The Canadiens will make no lineup changes for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers, which puts goalie Cristobal Huet on the backup stool at the end of the bench and defenceman Patrice Brisebois and forwards Tom Kostopoulos and Bryan Smolinski in the press box.
Roughly 25 minutes of audio to share following this morning’s game-day skate, in which everyone but Alex Kovalev took part. Kovalev took a therapy morning, but will be in the lineup tonight.
Defenceman Josh Gorges, on not fighting Philadelphia hulk Jim Vandermeer on Sunday as he listened to the shouted advice of goalie Carey Price to not take a penalty with Habs’ Francis Bouillon rushing up ice, about to score a goal. With more on the Canadiens’ difficulties with the Rangers. Clip runs 2:43.
Bryan Smolinski on being a healthy scratch Sunday and tonight. He might not be overjoyed by the situation, but being a veteran, he understands it "with a lot of guys playing very well." Clip runs 0:29.
Alex Kovalev, the Canadiens’ leading scorer, on the idea that he’s a marked man tonight in retaliation for his hard check of Ryan Hollweg the last time the Canadiens met the Rangers. With more, including comment on the intensity of the Habs dressing room heading into the third-quarter of the season; the physical pounding he took down in Florida, including a busted lip and sprained ankle ("Go back to the old rules with hooking and grabbing, this is just chocolate with nuts," he says happily); the type of player he thinks linemate Andrei Kostitsyn can become; and how this is the fun time of the season, with the playoffs on the horizon. (Kovalev has a videotape in his hand, which explains the first few seconds of the audio.) Clip runs 8:23.
Tomas Plekanec on the challenge of the Rangers, their superstar Jaromir Jagr, on how Kovalev "will take care of himself," and the feeling of first place – "We’re not there yet," he says. Clip runs 3:17.
Plekanec again on "living a dream" with the Canadiens, and how the mission won’t be complete without a Stanley Cup. Clip runs 0:15.
Head coach Guy Carbonneau with his wide-ranging pre-game comments in English. He discusses rotating his players to keep them fresh; Michael Ryder and Steve Bégin being "really good" on Sunday; the Rangers’ physical style ("we’ll respond to that," he says); keeping his Sunday lineup intact; the intensity in the dressing room at Game 60; how he’d feel going to the playoffs with his current roster should the Canadiens not move before next Tuesday’s trading deadline; and the performance of goalie Carey Price since the 20-year-old was recalled from Hamilton. Clip runs 6:37.
Carbonneau with his pre-game comments in French. Clip runs 4:18.