BROSSARD – Scott Gomez cleared the air about his Tuesday morning exchange with Randy Ladouceur.
While Scott Gomez, like P.K. Subban earlier this season, may have gotten an earful from Randy Ladouceur during the Canadiens’ morning practice, Gomez – also like Subban – made sure to set the record straight as soon as he got off the ice. At a time of the season where emotions are clearly running high, the veteran forward assured the media that what happened on the ice was just a question of a coach doing his job.
“It happens all the time. I wasn’t doing the drill properly and I think this all just shows how passionate everyone is about winning right now. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last,” expressed the 32-year-old Alaska native, stressing that the exchange in question had already been made out to be more than it ever was.
“I was listening to what he had to tell me – he’s the coach. There was no coming back at what he was saying, it was just a discussion,” finished Gomez. “It was just a coach letting a player know he hadn’t done a drill right, nothing more.”
In agreement with his teammate, Ryan White, who provided a shot of energy to the morning skate, practicing on a line with both Gomez and Kostitsyn, offered his take on the Habs’ assistant coach.
“Ladouceur can dish it our pretty good – I’ve heard it a few times myself,” grinned the gritty forward who will make his 2011-12 debut against none other than the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. “He can go with the best of them, but it’s not a big deal; it happens all the time. I kind of like it to tell you the truth. It gives a little bit of spark to the rest of the practice. If you watch the last three drills after that, everyone was pretty bang on and no one wanted to be screwing up.”
While White will be looking to provide the Canadiens with his trademark high-tempo game and physical presence against the Bruins, he’ll also be looking to energize his linemates in the process.
“I just want to work hard and open up some ice for those two,” added White who logged four goals, an assist, and 26 penalty minutes in his conditioning stint with the Bulldogs. “We did some 3-on-3 rushes today and I was just parked in front of the net and those two were buzzing down low so hopefully we can get that going tomorrow night.”
Following practice, Randy Cunneyworth was quick to back up his assistant coach, stating that it’s the consistency the team achieves in practice that then carries over to game time.
“It’s important to make sure we’re doing the drills the right way. The best way to make yourself understood on the ice is to show you’re working as hard as you possibly can within the system. We’re looking for a north-south game that ends at the opponent’s net. Not everyone is giving us that,” explained Cunneyworth while also fielding the question as to why he didn’t jump into the discussion between player and assistant coach.
“I think that Laddy [Ladouceur] had the situation well under control,” replied the Habs’ head coach with a smile.
For any fans wondering if similar back-and-forths at practice are commonplace around the NHL, Mathieu Darche offered his two cents on the topic of the day.
“It’s definitely not the first time that I’ve seen that. It happens. I played for John Tortorella and with his type of personality it happened all the time,” confessed Darche of his days in Tampa Bay. “The difference was that there were only two journalists covering the practice then.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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