Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the CP via TSN,
If the National Hockey League had an award for comeback player of the year, a prime candidate could be Alex Kovalev of the Montreal Canadiens.
Last season, the skilled but unpredictable right winger scored only 18 goals and looked to be on his way out of Montreal and perhaps even the NHL.
But Kovalev has rebounded to become the Canadiens scoring leader, as well as acting as mentor to young Belarus forwards Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn.
“You can’t be perfect all your career - there’s going to be ups and downs,” the 34-year-old Kovalev said Thursday after the pre-game skate. “Last year was one of those years where you can’t find your game and nothing’s going your way.
from the Globe and Mail,
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN—Pity poor Major Eric Cottenoir of the Vandoos.
A brand new hockey sweater arrived in the mail for him yesterday. But when he put it on at the hockey rink, all his friends laughed at him.
Instead of sending him the red, white and blue of the Montreal Canadiens, a big Canadian clothing chain had instead mailed the blue and white sweater of the hated Toronto Maple Leafs.
All the other players favoured les Canadiens. Nobody wanted to wear the Toronto sweater. Major Cottenoir was booed by his fellow hockey players the moment he put it on.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
While the two other major North American winter sports continue to make Christmas games a staple of the season, the NHL decided to just say Noel nearly four decades ago.
The Wings, who downed the Los Angeles Kings 6-2 Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena, play tonight against the Blues and Saturday at Minnesota, then are done until after Christmas.
“I think that’s the way it should be,” Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall said. “It’s a great tradition. It’s a time for everyone to spend with family and friends.
“I think that’s really important. I really appreciate the few days that we get.”
added 8:08am, from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
You see the Canadiens will be in the midst of a road-trip when Christmas Day comes. They play Sunday night in Dallas and then Tampa on the 27th.
The organization planned to fly all the players’ families to Florida where they would meet the team after the Dallas game, and have three days to spend together over Christmas. A classy move.
One problem. It’s illegal.
Under the new CBA, teams can’t provide “anything of value” to players or their families outside of the player contracts. If the rule is broken, the money spent would count towards the salary cap.
via On Frozen Pond,
Rumors have it that Montreal is shopping Michael Ryder, and I would think the Panthers have an interest with Ville Peltonen out a substantial—six/eight weeks—bit of time with his broken foot. Ryder has scored 30 goals the past two seasons, but is struggling so much this season he’s been a healthy scratch. Ryder has three goals and seven assists this season.
He hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 16 at Buffalo and hasn’t so much as recorded a point since getting two helpers against Boston on Nov. 17. Change of scenery—and some sunshine—might be what Ryder needs.
from the Montreal Gazette,
“Carey has his confidence going and I think it would be difficult to go back to Cristobal at this time,” Carbonneau said.
The decision didn’t go over well with Huet, which Carbonneau said was exactly the reaction he expected - and wanted - from the veteran.
“He’s a competitor. He wants to play. I understand that. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t,” Carbonneau said.
Price is becoming the focal point of the Canadiens’ youth movement. When the Habs beat the Leafs, they dressed 10 players who are 25 or younger and there could have been 11 if Guillaume Latendresse had been 100-per-cent healthy.
Not only could the Montreal Canadiens play on the ice, they also could act… well, the acting could be questioned.
Watch the videos…
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
They’re back, so once again you can expect to hear about the Canadiens-Maple Leafs “rivalry.” The Rocket and everyone wearing a Leafs sweater. Eddie Shack and any Canadien who was within a stick-length of him. Dickie Moore and Frank Mahovlich.
“Hey, remember the time Dickie led a charge off the Canadiens bench after the Big M intentiallly shot the puck into Henri Richard’s face?” That was then and this is now - so what rivalry? The rivalry as we knew it was at its height in the six-team league and continued after the NHL’s first expansion and into the 1970s. Since then, it has gone the way of the grus Americana.
Did you get your Christmas card from the Canadiens yet?
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
And as much fun as it may be to speculate about trades that would bring Vincent Lecavalier to Montreal, the simple truth is that Lecavalier doesn’t want to play here. Pity, because he is a fair modern imitation of Jean Béliveau. The goal he scored on a knuckler last night was his 20th of the season to go with 26 assists.
Forget that fellow Sidney What’s-his-name: If we’re choosing sides for a little shinny, Vinny is our first pick. Any game that includes Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis should have more sizzle than last night’s rather humdrum affair.
more on the Canadiens…
from the AP via TSN,
Centre Bryan Smolinski will be out for six weeks with a sprained right knee suffered Dec. 6 against Boston, the Montreal Canadiens announced Tuesday.
Winger Steve Begin, who suffered a separated left shoulder in the same game, will miss two to three weeks.
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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