A few thoughts ahead of this afternoon’s matinee game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens.
– For the second game in a row, the Canadiens play an opponent that should have fans excited – but won’t – as a result of dangerous, unpunished head-shots. Sidney Crosby, who’s former childhood love for the CH (one his father still admits to) used to make these matchups big time news in Montreal. Unfortunately he is nowhere near close to returning to the line-up. Crosby, who was leading the league in scoring when he was injured by an unnecessary “accidental” shot to his head has missed the last 25+ games with no expected date for return. The fact that Crosby still leads his team in scoring by 20 points after such a long absence gives you some kind of indication just how dumb the NHL has become on this issue – that there was no penalty, nor suspension on the play.
– Anyone else feel a foreboding sense of doom regarding the Canadiens’ potential offense moving forward without Max Pacioretty? Around the league people may not be aware of how critical Patches had become to the Habs offense – but we’re well aware that he may have been THE most important player in our line up on offense. If Pacioretty had played in all 68 games thus far this season he would trail only Tomas Plekanec in team scoring with 44 points. If you account for the ‘slowish’ start he had after he was called up, Max would have even more. More importantly however, Pacioretty was finally solving a 2 year long issue of powerplay production by a forward stationed in front of the opposing net. His size and strength are sorely missed and so obviously absent when he is not in the lineup. 25% of Pacioretty’s point production came on the powerplay – although in recent games that figure was much higher. If the Habs are going to have a shot down the stretch – they desperately need to find a way to replace Max’s production.
– Finally, I’d like to direct your attention to this article by Ken Dryden regarding concussions in sport. Not only is Dryden a legend within the sport – he is also one of its most intelligent advocates (and sometimes critic). His brilliant article appeared in the Globe and Mail this morning. I simply couldn’t leave it out of today’s blog because Dryden is a desperately needed voice of reason who acts and thinks outside of the ‘old boys club’ logic of the NHL. His thoughts cut through the false logic and chest-beating that stand in the way progressive change on the NHL. Here is the link.
Go Habs Go!!!