Kukla's Korner Hockey
RDS is reporting that former Montreal player and general manager Serge Savard is spearheading a local group of investors that are interested in purchasing the Canadiens franchise, should current owner George Gillett be interested in selling it.
The group, Thibeault-Messier-Savard, has reportedly raised the funds to finance such a purchase.
At this time, Gillett has yet to indicate if the Canadiens are indeed for sale.
The defence corps for the Montreal Canadiens took a major hit Monday, as TSN learned that the Habs will be without leading scorer Andrei Markov for three weeks and Mathieu Schneider’s season is over.
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
The Montreal Canadiens will be without defencemen Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider for Monday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
It’s possible both players could also miss Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers in New York.
Neither veteran skated with the team Monday morning. A decision is to be made after Monday night’s game whether they will accompany the club to New York.
added 12:22pm, from ESPN,
Scott Burnside: Good morning, my friend. Well, seven days left in the regular season, and it’s hard to know which way to look for playoff race story lines. They’re like the pollen in Atlanta—everywhere.
How about Montreal? Six weeks ago, we wondered how many Habs were headed for jail, let alone whether they might make the playoffs, but everything seems calm now in Hab-land. The Canadiens have won three in a row and, if they beat Ottawa on Monday night, will leap over Pittsburgh into the sixth seed. Montreal looks like a team that could actually do some damage in the playoffs, or do you still have reservations about Les Habitants?
Pierre LeBrun: Scotty, two Saturdays ago on March 21, when the Canadiens were embarrassed at home by the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs, I was among the many who wrote them off. I just didn’t see the desire in that lineup to want to make a difference. Like many people in and around hockey, I was dead wrong.
more on the Eastern Conference playoff race…
Mikhail Grabovski of the Leafs hits Andrei Markov of the Canadiens early in the thrid period.. Grabovski received two for boarding and a misconduct. Markov did not return.
Chris reflects on his career, mentions some of the great players he has played with and will remember the respect other players have given him.
from Bill Clement of NBC Sports,
The Wild missing out on the postseason would likely lead Lemaire to strongly consider moving on. He’s the only coach in Minnesota franchise history, but it may be time for a change.
If he does leave the Wild, what’s next for him? Well, it may be a return to Montreal, where he starred as a player, and also coached the Canadiens for two seasons in the mid 1980s. He followed that by moving to the Montreal front office for seven seasons, during which the Canadiens won two Stanley Cups (1986 and 1993).
NHL Network profiles one of the NHL’s signature voices, Montreal Canadiens play-by-play man Pierre Houde Thursday at 7:30pm ET.
from Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette,
“He’s beginning to look more like the player we’ve seen for the first 50 games and not the last 20,” general manager and head coach Bob Gainey said. “I see his body language in goal now and he doesn’t resemble someone who’s always guilty.
“Now he’s part of our team who must play well for us, but not more than the others. Everyone has the same responsibility as the goalie. He’s still 21 and is experiencing things he hasn’t experienced before.”
Price has worked hard with goaltending coach Roland Melanson over the last few weeks. They’ve worked on Price’s leg work and improving the way he tracks the puck, the mandate of playing the position.
“I was starting to lean and guess instead of reacting,” Price explained. “It’s a gift being able to pick up the puck and reading the angle off the stick.”
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
Think of a shark in a Santa Claus outfit and you are probably closer to the real Mr. Gillett - because this is a team imploding from the top down, a team whose troubles are tied directly to an overextended owner and his reeling business empire.
There is nothing that can destabilize a team quite like like carrying nearly a dozen free agents, at least some of whom will definitely be playing elsewhere next year. Nothing tells your players you have given up like the failure to come up with significant help for the playoff run.
And nothing undercuts your team like having the news that the club is on the block break just as you are hanging onto a playoff spot by your fingernails.
Remember what Carbonneau said at his post-firing press conference? “It will all become clear with time.”
from ESPN Soccernet,
Gillett’s best-case scenario would include both the lucrative sale of the Canadiens and a debt restructuring agreement with Liverpool’s creditors. Failing that, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he combined portions of his interest in both clubs and packaged them off to investors. He has been mulling the idea for some time, telling reporters in December that such a strategy “might enable fans or interested parties in investing in one or more of our sports properties.”
Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie could very well be one of the “parties” Gillett referred to. The co-CEO of Research in Motion revealed Gillett’s intention to sell the Canadiens in November 2008, telling Montreal daily La Presse that the 24-time Stanley Cup champions were on the block. Gillett vehemently denied the speculation, although Balsillie’s remarks were validated less than four months later.
If Gillett opts to hang on to the Canadiens and offers combined Liverpool-Montreal investment packages - what he calls “investment strips” - to new investors, he will no doubt damage his already battered reputation in the eyes of many Liverpool supporters who opposed the American takeover of the club in the first place.
more and thanks to a KK member for the pointer…
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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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