Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau thinks Christopher Higgins suffers from an identity crisis.
“Chris has to understand what kind of player he is,” Carbonneau said after the Canadiens practised yesterday at the Bell Centre. “He’s an up-and-down skater who has to go straight to the net. We want him to be the player we drafted. He has 21 goals and, if you look at them, 15 or 16 of them were scored from five feet away from the net.”
Higgins, who is his worst critic, has struggled at times this season and Carbonneau feels it’s because the left-winger is trying to do too much.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Focus. Focus. Focus!
Focus on defence, focus on position, focus on your opponent. Whatever it is — and we are not suggesting for a moment Ritalin is involved — it’s working. After months of fishtailing all over the track, Murray’s Ottawa Senators have their groove back.
To watch the 3-0 pummelling of the Montreal Canadiens last night was to puzzle as to how the one team, Montreal, could enter the 72nd game of the NHL season in first place in the Northeast Division and Ottawa, a once-first-place team that had recently gone into freefall, could appear to be battling to save its season.
But then panic, as Murray pointed out after the game, “seems to be a tendency” where the Senators and their fans are concerned.
from the CP via NHL.com,
It wasn’t so long ago that battling for first place was routine for the Montreal Canadiens.
But sitting near the top of the NHL’s Eastern Conference, as they are heading into the home stretch of the regular season, is an unfamiliar view for the current edition of the 24-time Stanley Cup championship club, which has had to fight tooth and nail just to try to secure a playoff spot every season since its last Cup victory in ‘93.
“Yeah, it’s different, but we’re still battling upwards,” winger Christopher Higgins said Tuesday as the Canadiens prepared to face the New Jersey Devils. “We’re in a race for first with three other teams and we still have that goal in mind if getting first place.
From Pat Hickey at The Gazette,
“It’s not a glamorous thing,” Komisarek said of his style. “It’s blocking shots, hitting guys, but it’s something I enjoy doing. Like I said, it’s not glamorous, but it’s effective and it’s something my team needs me to do.
“It’s using this body for trying to get in the way, breaking up plays, blocking shots. Making guys on the other team pay the price and taking away the will (from opponents) to play and compete.”
There’s a price for all this. While Komisarek has proved durable and hasn’t missed a game this season, he has collected more than his share of bumps, bruises and stitches. But “they sure hurt less when you win,” he said.
more… on Komisarek’s season and his family background
from Habs Inside/Out,
RDS is reporting on its website that Mikhail Grabovski, upset at being a healthy scratch againet the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night, intentionally missed the team flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The team arranged for the players to invite one person to enjoy a few days in the desert. While many players invited their wives or girlfriends, Christopher Higgins, Mike Komisarek, Bryan Smolinski, Maxim Lapierre and Ryan O’Byrne invited their fathers.
“It’s a great idea,” said Bob Higgins, a New York City fire captain and longtime fan of the Canadiens.
“Other teams do it, but I noticed a little while ago that the New York Rangers had something like this and they went to Buffalo. Phoenix is definitely a better choice.”
from Dennis Kane at the Powell River Peak,
Doug Harvey Jr. is 57 years old now, is proud of his dad, and was happy to talk about him. What was it like, I asked, being the son of such a star? “It was probably just like you and your dad,” he said, “We were just a family like everyone else. Kids at school didn’t treat me any different, and when I played hockey, there were no names on the sweaters, so no one gave me a hard time at the rink.
“I guess one thing that might be different was that players would come over to the house quite often—Dickie Moore, Jean Beliveau, Jacques Plante, the Rocket a few times. When dad was building our house, most of the team helped him.”
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The move Gainey made on trade deadline day to trade Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals indicates that while he can’t predict Price or backup Jaroslav Halak will have any playoff success, he believes unequivocally Huet will falter in the post-season.
Gainey may very well be wrong and the move might turn out to be a disastrous one, but you have to admire the conviction and kahunas he showed in making the trade in the first place.
from Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette,
The salary that follows Huet to the city of Watergate is $2.9 million this season (and UFA status in July). What remains is Price at $850,000 for three seasons and, pending RFA, Halak at $500,000. The Canadiens are getting two goaltenders for less than the price of one….
This is Bob Gainey’s beau risque. He is gambling that his young, very affordable goalies can hold the fort, freeing up money to re-sign RFAs such as Andrei Kostitsyn and allowing the Canadiens to go shopping for a UFA or two this summer. It’s all about the Benjamins -
from Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com,
The general manager of the Montreal Canadiens didn’t make the biggest splash at the NHL trade deadline. But he might have shown the most nerve.
Bob Gainey dumped his only veteran goaltender, dealing Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals.
Gainey is staking the franchise on a 20-year-old goalie with 12 NHL wins.
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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