Canadiens-Rangers: Hits Abound...and NHL Takes Notice

Miah D.Senior Writer IFebruary 4, 2008

During a Flyers-Senators game last September Flyers rookie Steve Downie hit Senator Dean McAmmond, who was immediately (and amidst great commotion) transported to the hospital. 

Downie was suspended for 20 games by the NHL, and was sent to the AHL to purge his suspension.

Then in October Flyers Randy Jones hit Bruins Patrice Bergeron, resulting in a broken nose and, again, a commotion.  Bergeron, who spent a few days in the South recovering peacefully, is not yet back to the game.  Randy Jones has been suspended for two games.

Such behavior is now garnering more and more League attention.  Take a look at the last Canadiens-Rangers game, with hits by Montreal’s Alexei Kovalev and New York’s Ryan Hollweg.

Starting the second period, Kovalev hit Hollweg with his elbow, an incident that could have been punished right away.  But despite Hollweg's complaints, no penalty was called on the play.

Later on, Hollweg himself hit rookie Sergei Kostitsyn from behind.  Kostitsyn took some time to get up, while Montreal D Josh Georges went to avenge his teammate, giving way to an animated exchange.

Hollweg received a major penalty and a game misconduct.

In the post-game interviews, Kostitsyn’s teammates and Coach Carbonneau argued that the League should respond to Hollweg's hit.

But then, what about Kovalev's play?  

As such decisions are pending, let's take a look at Coach Carbonneau's line-up.

Ryder has been put on healthy scratch for Sunday's game, and has been replaced on the second line by S. Kostitsyn (the first line being Plekanek's).  Patrice Brisebois also had to watch the game from the press gallery, having been replaced by Streit back on the defense line.

Moreover, it seems that Georges has secured his coach’s full trust.  Usually Georges switches with Brisebois, but last Saturday the two had simultaneous ice time.

Carbonneau is well known for switching his lines after losses like Sunday's, so changes may be expected.  

But the first change will be the soon to come recall of G Carey Price.

Indeed, Montreal's sports channel RDS has announced that Jaroslav Halak has been re-assigned to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs.

Halak, who went 10-6 last season with the Habs, saw the backup goalie spot taken by Carey Price.  With the Bulldogs, he had highs and lows, but still recorded 9-7-2 with two shutouts.

Price was assigned to Hamilton after a 4-5 OT loss against the co-owner of his former team (American TriCity), G Olaf Kolzig, and the rest of the Capitals.  The organization made the decision to send him off to the farm team to rebuild his confidence and see some more action from him.  Price has 6-4 with the Bulldogs; his first shutout of the season came last Saturday.

Montreal's next game will be against the famous Sens.

There is no hint yet about the starting goalie.  Neither goalie has yet won against Ottawa this season.