News for Wednesday, December 26th: Habs in Florida, the continuing Subban Story, Mats Naslund, Jacques Lemaire, and Ryder trade stuff.

After a whole two days off for Christmas, the Habs were back on the ice today, getting ready for tomorrow's game against the Lightning. Pat Hickey talks to several Canadiens about how they spent their "holidays". A few spent the big day in Florida, rather than getting mixed up in a whirlwind of holiday travel - good call. Interesting fact to learn in this piece: Russians open their presents on New Year's Day.

Wow, another profile on prospect PK Subban, this one in the Globe and Mail. There was another in the Star just three days ago. Subban gets more press than most of the guys who actually play for the Habs, which speaks to his charisma, I guess. I was really hoping to watch him earlier today in the WJHC, but unfortunately, he was the 7th D.

Ian MacDonald talks with former Habs standout Mats Naslund in this where-are-they-now piece. Mats has stayed involved in hockey, managing Team Sweden at Worlds and the Olympics, and also served as a Euro scout for the Habs under former GM Rejean Houle. Considering Houle's drafting record, I'm not sure I'd bring that up if I were Mats. Naslund speaks nostalgically of being the last Hab to top 100 points (110 in 1985/1986), reminding us that at least one person is proud of the fact that the Habs haven't been able to break a hundred in twenty years. It's always nice to read about what our old favourites are up to, especially a guy like Naslund, one of their few ever really good Euros, and an important member of a Cup winning team.

The Minneapolis Post Bulletin has a piece on Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, obviously a familiar name to Habs fans, and - among many other interesting details - it points out that Lemaire has managed to coach well over a thousand NHL games without ever being fired. Now there's an impressive stat. Lemaire has himself resigned from two other coaching jobs, one with the Devils (after a club record 107 point season) and one, of course, with the Canadiens. He has certainly earned his job security: his Devils were perennial contenders who won a Stanley Cup under him in 1995, and his Wild teams have always been competitive. There are many Habs fans out there who dream aloud about the Habs one day hiring Lemaire to coach again in Montreal, but forget it: Lemaire is on the record as having no patience with the media-circus that surrounds the Habs, and you can bet that hasn't changed.

On Fox, analyst Spector has his trade-watch candidates for each team posted, and it's no surprise to find he considers Michael Ryder to be Grade A trade bait. It is, however, interesting to read that he believes the Habs have no intention of parting with goalie Cristobal Huet: before the season, the emergence of Carey Price had the entire city practically packing the guy's bags. The Habs, however, would indeed be wise to retain the veteran's services, Price or no Price. Back to Ryder for a second: this is obviously a trade that will come back to bite the Habs on the ass. We've seen it before. Ryder has the potential to score fifty with the right kind of support, and when he does, you can bet at least 10 of them will be against the Habs.

And finally, the aforementioned rookie phenom Carey Price is named one of the Sporting News' best six young players in this brief look at hockey's future.

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