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Alain Vigneault


C - Saku Koivu, Vincent Damphousse, Scott Thornton, Matt Higgins, Trent McLeary, Sergei Zholtok. LW - Shayne Corson, Martin Rucinsky, Benoit Brunet, Terry Ryan, Patrick Poulin, Andrei Bashkirov, Dave Morissette. RW - Mark Recchi, Brian Savage, Turner Stevenson, Jonas Hoglund. D - Vladimir Malakhov, Stephane Quintal, Patrice Brisebois, Brett Clark, Brad Brown, Miloslav Guren, Stephane Robidas, Craig Rivet, Igor Ulanov, Dave Manson. G - Jocelyn Thibault, Jose Theodore.


Saku Koivu, c (groin injury, day-to-day); Scott Thornton, c (tear in his lower abdomen - at least three months).




10/28 Boston         L 9-2
10/29 at Boston      T 1-1
10/31 at Ottawa      L 5-1
11/04 at N.Y Rangers W 4-1
11/06 N.Y Islanders  W 4-2


Northeast Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA  
  Boston            15   6   6   3    15   36   26   
  Montreal          13   6   5   2    14   34   33  
  Toronto           14   6   6   2    14   41   44  
  Ottawa            11   6   5   0    12   37   34   
  Buffalo           11   5   3   3    13   30   23


by Jacques Robert, Montreal Correspondent

When Discipline and Commitment Pays Off

In hockey, as well as in the other sports, working hard has always been the key word, both in practice and competition. "Let's go back to the basics, be disciplined and follow the game plan!" This is the essence of the message being sent by Vigneault these days and... it is paying off.

Montreal posted two wins in a row against New York teams. Okay, the Rangers and the Islanders are living a nightmare in the Atlantic Division, but it's time to celebrate in the Montreal dressing room - not only is goaltending no longer the Habs problem but discipline is back on track on power plays. For How long? That is always the question in Montreal.

After being routed in Boston (9-2) and in Ottawa (5-1), the struggling Canadiens were likely to make a trade involving goalie Felix Potvin. As a matter of fact, hockey fans were asking for change as far as goaltending was concerned! Replacing Jocelyn Thibault, Jose Theodore held the fort in the Big Apple (NYR) and big shots like Damphousse, Rucinsky and Corson contributed to the score. And Corson was delivering the game expected of him.

Super Theodore!

Theodore came out big two days later at the Molson Centre against the Islanders. He made some outstanding stops in the third as the Habs were dominated. Montreal stayed on top of things and eventually won 4-1. Also, Vigneault's boys showed some discipline. Actually, they took advantage of the Islanders' penalties on all of their goals. The most impressive player of the night was Trent McCleary. He kept his cool as Gino Odjick was beating him up. In the second period, Odjick received a double minor penalty and it translated into Recchi's goals that gave Montreal the lead. Speaking of Recchi, he is the man fans can rely on as Koivu is still missing. Ditto for Shayne Corson who had an assist and a goal against the Islanders.

Once again, no one knows where to stand as far as Montreal's future is concerned. Needless to say that Vigneault's job has not been easy since the beginning of the season. The reason? Due to injured offensive players, the coaching staff has had to juggle the forward lines (Damphousse, Rucinsky, and Savage were reunited in Boston for the first time). Inevitably, young players, like Brad Brown, are frustrated when it's time to make room for regular players. And, last week, Brown expressed his frustration on this issue.

Let Young Players Play

Let's face it, Montreal has never been known for trusting young players and it has never been so true this time around. However, Reggie Houle kept repeating over the summer that the future of Montreal lies on the young up-and-coming Habs in Fredericton. Especially with departures of Bureau and Popovic. Fact or fiction?

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