News for Thursday, December 13th

With a big game looming for the Habs (when big games happen in December, you know a team is in trouble!) against the intimidating Philadephia Flyers, there is no shortage of interesting news.

Spector provides links to discussions on how those Habs-Sharks trade rumours got started.

Hamilton Scores! notes the call-up of Sergei Kostitsyn to the parent club. Kostitsyn was a big scorer in junior (playing with Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner), and older brother Andrei K is already a fixture on the Habs second line. The move has fans excited, but by now they should know better than to expect new arrivals to make a big difference in the club's fortunes: most of the Habs prospects are of the solid but unspectacular variety, good players, but not gamebreakers. Carey Price, the most-hyped call-up in recent memory, hasn't exactly disappointed, but it's safe to say that the (completely unfair) Patrick Roy comparisons have been shelved for the time being. For Kostitsyn, a reasonable expectation would be that he gets on the ice and doesn't look out of place: Carbo isn't going to give him enough ice-time or the right linemates to do much else. The article also notes that the Dogs have recalled Cory Urquhart and Jimmy Bonneau from the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones.

Cristobal Huet will be ready for action on the weekend, the Canadian Press reports. His return cannot come soon enough for the Habs, who have struggled horribly in his absence. Huet is not without his critics in the Habs media and fan-base: his creative, reflex-style tending has led to accusations that he is a fluky goalie with a penchant for allowing goals at crucial times. Carey Price, these same critics predicted, would quickly win the starting job in Huet's absence. Two weeks later, they may be reconsidering. In truth, Huet has been the primary cause of any success the Habs have had in the past three years. After playing behind the defensively inept Montreal Canadiens for the past fortnight, Carey Price hasn't won the starting job, and may not even want it anymore!

Canada.com carries the Gazette story on how Ryan O'Byrne is dealing with the first major blunder of his NHL career: the big defenseman lost the puck on a routine clearing play, and as luck would have, it bounced right onto Lightning thug Andre Roy's stick, and thence quickly into the top corner of the Canadiens' net. O'Byrne admits to being upset with himself, while Coach Carbonneau waxes philosophical, offering encouragement to the youngster. The article also briefly mentions a rumour circulating in Montreal press circles that Carbonneau is just about done in Montreal. Don't believe it.

The struggling Hamilton Bulldogs lost in a shoot-out last night to Grand Rapids. The call-up of Sergei Kostitsyn has left the Dogs cupboard just about bare, with only Corey Locke and Matt D'Agostini left to put the puck in the net. The article accentuates the positive, noting that the Dogs at least managed to pick up a point.

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