MONTREAL - So close and yet so far. Jarred Vanderbilt Jersey . That was how defenceman Josh Gorges felt after the Montreal Canadiens were eliminated from the NHL playoffs with a 1-0 loss in Game 6 to the Rangers in New York on Thursday night. It was a second trip to the Eastern Conference final for Gorges, who was there in 2010 when the Canadiens lost to Philadelphia after upsetting Washington and Pittsburgh in the first two rounds. His disappointment at bowing out again without reaching the Stanley Cup final was evident. "This harder to accept because I can see the window of opportunity closing bit by bit," said the 29-year-old Gorges. "The older you get, the more you realize how difficult it is. We were so close." At the start of the season, it was widely felt the Canadiens would be among the group of teams having to battle for the final playoff spots, but an 11-3-1 spurt down the stretch saw them finish with 100 points, good for fourth in the conference. Then they swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round of playoffs and upset their biggest rival, the first-place Boston Bruins, in a heated, seven-game conference semifinal before bowing out to the Rangers. More than one player noted when the playoff run was over that the team has a bright future, although coach Michel Therrien didnt want to think about next year so soon after a bitter defeat. "Its really tough talking about the entire season, because I know its like when you get close to achieving a goal, it hurts," he said. "It hurts more when youre close. "There are 29 teams this year that are going to be disappointed, and one team is going to be enjoying their season while winning the Stanley Cup. That is the purpose. But I look at the season and we made some big progress this year. Im proud of this hockey team. We battled hard through the regular season and we battled hard in the playoffs." The players are to have their exit interviews on Saturday and general manager Marc Bergevin will review the season with the media on Monday morning. There are likely to be changes. Bergevins priority will no doubt be signing star defenceman P.K. Subban to what could be a major multi-year contract. The 25-year-old who won the Norris Trophy in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign and who leads the team in ice time is due to become a restricted free agent on July 1. Negotiations may be difficult, with Subban likely to end up among the leagues highest-paid players, even if a rival team doesnt make him an offer. Other potential RFAs are centre Lars Eller, who had a disappointing regular season but was second on the team in playoff scoring, late-season pickup and playoff surprise Dale Weise and forward Ryan White, who didnt see any playoff action. He must also decide whether to try to keep unrestricted free agents Andrei Markov, Brian Gionta, Thomas Vanek, Mike Weaver, Francis Bouillon, Douglas Murray and George Parros. Markov, a mainstay on the defence since 2000, is 35 and, while he is still a skilled and heady playmaker, has become slower on his skates. Its somewhat the same for Gionta, the 35-year-old captain whose points production is on the wane. Vanek has said repeatedly he will test the free agent market and Bergevin will need to decide whether to bid for him. Weaver, another late-season acquisition, is 36 but Bergevin may make the third-pair defenceman an offer because of his solid post-season play. He earned $1.1 million this season. Bouillons history with Therrien goes back to junior hockey, but the stocky defenceman is 38 and may have reached the end of his career. It would be surprising if the painfully slow Murray and little-used enforcer Parros were back. Decisions on defence will be influenced by young blue-liners who may be ready to be full-time NHL players, including Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn, who had 15 goals for the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs. Bergevin will also need to sort out his goaltending. When Carey Price was injured in the opening game of the conference final, Therrien turned to third-stringer Dustin Tokarski over back-up Peter Budaj. Tokarski played brilliantly and looks to have taken over the back-up job, but Budaj has a year left on a contract that pays $1.4 million. Players signed long-term include Price, Gorges, Alexei Emelin, David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. The easy one will be signing a new deal with Therrien, whose two-year contract is up. Bergevin has already hinted that he will keep the 50-year-old coach. --- With files from Canadian Press sports reporter Bill Beacon. 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The Rainbow FlickNext up is the Rainbow Flick, or as you probably know it, the trick that everybody at soccer camp thought they knew how to do.Anaheim Ducks Colby Robak, who as acquired in a deal with with Floriada Panthers for Jesse Blacker, will make his debut today against the Winnipeg Jets. - Eric Stephens, Orange County Register Carolina Hurricanes Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal took a major stride Saturday in his recovery from a broken leg, getting in his first skate since the injury.Staal, dressed out in full hockey gear, did some light skating on his own after the Canes’ practice at Raleigh Center Ice. He said it was his first time on the ice since the Sept. 23 injury against the Buffalo Sabres. – News Observer The team has recalled winger Chris Terry from the AHL. - Team Website Cam Ward gets the nod in net today against the Red Wings. He is 8-8-1 with a 2.48 goals-against-average and a .912 save percentage. - Mike Maniscalco Chicago Blackhawks Head coach Joel Quenneville said winger Patrick Sharp likely will return when the Hawks face the Devils on Tuesday night in New Jersey. Sharp missed his 14th consecutive game for the Hawks on Saturday with a right knee injury suffered Nov. 4 against the Canadiens. The veteran traveled with the Hawks and skated Saturday morning. Quenneville said theres a good chance (Sharp) is going to play on that trip and likely … the first game. – Chicago Tribune Colorado Avalanche Valuable forward Jamie McGinn, who can play on any line, will undergo back surgery Wednesday and could be lost for the season, Avs coach Patrick Roy said. McGinn has missed the past eight games with the same back injury that forced his absence throughout training camp and preseason. Roy said doctors wont know if McGinn requires a short-term or long-term repair until the surgery is performed. – Denver Post The team sent Tomas Vincour and Michael Sgarbossa down to Lake Erie (AHL) on Sunday. - Team Twitter Detroit Red Wings Petr Mrazek will start in goal for the Red Wings tonight against the Hurricanes, He sports a 2-0-0 record with a 3.36 goals-against-average and a .875 save percentage. - Ansar Khan, MLive.com Los Angeles Kings Marian Gaborik took part in practice today and is close to returning from an upper-body injury that has kept him sidelined for the past four games. - lakingsinsider.com Minnesota Wild Captain Mikko Koivu missed practiced with what head coach Mike Yeo called a “very, very minor strain” and he’s expected to practice Monday. Koivu was around doing an off-ice workout and it doesn’t appear to be anything serious. Ryan Suter practiced. The hope is he can practice Monday and return Tuesday against the Islanders. – Star Tribune Montreal Canadiens The team has sent Drayson Bowman down to Hamilton of the AHL. The forward had no points in three games. - Team Twitter Michael Bournival has been recalled from his conditioning stint in Hamilton. The forward has missed 15 games with a shoulder injury. - Team Twitter New Jersey Devils The Devils have assigned struggling winger Damien Brunner to Albany of the AHL and have recalled defenceman Peter Harrold. Tyler Lydon Jersey. - Team Twitter Winger Mike Cammalleri will not travel to Carolina for New Jerseys game tomorrow against the Hurricanes due to a lower-body injury. Forward Patrick Elias also wont be making the trip due to a groin injury. - Tom Gulitti, The Record New York Islanders Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body), out since Nov. 29, appears on target to come off IR before Tuesdays game against the Minnesota Wild. Casey Cizikas left Saturdays game in the third period with an undisclosed injury. He appeared to take Vladimir Tarasenkos stick to the face after Thomas Hickey leveled Tarasenko with a clean hit. – Newsday New York Rangers Kris Kreider was injured today in practice after colliding with teammate Carl Hagelin. The winger apparently suffered an upper-body injury. - Steve Zipay, Newsday Ottawa Senators Goaltender Craig Anderson will get the start this evening against the Vancouver Canucks. Anderson is 5-7-4 with a 2.47 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage. Milan Michalek, who is suffering from an upper-body injury, will not be in the lineup for the Senators this evening. He will be replaced by Mark Stone, who is coming off a foot injury. - Team Twitter Jared Cowen might be a healthy scratch for the third-straight game. The defenceman has struggled this season, and with others bodies such as Marc Methot returning to the lineup, Cowen need to step up his game. - Ottawa Citizen St. Louis Blues Alexander Steen took part in the Blues’ pregame warm-up Saturday, but was later scratched from the game due to a lower-body injury that happened Thursday in Nashville. He is considered day to day. Blues goalie Brian Elliott, who is out week to week with a sprained right knee, will remain off the ice for the time being after feeling sore following an on-ice practice in Chicago. Martin Brodeur will start against the Florida Panthers on Monday. – St. Louis Post Dispatch Washington Capitals Mike Green has been skating with his teammates. He is targeting Tuesday night’s game in Tampa for his return. – Comcast Sportsnet.com The Capitals have assigned centre Liam OBrien to the AHL. - capitalstoday.com Winnipeg Jets Ondrej Pavelec will get his turn in goal for Winnipeg, Sunday, after Michael Hutchinson recorded the win over the Avalanche. – Team Twitter Vancouver Canucks The Canucks lost red-hot winger Shawn Matthias, who did not return from a blatant elbow-to-the-head by Leafs’ defenceman Stephane Robidas late in the second period. – Vancouver Sun The team has assigned Tom Sestito to Utica of the AHL on a conditioning assignment. He has been sidelined with a leg injury. - Team Release Eddie Lack gets the call in net tonight against the Ottawa Senators. He stopped all 13 shots he saw last night in relief of Ryan Miller. - Team Twitter ' ' '