The Montreal Canadiens fell 3-2 to the Calgary Flames in the first game of their long road trip.
The Canadiens came out strong and took the lead with a powerplay goal. The Canadiens powerplay is on fire lately which for whatever reason is not a common thing for the Habs.
Without a doubt the turning point of the game came when Sheldon Souray and Darren McCarty dropped the gloves and engaged in fisticuffs. Right off the bat it was a clean start with both players shedding the gloves and dancing around a few seconds before getting in there. As unbiased as I can be, Sheldon Souray destroyed McCarty and specifically one left connected right above his eye and busted him open spilling blood everywhere. The fight went on and to his credit, McCarty got in a couple before it was over but he was clearly a bloody mess and Souray’s helmet and jersey were spattered with Flames blood. Souray then shared a few words face to face with McCarty as they were seperating – I’m extremely curious to know what he said.
What a great boost right? The team will surely be pumped after Souray’s show. Wrong.
Sheldon Souray was then assesed a 5 minute match penalty and kicked out of the game. Why? Instigating? “Pulling hair” ? The fight was clean and a mutual engagement. It was baffling to say the least and also meant the Habs defence already without Andrei Markov, now dropped another important player.
“Initially, it was thought Souray was assessed the match penalty because during the fight his elbow made contact with McCartyâ€™s face and there was one point, briefly, where it looked as though Sourayâ€™s fingers may have gone into McCartyâ€™s eye.
But, in fact, the match was assessed automatically when the officials noted Sourayâ€™s wrist brace, which he wears for his surgically-repaired wrist. When a player is cut, like McCarty was, and the officials note the presence of any foreign material in the hand area, the match penalty is automatically assessed.”
I’ve never seen this penalty called before. I guess by the book it has to be called but give me a break, Souray’s wrist brace? That’s what inflicted the damage to McCarty? That warrants a 5 minute penalty and expulsion? I guess Sheldon won’t be dropping the gloves anymore, or maybe he’ll just have to refrain from turning the other guys face into pulp.
Needless to say, the Canadiens took another penalty and then gave up a goal down 5-3. Despite a late goal by Kovalev they couldn’t come back even with Radek Bonk pulling some moves out of nowhere and streaking in on Kiprusoff.
Souray will be in the lineup Saturday against Vancouver.