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Habs Notebook - March 12, 2009

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL - In today’s Habs Notebook, find out who’s stocking up on Kleenex, who’s got a notebook of their own and where the focus is from hereon in.

Kovy on the fence

With the Canadiens preparing to face the Islanders Thursday night, only one Hab was missing from the morning skate.  The infamous “bug” has caught Alex Kovalev, making him a game-time decision.  If No. 27 isn’t good to go, Matt D’Agostini will line up with Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty.  The latter will be returning to action after sitting out Tuesday’s contest; Bob Gainey had made the decision even before knowing Kovalev’s status.

No changes are expected on the blue line, meaning Patrice Brisebois will sit out for a fourth straight game while Carey Price will make his fifth consecutive start.

Bird’s-eye view

Scratched against the Oilers just 48 hours earlier, Max Pacioretty took full advantage of his press box seat to break out pen and paper and make some notes to help correct his game, which has seen the rookie go goalless in his last 20 games.

“The game is so quick in the NHL that watching the game from the press box really helped me,” admitted the 20-year-old. “I saw things that you might not notice at ice level. I spoke with the coaches and they told me to use my size and speed. I can’t be like Alex Kovalev and stickhandle the way he does. I have to concentrate on playing a north-south game.”

All about us

A few hours ahead of the matchup against the Islanders, who sit 30th in the NHL, the Canadiens’ bench boss wanted to concentrate on one thing and one thing alone: his team.

“Regardless of who we’re playing, we have to focus on our game,” explained Bob Gainey. “We have the opportunity to gain some ground tonight or lose some if we don’t win. The team on the other bench won’t have an impact on us if we win.”

Heather Engel is a writer for

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