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Habs offer support to their GM

Tuesday, 12.12.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Habs offer support to their GM


MONTREAL (CP) - All the Canadiens feel they can give to general manager Bob Gainey is their support and, if possible, a victory over the Boston Bruins.

News that Gainey's 25-year-old daughter Laura was missing at sea for a third day attracted a mob of media and lent a sombre mood to the Canadiens' practice at the Bell Centre yesterday.

But the show goes on and the Canadiens will need to pull together to play well against Boston tonight.

"Everyone's in a state of shock now," said coach Guy Carbonneau. "But the best thing for us to do now is to hope for a miracle and keep winning. I think that's what Bob wants."

ABOARD PICTON CASTLE

Laura Gainey was swept overboard the tall ship Picton Castle during a storm in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday night and has not been found. Gainey has temporarily left the team to be with his family.

Assistant GM Pierre Gauthier, who is handling Gainey's duties during his absence, president Pierre Boivin and other team officials visited the dressing room before practice to bring the players up to date on the situation.

The players only learned that the missing woman from the Picton Castle was Laura Gainey when they turned on their televisions or radios Sunday, when her identity was made public.

Carbonneau, who played with Gainey in the 1980s and later played for him in Dallas, knew about it on Saturday, but opted not to tell his players before or after their 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo that night.

"Bob is a very private and discreet person,' the coach said. 'The name hadn't been released and Bob wanted that it not be known for as long as possible."

Carbonneau has been in daily contact by phone with Gainey. He said the GM was concerned about the team, but Carbonneau urged him to set that aside for now.

"That's the worst thing for a parent -- to lose a child, no matter what the age," he said.

"For sure, he was in a state of shock, but he's still strong mentally. Even (yesterday), he was as solid as he was Saturday morning when he called. He's still hoping like everyone else."

Carbonneau said he knew Laura Gainey mainly when she and her siblings Anna, Steve and Colleen were small children and Bob was still playing for Montreal.

LOST WIFE IN 1995

That was before the first major crisis in the family, when Gainey's wife Cathy died in 1995 after a five-year battle with brain cancer.

Since then, the Gainey children have grown up and live throughout Canada and the U.S., although they gathered together when Laura, the second youngest, went missing.

The crisis hit home with some players, like defenceman Mike Komisarek, who lost his mother to cancer during the 2005-06 season.

"I was so fortunate to be involved in an organization like the Montreal Canadiens, with the way they treated me and my family," said Komisarek. "I know what Bob's going through, but he's got this whole team behind him."

Now, the Canadiens hope to win a game for their GM.

"It's not an easy situation," said captain Saku Koivu. "Hockey is not the first thing on our minds right now.

"But the brutal reality is that life goes on. We have a game and we have to be ready to battle for the two points."