Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Battlin' Habs

Not content with trying to battle for a playoff spot with the fast charging Sabres, the Habs are starting to fight amongst themselves. Captain Saku Koivu and leading goal scorer Mike Ribeiro had two dust ups in practice on Wednesday, as the Canadiens try to come to terms with a four game losing streak.

Apparently laying the lumber on each other too much during practice drills, the two squared off twice only to be separated by team mates and sent on their own way to neutral corners. The scraps highlight a frustrating couple of weeks for the Habs, who seemed free and clear to claim a playoff spot only a couple of weeks ago. Now with their losses and Buffalo's fast approaching climb up the standings, the Habs are feeling a bit of pressure to keep on their game.

Claude Julien wasn't overly concerned with his captain and leading scorer tossing the fists, claiming it was just a tension relief for the team. Ribiero said there was no malicious behavior in the scraps and that all is well, just a little healthy competition. Koivu had nothing to say to the press after practice.

The Canadiens face the Calgary Flames on Thursday night, hoping to rebound after a 4-1 loss to Atlanta earlier this week, a game that saw the team booed off the ice by the faithful at Bell Centre. They have seen an inspirational leader in Sheldon Souray get injured, possibly for the rest of the season. So they're feeling a little overwhelmed by events at the moment. Not particularly deep in a line up, they can't afford to lose too many players, especially if they end up losing them in practice punch ups.

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