Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
So nobody, it’s fair to say, feels bad just yet for the Canadiens. If another 30 years go by, well, then we’ll see about sympathy.
But here’s what’s interesting.
This season has been such a trying experience for the Canadiens, with such a wide variety of on-ice and off-ice problems, that, lo and behold, this franchise just doesn’t feel that special any more.
Combined with the long wait since the last Cup, it seems ordinary, really.
More just like any number of other teams in the rapidly changing culture of a league in which teams like Carolina, Tampa Bay, Dallas and Colorado—teams that weren’t even in existence when Patrick Roy led the Habs to the ‘86 Cup—have made it to the mountaintop.
from the Montreal Gazette,
Goaltender Michael Leighton was given a warm welcome by his new Canadiens teammates when he joined them in Buffalo on March 2, three days after being plucked off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
“And then the guys told me I should put Velcro on the front of my practice jersey,” Leighton recalled, grinning. “That way, I could tear off the crest and add a different one every other week.”
Montreal is Leighton’s sixth team this season - from the Anaheim Ducks to their American Hockey League minor-pro Portland Pirates, to the Nashville Predators, to Philadelphia (the Flyers and their AHL Phantoms) and finally to the Canadiens, where he’ll finish the season.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Why didn’t Bob Gainey go out and get a goaltender at the trade deadline?
Of course, there would be lots of other grist for the mill as well, Alexei Kovalev’s unfortunate Russian interview and Sergei Samsonov’s exile and the Craig Rivet trade, a move that may have unsettled the team’s delicate chemistry.
But in the National Hockey League, it has always been true that great netminding can turn mediocre teams into something more than the sum of their parts (see the New York Islanders minus Rick DiPietro). That was certainly the case at the Bell Centre on Saturday.
from Habs Inside/Out,
After an optional practice on Wednesday morning where Alex Kovalev was only able to stay on the ice and skate by himself in full gear for about twenty minutes, Kovalev met with reporters afterwards to tell them he’s suffering from vertigo and hopes it’ll go away in the next few days.
Otherwise, the Russian winger said, his career could hang in the balance.
added 3:46pm, via the Montreal Canadiens,
“I’m feeling a little better but still a little shaky,” said Kovalev, who has been dealing with a bout of vertigo since Monday morning. “I definitely wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone. I’ve heard some guys say that some players were forced to retire because of it. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to me.
“I woke up Monday at 4 a.m. and it was like I was standing on my head,” explained Kovalev. “I felt perfectly fine on Sunday.”
from the CP,
Samsonov was listed as a healthy scratch for a second straight game for the Canadiens’ outing against the New York Islanders on Tuesday - despite the absence of winger Alex Kovalev, sidelined by a bout of vertigo.
Carbonneau decided to replace Kovalev with rookie Andrei Kostitsyn and leave the underperforming Samsonov - the team’s third-highest paid player at US$3.525 million - in the press box for the seventh time this season.
The decision is largely based on comments Samsonov made in St. Louis on Saturday, expressing regret for signing a two-year free agent deal with the Canadiens last summer, although the Russian winger backed away from that sentiment Tuesday.
“I don’t want to be a distraction,” Samsonov said after the team’s morning skate. “You guys ask me questions and I’m trying to answer as truthfully as I can. That probably wasn’t the right time. I shouldn’t be the subject of talk, we’re fighting for a playoff spot.”
from the Montreal Gazette,
Last season, on the few occasions in which he was a healthy scratch, Ribeiro could be found in the Bell Centre press box, entertaining himself.
“I was probably not interested in the gym and working out as much as they would have liked,” Ribeiro said.
“But the bottom line is that when I played, I tried my hardest and tried to help the team win.
“I think I was treated unfairly in Montreal. They just wanted to get rid of me, and they did it. They probably had their reasons.”
from the CP via TSN,
Alex Kovalev says it was all made up.
The Montreal Canadiens right-winger insists he didn’t criticize coach Guy Carbonneau or his teammates in an interview with a Moscow radio station two weeks ago. An alleged transcript of the interview, in which he says Carbonneau doesn’t like Russian players, appeared later in the Russian weekly magazine Football-Hockey.
And on Monday, it was translated into French in Montreal La Presse, which devoted nearly its entire sports section to the controversial statements that Kovalev denies ever making. It’s main headline was: Good Information Despite Kovalev’s Denial.
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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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