Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sun Media,
Hall of Fame centre Marcel Dionne, who also chose to leave his home province as a teenager to play major junior for the then St. Catharines Black Hawks in Ontario, said that the demands on a francophone player in Montreal are far more onerous than those placed on other players.
“I am from Quebec and I’m very proud to be a French-Canadian,” he said. “But it is very, very difficult for a French-Canadian to play the game at the NHL level in Montreal. I really feel the fans and the media in Quebec are harder on French-Canadian players.”
from the Globe and Mail,
“I know a lot of people have us down and out and not making the playoffs, but it comes from within, from chemistry, and hopefully the young guys will find that early and ride it the rest of the year,” Higgins said Thursday as the Canadiens reported for training camp at the Bell Centre.
“Youthful energy is going to be a big part of the team.”
Higgins even found a theme for the Canadiens season — hunger.
“The main word for this year is hunger,” he said. “Guys have to want it.
from the Windsor Star,
In an era of increased specialization, hockey teams employ strength coaches, special teams coaches, goaltending coaches, psychologists and video coaches.
And the Montreal Canadiens have taken the trend one step further by exposing their players to a stickhandling coach.
“You look at the great players and they were all great stickhandlers,” said Sean Skinner, who goes on to recite a litany of greats starting with Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe and continuing through Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux to contemporary stars like Joe Sakic, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
It has long been suggested the Canadiens are a year-round obsession in Montreal, and, in fact, wherever the team’s fans crop up worldwide to deify or diss their favourite team.
Montreal, as the saying goes, is nine months of winter and three months of poor skating.
Habsinsideout.com, The Gazette’s year-old Canadiens-devoted website, has proven both to be true through an offseason that allegedly began June 6, the morning after the Anaheim Ducks polished off the Ottawa Senators to win the Stanley Cup.
from the Montreal Gazette,
Canadiens president Pierre Boivin angrily denied there was any truth to a La Presse story that suggested free- agent Daniel Brière turned down an offer from the Canadiens because general manager Bob Gainey would not guarantee that he would play on a line with Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder.
“I was privy to the negotiations and I can tell you that this was never discussed,” said Boivin, who said the story was filled with “lies.”
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
The Canadiens’ summer moves, and there have been several of them, seem like a wash to me. Still, I think they’ll be a little better than the 90-point, non-playoff team they were last season because of their group of goaltenders….
The Canadiens added veteran center Bryan Smolinski and 28-year-old role player Tom Kostopoulos. The team also signed 6-foot-2, 196-pound Janne Lahti, 24, from the Finnish League. Those three players will have a chance to replace ex-Habs Radek Bonk, Mike Johnson and Alexander Perezhogin.
Gainey and Co. wanted to make a bigger splash during the summer. It didn’t happen. Still, I think their goaltending depth gives them a chance to exceed expectations in the new season.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
...That’s what Koivu was saying, but something may have been lost in the translation en route to the La Presse presses, because what appeared in the newspaper was: “We’ll make the playoffs this season, but don’t expect us to win the Stanley Cup.”
“I guess there’s a difference,” Koivu told me. “English isn’t my first language, but I don’t see it as a big difference. What I meant was you make the playoffs and from there, everything is open. If you ask any experts, nobody is picking us to even make the playoffs!”
“Which experts?” he was asked.
“Experts,” he said with a grin, adding: “I don’t know what word I used. Maybe the reporter misunderstood. He
didn’t ask me: ‘Is this what you mean?’
from the Montreal Gazette,
Now that Gainey and Robinson have joined the list, the question is: Who will be honoured next season as the Canadiens approach their 100th-anniversary celebrations.
Guy Lapointe, the third member of the Canadiens’ Big Three on defence beside Robinson and Serge Savard, is a possibility and there will be a heated debate over whether Patrick Roy is worthy of the honour. Roy retired as the all-time NHL leader in wins and won two Stanley Cups with Montreal, but his stormy departure in 1995 is part of his permanent record.
The one person who has been overlooked and I’m hoping it’s because the club is saving him for its centenary, is the late Hector (Toe) Blake. To the current generation of Canadiens fans, Blake is a distant memory, the coach who guided the Canadiens to eight of their record 24 Stanley Cup wins.
But many people forget that Blake was a Hall of Fame player.
from Habs Inside/Out,
The Canadiens will honour two more of their greats this season as they continue preparations for the club’s centennial celebration in 2009.
In the coming months, the organization will retire the No. 19 of Larry Robinson and the No. 23 of general manager Bob Gainey.
The Montreal Canadiens are the latest Canadian NHL team to release their new look jersey for the 2007-08 season, going with almost an identical look from their previous sweaters.
The usual current team colours of red, blue and white are there, as well as the classic horizontal stripes for their red home jerseys.
continued with a pic…
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