Ailing Canadiens cancel Friday practice

Updated: January 5, 2007, 10:27 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MONTREAL -- The flu bug likes hockey players, too.

The Montreal Canadiens reportedly canceled practice Friday after several players called in sick. Some had been throwing up on the return flight following a 5-1 loss in Washington on Thursday night, the Canadian Press reported.

It couldn't have struck at a more inopportune time. The Canadians are preparing to host the New York Rangers on Saturday and the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

"It changed all our plans," coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We wanted to practice because we have these two games. It's something we'll have to deal with. Every team goes through it."

Five players -- defensemen Sheldon Souray, Craig Rivet and Mike Komisarek, and forwards Michael Ryder and Garth Murray -- stayed home, according to a team spokesman.

"Hopefully they can come back on Saturday," captain Saku Koivu said.