Kukla's Korner Hockey
Max Pacioretty will not return today after tumbling into the boards.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
Canadiens icon Elmer Lach, the nearly indestructible centreman for Maurice (Rocket) Richard and Toe Blake on his team’s magnificent 1940s Punch Line, died Saturday morning at the West Island Palliative Care Residence in Kirkland following a stroke suffered last Saturday, March 28 at his Beaconsfield care home.
Lach was two months past his 97th birthday, at the time of his death the oldest living member of the Canadiens and senior-most member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Lach’s passing was the second enormous loss to the Canadiens and the team’s extended family in less than four months, legendary former captain Jean Béliveau having died on Dec. 2 following a lengthy illness.
Born Jan. 22, 1918 in tiny Nokomis, Sask., just 57 days after the creation of the National Hockey League, Lach was the least well-known and the last surviving member of the legendary Punch Line.
added 10:57am, below, a feature CBC did on Lach back in 2009.
added 11:15am, Montreal Canadiens press release is below...
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
As it is, the team is coping – and coping badly – with the expectations engendered by their consistent play through the first five months of the regular season. The Canadiens won eight games in October, November, December and January. In February, they won nine.
But the Canadiens slipped to six wins – against six regulation losses and three overtime losses – in March.
And they’re 0-for-April, having lost in shootouts to Washington – no disgrace there – on Friday night and, embarrassingly, to New Jersey on Saturday.
My man Frankie Gagnon offered this grim stat on L’Antichambre, after the Canadiens’ loss to the woeful Devils:
Since Feb. 26, the Canadiens have played 19 games. They’ve won eight, and here’s the bad news: Only one of those wins was against a team currently in position to make the playoffs....
Regardless of whom the Canadiens face in the first-round, here’s a fearless prediction:
Unless this team solves its late-season problems, the Canadiens are not going to be playing hockey in the merry month of May.
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.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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