Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
What follows is a very lightly edited transcript of our conversation that evening, from beginning to end. So join us now for dinner, but without the calories and the restaurant background noise.
• I get the sense there’s much more to the leadership that’s being asked of you than having had an A stitched on your jersey. And you’re taking French lessons.
Yes. I take this with so much more pride than ever before. Little things used to bother me. The best thing for me was to spend last summer in Florida. I didn’t think or talk about hockey once. I just let it all go and I came back with an open mind and I think that’s something I’ve needed to do for a long time: be more open-minded to different, I guess, environments and situations.
I never grew up in a place like Montreal. It was tough for me at first to realize that if I had a bad shift or didn’t score a goal, it affected another person’s life. That’s just the reality of the way it is in Montreal.
And I’ve grown to love it. Even just this year, I’ve learned to love it more than ever. It was tough for me to understand really at first, but now that I’m more open-minded to everything, Katia and I can’t see ourselves being anywhere else. It’s crazy how much you can change in a year, but it’s not bull, it’s 100 per cent true.
As for the French, I’ve told my teacher she’ll have to be a little slower with me at this time of the year, my mind isn’t always there and I can be a little tired. I can read French because I understand Spanish, but the accents — they’re tough. And she’ll be telling me, “il est” or “elle est.” (laughs) What makes an object male or female?
• The other night in Tampa Bay, without an A on your road jersey, you went to discuss a call with an official at the timekeeper’s bench. Without the A, that’s not often done.
Relationships with the referees is probably one of the biggest parts about being a leader. I’ve talked to Berge and Mike about that early on and they said, “It’s really important because everything goes through you, on the ice. We can’t be out there, you have to have a good relationship with the refs.”
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
On Wednesday afternoon in Winnipeg, Price was soft-spoken, humble and a gentleman. He had chosen to take a day off from speaking with the Montreal media contingent but when word reached him that a Winnipeg reporter was hoping for a few minutes, he emerged from the trainers' room to talk.
Price turned every question about his individual greatness into an answer about his team. It would have been infuriating but for the manner in which he did it. An easy but small smile, patience with questions he'd likely heard a thousand times and when I clumsily dropped my recorder, he bent down to pick it up. He offered his hand when I'd exhausted my efforts to get a juicy quote and then shuffled off the team bus.
"It's just a cold hard fact that I wouldn't be where I'm at without these guys in the locker-room. It's just the reality," said Price. "This is the best our team has been. We've been playing pretty solid hockey all season long. Whenever you get to the 100-point mark, before the end of the season, it's definitely a feather in the hat."
During the Olympics, Team Canada coach Mike Babcock took to referring to Price as big, square and soft. Price smiled when reminded of the reference.
"If he's talking about me as a goalie, that's a compliment. If he's talking about my physique, then probably not," said the 27-year-old from Anahim Lake, B.C. "That's what you strive to do, is make yourself as big of a target as possible and try to give as few secondary chances as possible."
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
It’s been since 1976-77 that a Canadiens goalie has recorded 10 shutouts in a season. With nine games remaining on the Habs schedule, Price’s 2-0 whitewash Saturday of San Jose gives him a lifetime-best nine.
And his 40 victories, also a career high, have him two behind a share of his team’s record in that category: Jacques Plante won 42 in 1955-56 and 1961-62, Dryden won the same number in 1975-76.
With his shutout of the Sharks, Price equalled the 34 lifetime unblemished games of Canadiens Hall of Famer Bill Durnan for fourth place on the team’s all-time list. Next up: Dryden’s 46, Plante’s 58, and the distant 75 of early-era George Hainsworth.
You’ve been hearing for some time that this season is a career year for Price. It is no longer “just” that, of course. This one is sprinkled with stardust, one for the ages, something magical that’s been fascinating to watch.
NEW YORK (March 20, 2015) – Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has been fined $3,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.
Revised for the 2014-15 season following offseason approval by the League's Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Players' Association, NHL Rule 64 is designed to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Fines are assessed to players and head coaches on a graduated scale outlined below.
from Christopher Curtis of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens head coach and the defence-first system he employs came under fire Thursday night after his team blew a two-goal lead against the Ottawa Senators, losing 5-2 at the Bell Centre.
It wasn’t so much that the Canadiens have lost five of their last six games — though, that’s certainly part of it. What seemed to irk people was the impression that, after pulling away by two goals, the Canadiens turtled....
“Regarding system and stuff like that,” Therrien said, loudly exhaling. “We’re not changing it. Nothing. I don’t think any team at this time a year is changing anything.”
The coach said he has and will continue to tweak the team’s strategy. In fact, he conceded that he’s shuffling small things around so that the team will be “comfortable” when the playoffs begin next month.
Fundamentally, though, “the system” is here to stay and Therrien is willing to stake his reputation on its merits.
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
It’s probably too early to press the panic button.
For all their recent travails – one win in six games, and it was life-and-death to get two points against woeful Arizona – your Montreal Canadiens are still on top of the standings in the Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay gained a loser’s point in Boston to tie the Canadiens at 91. But the Lightning have played one more game,; so despite that embarrassing 5-2 loss to Ottawa, your Canadiens are still numero uno in the Atlantic Division.
But is there a first-place team playing worse hockey?
Anaheim has lost three in a row. But the Rangers are on fire, and St. Louis has overtaken Nashville.
The Canadiens lost three of four on their western road trip, then dropped both games on a brief homestand. They travel to Long Island on Saturday, then to Florida for a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back against the Panthers and Lightning.
"Michel and I didn’t have the best relationship, we didn’t communicate. I didn’t know what we wanted from me, or vice versa. I’m definitely not a lazy player. I work hard on and off the ice."
-Rene Bourque of the Columbus Blue Jacket on his relationship with coach Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens. More from and on Bourque from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
“He told me the key to success is to work hard,” Petry said. “He said when you have guys with equal or more talent, the difference is going to be the guys who work the hardest.”
Petry’s dad knows something about working hard and succeeding in professional sports. Dan Petry pitched in the major leagues for 13 seasons, winning a World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1984 and winning a division title with the Atlanta Braves in 1991.
Dan Petry was known as a workhorse, piling up the innings and giving relievers a break. He had a career record of 125-104 and had 52 complete games in an era when five or six good innings were regarded as a quality start.
Jeff Petry said he doesn’t remember seeing his father pitch — he was only 3 when his father retired — but can remember being around the clubhouse and sitting in the stands.
Jeff and his older brother, Matt, both played baseball and hockey growing up in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, Mich., but they took different paths when they reached the point in their careers when they had to choose one sport over the other.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (March 2, 2015) --- The Buffalo Sabres today announced that the team has acquired forward Jack Nevins and a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Torrey Mitchell.
Nevins (6’2”, 199 lbs., 9/18/93), who signed a three-year contract with the Canadiens in March 2013, has played 32 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) this year in his first full professional season, totaling 88 penalty minutes.
A native of Stittsville, Ontario, Nevins made his professional debut in 2013-14 with three games in Hamilton after recording 48 points (19+29) and 159 penalty minutes in his final QMJHL season with Charlottetown and Rouyn-Noranda.
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