BROSSARD, Que. Mark Sanchez Jersey . - Lars Eller feels the Montreal Canadiens are right about where they hoped to be at the midpoint of their NHL schedule.The Canadiens (26-12-2) are in a battle for top spot in the Eastern Conference with 54 points heading into their 41st game — halfway through the 82-game schedule — on Saturday night against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.They are ahead of a year ago, when they had 50 points at the halfway mark to finish fourth in the conference with 100 points. Then came a surprising run to the conference final before they were stopped in six games by the New York Rangers.The challenge for the rest of the season to be to stay among the lead group in the east, which includes Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, the rising New York Islanders and Detroit. Mentally, its the challenge of going out every night and taking pride in wanting to be right up there with the best and not be satisfied, said Eller. Weve got a lot of young bodies.There are going to be times when were a little bit tired, but its the same for the other teams so I dont want to use that as an excuse. In the long run, its about not being satisfied and challenging yourself to be the best you can be every night during the course of 82 games.Their performance last season raised expectations for the Canadiens. Theyve met them so far, even if the team is widely considered to be still a top player or two away from being a Stanley Cup contender.Theyve had scoring from three lines instead of the two that got most of the goals last season. The defence has so far held up well. And 27-year-old Price is having his best season.I dont think we put too much pressure on ourselves, said Eller, who has scored seven goals while continuing his strong defensive play as the third-line centre. We expect a lot of ourselves.Once we get to the playoffs, its a totally different thing. Well talk about that when we get there. Were just trying to do as well as we can in the regular season.General manager Marc Bergevin gambled in the off-season on moving out several veterans so younger players could take on more leadership.Instead of naming a captain, the club put forward Max Pacioretty and defenceman P.K. Subban among a group of four alternate captains along with veterans Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov, while giving goalie Carey Price similar status without a letter on his jersey.It has worked out well so far.Pacioretty, the team scoring leader with 17 goals and 32 points, Subban and Price are among a core of players in their 20s who will likely form the heart of the team for the next several years, along with Eller, Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais and a few others.But extensive changes were made last summer and into this season.Gone from last seasons team are backup goalie Peter Budaj, defencemen Josh Gorges, Douglas Murray and Francis Bouillon and forwards Brian Gionta (the former captain), Daniel Briere, Rene Bourque, Travis Moen, George Parros, Ryan White and late-season pickup Thomas Vanek.Newcomers are rearguards Tom Gilbert and Sergei Gonchar as well as forwards Manny Malhotra, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Jiri Sekac. Defenceman Nathan Beaulieu was recently called up from AHL Hamilton and looks likely to stay. The same may happen with forward Sven Andrighetto. And Dustin Tokarski, who replaced the injured Price in the playoffs, is the new backup.Another step came when coach Michel Therrien finally moved Galchenyuk, used mainly at left wing since he was drafted third overall in 2012, to centre on the top line with Pacioretty and Gallagher. To date, he is adapting well to the raised responsibility. And surprisingly, former top line centre Desharnais is thriving as a winger on the third unit.Were a little younger team than last year, said Therrien. The younger guys are well supported by veterans like Markov, Gonchar and Plekanec. Theyre learning to become leaders, to do good things on the ice. So far, its going pretty well and well continue in that direction.Another improvement has been on faceoffs, where the addition of specialist Malhotra looks to have had a ripple effect. Malhotra has won 61.9 per cent of his draws, while Eller went from 53.2 per cent last season to 57 per cent and Plekanec has gone from 48 per cent to 50.6 per cent. Only Galchenyuk lags at 46.2 per cent.However, Malhotra, who may no longer have 82 games in his system, was a healthy scratch twice in recent games and may be again against Pittsburgh. On Friday, prospect Christian Thomas was recalled from Hamilton. Andrighetto got most of the work at centre on the fourth line with Thomas and Michael Bournival on the wings.Therrien would not confirm that Thomas will play, but said that while he is not specifically looking for more goals, he wants more offensive zone time from the fourth unit.Its a long season, said Therrien. Its a marathon.Whats important to me is that we get better every week. Thats our focus. Its a challenge to make the playoffs. We understand theres lot of good competition and every game is tough. Leonard Floyd Jersey . In a matter of days, he went from unwanted to wanted, from fired to hired, from discarded by the Philadelphia Eagles with reputation tarnished to rock star treatment and a new fat contract from the Washington Redskins. Kevin White Jersey .com) - The Vancouver Canucks hope an upcoming stretch of home games will be enough to get the club into the postseason. http://www.probearsonline.com/authentic-josh-bellamy-bears-jersey/ .9 million deal Thursday. The 25-year McGinn had 19 goals and 19 assists in 79 games last season in helping the Avalanche tie a franchise record with 52 wins.What is the Olympic readiness of Canadas champions after their first Grand Prix event? Are they on track or in trouble early in this Olympic season? The results from Skate Canada International in Saint John, New Brunswick, though mixed, bode well and while we are still over three months out, there are some encouraging signs and lots of reasons for optimism heading to Sochi. The one thing we know for sure is that Tessa Virtue and Scott Moirs new free dance has Olympics written all over it. Their music is by Russian composer Alexander Glazunov, who is described as a Romantic Classicist. It is an emotionally poignant and uplifting piece that plays to Tessa and Scotts strengths and is bound to captivate the Sochi audience. Last year, the reviews for their provocative Carmen free dance were mixed. The daring darkness of the dance brought either "love it or hate it" kind of reactions. The reviews of the new Olympic free dance have been universal in their praise. Artistically and creatively, it is a winner and a crowd pleaser that is vintage Virtue and Moir. The gold will demand endless hours now of drilling and refining in preparation for challenging U.S. rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White. The stage is set for an intriguing showdown. In an Olympic year, one cannot underestimate the value of a stable and supportive training environment and Patrick Chan has found that place in Detroit with coach Kathy Johnson. In his words, he is "happy" and it shows. He is patient and confident in practice, not perfect by any stretch but unfazed by any stumbles or jumping errors. In a warmup at Skate Canada, he had a jarring fall on a quad, shrugged, circled and did it again as it was intended. It was a decisive win at Skate Canada. His demeanour spoke of confidence, preparedness and experience, qualities that were missing heading into Vancouver. As he builds to Sochi and expectations rise and demands on him increase, it is the balance he has built in his life outside the rink and the foundation he has built in it that will, he hopes, make the difference. For Canadian pairs champions Meagan Duhammel and Eric Radford, it was a bit of a case of, youd better "dance with the one who brung you". In the past, it was their feisty ability to maximize technical risk and capitalize on it that got them to the world podium and it is the technical mark that let them down at Skate Canada International. In whaat Meagan called their lowest technical score ever, they dropped to third in their long program. Markus Wheaton Jersey. Their focus in Saint John was on artistry and character development and, while they delivered emotionally charged performances, their new focus distracted them from what they do best and their challenge over the next few weeks will be to bring the old and new together. The one thing I know about these two is that they are fighters and, with the less than stellar start and their backs to the wall, they will come out swinging. Dont drop your hands, dont count them out. Just when Kaetlyn Osmond thought she could begin her Olympic quest in earnest, she suffered another setback. Having missed a number of weeks due to an injured foot heading into Skate Canada, Kaetlyn woke up after the short program with a sore hamstring and was unable to compete in the free skate. The word is, she has tears in two tendons in her hamstring and will see limited ice and training time for the next 7-10 days, at which time it is expected to have healed. It adds up to a lot of training missed and can set up the cycle of overtraining to catch up and then reinjuring. She is young and has a bubbly personality so it will be tough to contain her. Kaetlyn has three weeks until her next Grand Prix and it is their plan that she will compete. Other Canadian honorable mentions and notable performances were those of Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje who finished second in the Ice Dance event, Amelie Lacostes short program and Eladje Baldes quad in the short. One of the most compelling performances for me at Skate Canada International was that of 28-year-old Akiko Suzuki from Japan, who critics often dismiss as being too old and past her prime. Her performances were captivating and her joy was palpable every time she took the ice. Watching her compete, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Elvis Stojko before one of his Olympic Games. When discussing dealing with Olympic pressure, he said, "I just want to remember why it is I love to skate and, if I can think of that, I will have the right frame of mind to compete." Canadas skaters would do well to take that phrase to heart. Through all the hype and the weight of pressure and expectations of an Olympic season, it is remembering the pure joy of skating that can keep things in perspective, calm the nerves and inspire break-out performances on the road to Sochi. 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