Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Lack of Inspiration

As regular readers of this blog (hi Mom!) already know, I'm not a diligent poster. I have taken this to a whole new level through the first twelve games of the Habs centennial season by pretty much never updating this blog. That all changes today.

It's Remembrance Day. One of the rare days on the calendar that puts things in perspective as we reflect on the sacrifices made in generations past and today by the men and women of our armed forces. Having said that, the Habs are the subject of this blog and I will now proceed onward into hockey-talk.

The Canadiens haven't been overly impressive in any of their first twelve games. They looked pretty good in Buffalo on opening night but lost in a shootout. The next day they decimated the Leafs in what was likely their most complete performance to date, a 6-1 final at the Air Canada Center.

Fast forward four Saturdays. Mikhail Grabovski and the Leafs put on a clinic beating the Habs by crashing the net, winning battles and pounding the Habs D which was without its cornerstone, Roman Hamrlik. The Canadiens played an undisciplined game and you almost got the sense they were waiting around to start one of their famous comebacks until they realized they were out of real estate.

The Leafs got to Carey Price much the same way Philly did in the playoffs last year. They ran him and got in his face. When opponents get into Price's head, the Habs are in trouble.

With an 8-2-2 record it's hard to get too dramatic but that hasn't stopped Habs fans. They're freaking out and the bandwagon is actually losing passengers which isn't surprising given many fans never left it after the shock of last season's playoff exit.

Fortunately, 70 games remain. Starting tonight against a team the Habs struggle against. The Sens' line of Heatley, Alfredsson and Spezza have teamed up for 41 points so far this year and always they do well against the Habs. The Habs need to get back to the three-pronged attack that looked so promising early in the season.

Guy Carbonneau thinks his team needs to get back to playing fundamentally good defense. He's right. With Hamrlik back tonight things should improve on the back end and that's great news for Price and the Habs.

As for this blog, all we can hope for is a more inspired effort from its author which will hopefully be inspired by his home town team getting out there and working.

Alex Kovalev needs to play like he just got high-sticked and the ref missed the call. Andrei Kostitsyn needs to play like Kurt Sauer didn't make him scared to take on NHL defencemen by trying to take his head off. Mike Komisarek needs to continue to make opposing forwards pay when they choose to attack his side of the ice. Andrei Markov needs to get his legs back under him after looking tired in Toronto, not a good sign at this point of the season.

It's going to be a long ride of ups and downs this year but better to hit a roadbump at this point of the campaign. The sign of a championship team is how they handle adversity and this team still has a lot to prove.

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