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Steelcitygal87
02-21-2009, 09:35 AM
http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=519904

Things are getting worse in Montreal.

On Friday, the Montreal French newspaper, La Presse reported that there were ties between three Montreal Canadiens players and Pasquale Mangiola, who is facing weapons and drug charges. The police reportedly have recordings of conversations between Mangiola and two of the Canadiens.

According to the report, brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn have been sighted frequently with Mangiola, who is allegedly connected with organized crime, in Montreal bars and restaurants.

The other player named by the paper is Roman Hamrlik, although, according to TSN.ca, the three players aren't suspected of any criminal activity.

The NHL is now investigating.

In an e-mail to SportingNews.com, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is in fact-finding mode.

"We are investigating the circumstances and gathering available facts,"

Daly wrote to SportingNews.com. "We won't be in a position to comment further until we understand what the facts are."

NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly is in Montreal and has cleared his schedule to deal with the issue and to meet with NHL security staff investigating the charges.

This incident is the latest turn this week for the Canadiens who have struggled on the ice during the turmoil.

Earlier this week, GM Bob Gainey traded for veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider, shipped Sergei Kostitsyn to the AHL and left star Alexei Kovalev home for Montreal's road trip. Kovalev practiced today and likely will return to the lineup on Saturday.

It's believed that Kostitsyn's demotion was for his lack of success on the ice, rather than anything in connection to Mangiola.

The decision to exile Kovalev drew a harsh reaction from former Canadiens great Guy Lafleur.

"No player with his talent would accept being humiliated like that," Lafleur told the Montreal Gazette. "I don't know what Gainey is trying to prove in front of everybody."

The Canadiens, once considered favorites to win the Eastern Conference, are 2-7-1 in February and play host to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday in the midst of controversy.