Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hitting the Road

Man, Horatio from CSI: Miami really trips me out. He has this really weird way of talking to kids that I find mad creepy. The man can sure deliver a one-liner though.


The Habs played a crap game and lost. Three shots in the first period. Mistakes and giveaways galore. The goaltending controversy continues to gather momentum, although it's pretty clear that Cristobal Huet will be the guy between the pipes on Thursday.

The Habs have a way of losing games they should win. They have difficulty matching up against boring-ass teams like New Jersey and Florida. The Panthers are not a good team but they simply outwork the Canadiens every time they meet. The Habs would push the puck in deep only to be obstructed by Florida players and kept from catching it. They would not obstruct to the point where a penalty should be called, but they were close.

Tomas Vokoun is good, but the Habs had very few quality looks at him in goal.

Mike Komisarek was on the hook for a giveaway that resulted in the first goal. Carey Price was firmly on the hook for the second with a bonehead clearing attempt up the middle on an ill-advised trip from his crease. In my humble opinion, Price should have had the third goal. It comes down to positioning, which is usually one of Price's strengths.

He's on a serious learning curve and mistakes are bound to happen. The good news is the Habs displayed their ability to remain in games in which they are thoroughly outworked.

Andrei Markov bagged a couple of goals and remains firmly in the lead among Eastern Conference defencemen for the All-Star game. He was on the ice for the first two Florida goals, but was pretty much blameless on both.

Komisarek and Markov might be the best defensive pairing in the East.

The Habs have traditionally struggled on their annual holiday road trip but this year's team is much stronger away from home than years past. It won't be easy, but here's my prediction:

The Habs pick up 8 out of a possible 12 points, keeping in the middle of the pack in the playoff race. Sergei Kostitsyn scores his first NHL goal. Tomas Plekanec continues to elevate his game. Snow continues to fall in Montreal and snow removal continues to move at a snail's pace.

The outdoor rink in my neighbourhood finally opens after the city takes its sweet fucking time getting it done. The Sens continue to be the streakiest team in the league and Detroit continues its dominance.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snow Day Developments & Slacking

Montreal was so snowed in from the powder festival that happened over the weekend that kids knew school was cancelled early last night. I can't remember that ever happening to me, except during the ice storm. That was fantastic, we barely lost power at all. I great time with family and friends.

Anyway, I've been a big slacker when it comes to updating my blog. Thanks to some gentle prodding, here I am again. Even though it's my birthday today, I am hard at work.

Went down to the Bell Centre to see the Habs and the coach. Andrei Markov was downright standoffish when I asked him about his recent success compared to the period he went through in which his plus/minus stats plummeted and the Habs couldn't buy a home win. The team's success is intrinsically tied to the Russian blueliners' success. He may be the best passing defenceman in the NHL right now. Shades of Sergei Zubov.

In other news, Carbonneau announced today that Carey Price gets the nod again tomorrow night, his seventh consecutive start. Cristobal Huet is game-ready, but there's no way Carbo's taking out the kid while he rides the streak he's currently on. Huet may have the better goaltending stats, but Price has more wins, the most important stat for goaltenders.

The kids, the kids.

The Canadiens had 10 players in uniform on Saturday night currently aged 25 or younger. Andrei Kostitsyn is 22. Sergei Kostitsyn is 20. Carey Price is 20. The future seems to be hurtling towards the team at a furious rate right now, with callups like Ryan O'Byrne and Maxim Lapierre making solid contributions right after getting the call. The other guys on the list are Mike Komisarek, Chris Higgins, Tomas Plekanec, Guillaume Latendresse and of course Kyle Chipchura. Good to see these guys get plenty of ice time and for the most part, make the most of it.

The Lapierre line shut down the Sundin unit on Saturday night. That's what allowed Saku Koivu's line to play a more offensive role and that they did, as Higgins, Koivu and the Kid had some spectacular shifts and were dominant at times. Nice to see the Captain get the monkey off his back, the Habs are a hell of team when he's rolling on all cylinders and creating space.

No one seems to have called for him to be traded anytime recently, so that must be nice.

Tomorrow night's game is the last one at the Bell Centre in 2007. The Habs will hit the road with stops in Atlanta, Tampa, Washington, Miami, Dallas and New York, coming back for January 3rd. If their road success continues, it could be a very merry Christmas in Montreal.