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Man jumps on the ice during a Habs practice and takes a shot at Theodo


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MONTREAL (CP) - Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore got a shock Monday when a stranger in full hockey equipment jumped on the ice during a Montreal practice and shot a puck at him.


The 28-year-old man from Montreal, who would only say his name was Raphael, went onto the Verdun Auditorium ice when most of the players were at the far end of the rink.


Wearing skates, full gear and a plain white hockey jersey, the man skated in on the star goalie with a stick and a puck. He was poke-checked on his first attempt and Theodore then stopped a weak wrist shot to the high glove side.


The practice crasher was chased to the side boards by coach Claude Julien but wouldn't get off the ice until he was pulled away by an arena worker.


Police later released the man.




"I didn't really know what was going on until the guy came on," a grinning Theodore said later. "He came at me with his head down so I just wanted to say `Welcome to the big boys.'


"I poke-checked him to say `You have to keep your head up.' When he came back, I though about going out of the net and not playing into his game, but then I thought he had the (courage) to go on the ice, so I let him have a free shot at me.


"He couldn't beat me. That's the main thing."


While waiting for the police to arrive, Raphael told reporters that while Theodore is a "great goalie," he didn't score because "I didn't have time."


Although most of what the recreational hockey player said was incoherent, he said he had planned crashing the practice to show the Canadiens what he could do on the ice.


"For many years I wanted to play high-calibre hockey," he said. "I had nothing to lose."


Police spokesman Olivier Lapointe said that although two officers spoke to the man, it was "not really a police matter" and he was not arrested.


With Julien ordering him off the ice, defenceman Craig Rivet stood close by in case there was trouble, but the man went off peacefully.


"It's funny now that everything is OK, but it's a little scary," said Rivet. "You don't know what intentions people have.


"You don't know if he was stable. It was a bit amusing, I guess, but hopefully it won't happen again."


The Habs practise at the suburban arena, where fans are allowed to watch the session, when the Bell Centre is unavailable - because of a Rolling Stones concert this time.


About 15 to 20 fans, mostly schoolkids, were on hand Monday at the practice arena.


The man had spent most of the practice sitting up in the seats in his hockey gear. Winger Alex Kovalev wondered if he was a player waiting to go on after the Canadiens practice until he moved down next to the boards, tightened his skate laces and jumped on the ice.


"He's one of those people, like whoever her name was (Morgana) who used to go out on the baseball field to kiss the players," Kovalev said. "He's probably one of those.


"And maybe he was wondering if we need a right-handed shot and tried to prove he can play on our team. You need one of those things to give us a laugh."



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