Marc Bergevin is satisfied with his team's first-half performance and wasn't tipping his hand on any possible moves as the Montreal Canadiens play out the stretch before next month's Olympic break.
The Habs' general manager maintained that the team's success over the last three month's are due in large part to special teams and the play of goaltender Carey Price. The Canadiens' star goaltender struggled in the latter part of last season and Bergevin brought in former Chicago Blackhawks colleague Stephane Waite as goaltending coach to help get him back on the right track.
"Carey has been our most valuable player this year," he told reporters during the team's morning skate in Philadelphia. "All the credit goes to him for his comeback. He's come to work whenever he goes on the ice. He is playing great hockey and is one of the reasons why we are in our current position."
Price and teammate P.K. Subban were both named to Canada's Olympic men's hockey team on Tuesday, joining six other Canadiens representing their countries in Sochi. Bergevin would not comment on the status of contract negotiations with Subban (a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer), but had plenty of praise for the young blueliner.
"I don't want to discuss (the talks) publicly," he said. "Two years ago, he (Subban) was sometimes a healthy scratch. His progression has been huge and he's not finished."
Bergevin also addressed questions regarding veteran forward Daniel Briere, who has struggled in his first season with the Canadiens. Briere, who's been the subject of trade speculation over the last week, has impressed both the GM and head coach Michel Therrien with his recent play - including a three-point performance against Ottawa on Saturday.
"I never got wind of it," said Bergevin when asked of any possible rift between Briere and Therrien. "Daniel has faced difficulties, but he's on the right track. He's played much better hockey for some time."
And if Briere needs to look anywhere for some added inspiration, he doesn't need to look further than his own dressing room.
"David Desharnais has had a difficult start to the season," said Bergevin. "And he's been one of our top players now for a long time."
Bergevin, who had a first-hand look at some of the team's prospects at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Sweden, also likes he sees for the future, particularly forward Jacob De la Rose whom he hopes will play in North America next season.
"On the whole, our prospects performed well," he said. "All six players got a lot of ice time. I was especially impressed with (Jacob De la Rose), who is a big guy who did very well for Sweden. Also, Martin Reway, who's a lot smaller physically, had a great deal of success as well. They had key roles on their teams on such an important stage. The future looks promising for our kids."