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» 2006 » March

  • Must Win Game #2: Capitals
    The Montreal Canadiens will play 5 games in the next 7 nights in what will likely determine their inclusion or exclusion from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    The Habs aren’t making it easy on themselves after losing their first of 10 must win games against the bottom dwelling Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Tonight they face a similar team in the Washington Captials. A team equipped with Calder Trophy shoe-in Alexander Ovechkin. A team that beat the Canadiens 5-1 this year.

    The Canadiens will be without Francis Bouillon for at least the next two games. Andrei Markov’s status is still undetermined and that doesn’t bode well for Les Habitants. Andrei Markov is arguably the Canadiens MVP and without him they struggle considerably.

    The Pittsburgh game had to have been an eye opener because if they continue on this route they will not play in late April. Washington is an absolute MUST WIN game. The Habs have dropped 3 straight games and with little time left a loss to the Capitals could be disastrous.

    Facing the Islanders and Leafs twice this week the Habs need the 2 points tonight to pad the thin decaying cushion they’re sitting on.

    It’s time to step up.

  • Michael Ryder and the French Media

    The Canadiens blew a golden chance yesterday. Atlanta and Toronto both lost leaving the Canadiens a last place team to beat at home in order to secure 2 more points in the playoff race. They failed. For the 3rd time. Aebischer played poorly and the Canadiens didn’t help. It’s once again obvious to see, without Andrei Markov the team is not even half as good.

    The real story was the injury to Francis Bouillon. Crashed heavily into the boards and taken away on a stretcher. It looks like there is no break but they are unsure of his status. If it happens to be serious and sideline him for anything more than a couple games – it could be lights out for the Habs. Bouillon is pound for pound the toughest Canadien. He plays way bigger than his size and is very important to the defence. Unhealthy Markov and Bouillon is not good news. It also means Todd Simpson is likely to play his first game as a Canadien.

    If you watch the game on RDS have you noticed the french broadcasters singling out Michael Ryder game after game as the reason for the Habs losses or poor play? Every time Ryder touches the puck or misses a shot or does anything but score a goal they’re all over him.

    Is Ryder in a bit of a slump? Yes. Is he alone responsible for the team losing? NO. Is he still the highest goal scorer on the Canadiens? YES. Does he put up more goals and points than players paid much more than he? YES. Is Ryder an 8th round (216 overall pick) Calder Trophy finalist who has far exceeded his expectations? YES. Is he from Newfoundland and not Quebec? YES.

    To attack Michael Ryder must be easy for Yvon Pedenault. Ryder isn’t a french name.
    I don’t recall the same criticism for the Canadiens floating frenchmen this season.

    Where was the Mathieu Dandenault commentary when he was -500 and scored 0 goals for 80% of the season? Where was and is the Mike Ribeiro trashing? Where is the Pierre Dagenais criticism? Oh wait he doesn’t even play in the league anymore. Did they pick on Jose Theodore and blame him when he was 100% obviously the reason the Canadiens lost so many games this year? No. It was ‘un manque de concentration’. Where’s the criticism on the countless number of squandered Quebecois draft picks over the past 15 years? It’s non-existent.

    But…..watch out if Ryder missed the net though because that’s the reason and the only reason the Canadiens are struggling for 8th spot.