CHICAGO (AP) _ The Montreal Canadiens finally traded Vladimir Malakhov on Wednesday night, sending the disgruntled defenseman to the New Jersey Devils for defensemen Sheldon Souray and Joshua DeWolf and a 2001 draft choice.

Malakhov missed the Canadiens' first 53 games with a knee injury sustained in a Sept. 17 exhibition game. He had been on the trading block since the club found out that he took his family skiing during the All-Star break even though he had not returned to the Montreal lineup from a torn ligament in his right knee.

Malakhov did not dress for Montreal's game against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, staying in the coach's office while the trade was finalized. The Canadiens will get the Devils' second-round draft pick in 2001.

In his seven games with Montreal, Malakhov had no points. The Canadiens were 5-2-0 when he played.

In 52 games for the Devils, Souray has no goals and eight assists. DeWolf, 22, has been playing at Albany of the AHL.

Malakhov, who came to Montreal five years ago from the New York Islanders, said he didn't like the way the fans treated him when he returned to the lineup last week. The Russian was booed during the late stages of a 3-0 home loss to Washington on Saturday night.

Malakhov responded by waving his arms in a gesture that encouraged the fans to boo even louder.

``What would you do to people who upset your wife?'' Malakhov told the Montreal Gazette. ``She was very upset when they did that the first game I was back. When they did it again on Saturday . . . well, I'm sick and tired of it. I reacted.''

Malakhov will undergo a physical on Thursday, said Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, adding, ``this is a move for now without sacrificing anything for tomorrow.''