Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
You deal with the cards you’re dealt, and right now the Canadiens have all the right cards in their mitts. They know who they’re playing, and they’re playing well and winning consistently. Everything looks good for the playoffs when it’s considered they’re still winning without Saku Koivu and Mike Komisarek.
Okay, so you don’t have to remind me anything can happen in the playoffs, but somehow, I can’t imagine the Canadiens having too much of a problem with the Bruins. If I had a choice for my first-round opponent, it would be the Ottawa Senators, even though they won five of their eight games against the Canadiens this season.
It’s not only because the Bruins and Flyers made it to the Second Season through the front door and the Senators through the back. It’s because there has to be something terribly wrong with this Ottawa team off the ice as well as they were on it coming out of the starting blocks.
From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
Saku Koivu is optimistic his fractured left foot will heal enough to let him start the playoffs but the Montreal Canadiens captain said Saturday nothing is certain.
“What’s going to happen in the future, for the first game, we’ll see next week,” Koivu said. “Every day it feels better, but there’s not much we can tell.
“We’ll know a lot more in the next couple of days.”
continued… with more on other injured Habs
Montreal will host the NHL’s awards show and entry draft in June 2009 as part of the Canadiens’ 100th anniversary festivities, a source has told CBCSports.ca.
The league is expected to announce the events at a media conference Saturday afternoon.
Montreal’s Bell Centre has already been named the site of the 2009 NHL all-star game, which will take place in January in the middle of the Canadiens’ centennial season.
The annual NHL awards show gala has traditionally been held in Toronto.
The Montreal Canadiens have thrown their names in the hat for an outdoor game next season, according to French language newspaper La Presse.
The daily reports that the organization - which celebrates its centennial next season - is working to stage a game at McGill’s Molson-Percival Stadium on Jan. 22 against the New York Rangers, just three days before the All-Star Game at the Bell Centre.
from the National Post,
But there is one big difference between this year’s team and those of previous glory years: the success has come without a single French-Canadian star. This year the team counts just six Quebecers on its 24-man roster, and the leading scorer among them, Guillaume Latendresse, has managed only 27 points. Once nicknamed the Flying Frenchmen and revered in the province as emblematic of Quebecers’ talent, the team’s DNA is now practically indistinguishable from any other in the National Hockey League.
“Teams are becoming less representative of their community and more brand names,” observed University of Ottawa sociologist Jean Harvey, director of the Research Centre for Sport in Canadian Society.
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
I’ve gone on record a few times on Hockeycentral saying I don’t think the Canadiens have enough experience to go deep into the playoffs. And yet, I’ve got this unshakable feeling about this team ... like something special is going on here.
First of all, the Eastern Conference is wide open. There is no San Jose or Anaheim or Detroit in the East. Just a bunch of good teams. There isn’t a team in the East where if Montreal beat them in the playoffs you would call it an actual upset.
Then you’ve got this rookie goaltender Carey Price, who seems to fight off a yawn at the most critical moment of a game. He’s that calm.
NEW YORK (April 2, 2008) – Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who backstopped the team to its first division title since 1992, posting a 7-3-0 record, 2.67 goals against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for March.
Price edged Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner (6-9—15 in 15 games), Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (5-9—14 in 14 games), Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (4-10—14 in 15 games) and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Eric Ersberg (5-4-2, 2.31 goals-against average, .932 save percentage, two shutouts) for the award.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens and the Penguins are tied atop the Eastern Conference with 100 points each and Montreal has only one chance of moving up to the top spot and that’s by finishing with more points in the standings.
With each team having two games to play, the Penguins hold the tiebreaker, because they have one more victory.
But Christopher Higgins said he’s excited about the possibility of winning the conference because “you don’t get too many chances to do that in your career. I think the last time I finished first was in my junior years in high school.”
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
The business of covering the Canadiens is an industry unto itself, complicated by a time when old news is what was reported the click of a mouse ago.
This is not the same communications world as when Carbonneau played. He understands that. And it was clear yesterday that he wasn’t so much trying to control the news as he was attempting to consolidate it, a noble but impossible task in a highly competitive, insatiable media landscape.
There are confidences and trusts built between players and reporters during a long season; phone numbers are exchanged, cordial, even friendly relationships are developed. That won’t change, though the tone of conversation is bound to change, Carbonneau surely having discussed it with his team.
The Montreal Canadiens are going into the playoffs with plenty of question marks as captain Saku Koivu is out for the regular season with a fractured bone in his left foot.
Koivu was seen was using crutches and a foot brace as he left the Bell Centre on Monday. The 12-year NHL veteran told reporters that more tests would be done later this week and he would discuss more details of his injury at that time….
The team got some better news on Monday as they learned that defenceman Mark Streit showed improvement over the weekend and should play on Tuesday in Ottawa.
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