montreal canadiens hockey – habs blog RSS

» 2006 » April

  • Do not mess with Don Koharski

    In a possible playoff preview the Canadiens topped the struggling Ottawa Senators for the 2nd time in the same week. The game was similar to last week’s where the Canadiens were badly outplayed in the first period and kept alive by David Aebischer’s goaltending.

    Luckily for the Canadiens Ray Emery is not a great goaltender and they fought their way back. Chris Higgins added to his very impressive goal total as did Sheldon Souray. Then probably after reading this site Richard Zednik DID decide to wake up and put some effort in his game which resulted in his game winning goal. For a reward he got a face full of crossbar and that’s what he’ll have to be willing to eat in order to be effective in the playoffs.

    Zednik is strange indeed. Maybe he only really cares near playoff time.Hopefully he’ll play with the same effort and intensity the remainder of the year as underneath it all there is some offensive skill.

    What can you say? Other than sleepwalking through the first period that game was highly entertaining and definitely had a playoff feel despite Daniel Alfredsson’s denial. After dropping 2 straight games including one at home to the 7th place seed and the Senators probable 1st round matchup, it must be all too familiar to him to hear questions about playoff intensity and losing.

    Don Koharski was in fine form last night calling wild penalties on both teams and even giving Sens coach Brian Murray the ‘throat slasher’ gesture. What was that about? That gesture is banned in the NFL and heavily fined and it’s always a player doing it to another player. Not an Official doing it to a coach.

    The Senators have dropped 4 straight which is their longest losing streak of the year. We should keep in mind this Senator team is not the real Senator team that has 50 wins. Zdeno Chara, Chris Phillips and Wade Redden all missing in action will be returning shortly. That makes quite a different team. But perhaps the Senators biggest hope is the health of Dominik Hasek as time and time again Ray Emery doesn’t look like an NHL goalie.

    I’d still take the Senators over the Canes in the first round. Even the healthy version. Should Hasek not be fully recovered or re-injure himself and they are banking on Emery, the Sens are definitely beatable. The last two games showed signs of a potentially great rivalry forming.

    Chris Neil is a guy you can easily hate. At the same time he’s a guy you’d want on your own team. Neil and Komisarek were at each other all night and looked like they were ready to go a few times. Should they meet in the first round that animosity would escalate game after game. Although he might not play once the Sens get healthy, Brad Norton is another guy you want to hate. Where did that tall, lanky Lurch on skates come from anyway? Garth Murray gave up 6 inches to him but didn’t back down and even landed a couple. Well considering his face is about 2 KM long it’s pretty hard to miss. Brian Smolinski also proved to be an angry agitating bald man capable of some cheap shots.

    All signs are pointing to a first round Habs and Senators playoff series and if it happens it looks to be a great one.

  • Five Alive

    There are 5 games left in the Canadiens regular season schedule and the Canadiens hold a 6 point lead over the 9th place Thrashers. Perhaps the most important game is the one tonight at home against the Ottawa Senators.

    Why so important? The obvious reason is the fact the Habs have yet to clinch a playoff spot but more importantly tonight we’ll see how the Canadiens can rebound after a loss. After 8 consecutive victories the Canadiens finally dropped a game. If they can come right back with a win against a good team they’ll maintain their position in the standings as well as their confidence. A loss will send the fickle Montreal fans who yesterday predicted the Stanley Cup back to criticizing the coach, GM, players and league. That’s just the way it goes in Montreal.

    There is a very real chance this will be a first round playoff matchup and if the Canadiens can win tonight after winning in Ottawa last week that’ll be a huge boost in their hope to realize a 1st round upset.

    The Habs will have to do it without Steve Begin whose sprained knee will probably keep him out for the remainder of the season. That means it is probable Richard Zednik gets a start again and hopefully he’ll wake up in time for the playoffs or find himself right back in the press box. Zednik has been simply ineffective in every way possible but traditionally ‘shows up’ in the playoffs. I honestly can’t even remember the last time Richard Zednik scored a goal. If someone wants to dig out that little gem go ahead. It’s too depressing a thought. I’d wager its somewhere between 15-20 games ago.

    Jan Bulis is still teetering on the brink of press box banishment. Despite scoring a couple times since returning to the lineup he has been equally responsible for goals against. Having Bulis and Zednik floating around isn’t something positive for Habs fans hoping for a deep playoff run. Although the depth players that replace them are playing consistent. Murray and Downey fit the Canadiens new style of play and prove they can chip in goals here and there which combined is far above what Bulis or Zednik can provide. You get the feeling if they don’t shape up soon their days as Canadiens are numbered. Perhaps they already are.

    Five games remain and anything can still happen. 5-0 or 0-5 would produce very different results. If the Canadiens manage at least a 2-3 record to finish the year they’ll be in. Then it becomes a new season where anything can happen.