Thursday, February 14, 2008


I think it's safe to say Chris Higgins timely goal off a lucky bounce is among the biggest goals this team has gotten all year. Tomas Vokoun was rock solid until that point and clearly rattled afterwards. Alex Kovalev's seeing-eye shot to win it was vintage Kovy, his 26th, the most he's ever scored in a Habs uniform.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk for a moment about Carey Price. The kid had the best game I've seen from him with a CH on his chest. He was blameless on the only goal he allowed and was cooler than Miles Davis for several third period power plays. He created space in front of his net by removing bodies himself. He cleared the puck out of the zone himself and looked like Rick DiPietro in the process during one PK. Yvon Pednault had it right when he spoke of Price "closing the door." on several Florida chances.

He didn't beat the Detroit Red Wings, but he did get his team a win when it seemed impossible. His confidence is contagious and when he's rolling people tend to win Gold Medals and Calder Cups.

Cristobal Huet is probably squirming and it will be interesting to see what Carbo does with the back-to-back games this weekend.

Loose Pucks: Trade rumours continue to swirl around the NHL and the Habs are believed to be
in the thick of the talks. It's absolute lunacy to suggest that there's any interest in Michael Ryder. I would be happy to get a 4th round pick for Ryder. One guy I'd like to see out there is Chris Gratton. He is strong on faceoffs and has a mean streak that's sorely lacking on this team. He's also more mobile than Bryan Slowinski.

Things certainly changed with the Higgins goal last night. All of a sudden the Habs are still contending when it looked like they may be in a total freefall at times last night.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Distractions & Tests

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.

Distractions & Tests

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Game of Inches

I wouldn't be completely demoralized if I was the Montreal Canadiens. They couldn't catch a break in falling behind 3-0 before the game was five minutes old. Cristobal Huet did not look sharp during that time , making only one save on four shots. The Habs made a valiant effort to come back but managed to hit the post or missed by centimetres on numerous occasions before Dany Heatley put it away with a beauty to make it 4-0.

Chris Higgins can't catch a break. I thought Michael Ryder looked pretty good with his old linemates, on one shift in particular they did a great job of creating havoc in the Sens end but couldn't get one over the line. The Habs just kept hitting the post all night long whereas the Sens top line could do no wrong.

The Senators were hungry to make a statement and re-establish themselves as the top team in the Eastern Conference and did just that. It's one of those games that you just have to forget. The Canadiens can't afford to live in the past and frankly deserved better last night.

Loose Pucks: One of the worst games of the year for Patrice Brisebois, one of the best for Sergei Kostitsyn, who caught a serious punch to the jaw from Wade Redden. The Kostitsyn borthers were the brightest spot on the night for the Habs. Roman Hamrlik should be back on Tuesday night, and not a moment too soon. The Habs have given up an alarming 18 goals in the last four games.