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» 2010 » March

  • Game 75: Habs/Panthers
    I wont get too into the emotion of last night because everyone who watched clearly understands what a painful loss that was. The loser point really doesn’t begin to soothe the burn of losing a game in which we held a two goal, shut-out advantage late in the third period. Rocky said it best last night: Carey Price should sue this team. If we were in the US, he may even have a case. The kid makes 40 stops and is within 4 minutes of an incredible bounce back win after a prolonged sit on the bench. I wont even speculate the benefit to our team a win would have been last night – to re-energize BOTH goalies, as well as the rest of the club.
    IF we had won we’d be talking about the influence Mike Cammalleri had in stabilizing the Plekanec line. We’d be talking about maybe the streakyest player ever: Andrei Kostitsyn who ONLY scores in bunches. We’d be talking about the fantastic defensive play of many forwards including but not exclusive of : Gomez, Gionta, and Moore. We’d be talking about how the team played an effective, simple road game that witnessed our defenders play big time minutes and successfully stifle division rivals.
    Instead we watched in abject horror as a parade of Canadiens marched into the penalty box in the third/overtime which left the Canadiens killing off 1 and 2 man advantages (once Miller was pulled) for extended periods of the final minutes. I have to commend Price for doing all that he could to keep the puck out of the net, but there is only so much that a guy can do when pucks are pin-balling their way through sticks and legs and are left sitting on the doorstep for open players.
    Last night I watched the game online, and had the fortune of seeing a European feed of TSN which did not cut to commercials. I was able to hear the comments and set up that Pierre Mcguire, and Gord Miller made once the cameras and mics were “off”. It was interesting to hear what you normally wouldn’t. McGuire remarked in the third that the Habs were playing a solid road game and that if they could stay out of the penalty box they really deserved to win. Before overtime started, Miller exclaimed “this may be the least deserved point in the history of the Buffalo Sabres!”
    Maybe so, but you don’t always get what you deserve in the NHL. For 57 minutes the Habs did exactly what was necessary to win the hockey game (save for two knucle-head penalties by O’B and SK74). I wont get too into the emotion of last night because everyone who watched clearly understands what a painful loss that was. The loser point really doesn’t begin to soothe the burn of losing a game in which we held a two goal, shut-out advantage late in the third period. Rocky said it best last night: Carey Price should sue this team. If we were in the US, he may even have a case. The kid makes 40 stops and is within 4 minutes of an incredible bounce back win after a prolonged sit on the bench. I wont even speculate the benefit to our team a win would have been last night – to re-energize BOTH goalies, as well as the rest of the club.
    IF we had won we’d be talking about the influence Mike Cammalleri had in stabilizing the Plekanec line. We’d be talking about maybe the streakyest player ever: Andrei Kostitsyn who ONLY scores in bunches. We’d be talking about the fantastic defensive play of many forwards including but not exclusive of : Gomez, Gionta, and Moore. We’d be talking about how the team played an effective, simple road game that witnessed our defenders play big time minutes and successfully stifle division rivals.
    Instead we watched in abject horror as a parade of Canadiens marched into the penalty box in the third/overtime which left the Canadiens killing off 1 and 2 man advantages (once Miller was pulled) for extended periods of the final minutes. I have to commend Price for doing all that he could to keep the puck out of the net, but there is only so much that a guy can do when pucks are pin-balling their way through sticks and legs and are left sitting on the doorstep for open players.
    Last night I watched the game online, and had the fortune of seeing a European feed of TSN which did not cut to commercials. I was able to hear the comments and set up that Pierre Mcguire, and Gord Miller made once the cameras and mics were “off”. It was interesting to hear what you normally wouldn’t. McGuire remarked in the third that the Habs were playing a solid road game and that if they could stay out of the penalty box they really deserved to win. Before overtime started, Miller exclaimed “this may be the least deserved point in the history of the Buffalo Sabres!”
    Maybe so, but you don’t always get what you deserve in the NHL. For 57 minutes the Habs did exactly what was necessary to win the hockey game (save for two knucle-head penalties by O’B and SK74).

    I wont get too into the emotion of last night because everyone who watched clearly understands what a painful loss that was. The loser point really doesn’t begin to soothe the burn of losing a game in which we held a two goal, shut-out advantage late in the third period. Rocky said it best last night: Carey Price should sue this team. If we were in the US, he may even have a case. The kid makes 40 stops and is within 4 minutes of an incredible bounce back win after a prolonged sit on the bench. I wont even speculate the benefit to our team a win would have been last night – to re-energize BOTH goalies, as well as the rest of the club.

    IF we had won we’d be talking about the influence Mike Cammalleri had in stabilizing the Plekanec line. We’d be talking about maybe the streakyest player ever: Andrei Kostitsyn who ONLY scores in bunches. We’d be talking about the fantastic defensive play of many forwards including but not exclusive of : Gomez, Gionta, and Moore. We’d be talking about how the team played an effective, simple road game that witnessed our defenders play big time minutes and successfully stifle division rivals.

    Instead we watched in abject horror as a parade of Canadiens marched into the penalty box in the third/overtime which left the Canadiens killing off 1 and 2 man advantages (once Miller was pulled) for extended periods of the final minutes. I have to commend Price for doing all that he could to keep the puck out of the net, but there is only so much that a guy can do when pucks are pin-balling their way through sticks and legs and are left sitting on the doorstep for open players.

    Last night I watched the game online, and had the fortune of seeing a European feed of TSN which did not cut to commercials. I was able to hear the comments and set up that Pierre Mcguire, and Gord Miller made once the cameras and mics were “off”. It was interesting to hear what you normally wouldn’t. McGuire remarked in the third that the Habs were playing a solid road game and that if they could stay out of the penalty box they really deserved to win. Before overtime started, Miller exclaimed “this may be the least deserved point in the history of the Buffalo Sabres!”

    Maybe so, but you don’t always get what you deserve in the NHL. For 57 minutes the Habs did exactly what was necessary to win the hockey game (save for two knucle-head penalties by O’B and SK74).  They kept the game simple and for the most part were the better team. Thats where the positives stop. They gained a point, but have left the door open for Boston to pass them if they continue their (recent) good play. Atlanta is still 5 points back, so the playoffs are still ours to lose, but we all know that they are no guarantee.

    Tonight we have a critical game against the Panthers in Montreal.  It was a stinker against the Panthers before the Olympic break that sent shrieks of panic through the Habs’ blogosphere about the team’s post-season chances. You only hope that last night ticked the Habs off enough that they come out strong against a team that is out of playoff contention, but has played well of late.

  • Game 74: Habs/Sabres

    It will be interesting if not nerve-wracking for most Habs fans as we meet our divisional rivals in Buffalo at HSBC Arena tonight. The inconsistency of the 2009-2010 Canadiens team has left most fans with a sort of identity crisis and self-doubt normally reserved for dope smoking high-school kids. On a nightly basis we ponder which team will show its face. It is a tiring cycle that has been played out over and over this season with 2 or 3 games of hope, quickly followed by 2 or 3 of pain. And yet, I cant help but to feel that as fans we are often too emotionally connected to the ebbs and flow of a NHL season. If you stop and think about things in a wider perspective, the picture is never as good or bad as it may seem. The Habs are 7-2-1 over their past 10 games. Only Washington has a better record (7-1-2) in our conference. We have been as good as Detroit over our last 10 (7-2-1), and the only team with a better record in the West is Phoenix (9-1-0).  What that means is that in a 30 team league, 27 other teams have been at least as bad, if not worse than our own team over the past 10 games.

    That doesn’t count for much for those of us who watched as Montreal lost two winnable games over the past week. That said, every team loses. The NHL has only seen a few teams each season over the past 100 that could be truly labeled as consistent (in a way that you would want to be). The truth about the 09/10 Canadiens is that on most nights they are average. For a roster with the kind of turnover that ours has seen (even within this season) it might even be expected. There have been flashes of promise, and yet bitter disappointments.

    The good news is that our top goalscorer has returned from injury, as well as a guy who could answer all of our powerplay questions. I for one could not be more pleased to see them return. However, I have to agree with Eric Engel’s assessment of this team’s true need at this point: they have to get back to playing strongly WITHIN Martin’s system. It all starts with the forwards coming far back into the defensive zone for easier passes from our defensemen. This leads to far more successful breakouts, and typically causes turnovers that lead to odd-man rushes, and scoring chances. During the stretch of games that we won, we were able to use speed,  fore-checking and back-checking  to get defensemen and more importantly goalies out of position. If Montreal can return to this philosophy, they’ll be far more effective against an opponent that has employed this strategy very effectively at times this season.

    Big game. Go Habs Go!!!