Canadian anthem steals show prior to Habs' game

Updated: October 23, 2005, 12:33 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Montreal Canadiens: Eight-year-old Jeremy Gabriel sang the Canadian national anthem prior to the game against the New York Islanders. Deaf since birth, Gabriel's a cappella rendition of "O Canada" was greeted with rapt attention from the sellout crowd, culminating with a prolonged standing ovation.

Gabriel was part of a group of 20 guests invited to attend the game in the luxury box Jose Theodore provides for sick and underpriviliged children.

"It was very emotional and very touching," Saku Koivu said. "He did a great job on the national anthem and he asked me before the game if I could score a goal for him, and I was lucky enough to get that one tonight."

Carolina Hurricanes: After missing the first six games of the season with a groin strain, Ray Whitney made his debut with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The two-time All-Star left wing was activated from injured reserve and will play in the Hurricanes' game against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.

Whitney signed a two-year, $3 million contract with Carolina in August. However, he suffered a groin injury in training camp and missed six of eight preseason games as well as Carolina's first six regular-season contests.

Whitney collected 14 goals and 29 assists in 67 games with the Detroit Red Wings in 2003-04. Due to salary cap constraints, the Red Wings bought out Whitney's contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Whitney scored 20-plus goals in five of his previous six seasons, including a career-high 33 in 1997-98.

A first-round pick of San Jose in 1991, Whitney has 205 goals and 330 assists in 700 career contests with the Sharks, Edmonton, Florida, Columbus and Detroit.

Atlanta Thrashers: The Thrashers recalled center Jim Slater from their Chicago minor league team.

The 22-year-old Slater made his NHL debut in the season-opener at Florida on Oct. 5, but was reassigned the next day to the Chicago Wolves. He had a goal and an assist in four games with Chicago.

Slater was a first round pick, 30th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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