Panthers started the season by closing the upper deck, reducing the capacity of the BB&T Center to a little more than 15,000. More closures may be in order after Monday’s game against the Ottawa Senators drew an announced crowd of 7,311. Pictures of the arena showed empty sections in the lower bowl and some knowledgeable observers estimated the crowd at less than 5,000. Panthers CEO Rory Babich described the turnout and the jokes that followed as embarrassing. The Panthers averaged more than 14,000 fans last season, but the team gave away thousands of free or greatly discounted tickets.

Oilers return Nurse to juniors

The Edmonton Oilers have returned rookie defenceman Darnell Nurse to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the junior Ontario Hockey League. This may be a case of isolating Nurse — the seventh overall pick at the 2013 NHL draft — from a culture of losing. The Oilers haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 and were 0-3-1 to start this season. The Greyhounds are undefeated in their first eight games.

Islanders last unbeaten team

The New York Islanders are the last remaining unbeaten team in the NHL after edging San Jose in a shootout Thursday night. Jaroslav Halak, who has bounced around since the Canadiens traded him to St. Louis in 2010, has been in goal for three of the four Islanders wins, although his numbers — a 2.92 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage — could be better.

Perfect game for Quick

Goalie Jonathan Quick was perfect Thursday night as he made 43 saves and then stopped the three shootout attempts he faced to give the Los Angeles Kings a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. It was Quick’s 32nd career shutout and he tied Rogie Vachon for the most shutouts in Kings history.

Have skates, will travel

Goalie Olivier Mantha will go to great lengths to play hockey. The La Tuque native played last season with the Penticton Vees in the B.C. junior league before accepting a scholarship at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. In his NCAA debut last weekend, Mantha made 27 saves to lead the Seawolves to a 4-2 upset win over No. 18 Wisconsin.

Montreal Stars open season

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League opens play Saturday when the Boston Blades visit the Montreal Stars. Both teams feature top players from the Canadian and U.S. Olympic teams. The Montreal lineup includes Canadian captain Caroline Ouellette. Laurianne Rougeau, Charline Labonté and U.S. stalwart Julie Chu. The pucks drops at 6 p.m. at Etienne Desmarteau Arena and will be followed by the popular Skate with the Stars feature, which allows fans to lace up their skates and join the players on the ice.

phickey@montrealgazette.com

Twitter: zababes1

 
 
 
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Francis Bouillon skates during practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday, October 2, 2014.
 

Francis Bouillon skates during practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday, October 2, 2014.

Photograph by: PETER McCABE, Montreal Gazette

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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