Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
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.
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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