Friday, October 19, 2007

Quel Mauvais Jeu

And the goat from last night's game is...... Tom Kostopoulos. That giveaway following a beauty of a power play goal by Alex Kovalev was just awful, he had all the time in the world and coughed it up to maybe the worst guy in the league to cough it up to. He and Dandenault are getting way too much ice as far as I`m concerned.

Mike Boone of the Gazette mentioned the other day that Brisebois and Hamrlik have been his favourite defensive pairing so far this year. I agree. While Brisbois has had a few cringe-inducing giveaways, his overall play has been great. You can`t say enough about veteran presence on the blue line. They consistently avoid getting beat by faster players by making smart plays and staying out of the box. Brisebois` pass to Kovalev on the third goal last night was off the charts.

The Cardiac Canadiens seem determined to play nail-biters all year long. This team has played six games so far, five of which have been decided by one goal. The lone exception was Saturday`s 3-1 loss to the Hurricanes, with the `Canes third goal coming on an empty net. Whether it`s Florida or Ottawa, the Habs continue to play to the level of their opposition. Another tough test coming up on Saturday as the boys seek their first home win of the year against the Sabres. Hopefully they will increase on their total of two goals in two home games so far this year.

Trade rumours abound. It`s hard to believe that reputable media outlets actually report this stuff, but the Alex Tanguay for Alex Kovalev rumour has been going for a while, and was fueled by Kovalev`s quasi-controversial remarks this week. The reality is that Tanguay is coming off a career season, has a no-trade clause, and is a far more valuable player than Kovy. I couldn`t be happier with the way AK-27 has performed so far this year, but Tanguay is younger and less likely to criticize his coach or franchise.

PJ Stock spoke with Sens coach John Paddock earlier this week on the Team 990`s Stock Exchange and when PJ pressed him about the Kovalev-Carbo situation his main remark was ``At least he cares`` Kovalev is a great player when he wants to be. He wants to win. He does not deserve the firestorm of negative attention created by his comments.

Finally, the officiating. Many Habs fans will tell you that the refs are anti-Canadiens. It`s difficult to analyze these things objectively, but there are a few things worth noting in the young season.

1. The Sens were not called for offsides on two occasions last night.

2. The refs were VERY quick to blow the whistle on a goalmouth scramble early in the third period last night when the puck was definitely not covered up.

3. Mike Komisarek absorbed a high-stick and some serious facial damage from Mats Sundin, who gets away with murder every night. Andrei Kostitsyn took an elbow and a dirty hit from Gary Roberts against Pittsburgh while already engaged in a one-on-one battle in the corner. These are penalties, and they went uncalled.

While Habs fans are quick to turn on their team, they are also the most passionate and knowledgeable fans in the league. And the loudest. It`s no coincidence that they tend to boo the officials when they take the ice most nights. They know what they`re seeing. La Foule will be in full effect once again on Saturday night, and you know the Canadiens want to give them their money`s worth every time out. It`s just that they have difficulty doing it.

Habs at home: 0-2, 2 GF

Habs on the Road: 2-1-1, 12 GF

It would be nice to hear that U2 classic a few times tomorrow night.

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