Already suffering from a slide down the Eastern Conference standings, consistently poor goaltending from partyboy Carey Price, and the surprising dominance of their rivals in Boston, the Montreal Canadiens have yet another problem ruining their centennial campaign. La Presse is reporting today that several Habs players, namely Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn, are linked to an alleged drug trafficker named Pasquale Mangiola. The National Post sums it up for us non-Francophones:
Pasquale Mangiola, who faces drug-trafficking and illegal weapon charges, is a close associate of the brothers and spoke to them often, La Presse says.
The three were often seen together at local bars and restaurants, the French-language newspaper reports.
Canadiens defenceman Roman Hamrlik was also acquainted with Mr. Mangiola, La Presse reports.
The gossip is only the latest problem facing the team, following a string of game losses.
Montreal police on Friday refused comment on the anti-gang operation, Project Axe, as well as the rumours circulating about the Canadiens’ players.
“Concerning the numerous rumours that have been running around last night and this morning, they are still rumours as far as we are concerned,” Constable Yannick Ouimet said.
Habs fans have not been taking the news well, forcing HFBoards to shut down briefly. Perhaps this scandal is a blessing in disguise for trade-rumor magnate Alexei Kovalev, or perhaps his diabolical master plan has come to fruition.