Will 'Spaz' settle down with Habs?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Janne Niinimaa is looking for a place to settle down. And if he ever learns to settle down on the ice, that place might just be Montreal.

He's filled in well since arriving in a September trade with Dallas, after injuries to Habs defencemen Mathieu Dandenault and Francis Bouillon, but every once in a while he shows how he earned the nickname "Spaz" in Edmonton.

"Sometimes he tries to do too much and needs to go back to the basics," said coach Guy Carbonneau. "But overall he's been really good."

Niinimaa, with one point in 13 games, wants to stick around Montreal for a while.

"I love it here," he said, adding Dallas was a much better stop than Long Island, but ankle injuries ruined it for everyone. "It was a terrible time for me, I couldn't play. But it's great to be back in Canada, in a hockey atmosphere.

"I don't want to move all the time. I'd like to stay somewhere and this feels like a good fit. It's good to play with Saku (Koivu), we've been friends since we were 15."

Niinimaa followed the Oilers playoff run closely from back home in Finland. He even had friends over to watch Game 7 of the Cup final, which began at 3 a.m. Finland time.

An ankle biter

When does an ankle injury equal a punch in the stomach to 22 other guys?

When the ankle belongs to your team's best player and he's going to be out of the lineup for six weeks.

Chris Higgins, one of the better all-around players in the game right now, learned yesterday that he has a partially torn ligament in his left ankle and isn't expected back any time soon.

Higgins killed penalties (three shorthanded goals), played on the powerplay and had 13 points in 13 games.

"I've always been a quick healer," said Higgins. "I'd be pretty shocked if it took (six weeks)."


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