Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
This is not a slump, folks. Not a bad stretch. It’s a collapse, pure and simple. A team-wide, catastrophic reversal of play over a stretch which encompasses more than a third of the season and which cannot be explained away by the loss of Robert Lang on Feb. 1….
But the really critical problem is with Carey Price. Price is flopping around like a seal that is a couple of flippers short of making the circus. Price was weak on the second and fourth goals against Ottawa Thursday, but his reaction on the second goal the Rangers scored Tuesday was downright frightening.
He threw both hands to his head, covering up like a guy who has just learned that he’s under a falling piano.
Like all sports, hockey is a game of confidence, and Price’s confidence is somewhere down around his ankles.
We didn’t play the way we wanted. This team wants to be in the playoffs, but it’s not going to come from anyone else. We have to work together and get some points. It doesn’t matter if we score ugly goals. It’s getting late and we have to find a way to win.”
-Maxim Lapierre of the Montreal Canadiens after their loss to the Leafs tonight. More from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Bob Gainey insisted that he hasn’t made any final decisions on the Canadiens’ lineup for Saturday night’s game against the Maple Leafs, but it appears defenceman Mike Komisarek and forward Andrei Kostitsyn will be among the healthy scratches.
“Sometimes you send a message,” Gainey said when asked about the status of the two veterans who appeared to be extras at a late-afternoon practice in Brossard. “You see how they practise and how they respond to that. We have all our players available to us and we’ll decide tomorrow.”...
Komisarek had a plus-1 rating Thursday, but saw his ice time reduced as the game went on. He played 16:30 at even-strength while his partner, Andrei Markov, played 21:34 at even-strength and a total of 26:53.
Komisarek, who is known as a physical defenceman, had only one hit and no blocked shots.
“He’s hesitating,” Gainey said. “He has to be the first guy on the puck and he isn’t.”
from Damien Cox at The Spin Blog,
Maybe tomorrow night the Habs will get back on a winning track against a Leaf team that is hustling to stay competitive in the final weeks of this season.
But there will be lots of Leaf fans there, helping once again create what is the most colorful hockey atmosphere in North America these days.
If it all goes bad for the Habs, it could get ugly.
more and other hockey topics…
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
In a few crucial ways, this year’s edition of the Montreal Canadiens remind me of last year’s edition of the New York Rangers.
Not that that’s a good thing.
First and foremost, this year’s Canadiens have 11 players – including forwards Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and defensemen Francis Bouillon and Mike Komisarek – set to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
Similarly, last year’s Rangers had nine players – Sean Avery, Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Marek Malik, Michal Rozsival and Martin Straka chief among them – in the final season of their contracts.
from the CP via TSN,
Former Montreal Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau says he is unhappy he was fired and that he didn’t see the dismissal coming.
Carbonneau, who was let go by general manager Bob Gainey on March 9, told a news conference in Montreal today he thought the team was heading in the right direction.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
All you had to do is watch the Canadiens on Saturday night, losing 3-1 to the Devils to understand why the Blueshirts have a legit chance to make it two in a row.
The Habs forwards appeared to be allergic to shooting and the defense had more giveaways than The Ford Foundation. G.M./coach Bob Gainey’s embattled Czech goalie, Jaroslav Halak, appeared ready to jump on the next jet to Bratislava; except Gainey wouldn’t pay for the ticket.
Not that John Tortorella’s troops have two points in the bag already. (As a matter of fact, they don’t even have the bag. But that’s a Satchel for another Paige!)
Hey, we’re talking about a Canadiens club that’s right up there, standings-wise, with New York and the Guy Carbonneau-less Habs have shown in the past that they occasionally have had the Rangers number.
However, the Blueshirts’ numerology has dramatically changed since the teams last met.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
When the New Jersey Devils beat the Canadiens 3-1 Saturday night, they outshot the Habs 48-23. The opposition has taken 509 shots and averages nearly 10 shots a game more at 36.3.
The Canadiens are fond of saying that the shots aren’t that important. A few days before he as fired, deposed coach Guy Carbonneau said it was important to focus on scoring chances and he noted that these had not increased significantly from previous years.
But shots are a reflection of the time of possession in a game. The team that controls the puck usually gets more shots and it’s difficult to shoot the puck when you don’t have it.
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
...Thus Gainey punched Carbonneau’s ticket, complaining that the team has been emotionally disengaged in how they play the game. That’s sinful for the Habs. It was fatal for their coach.
Gainey must absolutely haul Montreal deep into the post-season or likely follow Carbonneau out the door.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Montreal Canadiens forward Georges Laraque is outraged by recommendations made by general managers participating in the annual NHL GM meetings in Naples, Florida.
“All of their recommendations are a joke!” Laraque charged after reading the NHL’s plans on TSN.ca….
It’s that proposed penalty - a 10-minute misconduct - which really angers Laraque.
“Stupidest thing ever!” Laraque told TSN. “I think it’s a joke. They might as well take fighting out of the NHL…fighting won’t be safer; it will be eliminated because an added 10 minute misconduct is too much.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com