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Canadiens acquire Lang; Sundin no longer in plans

TSN.ca Staff

9/12/2008 10:23:49 PM

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Robert Lang from the Chicago Blackhawks, in return for a second-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (acquired from Toronto along with Greg Pateryn, in return for Mikhaïl Grabovski, July 3, 2008).

When asked if the acquisition of Lang meant free agent Mats Sundin was no longer in their plans, Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey replied "yes."

Gainey admitted that the discussions with Sundin were not fruitful.

"At no time did I have any feeling we had (Sundin) locked up or anyone else did."

"We had developed a priority and had we been able to entice Mats Sundin to comeback and play and comeback and play with the Canadiens, we would have done that as early as June of this summer," he explained.

With little for certain about the Sundin situation, the Canadiens decided to move in a different direction.

"We also developed back-up plans and today we decided to use one back-up plan instead of continue on a course that didn't seem as if it was going to be fruitful. There was no indication that we would see Mats Sundin with our team."

As for Sundin's plans, Gainey explained that he had no idea when or if the forward would return to the NHL. 

"(Sundin) didn't give me any indication he was going to make a decision and my hockey department and I were not prepared to wait for a player who may or may not decide to play in November, December or January or February."

In Lang, the Canadiens get a veteran forward with the ability to generate offence. The 37-year-old played 76 games with the Blackhawks in 2007-08, recording 54 points (21 goals, 33 assists), posting a plus-9 rating while serving 50 penalty minutes. It was the 8th consecutive season in his NHL career with 50 points or more.

"He adds to our depth and experience and to the level of our attack," explained Gainey.

Lang has played in 875 regular-season games with six different teams (Los Angeles, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit and Chicago), recording 635 points (234 goals and 401 assists), including 77 powerplay goals.

"Added to the group that's there, I feel we responded to our needs for this year," said Gainey.

Lang was excited about the deal.

"You never want to get traded or have to move your family, but I think it's going to be a great situation," Lang told the Canadian Press. "It's a great hockey town."

His most productive season was in 2000-01 when he recorded 80 points (32 goals, 48 assists) in 82 games with the Penguins.

The Teplice, Czech Republic native was a 7th round selection, 133rd overall, by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. He played in the 2004 NHL All-Star game as a member of the Washington Capitals.

The Canadiens also announced the signing of defenceman Patrice Brisebois to a one-year contract. As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Brisebois, rejoined the Canadiens as a free agent on August 3, 2007.  During the 2007-08 season, he registered 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) and 26 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Canadiens, averaging 16:49 minutes of ice time per game.

The 37-year-old spent the first 14 seasons of his career in a Canadiens' uniform. He played two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche in 2005-06 and 2006-07. The Montreal native thas played in 947 career regular season games in the NHL, totaling 402 points (93 goals, 309 assists).

Brisebois was selected in the second round by the Canadiens (30th overall) in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.