Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Norman Webster of the Montreal Gazette,
Much of the time it seems to consist of forwards skating into the goaltender’s crease after he has frozen the puck and giving him a hard stare, as Paddington Bear used to do to those who incurred his disapproval. The whistle has gone, nothing whatever can be done to advance the play, but this staring, accompanied by the usual obscenities, is supposed to bring great advantage to the perpetrators.
The defenders do not like this. They retaliate by rubbing opponents’ faces with the palms of their gloves - “face-washing,” it’s called, although if you have ever dipped your nose into a working hockey gauntlet you may question the term “washing.” The defenders, too, loose the usual insults, while the linesmen run around throwing their bodies in front of potential punches (is there any other sport which so shamefully degrades its officials?). Of course, this brings Montreal’s sophisticated fans out of their seats every time.
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from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Saku Koivu said it would be “awesome” if he finished his National Hockey League career in Montreal, but there are no guarantees that’s going to happen….
Koivu said if his vision of the future meshed with that of the team, he expected to have a deal, ideally for two of three seasons, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He added that if there’s no deal before the deadline, he will probably be playing elsewhere next season.
When Koivu was asked if joining his younger brother, Mikko, in Minnesota was an option, he said: “It would be amazing in one way to play with him on the same team. But on the other hand, he’s at the point where he has his own career. He’s making a name for himself and in some ways, it’s easier for him and I’d like to keep it that way. But it’s tempting to think about playing on the same NHL team with him and having some success.”
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received: Never make important decisions in overly emotional moments. Right now, everyone in the Montreal organization should listen.
Take a step back, really think things through, and don’t make any major decisions in the immediate aftermath of the 100th anniversary letdown.
The Canadiens are at a crossroads, with a need for the most honest and extensive self-evaluation since Bob Gainey’s arrival. With the fans out for blood, it would be easy to offer up a series of public floggings/hangings to satisfy the mob. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s right.
That’s why it’s best that Gainey wants to stay. It was funny to hear the “Carbo! Carbo!” chants after the coach was fired, because many of the people yelling were probably the same ones phoning the radio shows and demanding his head in February. Those same people are angry at Gainey now, but would probably be yelling his name once the team lost three in a row under a new GM.
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Montreal Canadiens general-manager Bob Gainey has lashed out at Tampa Bay Lightning counterpart Bryan Lawton and the team’s ownership for “disgraceful” behaviour in leaking names they were interested in during trade talks for superstar centre Vincent Lecavalier.
Gainey said the wild speculation over Lecavalier, a Montreal native, was a significant distraction that helped derail his team in the second half of the season.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
Sixteen years, including the lockout year, have passed since the Canadiens won it all in 1993. Gainey had joined the organization as an executive vice-president and general manager in 2003. It was a year in which the Canadiens had failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time since they had won their 24th Cup in 1993 - with the promise of a five-year rebuilding plan.
At the time, he had said: “I can’t separate myself from my history. I was with some great teams in Montreal in the ‘70s and the ‘80s. Those of you with better memories will remember I was with some not so good teams in the ‘80s. But this is new. The city has changed since I left Montreal. The team has changed. I’ve changed. We’re gonna have to get to know each other again.
“We’re going to take the younger players and we’re going to improve them and we’re going to make them better. We’re going to push the players to do the things that need to be done to be a good team. It’s about tomorrow,” he said. “It’s not about the 1970s ... the 1980s or the 1950s!”
Gainey’s ‘tomorrow’ has come and gone. The dream is in tatters.
Kevin Mio of Habs Inside/Out writes,
What’s Next: A summer full of questions and searching for answers as to what went wrong during the centennial season. The Canadiens have a long list of unrestricted free agents and the 2009-10 edition of the team could look vastly different.
added 10:34pm, from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
If the Canadiens were going to win this series, their hopes had to rest on goaltending but Carey Price never looked like the second coming of Patrick Roy or Ken Dryden.
Check that. Price did do a fair imitation of Roy when he stopped a shot by Mark Recchi from just across centre ice with a little more than four minutes remaining in the second period. The sellout crowd greeted the stop with an ovation that dripped with sarcasm and Price responded by throwing his arms in the air.
When coach Bob Gainey was asked why he didn’t use Jaroslav Halak, who was limited to 20 minutes of perfect relief work in Game 2, he suggested that it wouldn’t have been fair to the Slovak because he hadn’t started a game in 7-10 days and that it wouldn’t have been fair to Price, who had carried the load coming into the playoffs.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
It’s almost time for the Canadiens to take out the trash, the wonderfully talented, splendidly coached Boston Bruins just one victory from dusting the Habs and ending their 100th season, also known as the world’s longest funeral.
When the Bruins knock off the Canadiens, a fairly safe assumption, Boston will have won eight series against their historic rival in 32 meetings since 1929. A sweep would be their third, the first over three games in ’29, the other over four in ’92.
Nothing has worked for the Canadiens against this Bruins squad, and there’s no reason to believe tonight’s fourth game will be any different.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette (Wednesday edition),
Montrealers like to think of themselves as fair, classy people but there’s nothing classy about the disgraceful conduct of the fans at the Bell Centre who booed the singing of the United States national anthem prior to Monday’s game between the Canadiens and the Boston Bruins.
It was impossible to hear Charles Prévost-Linton’s rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner because most of the sellout crowd of 21,273 drowned out his voice with boos or chants of Go Habs Go….
There is no excuse for the current booing. It is a simple matter of bad manners.
Bob Gainey, the Canadiens’ coach and general manager, addressed the issue yesterday when he said the boorish behaviour stemmed from confusion on the part of the fans.
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Hard to believe it was just last fall that owner George Gillett and president Pierre Boivin arrived in Toronto for a press conference at the Royal York Hotel all full of bounce and optimism for the club as it entered its 100th anniversary season. Gillett certainly gave no hint his ownership of the storied franchise was in any sense in doubt, while Boivin seemed to suggest the Habs were beyond the point when they would be anything but successful on the ice.
“Today, if you recruit and operate well, are well-managed and well-coached, and have strong fan support, there’s no reason you can’t have a team that’s going to contend . . . forever,” said Boivin.
Those words sure sound a little haunting now, don’t they?
In fact, you could argue that the Florida Panthers, or even the bedraggled Maple Leafs, would have put up a better battle in the first round against Boston than the Habs have.
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.
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