Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The commute for Montreal Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau from his west-end home to the Bell Centre takes 45 minutes.
Along the way, he encounters plenty of well-wishers. “I get honked at 150 times,” he said on the eve of his team’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.
To say the city of Montreal adores its Canadiens and has ratcheted that affection to a new level this season would be to state the obvious. That’s why Carbonneau has his players sequestered in a downtown hotel for home games as the storied franchise takes a run at a 25th Stanley Cup championship.
From Mike Boone at The Gazette,
Despite selling out every home game this season, the Canadiens say they didn’t make any money. Team president Pierre Boivin told La Presse the club’s playoff participation, which begins tomorrow night against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre, will allow the team to make a profit on the 2007-08 season.
Boivin would not reveal specific numbers. He doesn’t have to; the Canadiens are part of a privately held company owned by George Gillett and Molson Coors.
But even without access to the club’s allegedly red-ink-drenched books, I am skeptical of its purportedly precarious break-even financial position.
more… *a breakdown by Boone estimating the possible profits of the Habs
*hat-tip to Habs Inside/Out for the pointer
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
There has been a lot of talk about the importance of experience in this series and both teams offer a mix of seasoned veterans and raw rookies. Much has been made of the fact that the Habs have 10 players with no NHL playoff experience and that group includes 20-year-old goaltender Carey Price.
But the Bruins have 11 players looking for their first playoff experience and folks might be surprised to learn the group includes No. 1 goalie Tim Thomas, 33, and Marc Savard, who is the team’s leading scorer.
Price never seems to get rattled and he said yesterday that, while he expects to be nervous when the puck is dropped tomorrow, he doesn’t expect to be overwhelmed by the surroundings.
from the Boston Globe,
Thomas, the 33-year-old American veteran, and Price, the 20-year-old Canadian hotshot, are very different men behind the masks.
There’s the 5-foot-11-inch Thomas, the perpetually written-off underdog with the athletic style who leaves the crease in tatters when he pulls out all the stops. There’s the 6-foot-3-inch Price, the picture-perfect puckstopper with the fluid movement, stickhandling deftness, and pads-down technique, seemingly produced on the butterfly-goalie assembly line in his native Vancouver.
from Michael Farber at TSN,
And now, Montreal has fallen madly in love with other Russian dolls. A year ago, many of the Canadiens’ problems could be traced to Russian players that included Alex Kovalev’s critical comments of the organization and Sergei Samsonov’s stunning ineptitude.
Now, the Russians and Belarussians have become the city’s - and perhaps destiny’s - darlings.
After head coach Guy Carbonneau praised Kovalev in March, the 21,273 fans at the sold out Bell Centre took up a chant of “MVP!” for the team’s most valuable player.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
“We began in October with 15 Eastern Conference teams and our objective was to make the playoffs, in the best position possible,” Gainey said. “Now that we’re in the playoffs, our goal is to win the Stanley Cup.”
And just like that, the genius behind this remarkable Canadiens team turned playoff fever up another few degrees in a civic cauldron that’s been on a rolling boil for weeks.
For more on the Canadiens, make sure to check out Habs Inside/Out.
from the Boston Globe,
Chiarelli on first-year netminder Carey Price: “We have to get him moving and get the puck high. He’s very big. He’s a pads-down, blocker-down goalie. We have to get pucks high, get him moving, and keep pucks away from him on dump-ins and hard-arounds. He’s going to have pressure. He’s young and it’s his first NHL playoff series. We have to get in his head in a variety of ways.”
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
You deal with the cards you’re dealt, and right now the Canadiens have all the right cards in their mitts. They know who they’re playing, and they’re playing well and winning consistently. Everything looks good for the playoffs when it’s considered they’re still winning without Saku Koivu and Mike Komisarek.
Okay, so you don’t have to remind me anything can happen in the playoffs, but somehow, I can’t imagine the Canadiens having too much of a problem with the Bruins. If I had a choice for my first-round opponent, it would be the Ottawa Senators, even though they won five of their eight games against the Canadiens this season.
It’s not only because the Bruins and Flyers made it to the Second Season through the front door and the Senators through the back. It’s because there has to be something terribly wrong with this Ottawa team off the ice as well as they were on it coming out of the starting blocks.
From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
Saku Koivu is optimistic his fractured left foot will heal enough to let him start the playoffs but the Montreal Canadiens captain said Saturday nothing is certain.
“What’s going to happen in the future, for the first game, we’ll see next week,” Koivu said. “Every day it feels better, but there’s not much we can tell.
“We’ll know a lot more in the next couple of days.”
continued… with more on other injured Habs
Montreal will host the NHL’s awards show and entry draft in June 2009 as part of the Canadiens’ 100th anniversary festivities, a source has told CBCSports.ca.
The league is expected to announce the events at a media conference Saturday afternoon.
Montreal’s Bell Centre has already been named the site of the 2009 NHL all-star game, which will take place in January in the middle of the Canadiens’ centennial season.
The annual NHL awards show gala has traditionally been held in Toronto.
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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