Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ian Winwood of the Guardian,
Although few people at the time noticed it, the first real chink in the previously unpierceable armour of the Montreal Canadiens occurred not on a hockey rink but on a baseball diamond. Just days after the National Hockey League began its 1999-2000 season, the New York Yankees won the World Series. In doing so, the Bronx Bombers claimed their 25th championship and succeeded the Canadiens as the most successful franchise in the history of North American sports.
Time ticks on, and in Montreal this year it does so according to a clock that may as well be attached to a bomb. The most storied and historic club in hockey – in fact, one of the most storied and historic clubs of any sport anywhere in the world – have just four months to avoid the tolling of yet another ominous bell. Failure to win this season’s championship will make this the only decade since the advent of the modern NHL that the Canadiens have failed to win the Stanley Cup.
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
If Bob Gainey really wanted to trade Alex Kovalev right now, the Russian winger wouldn’t be “resting.” He’d be packing.
Sunday’s loss in Vancouver wasn’t necessarily No. 27’s final game in a Canadiens uniform. Unless he shows up on the upcoming off-day Friday dragging the Stanley Cup behind his car – a la George Costanza with the World Series Trophy in Seinfeld – Kovalev will play for this team again.
This is part of Gainey’s three-pronged attack to warn the roster that no one is secure, that spoiled behaviour and indifferent play will no longer be tolerated. Add Kovalev’s banishment to Sergei Kostitsyn’s demotion and the trade for Mathieu Schneider and what has Gainey done? He’s rattled everyone without permanently getting rid of anyone. And that’s critical to the point here.
from the CP via TSN,
Struggling veteran Alex Kovalev has been given some time off by the Montreal Canadiens.
General Manager Bob Gainey said Tuesday he met with Kovalev to tell him he won’t be on the team’s trip this week for games Wednesday night in Washington and Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
His status for a home game Saturday against Ottawa remains uncertain.
Gainey said Kovalev is not suspended and will still be paid. He said the right-winger appears to be tired and has not been playing well of late.
added 4:27pm, via Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Gainey said he hasn’t spoken to any other teams about trading Kovalev, but when asked if he would be willing to move the vastly talented 36-year-old, he said “this is the trading season.”
MONTREAL – The Canadiens announced Tuesday that forward Gregory Stewart has been recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. The team also announced that forward Sergei Kostitsyn has been assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Stewart will join the club in Washington.
This season with the Canadiens, Sergei Kostitsyn, 21, scored 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) and served 64 penalty minutes in 52 contests.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Don Waddell’s phone rang Sunday afternoon in Anaheim. It was Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey, asking his Atlanta counterpart if he could meet with Habs executive Pierre Gauthier later that evening at the Thrashers-Ducks game.
The Canadiens were stepping up their efforts to acquire a defenseman and they wanted to further pursue Mathieu Schneider, a veteran slated for unrestricted free agency July 1.
Waddell didn’t waste his opportunity. For starters, there was always the chance the Canadiens, under tremendous pressure to act with the team in freefall, could opt for a different player if they couldn’t come to terms with Atlanta. The clock was ticking and Waddell feared the Canadiens had another deal in the works for another defenseman.
The Atlanta Thrashers have traded defenceman Mathieu Schneider to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for second and third round picks.
Schneider previously played for the Canadiens from the 1989-90 season to the 1994-95 campaign.
added 3:15pm, from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
For the Thrashers, the deal clears salary and helps the team stockpile draft picks. Considering that just a few months ago, Atlanta traded spare parts Ken Klee and Brad Larsen to Anaheim for Schneider, getting multiple draft picks is a good return. It’s GM Don Waddell’s belief that there will be teams looking to clear salary this summer and by getting additional draft picks now, he puts the Thrashers in position to acquire some of that talent. One of just a few sellers at this point in the season, the Thrashers could still be active after this deal. Waddell is getting calls about Niclas Havelid and there would be a strong market for Colby Armstrong if the Thrashers decide to move him…
added 3:30pm, via the Montreal Canadiens,
“We were looking for a defenseman who could contribute offensively. Mathieu, an experienced player with a lot of offensive upside, will bring depth to our core group of defensemen and will be an asset on our powerplay,” said Bob Gainey.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
“When you win, no one cares if you’re running down Crescent in a thong.”
By now you have seen the photographs. They are making the Internet rounds, which means they have circled the globe a few million times by now.
These photos are part of our sneaky, peekaboo, gotcha culture. Of that whole silly world of YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and the cellphone camera. They feature several young Habs players in what you would have to call an unflattering light. Even Ivy Leaguer Christopher Higgins makes an appearance or two.
The player who crops up most often, however, is Carey Price. There are various photos of Price with a drink in his hand, in the company of various attractive young women. There is Price apparently chugging a beer. There he is smoking a cigarette.
Look, this is what healthy young men do. (Well, except for the smoking.) They drink, they carouse, they chase women. Unless they’re professional athletes, in which case they get chased by the kind of young women who have calculators where their eyes should be.
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Fire the coach. Send the kid goalie to the minors. Trade the Russians. The panic button has truly been punched among fans of the Montreal Canadiens.
Like the song says, love hurts, and the anguish of heartbreak is palpable among the spurned legions of Habsland.
Their beloved NHL team is suddenly catastrophically bad and seems to have forgotten how to play, losing nine of 11 games going into last night’s match against the Colorado Avalanche - which the Habs won 4-2.
“Don’t they understand what this is doing to us? I’m embarrassed to leave the house,” wailed a caller named Stephane, one of hundreds of disconcerted fans to phone the city’s pre-eminent hockey open-line show in recent days on CKAC, the Habs’ French-language radio broadcaster.
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Hockey at CBC,
It was the NHL lockout, and the co-owner of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans needed somewhere to practice. So, he went back to Washington, and met the team’s goalie. His name was Carey Price.
“I remember thinking, ‘When I was 18, I was nowhere near as polished as this guy,’” Olaf Kolzig said Friday. “I knew right there how good he was going to be. Goalies don’t mature until their mid-20s. To see where he was then ... you could see how special he was going to be at 25.”
We’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Cristobal Huet’s trade from Montreal, the day Bob Gainey made Price his number one man. Ron Tugnutt remembers watching as Price led the Canadiens to a stunning regular-season Eastern Conference crown.
“I said, ‘This is the guy who will lead Team Canada for years.’ His footwork is incredible.”
TORONTO (February 12, 2009) – Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an incident involving Edmonton Oilers defenseman Denis Grebeshkov during NHL Game #809 last night, the National Hockey League announced.
At 4:29 of the second period, Plekanec took down Grebeshkov from behind, resulting in an injury to the Edmonton player. He was assessed a minor penalty for tripping on the play.
added 6:35pm, watch the video of the incident below…
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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