Monster blizzard might strand Canadiens

Today in Washington, with as much as 60 cm to pound the city. This is why it’s called the White House.
Yuri Gripas, Reuters

“Is there bad weather coming?” The Gazette’s Canadiens beat writer and resident meteorologist Pat Hickey repeats the question put to him over the phone then roars in laughter.

There’s no change in the schedule for tonight’s Canadiens-New York Islanders game on Long Island – yet – but stay tuned as a monster storm working its way up the Eastern seaboard is about to pound the area with as much as 45 cm of snow driven by heavy winds. That’s almost 18 inches, on the Imperial scale that some of us learned in school.

The storm is expected to hit around midday ET and it’s going to be a mess. The Canadiens have made contingency plans to stay overnight if they can’t get out to Atlanta immediately after the game, as planned. And that’s a distinct possibility, given that the Habs charter is due to fly out of a small, private airfield in Farmingdale, L.I.

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for Montreal, and defenceman Andrei Markov will return after missing 36 games with lacerated tendons in his left foot. Marc-André Bergeron is to move up onto the fourth line.

About a dozen players skated this morning, including forward Brian Gionta, who wore special foot protection to take part in his first workout with teammates since suffering a broken bone in early November. But he won’t play tonight. Nor will defenceman Roman Hamrlik, who didn’t skate and remains out with a lower-body injury. Coach Jacques Martin didn’t even go to Nassau Coliseum for the session.

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