Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gameday Musings

The Canadiens host the Bruins at the Bell Centre tonight. They've had a lot of success in this situation for the last few years.

Last night was painful to watch. The Habs defense, which has been garnering praise all year, looked sluggish and the forwards were no better. The alleged top line continued to struggle on both ends of the ice. Whether it was Michael Ryder, Tom Kostopoulos or whomever else Carbo stuck with Koivu and Higgins, they struggled mightily.

Cristobal Huet wasn't superhuman, allowing three goals on twelve shots in the first period. The Habs are a team that has a lot of difficulty when their goaltending isn't superb. The bottom line is, looking tired and sluggish isn't an option for this team. They looked tired this morning as well. It's not encouraging to see at this point of the season. There's still a lot of hockey to be played.

Carey Price is in the net tonight, looking for his fifth win. This isn't exactly a must-win game, but the Habs need a strong performance after last night's debacle. Ryan Miller made it look incredibly easy as his teammates were buzzing all over the ice and resembling the strong Sabres team of last year.

Dropkick Murphys at Metropolis tonight, should be a good time.


Did you see Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund take out Minnesota's Mikko Koivu with a two-handed slash to the ankle? Wow. It's amazing what these guys continue to do to each other.

No respect.

Or maybe it's more of a Finland-Sweden rivalry, something like the East coast vs West coast thing that engulfed the hip hop community in the 90s.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tidbits & Tallywackers

James Duthie proves to everyone that he's kinda funny, in an inoffensive and nice kind of way in this blog entry about etiquette for NHL trash-talking. Sean Avery can play for my team anytime by the way. This entire incident was a bunch of BS and had it occurred against any other any NHL team, we would have never heard about it. Can you imagine if this had happened between Ray Lewis and Joey Porter on an NFL field? School yard tattle-tailing is what it was.

Read Duthie

Courtesy of, here's a fluffy piece on what's going on in Hamilton with the Bulldogs. It's hard to get a feel for the team reading these propaganda-ish pieces but it's nice to hear some news about Maxim Lapierre, Jaroslav Halak, Sergei Kostitsyn and co. How long will Halak stay in North America? If the Anaheim Ducks can put Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers after dangling him as trade bait for two months, then it's pretty clear that NHL goaltenders currently have little or no value.

Read fluff piece

Former no. 22 and member of the 1993 Stanley Cup champion Canadiens Benoit Brunet is a member of the RDS team and he has this piece on Michael Ryder and Carbonneau's decision to drop him to the third line, at least for now. He also talks about how awesome Carey Price is.

Benoit Brunet speaks

Speaking of Carey Price, he joined Andie Bennett for the Totally Broad quiz last night on her show, which is coincidentally titled Totally Broad and airs Thursday nights at 11 on the Team 990. Here is a transcript of the awesome exchange.

Andie Bennett: What was your favourite movie as a child?

Carey Price: 8 Seconds

AB: Favourite sport to play besides hockey?

CP: Probably golf.

AB: What do you normally eat before a game?

CP: Penne and chicken

AB: What's your biggest irrational fear?

CP: Losing.

AB: That's rational, I was thinking more along the lines of snakes, spiders......

CP: Oh. Bulls?

AB: Favourite dessert?

CP: Vanilla ice cream

AB: How far would you go on Survivor?

CP: I think I could probably survive pretty long, I dunno, I get along pretty well with everybody

AB: What's your TV guilty pleasure?

CP: The Simpsons

AB: What's a non-hockey skill people would be surprised that you have?

CP: I don't really have any skills. I can ride and rope. That's about it.

AB: Embarrassing habit?

CP: Picking my teeth after dinner.

AB: What do you prefer, a woman in jeans and a t-shirt, or heels and a mini-skirt?

CP: Jeans and a t-shirt.

AB: Favourite city to party in after a win?

CP: Williams Lake

AB: Sports icon you'd like to meet?

CP: I think I'd like to meet... Tom Brady.

AB: Famous person you'd most like to meet?

CP: George Strait

AB: Favourite song to sing in the shower?

CP: I don't really sing in the shower, but if I did, it'd probably be Heartland by George Strait.

How awesome is this kid? He seems impervious to pressure and oblivious to being cool.

I love it.


your gameday preview is courtesy of today!!! enjoy!!! Habs-Sabres preview

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Off Day Musings

So the Habs are getting ready for a couple of huge back-to-back division games this weekend. It will be interesting to see how much juggling of the lines goes on. Cristobal Huet starts on Friday in Buffalo and Carey Price goes on Saturday night against the Bruins.

Everyone's talking about Carey Price as he continues to emerge as a dominant goaltender with nerves of steel and ice running through his veins. Habs goaltending coach Rollie Melanson, who has seen a few dominant goaltenders over the years, compared Carey Price at his current pace to Patrick Roy and others. Pierre McGuire joined Melnick in the afternoon today and told us he thinks Price is further along in his development at this point in his career than Martin Brodeur was.


That's some pretty high praise, and well deserved. Let's just hope the kid doesn't listen to all the hype and get a big head. That definitely seems unlikely.

The Canadiens are rolling and it's fun to hear the national media heap praise upon them. The Globe & Mail has been lambasting the Leafs for everything that's been going on with them on and off the ice.

What are the odds that John Ferguson Jr leaked the Jiri Tlusty naked photo story to put a temporary hold on fans and media calling for his firing? It's funny how these ridiculous stories get more attention when your team is slipping down the standings and playing terrible hockey.


In other news, Sheldon Souray has been confirmed as out indefinitely by the Edmonton Oilers with no return date in sight. His shoulder injury appears to be much worse than originally thought.

CBC sports has a piece about Cristobal Huet and his quest for an injury-free year.

check it out HERE

Game Preview tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Practice & Fallout

So Tom Kostopoulos pointed out that he has played on a number one line in the NHL today following practice at Denis Savard Arena. It was under the quickly-fired Eddie Olczyk in Pittsburgh.

Kostopoulos was on the first line with Saku Koivu and Chris Higgins at practice, replacing the beleaguered Michael Ryder. He clearly doesn't have the hands to be a first-line NHLer but it's also clear that Guy Carbonneau is aching to try something else, and Ryder is out of slack. The other options currently available to Carbo are limited: Guy Latendresse, who is still playing through some pain from his back injury, Mathieu Dandenault, whose offensive upside is limited, and Mikhail Grabovski, whose physical presence leaves much to be desired.

All of this smacks of putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. The Habs' second line has carried them offensively through the last four games, but the Koivu line needs to step it up. Is the answer in Hamilton?

Sergei Kostitsyn has been Hamilton's top forward so far this year, and both of his linemates from the London Knights last year are making waves at the NHL level. Is he ready? Bob Gainey doesn't like to rush his players and his patient approach paid huge dividends with Chris Higgins and Tomas Plekanec. Rushing guys can be disastrous (see: Latendresse, Guy).

So it looks like we'll see Kostopoulos on the top line Friday night in Buffalo. Ryder will see less ice, which won't make breaking his slump any easier. He seems to be overanalyzing everything and trying to make the perfect play instead of his usual shooting and crashing the net style.

Bob Gainey is certainly looking better and better for not offering him a long term deal in either of the last two offseasons. Ryder is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, which is usually a situation that will light a fire under a guy's ass. Not so far.

The important thing is, the Habs continue to win games and are getting unbelievable defense and goaltending. Carbo and Gainey are looking smarter and smarter with each passing day. Don't expect to sustain this level of success all year, injuries and other factors will obviously come into play eventually.

But enjoy the good times, as Mike Komisarek and the boys are.


I don't think anyone, myself included, hates the Leafs as much as Alex Kovalev. Did you see him react to Komi's OT winner? He jumped like his name was LeBron James.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Habs Beat the Leafs!!

So the game's over. Maniacal Habs fans are calling for Carey Price to be installed as the team's starting goaltender.

MIKE KOMISAREK scored on a BREAKAWAY to win it.


4-3 was the final score. The Canadiens played an awful 2nd period but managed to tie it up every time the Leafs pulled ahead. Alex Kovalev has nine goals so far. Tomas Plekanec is looking like Jere Lehtinen on the forecheck.

Carey Price. He is the real deal. It's no fluke that he's where he's at. Having a presence like him behind the Habs makes all the difference in the world. Confidence with a capital C. If you turn the puck over, chances are Price will make the stop. He was blameless on all the Leafs goals.

Anderi Markov took four minor penalties but scored a huge goal and continues to look like one of the best defensemen in the world.

Raise your hand if you'd rather see Sergei Kostitsyn (or Joel Bouchard?) (who's a defenseman)on the first line instead of Michael Ryder.

Hell, get Kirk Muller out there.

Ryder's struggles continue. His inability to finish is exceeded only by his inability to create chances for his linemates. Something needs to change.

Tomorrow's a new day, I'm going to practice, and I will certainly ask all the tough questions, and all three of my blog readers (you know who you are!) will be rewarded by the extension of my wisdom.


I'm siding with Sean Avery on this whole Jason Blake fiasco. I wish we had him on the Habs.

Gamenight: Toronto Maple Leafs

The Canadiens take their sputtering offense down the 401 to take on the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre tonight. Carey Price will be in goal for the Habs, getting his first chance against the Leafs in his young career.

The Canadiens have had trouble scoring goals lately, getting only 7 goals in their last four games. They're hoping the Leafs defense, which has given up an NHL-worst 65 goals so far this year, will be the cure to their problems.

This is the third meeting between the archrivals so far this year, with Toronto winning each of the first two by a one goal margin. Toronto netminder Vesa Toskala picked up wins in both of those games and Cristobal Huet was on the hook for both losses against the Leafs.

The Toronto Sun is reporting that the Leafs will be wearing their white road jerseys tonight instead of their blue home sweaters. This is apparently due to the fact that the Leafs are 3-4-3 wearing the blue shirts and 3-3-1 in the white.

The Leafs have bested the Canadiens with a record of 10-4-4 against them since the NHL lockout.

It's exciting that the kid is getting a chance to play against the Leafs. Huet is having a great year (again) but seems to have a mental issue against the Leafs. Hopefully Price will once again be cooler than Miles Davis between the pipes and the Leafs won't get a free win like did at the Bell Centre 10 days ago.

Should we be worrying about the Habs power play? They haven't scored too many power play goals lately, but then they haven't been getting many power plays. If the slow Leafs can stay out of the box, or get a disproportionate amount of power plays, they could once again come out on top.

Alex Kovalev mentioned yesterday that the Habs tend to come out too strong, and act like it's a Game 7 situation for these games against Toronto and that they need to keep it simple in order to be successful. He's right. The Canadiens are the better, faster team and shouldn't let the Leafs stay in games.

other notes...

Garth Murray has been picked up on waivers by the Florida Panthers. He was a hard-working winger who wasn't scared to drop the gloves. I have nothing but praise for him, and wish him the best going forward.

For me, the highlight of his career in Montreal was Bob Cole in the 2005 playoffs with this memorable call,

"Here comes Murray, he can really fly."

or maybe it was

"Here comes Murray, he's got wings!"

Not the most accurate description I've ever heard but flattering nonetheless.

In other news, Mike Komisarek is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves as a legitimate number one defenceman in the league, and arguably the hardest hitting player out there as well.

Monday, November 12, 2007

News From the Farm

Some news from the System: Kitchener Rangers defenseman Yannick Weber is one of the hottest players in the OHL right now. The Swiss native, drafted in 2007 in the third round, has racked up 24 points, including 11 goals, in 17 games, for second place among league defensemen in scoring.

Sticking to the OHL, PK Subban, an offensive defenseman playing for the Belleville Bulls, has 18 points in 18 games so far this year.

Another prospect of note is 2007 first round pick Ryan McDonagh, who has picked up 3 points in 6 games with a plus-2 differential so far this season for the Badgers at the University of Wisconsin.

Finally from the Western Hockey League: after a strong October, the Canadiens 2006 third round pick, forward Ryan White, hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. The center is first among Calgary Hitmen scorers with 23 points in 20 games. He’s also the team’s third-most penalized player with 40 minutes spent in the box.