Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
The outspoken Laraque was more direct in his assessment as the team packed their equipment bags after Sunday’s practice.
“This is the turning point for the season,” he said matter-of-factly. “Make or break.”
The Canadiens sit seven points ahead of the 10th-place Pittsburgh Penguins, and it’s conceivable that a subpar trip could send them plummeting out of a playoff spot.
But Carbonneau pointed out that parity among the teams jockeying for playoff position means the pressure is on for everyone, other than perhaps the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks, who bestride their respective conferences.
“If we’re in trouble, a lot of teams are in trouble,” said Carbonneau, who huddled with his coaching staff and general manager Bob Gainey before practice for a postmortem of Saturday night and then held a team meeting to hammer in a few truths.
Last night, Kelly Hrudey during the Coast to Coast segment on HNIC talked goaltending. I watched it live and thought Kelly had some great insight on the goaltending position and was left wanting more from Kelly.
Price, Luongo and Osgood were discussed but if you are interested in the goaltending position, I recommend watching it.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
While Toskala was solid, Montreal goaltender Carey Price was distraught after the game. He faced 41 shots and was beaten high on the glove side three times as he lost for the sixth time in eight starts since he returned to action from an ankle injury.
But Christopher Higgins said it would be a mistake to heap all the blame on the goaltender, who was a last-minute starter after Jaroslav Halak came down with the flu.
“We gave them a lot of odd-man rushes. “We didn’t give (Price) a lot of help.”
But head coach Guy Carbonneau didn’t let the goaltender off the hook.
“We’re not doing anything right,” said Carbonneau, whose team is clinging to fourth place in the Eastern Conference despite losing seven of its last nine games. “We’re having trouble scoring goals and it seems that whenever we make a mistake, the puck’s in our net.”
When asked what he didn’t like about Price’s performance, he said: “Where do you want me to start? He let in five goals.”
In the blue and white corner this Saturday is Mikael Grabovski, a five-foot-11, 179-pound non-brawler who was a Habs’ prospect and is currently the most hated man in the Bell Centre.
In the bleu, blanc et rouge corner stands Sergei Kostitsyn, brother of Andrei and, at five-foot-11, 196 pounds, carrying a weight advantage over his Toronto opponent.
The two had to be restrained from fighting by the officials in January as both shoved at linesmen in what was interpreted as an attempt to get at each other.
Grabovski was the more aggressive of the two against a striped shirt, earning himself a three-game suspension. He left the ice to a chorus of boos, plastic cups and foul hand signals.
This week, the pair hyped up their possible battle as best they could.
“I think he is not Belarusian now, he is French, because I never fight with Belarusian guys,” said Grabovski, of Kostitsyn. “I don’t know why he wants to fight with me.
Update 3:22pm ET (alanah): From Mike Zeisberger via Sun Media—
For his part, [Guy] Carbonneau told Montreal reporters this week that he will not shackle Kostitsyn from participating in extracurricular activities in the event they arise during tonight’s Leafs-Habs meeting at the Bell Centre.
“I think it’s just great,” Carbonneau said, flashing a grin when asked about the feud between the two Belarusians. “You need emotion to play. For me and Peter Statsny, it wasn’t love.”
From the CP via TSN:
The reason for the rivalry remains unknown, however team mates on both sides believe it has something to do with sharing the same nationality. Older brother Andrei [Kostitsyn] would not discuss the feud but did state that [Mikhail] Grabovski “…talks too much in the Russian newspapers about me and my brother.”
While both players were born in Belarussia, Grabovski believes that Kostitsyn’s heritage should be questioned. “I think he is not Belarussian now, he is French because I never fight with Belarussian guys.”
Canadiens heavyweight Georges Laraque thought the prospect of the two flyweights throwing down would be hilarious.
“I think it would look really funny,” Laraque said of the potential tilt between the pair who are both generously listed at 5’11”.
read on for the full story
via Pat Hickey at Habs Inside/Out,
The Canadiens confirm that left winger Guillaume Latendresse will be out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury. He was injured Sunday when he lost his balance while chasing a puck into the corner and slammed into the boards.
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
Alex Kovalev admits he has to start playing better hockey, especially with injuries mounting on the Montreal Canadiens.
The big winger, who led the team with 84 points last season, was benched for most of the third period of a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday for his listless play.
He then met with coach Guy Carbonneau to clear the air.
“He’s the coach, I’m a player, he does his job, I do mine,” Kovalev said Tuesday. “He’s not going to come on the ice and do my job, and when I do it better, everybody’s happy. So the important thing for me is to play better.”
MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens announced Monday that forward Robert Lang underwent successful surgery to repair a severed Achilles tendon on his left leg. The 38-year old forward is presently recovering from surgery and will be out indefinitely.
Lang suffered the injury during the third period of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Boston Bruins, at the Bell Centre. He was transferred to the Montreal General Hospital where surgery was performed on Sunday night.
from CBC Sports,
Carbonneau said the Russian has to step up his game if Montreal has any hope of catching Boston….
“Alex is a professional. He’s not a rookie,” Carbonneau said. “Right now, he’s struggling, but we need him [if we’re going to] go far.”
It’s been suggested in the Montreal media that Kovalev’s play tapers off when captain Saku Koivu is in the lineup. Koivu returned to action for the Habs on Jan. 21 after missing 17 games with an ankle injury, and Kovalev has struggled since then.
“I hope that’s not the truth or we’re in trouble, because I’m not taking the C off Saku — that’s the bottom line,” Carbonneau said. “If anyone needs a letter to perform on the ice, I have trouble with that.”
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com