Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Fire the coach. Send the kid goalie to the minors. Trade the Russians. The panic button has truly been punched among fans of the Montreal Canadiens.
Like the song says, love hurts, and the anguish of heartbreak is palpable among the spurned legions of Habsland.
Their beloved NHL team is suddenly catastrophically bad and seems to have forgotten how to play, losing nine of 11 games going into last night’s match against the Colorado Avalanche - which the Habs won 4-2.
“Don’t they understand what this is doing to us? I’m embarrassed to leave the house,” wailed a caller named Stephane, one of hundreds of disconcerted fans to phone the city’s pre-eminent hockey open-line show in recent days on CKAC, the Habs’ French-language radio broadcaster.
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Hockey at CBC,
It was the NHL lockout, and the co-owner of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans needed somewhere to practice. So, he went back to Washington, and met the team’s goalie. His name was Carey Price.
“I remember thinking, ‘When I was 18, I was nowhere near as polished as this guy,’” Olaf Kolzig said Friday. “I knew right there how good he was going to be. Goalies don’t mature until their mid-20s. To see where he was then ... you could see how special he was going to be at 25.”
We’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Cristobal Huet’s trade from Montreal, the day Bob Gainey made Price his number one man. Ron Tugnutt remembers watching as Price led the Canadiens to a stunning regular-season Eastern Conference crown.
“I said, ‘This is the guy who will lead Team Canada for years.’ His footwork is incredible.”
TORONTO (February 12, 2009) – Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an incident involving Edmonton Oilers defenseman Denis Grebeshkov during NHL Game #809 last night, the National Hockey League announced.
At 4:29 of the second period, Plekanec took down Grebeshkov from behind, resulting in an injury to the Edmonton player. He was assessed a minor penalty for tripping on the play.
added 6:35pm, watch the video of the incident below…
from Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey,
Does it strike anyone other than me as more than a coincidence that the Montreal Canadiens went cold right around the time the Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors broke last month?
From early December to a week prior to the 2009 NHL All-Star game the Canadiens had rallied from a minor November slump and were a sizzling 11-2-1, despite losing such notables as Carey Price and Saku Koivu to injury.
Then the trade rumors linking the Habs to Lecavalier broke, and they’re 2-8 in their last ten leading up to February 11th.
I’m a big fan of Habs GM Bob Gainey and overall approve of how he’s built and maintained the current roster, but his cryptic responses to the Lecavalier trade speculation seemed to only stoke the rumors.
It’s unknown if Gainey spoke to any of the players who were rumored headed to Tampa Bay for Lecavalier to calm their nerves.
continued plus some Bouwmeester talk…
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette via Habs Inside/Out,
To quantify this ugliness:
• It was the Canadiens’ seventh consecutive road loss;
• They have been outscored 35-14 through this span;
• In going oh-for-Alberta this week, they were outscored 13-4;
• Montreal has lost nine times in their last 11;
Dave Stubbs opened up Habs Inside/Out to Randy Renaud.
A wonderful, unsolicited piece reached us from Randy Renaud, a name, face and voice familiar to many in Montreal.
Randy wrote it for himself and sent it to me simply for a look-see, but I’ve asked him if we could run it here to share with Inside/Out readers….
The failed relationships that sting the most are the ones where you honestly felt it was going places, that it was going to be a beautiful romance filled with great moments, perhaps leading up to that very special celebration.
So when it becomes clear that your expectations were misguided, and that there is, in fact, no future, one generally feels betrayed and angry. For how could the once-beloved have led one on in this way?
The truth is, however, that the fault lies, at least partly, with oneself for seeing promise where there was little, and fashioning a storybook romance of success out of a trial fling.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
This is what the bottom of the barrel looks like.
The Canadiens lost Monday night, and they lost horrendously, surrendering two shorthanded goals while rolling over 6-2 against the Calgary Flames to begin a six-game road trip.
This is a team, head coach Guy Carbonneau almost need-lessly said, that needs to rediscover its passion. And more.
“A fear of losing is okay. It makes you play better. But a fear of playing is (not), and that’s where we are right now,” Carbonneau said, ashen-faced. “We’re afraid to play. Afraid to make mistakes, afraid to let down the other guy.”
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.”
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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