Hockey

Habs' thoughts with Gainey family

The Montreal Canadiens will host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, but hockey won't be the only thing on the minds of Montreal's players.

TheMontreal Canadiens will host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, but hockey won't be the only thing on the minds of Montreal's players.

The contestwill bethe first for the Habs since the news broke that Laura Gainey, the 25-year-old daughter of Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey, had been swept off the deck of a sailing ship Friday by a rogue wave in the Atlantic.

Gainey has temporarily left the team to be with his family.

This crisis has hit home with several Montreal players, especially captain Saku Koivu, who battled non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"It's devastating news, something that really stops you from everything else," Koivu told reporters on Monday.

"It's very tough to put yourself in Bob's [place]," Koivu said. "All we have right now is hope, and we can't let that go.

"All of us who respect Bob are praying and hoping for some positive news."

The news has been anything but positive: The U.S. Coast Guard called off the search on Monday.

Praise for coast guard

Thecoast guard estimated Gainey would have been able to survive about 36 hours in the water before hypothermia set in, based on her age, her physical fitness and the water temperature in the Gulf Stream.

In a statement released through the Canadiens Tuesday, Gainey and his remaining children Anna, Stephen and Colleen praised the search-and-rescue efforts. Gainey's wife, Cathy, died of brain cancer in 1995 at age 39.

"We wish to sincerely thank all the people who have been involved in the search for our darling Laura," read the statement, the first public comments made by the family since Laura Gainey's disappearance.

The Gainey family also expressed appreciation for the "overwhelming support and prayers" from family, friends and the general public.

Support for the Gainey family has been overwhelming within the Canadiens organization

'Family environment'

"This is a real family environment," Koivu said. "You really have to be there for your friends when you go through the tough times.

"It's easy to be happy and in a good mood when everything's going smooth. But very often, life is not that easy. It's about your own battles, and right now, Bob and his family need our support.

"Things like this are so much more important than hockey. It's good to see how many people care, from teammates to those who work with us. Right now, it's our job to be there for Bob."

Head coach Guy Carbonneau broke the news to most of his players after taking a phone call from Bob Gainey on Saturday morning.

"I just didn't know how to react. Bob was still worried about the team," Carbonneau said. "I told him to worry about what he had to do and I'd take care of everything else. It was a long, tough day.

"Since Saturday, I've crossed my fingers and tried to keep my hopes high. The worst thing for a parent is to lose a child, no matter their age. Bob is still strong, as he was Saturday. He's still hoping, like everyone else."

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