Saturday, December 1, 2007

A New Low

Coach Carbonneau told his team that this was the low point of the season following the demoralizing loss. Chris Higgins agreed. Cristobal Huet couldn't hang on in a game that was all but over with the Habs blowing 3-0 and 4-1 leads. The bounces were going their way for most of the game, but the Habs were severely outchanced by a team that outplayed them the entire game.

On the plus side, all four Canadiens goals were scored at even strength. Roman Hamrlik played a hell of a game. Guillaume Latendresse was great. Kyle Chipchura continues to improve with each game and reward his coaches growing faith in him. Alex Kovalev continues to look like a superstar.

On the downside, Saku Koivu looked very tired. Patrice Brisebois lack of speed and penchant for mistakes is becoming more blatant. Michael Ryder is playing with no confidence and is starting to get booed at home. Cristobal Huet did let the game slip away after looking like he might get a shutout for a while. Bryan Smolinski played poorly and took an incredibly stupid penalty late in a one-goal game.

The Habs didn't deserve to win, but sure looked like they would.

A lot of fans left after the Habs fourth goal. It will never cease to amaze me how people leave a game that clearly isn't over to beat traffic or get to the bar a bit earlier. Morons.

Radek Bonk of all people scored the tying goal and did it again in the shootout. I wasn't the least bit surprised when the Preds tied it up, and even less surprised that the Habs couldn't get the winner in OT. They're tired and let one slip away.

Now the best team in the NHL in town on Tuesday. No one said it would be easy.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Gamenight in Newark

Habs in Newark tonight. Haven't won in New Jersey since 2002.

Brodeur's career record against the Canadiens: 33-12-5, 1.74 GAA.


But the kid goes for the Habs tonight, Carey Price making back-to-back starts for the second time this year.

It will be the 14th and last game of a crazy month for the Habs. November saw them go 7-6-0. It was a tough month full of divisional games and back to back situations. After this weekend, it's onto a more normal style schedule for the Habs with more Tuesday and Thursday night games.

Game Notes: Devils are 8-4-1 in November. Patrik Elias has 29 points in 36 career games against the Habs. Marty Brodeur has seven career shutouts against Montreal. Alex Kovalev has 44 points in 60 career games against the Devils. Bryan Smolinski has 30 points, including 16 goals, in 41 career games against New Jersey. Cristobal Huet is 0-6-0 in his career against the Devils.


What a game between the Sens and Predators last night. Looked like Daniel Alfredsson had sent it to OT with a beaut, then Martin Erat comes right back and scores with 22 seconds to go. That's 5 losses in a row for the Senators. The Habs could be right on their ass if they pick up a couple of wins this weekend. Nashville comes to the Bell Centre tomorrow night. Huet gets the start.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Habs Win A Close One

The hungry Toronto Maple Leafs did everything they could to keep that shit-eating grin on Mats Sundin's face, but they lost. Unfortunately, the grin remained after the loss, apparently the result of Sundin wearing a mouth guard, rather than him actually eating shit, which would've been AWESOME.

Seriously though, the Habs won in a shootout. The Leafs are arguably the worst shootout team in the NHL and they showed it tonight. Even with Paul Maurice keeping the Zamboni on the ice for an unprecendentedly(is that a word?) long amount of time, the Leafs couldn't shut the door.

Carey Price is good. Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft are a couple of backups who are never going to be 45 game winners in the NHL.


The Canadiens deserved to lose. But they won. That's what happens when you have a premier goaltender between the pipes. Expect Carey Price to continue to improve, his performance tonight would be easy to overlook due to how easy he made it look. He's unflappable.

The kid hasn't dominated anyone for a shutout yet, but he's gotten his team wins and looked stellar in the process. Stellar. There's a word used to describe excellence in goaltending. A word that's been used far too seldom around here in the last few years.

It's Tuesday, why are there only three games tonight?

The NHL schedule is downright strange. Once again, the Habs will play a Friday-Saturday back-to-backer(sorry about all the hyphons) and this week, they'll get three days off in between. Why not have them play a classic Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday week?

Hopefully the NHL does something about the wacky schedules this offseason. It's getting out of hand. The Habs are coming off a period in which they played six games in nine days. That's too much for any team.

I'm watching the Ducks-Canucks game right now and I can't believe how the Ducks play the game. They are the most physical team out there, with absolutely no control over their emotions. This is the same style that brought them so much success last year, but not having Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer is going to hurt them until they both pull a Roger Clemens and put the Ducks back into the forefront of the race for the Stanley Cup once again.

Only without the steroids.

I'm at practice tomorrow to relay any tidbits and tallywackers I hear from what I hope will be an upbeat and happy group.

Gamenight & State of the Nation

The Canadiens are in Hogtown for a big one tonight. Michael Ryder is off the first line. Guillaume Latendresse takes his place. Carey Price in goal. The Leafs desperately need a win.

With all the hoopla about Guy Lafleur saying the Habs looked like a bunch of fourth-liners on Saturday night, it's easy to forget that maybe they did. That was a brutal showing by the home team. After coming out of the gates strong, they faltered big-time and barely showed up for most of the night.

Saku Koivu replied to #10's barb by saying "I don't think a team of fourth liners would have the best power-play in the NHL."


However, if the Canadiens continue to perform the way they did during Saturday night's game, they can kiss the #1 PP tag goodbye very soon.

Teams are letting the Habs do whatever they want on the perimeter and checking them tightly down low during man-advantage situations. The Habs need to find a way to respond to this and soon. What happened to the one-timer?

If anything can make Canadiens fans feel a bit better about what's been going on with the team in the last few days, it's the State of the Crown Jewel of MLSE, the Smurfs they call a hockey team at the ACC.

Mats Sundin is basically a one-man show this year and life for Paul Maurice, who should never have taken the job in the first place, and John Ferguson Jr, is not getting any easier. The Leafs solutions to their problems have long been veteran free-agents and trading for veteran talent. There are very few homegrown prospects succeeding in the organization. The future looks grim. JFJ will be the first to go, unless he offers up Maurice as a sacrificial lamb. It's not Maurice's fault he's been given shoddy personnel to work with during his tenure in Toronto.

It's a must-win game for both teams, much more so for the Leafs, here's hoping the Habs blow them out of the water and things start to change in the front office of one of the sorriest franchises in the NHL.


Andrei Markov needs to get rolling offensively!! The Habs early success coincided with him averaging basically a point per game. During their recent slide he has been virtually invisible offensively.

A quick NFL note: Safety Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound after a home invasion. How do NFL players always seem to get caught up in this stuff? I will remember Taylor as one of the hardest hitting players I've ever seen, a guy who made receivers think twice before catching a deep ball or a ball across the middle. It's a sad sad story, and one we've heard far too often.