After a wild night at the rookie dinner that resulted in a stolen purse, I will be brief in my comments about the whole thing. Ryan O'Byrne and Tom Kostopoulos made a mistake. That mistake was acting like they were at home when they were on the road. Tampa is a city with a serious crime problem and a police force that has been accused of being a tad overzealous in the past. If the rookie dinner had taken place in Montreal, we probably would have never heard of it as the cops here treat the Habs much differently and chances are, Ryan O'Byrne wouldn't have to steal a girl's purse to get her attention. It seems a bit melodramatic to think his career could be over due to such a seemingly harmless act, but that is what's being reported.
The problem I have with it is the timing. Going out to celebrate the night after being ripped to shreds by your closest geographical and at one time statistical rival. But no one's telling me I can't hit the town if I have a rough day at work.....
It's back to business for the Canadiens with four games in the next six days. They can't afford to let this business affect their game. It's crunch time and they're facing teams that they shouldn't have any trouble beating. Tampa Bay is actually playing some good hockey right now, going 6-3-1 in their last ten games but this Habs team should come out of the gate hungry. The Panthers are another team the Habs should beat, and Carey Price looks to be the guy who'll get the nod tomorrow night in Sunrise.
Both Cristobal Huet and Price need to be better than they were on Saturday night if they want to get points out of these games. The other thing the Habs need is secondary scoring. The Kovalev line will only take this team so far before teams devote everything to shutting them down. If guys like Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins and Michael Ryder can't light the lamp then the Habs are in more serious trouble than some may currently think.
If they can't win tonight, the panic button will be pressed by 95% of Hab nation. Demands for trades, benchings and more cowbell will resonate all the way down to Bob's office at the Bell Centre.