Monday, December 29, 2008
I love this time of year hockey-wise. Everyone has some time off, so can actually take the time to watch full games here and there. The all-star game is just around the corner. The World Juniors is going on… in Canada no less! It’s a good time for hockey.
Yesterday, team Canada came up with a 15-0 win against Kazakhstan, and to be honest I felt incredibly bad for the Kazakh goalie, Andrey Yankov. This 19-year-old, only 5’8 and 128 pounds, was very good. I mean it’s definitely hard to judge a goalie when his team is doing nothing defensively or offensively, but there was some talent there… He kept it from being 20-0 or 30-0 … which with 69 shots from team Canada (including game high 9 shots each from John Tavares and D-man Ryan Ellis) that ending actually was plausible.
The Habs also played a great game Saturday night versus Pittsburg. While Pittsburg also played well, the difference it seemed was Andrei Kostitsyn, Tomas Plekanec, and Carey Price. I haven’t said that about the first two names many times this year, so it’s nice that they both finally brought their A-game.
Carey on the other hand, is just spectacular. Since a lot of Roy-comparisons have been brought up after that game, I thought I’d quickly address it. First of all, Roy made a comment in an interview after his jersey retirement that Carey was the most important player on the team… which I thought was a sweet and very out-of-character thing for him to say. Reporters have also asked him about the fact that Carey internalizes things and seems very calm all the time unlike Roy himself. Roy’s response was that to win Carey would need to stop being so nonchalant and really get frustrated and then he’d be able to win, and that until he did this, there would be little chance of a cup returning to Montreal.
This frustrates me because I think he’s wrong. I think that Carey gets mad when he loses. If you saw him after the game last week that he lost, it was very clear, not only in his body language, but in the way he was dealing with reporters. But I think that he deals with it differently than Roy, and honestly I think Carey does it right. He rarely lashes out at people, or blames others. He still has that burning desire to win, but he doesn’t always make his emotions visible to the outside world. While Roy thinks this is wrong, I think this is a talent, something useful, even on the ice. If he seems nonchalant when the other team scores, they won’t see how much it affected him. Every team just wants to get into the opposing goalie’s head (think Sean Avery and poor Marty Brodeur), but Price’s mind sometimes seems impenetrable. A good thing, no? You would think so…
To switch gears, and just because it’s that time of the year, here are some hockey-related holiday hopes:
* For the Canadiens to pile up a few wins before the all-star break…
* For some Habs to actually be at the all-star game…
* For team Canada to bring home the gold…
* For the winter classic to be a good hockey game…
* And of course for the Stanley Cup Winners this year to be the Montreal Canadiens.
Wishful thinking? We shall see…
Happy Holidays everyone!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
As much as I love you all, there are some things I need to get off of my chest after your mediocre (that’s putting it nicely) showing versus the Caps tonight.
First of all, you are all better than you think, and although there are some of you (ahem… Kovalev, Tanguay, Plekanec, Kostitsyns S & A, etc…) who need to regain your scoring touch, I think that the rest of you are relying on these players and not stepping up enough yourselves. Kovy may have been your saviour last year, but I think it’s time to realize that you can’t win based on one person’s performance. Hockey is team sport, so play it like one.
Second, the powerplay. I don’t care if you skate on your heads, or have Jaro come up and shoot the puck himself, but someone…. STEP UP AND SCORE! You can do it 5 on 5 but yet, when you have the advantage, you’re at a disadvantage… does this make any sense at all??? Cuz I’m at loss.
Third, Ovechkin makes pretty plays. Yes, we all see them. But that doesn’t give you the excuse to just watch him, and his highly talented linemates come flying down the ice, leaving your goaltender stranded. So next time, try skating and a little physical play. A few hits go a long way.
Fourth, speaking of goalies… Jaro Halak deserves a good showing from the rest of you. This is the second time he played a great game against Washington, and the second time the rest of the team was less than stellar. Carey Price is sick and possibly injured… Jaro’s going to need your support.
Fifth, somehow it seems that half the team is nursing some type of injury. The rest of you need to make up for it! Kudos to Josh Gorges for more than making up for Mike Komisarek’s absence in the lineup… Now we need someone to fill in for Koivu, and honestly that means you Kovy. You wore the “C” on your jersey tonight, so should therefore accept the responsibility, and be a leader. No more stupid penalties. Though you are different types of leaders (Koivu is emotional and you are task oriented) the key to your success as a team is the tandem that exists between the two of you. The team needs Koivu because he inspires the rest to step up and leads by example by bringing it every shift of every game. Kovy calls people out when they aren’t playing well, and brings that much needed offensive boost. So Kovy, work on finding that while Saku’s out, and if you’ve found it once he’s back, the team will be very well rounded.
Sixth, and this is to the fans, I can’t take the fact that after 3 straight wins and then an overtime loss there is talk of the need for the whole team to be traded. Also don’t see how booing the home team supports them, and how it in any way helps them improve. They’ve got real potential here, so stop antagonizing them: it makes it worse, not better.
Lastly, you guys are a really talented group, and just need to find yourselves… stop thinking about how many missed opportunities you’ve had, and start thinking about how many you’ve taken adavntage of. Just get on the ice and put your hearts into the game and you’ll get results. Yes, you do need to play 60 minutes to win a hockey game. Stop saying it and go out and do it. I know you can win and go far. You have 2 talented goalies and an awesome defense, and you should at least take pride in that, even if your offense is lacking of late. You are the ones who have the ability to change things, so if you want a change to be made, as a team you need to do something about it. That’s the only way to be successful… TEAMWORK!
Anyway, keep at it, you guys can do it!
Monday, December 1, 2008
First it was Marty Brodeur, Rick DiPietro, Pascale Leclaire, Marc-Andre-Fleury, Evgeni Nabokov, Roberto Luongo, and now it’s latest additions Cam Ward (groin), Marty Biron (shoulder, though he played through it), Kari Lehtonen (back), Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) and Tim Thomas (illness). What is going on?
Thankfully Leclaire and Nabokov have since returned, but for the others, all staples of their respective organizations, the road to recovery may be a long one. Counting only those above (and excluding Biron), 10 out of the 30 teams have lost their starter goalie at some point during the season… One third. One third of teams’ MVPs have gotten hurt? … Something is seriously wrong with this picture.
Are they not getting enough protection? Are they not well conditioned enough?
Not enough conditioning is very unlikely… goalies like Cam Ward, Roberto Luongo and Marty Brodeur are considered highly athletic. Most of the rest on the injury list are as well. But with so many groin injuries of late, perhaps that area is not being well stretched enough.
Protection? Well it’s a possibility, especially since there are so many injuries specifically affecting goalies … Maybe the padding isn’t sturdy or thick enough, but more pressing is the fact that there has been a lot of crashing the crease lately, and in comparison few goaltender interference calls… Maybe the refs need to step in and protect our guys more often, because without incredibly talented goalies, hockey would become quite the boring sport… what would a goal be without the possibility of a spectacular save? Where would hockey be without the likes of Jacques Plante, Patrick Roy and soon to be record holder (well, once he’s recovered anyway) Marty Brodeur? Let’s just put it this way: I’d rather not find out, though the way things are going, we may find out sooner than we think.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
But enough with the negative, because tonight was anything but. Everyone showed up tonight. Dandenault looked wonderful on defense with his old buddy Bouillon. The Kostitsyns played really well together (though Sergei got way too many penalties). Robert Lang and Kovy were solid. Max looked really good and made an awesome pass to Begin for the goal. The Captain as usual played his little heart out. It was an all around good team effort and win. Price was good when he needed to be, and defensively we were pretty sound.
I loved the fact Komisarek was “Assistant coach for the day”… he seemed really into it, behind the bench, and I’m sure he enjoyed being back near the ice. He was very excited about it after the game, when he was interviewed, and Mathieu Dandenault said he did a great job. I think this just gives the team a little boost to have him close again. Hopefully he’ll get better fast and be back on the ice ASAP!
After the horrible, headache-inducing game in Washington, the team responded really well and we can only hope they’ll keep at it from here… The biggest problem we have is consistency. Our defense and goalies always seem to give us the opportunity to win, but our forwards are nowhere to be seen, and really need to step up and score. We have the talent, but do we have the heart? I see it, but the players themselves don’t seem to.
Until Tuesday night when the Thrashers come a-thrashing in…
Thursday, November 27, 2008
And to top it all off, it was against the “only-a-2-in-the-L-column” Detroit Red Wings, a team that we haven’t won against since… 1) Matheiu Garon was in nets 2) before the lockout 3) Nick Sundstrom (anyone remember him?) was still on the team 4) Mathieu Dandenault was on the other side of the ice and 5) The Bell Centre had empty seats.
All that goes to show is that 5 years is a really long time in the hockey world, but then again it’s pretty short… if I’d have you guess the only current-Hab on the score sheet I’d bet you’d most likely be wrong…. drumroll please…. Steve Begin, getting his first goal of the season that year.
From that, we can tell that this much hasn’t changed: our fourth line still does most of the dirty work and comes up big in wins, our power-play is about the same – awful (going 0-for-5 in that game in 2003) AND Chris Lee is still handing out penalties by the Zamboni-load.
Well we can be thankful he wasn’t reffing the game tonight… fewer penalties gave a wonderful flowy-ness to it, and the guys from both sides were able to display their talent and skill. But it was the Habs who brought it home. Dominant for the first two periods, and playing safe defensive hockey the third, they rightfully took the win from right under the Red Wings, coming back from a – let’s just call it unpleasant – shoot out loss Monday night against the Islanders.
When you get to thinking about it… if it weren’t for the unpleasantness, would we have responded with such a solid effort tonight? I’m not so sure. We needed a wake up call, and that we got… though we should have been answering for days now, but apparently we only got to picking up the phone tonight.
You’re only as good as your next game, and ours is against Hat-trick Ovechkin and his merry Capitals, who will try to rob us of our newly acquired confidence & momentum. The Ovechkin show is always a pleasure to watch (from a fan’s perspective anyhow), but let’s hope our boys don’t get too caught up in it on the ice; we all know how mesmerizing Alex can be. Another hard-earned win would do us wonders… Friday can’t come any quicker!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Habs played and played hard. So did the Bruins. It was honestly a toss-up as to who would win… would Carey or Tim Thomas make that extra save… it was Thomas, but Carey was phenomenal as well.
But it was the whole history and emotion that the game was played with which touched me, and I’m sure many other fans as well. You could tell the Habs wanted to win this for Patrick… and they almost did.
Kostpoulos (or rather Tommy Non-stopoulos – his nickname in junior) came up huge. What a game for him!
The pregame ceremony was moving… I’ll admit I was in tears… all the bad blood was finally washed away (well except maybe for the newer bad blood, after hearing the boos directed at Jonathan Roy, surely received for his attack on Bobby Nadeau last year) and Patrick Roy was finally welcomed home. For the first time, I saw him as a small man… normally his cocky personality makes him seem so big, but today he was small, and humble, and showed how much he truly wanted to be back, and I think he definitely deserved the seemingly endless standing ovation that he got.
As I’m writing this, I’m watching him in an interview on RDS, and he just picked Carey Price as who he thinks is the most important player in the league. To me this seemed very unlike Roy, so willing to dole out compliments, and I think that Carey will be very appreciative of his comment. It’ll be a big positive for Carey to know that one of the best goalies of all time has that much confidence in his abilities as a goalie. He is a true talent, and undoubtedly one day he’ll match, if not break many of Roy’s records. It was nice that Roy’s records stayed intact for his jersey retirement, but with Brodeur so close, and Price on the way, they probably won’t stay that way for long. But hey, records are meant to be broken right?
After a wonderful night like that, the Habs shouldn’t be too upset with their performance. Their defence has finally improved, and they are finally playing as a team.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I’ll admit, thinking about winning against the Senators, who are currently the holders of last place in the East, I hoped for another shutout for Price, and awesome night for the rest of the guys. But honestly what we got was a million times better.
It was a win that we worked so incredibly hard for. Every second that they even thought about giving up in the end was followed by a burst of energy and scoring opportunity. Markov really saved us, with his rocket from the point (channeling a little Souray maybe?)… what a shot that was, and what a happy player. Usually he doesn’t seem to react as much when he scores, but today he pumped his fist like he had never pumped before.
Overtime was ridiculous… especially after the scary Latendresse high-sticking penalty at the end of the 3rd. The game kept going back and forth to a point where dizziness almost set in. It was a nail-biting addition to an already nerve-wracking game.
Then came the shootout… and just when you thought Price couldn’t be any better, he comes up with that jaw-dropping save on Ruutu. Then we all expected Saku to score for the fairytale ending… but we were being led on… it would end that way, fortunately, but only after another heart-pounding round of shootouts… then Tanguay (who I actually hoped Carbo would put on) came up with the weirdest but most incredible and timely shootout goal… he went the same way as Markov did but was so close to Auld, that the poor goalie could probably feel his breath down his neck.
I have never seen Carbonneau so ecstatic… his smile lasted all the way through his post-game conference, and I’m sure it’ll still be there in the morning. Even the players were smiling so much their faces almost looked distorted… It was truly a wonderful game, and hopefully the Habs can finally take this momentum and run with it, like we all know they’re capable of doing!
Next up: Patrick Roy night… we’d better bring it.
CONFIDENCE. It’s what’s missing from so many teams and players in the league lately. When you see the likes of Lecavalier and St. Louis who are extraordinary, playing the worst hockey of their careers, it raises questions. Who is at fault… is it the players, for not stepping up and working hard? Is it the coaches for not instilling enough respect and confidence in their players? Is it a mix of the two?
Alfreddson, Spezza, Heatley, Modano, Richards… I mean how often is it that you see Dallas and Ottawa in the bottom 5 teams in the league? It seems that organizations tend to have star players, and the problem with this is that when it doesn’t work for your stars the whole team seems to crumble, and it’s like this across the board.
Tonight Montreal, who usually has 3 scoring lines but whom last year heavily relied on Alex Kovalev, lost a game against the Hurricanes. Now I’m not knocking the ‘Canes. They has an okay game, as did the Habs but honestly something knocked the wind out of the Canadiens’ sails recently and they just can’t score… in the past 4 games we’ve scored an abysmal 6 goals… 6 GOALS! You can’t win when scoring less than 2 goals a game… especially when your goalies aren’t playing to their potential (granted Price was amazing tonight)!
Even Crosby and Ovechkin aren’t producing… at least in terms of goals… with 13 between them, it’s a bit ridiculous. Yes, they both are at more than a point per game, but with their talent, they could be scoring more. What happened to those competitive rookies who fought for the Calder to the bitter end? I haven’t seen either of those players this year.
But on the flip side, there are some tiny rays of hope that are poking through… Let’s take the Devils. Good team, known for their utterly boring style of play, but also known for their utterly amazing goaltender, who gives them the chance to be a contending team every year.
He goes down. → Everyone thought the team would too. → They did.
But they are slowly turning things around, trying to adjust to life without Marty and thankfully are still #8 in the East.
Another bright spot: Detroit. Either Mike Babcock is the greatest coach of all time, or his players just happen to be the greatest… he gets them to compete ever year bar none… they are talented yes, but they work hard and are a brick wall to opponents during the season.
Other teams need to take a page out of the Babcock / Brodeur book and get working. The talent needs to be there but if the workhorse personality is not than the talent is useless.
Kovalev stepped up last year, and we grew to rely on him. He either needs to step up again, just like the other “star” players around the league need to, or maybe instead, the rest of the league should finally to learn to rely on themselves – because no matter their talent level, if they put in enough work and give it their all effort-wise they’ll get the results.
As I was watching the Habs shootout against the Blues, I couldn’t help but notice that the announcer in St. Louis explained the rules of the shootout to the fans who were there. I’ve only been to one game that ended up in a shootout here in Montreal, but I didn’t notice our announcer give this explanation… Though it’s quite possible that I may have just not noticed it at the time, I was wondering if it was common practice at other arenas to do this, or if it was something done solely in St. Louis. Just curious I guess! Thanks in advance for your comments!
Tonight before the game, many of us were wondering which Canadiens team would show up… would it be the invincible, hard-workers we saw Tuesday night at the Bell Centre? Would it be the worst team in the league, who we saw last Saturday at the ACC and Thursday vs. the Bruins? Or would it be somewhere in between?
Fortunately it was the latter… there were no heroics unfortunately, except maybe from Jaroslav Halak, who kept them in the game, despite them playing, at best, in a very mediocre fashion, and Saku Koivu, who is the star forechecker and work horse of the team.
They weren’t bad tonight, but they definitely weren’t good. The effort they put in was at least visible tonight, unlike the past couple of games (excluding Tuesday night of course), but they weren’t able to finish. Anything. It was kind of sad actually.
I don’t think the Flyers were that much better… they were a bit better obviously, but we could have beaten them, had we tried a bit harder.
Also Marty Biron was pretty outstanding. It wasn’t really a battle of goaltenders, though both Biron and Jaro played extremely well… it was the teams in front of them that weren’t that great.
It was an average game, nothing too interesting or flashy, so we are going to have to do better tomorrow night.
Some notes on the players:
- Andrei Kostitsyn is missing in action… and his brother is pretty much hiding out with him, but at least Sergei comes up with a good play once in a while. Where are you Andrei?!
-Gorges has been amazing lately… he has developed so well, and is really an incredible asset to our team, as is Hamrlik… speaking of Hamrlik, he is our hidden gem… kind of like what Markov was a couple of years ago – a solid hard worker with a lot of talent, who tends to go unnoticed.
For those who are freaking out, thinking that 2 losses in a row, we are screwed for the season, you’re wrong. I don’t think there’s need to panic. We have a solid core, and all they’re lacking is a bit of confidence. I think things will be better tomorrow night, since Kostopoulos will be back. He may not be a big scorer, but at least he gives it his all every game, and plays with a lot of heart, and at this point, I think that’s what we need. All we’re missing is a little bit of trust. In ourselves. They need to come up with a big win tomorrow. Let’s hope they know they can do it, because I for one know that they can!
Oh and p.s. I loved the vintage jerseys, the habs were stylin’ tonight! lol
Sorry this is on the older side - (November 9th)
For those of you who saw the Toronto-Montreal game tonight, you must have seen the Kostopoulos hit on Van Ryn.
I’m all for stricter punishments on hits from behind, but I think his punishment was a little severe. Tom is not a player who does things like that on purpose. I think he’s one of the more respectable grinders in the game. I don’t think he should have gotten a game misconduct, but I guess since he took Van Ryn out of the game (poor guy, has a broken finger, nose and a concussion the last I heard…), it’s only fair that he was out as well… but I stick by my point that he did not intend to hurt Van Ryn.
He was actually interviewed after the game, and he looked visibly distraught over what had happened, almost in tears it seemed… he said he felt bad about it, and he wouldn’t have done it had he known this would be the result. He also said he was going to try and call Van Ryn to make sure he was okay.
I’d think that almost anyone in his position would say those things, but this isn’t the case… how many times have we seen dirty hits that are on purpose, and the hitter doesn’t seem to comprehend the gravity of the situation…
Kostopoulos at least understood this.
Hopefully Van Ryn will be okay, and heal quickly… and I really hope that Kostopoulos won’t get a suspension… he doesn’t deserve it, I’m hoping the league will see that.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Mike Richards is a talented young captain, who seems to lead by example. If he wants something done, he’ll do it himself and he’ll do it to the best of his ability. I actually picked him for one of my hockey pools this year, because he’s one of those players who you know will produce, no matter how bad the team is playing. I’m actually really not a fan of the flyers, mainly due to their style of play, but even though Richards plays with that grit, he’s got another side to him, and that is what makes him so likeable among teammates and fans.
Brenden Morrow, on the other hand, is a seasoned veteran who still has the energy of a young gun. He’s another great captain, who also leads by example. But it seems, in addition, that he has a core of leaders like Mike Modano on the Stars, which makes him lucky as well. I am a fan of the Stars (excluding the game that happened a few nights ago, which can only be described as Sean Avery / Steve Ott Cheap Shot Night), and Morrow, among others, is one of the reasons. He’s a workhorse, and never stops until the job is done. He’s truly respected around the league, and it’s obvious from the level of sportsmanship he displays, why that is.
I honestly can’t decide who is better, now that I think of it. Richards has the bonus of being young and having more years of hockey left in him, but Morrow has the bonus of being slightly older, and having that veteran experience. Both are great leaders, and seem to have similar styles of leading, and come to think of it, comparable styles of play. Both are the present and future of this league, and if we had more players like them and less of the Avery’s and Ott’s of the world, hockey would be a much better, more admirable place.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I’ll be honest, after the second period, I came on here thinking I was going to blog about how absolutely awful the Habs were playing… but there was something in me that said no, we still have a chance.. albeit a slight one.
So luckily I waited. I sat and watched that third period with a feeling of hope. They could do it, I knew, but it would depend on how much they were willing to sacrifice of themselves.
The third period was the reason I watch and love hockey. It was the ultimate show of team strength, not physical but mental. I am still speechless on the amount character and unwillingness to give up that the Canadiens exhibited. Plekanec found his wings, as did Higgins. Kovalev was incredible. Saku was amazing. The list goes on and on… The Plekanec line FINALLY was able to produce. It was just incredible, wonderful and astonishing. You could almost feel the magic in the air.
Carbonneau should be proud of how remarkable that period was, especially after playing the worst hockey they’ve played all season in the first two.
The Canadiens were mind-blowingly amazing and this 3rd period was the first glimpse of a team that can (and hopefully will) win the Stanley cup this year.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
You either love ‘em or you hate ’em, but the CBC network & those who make up the Hockey Night in Canada team are sometimes enough to get on the nerves of even the most patient of people.I’m a Habs fan, and as most of you may know, as a group we are generally not the biggest fans of CBC for the way they have treated the Canadiens in the past…
But I personally give them credit… the past 2 years or so, I have seen them put a huge effort into winning over some of the Habs fans by giving us a few more games and treated them a bit more fairly during their broadcasts. But I’ve been getting a little frustrated lately…
1) Have any of you noticed these cbcsports ads on nhl.com?
I saw one about a week before the season opener for Montreal, and it said something to the effect of – Montreal plays Toronto to kick off their Centennial Season… and this frustrated me to no end… How did they not notice our first game was against buffalo?!?!?! They sure missed that one!
Then today I see this new one “Spezza, Heatley in action versus Toskala and the resurging maple leafs”… and I burst out laughing… RESURGING???!?!? … then I thought maybe I’d been out of it lately so I went to Yahoo! Sports to check my facts… This is the record of the Leafs their past 5 games:
Anaheim – Overtime loss
Pittsburg – Loss
NY Rangers – Overtime loss
St. Louis – Overtime loss
Montreal – Loss
I have been trying to sympathize with the Leafs and their fans and I even see they have something going for them this year… but to say they are resurging is a bit ridiculous…
2) Don Cherry… Some days I like him, some days I can’t take him… but I always do enjoy watching him. First of all he’s really rude and overbearing with Ron, who just grins and bears it. I’d love to see the day that he’d stand up to him… Oh well, I’m not holding my breath. But people listen to him, and he too has been improving with his Habs related info… he went from bashing us, to completely ignoring us… but hey an improvement’s an improvement! Though he does have his once-in-a-while mentionning of his love for our captain “Kovo”, (yes, Kovo…) and how Price is one of his good old Canadian boys.
Despite my sarcastic angle here, he’s good at his job, and I do appreciate his work.
3) Yvon Pedneault… Yvon was a staple on RDS and now that he’s here at CBC, I can’t help but feel sorry for him… it seemed like the other commentators didn’t really appreciate his expertise, but considering the problem is due mainly to the language barrier, I understand where they are coming from. He seemed a bit shy and stand-offish, but trust me, it was just the fact that he was overthinking his words… I think his value to HNIC will grow with experience in English broadcasting.
Well that’s my rant for the day… I in no means meant to insult anyone or dissuade anyone from watching CBC… I really don’t mind them at all, I even like them… But as I mentionned before, sometimes things get on the nerves of even the most patient of people.
When Luc Bourdon passed away last year, it really affected me. I couldn’t comprehend how someone so young and so talented, could just be gone so suddenly. He had just turned 21, and he died the day before my 20th birthday. It got me to thinking… this is someone who had theoretically acheived his major goal in life, playing for an NHL team as well as representing Team Canada and winning multiple gold medals. All I could think was what could I say for myself? What had I ever acheived in comparison? What was the point of it all? Luc’s death made me take a long hard look at myself, and made me realize the importance of going after your goals, and stopping at nothing to succeed. In that way he helped me find the courage to make some major changes in my life, and for that I will always be greatful.
Today, when I went onto habsinsideout.com (part of my usual routine) and saw the Alexei Cherepanov had passed away, I had a different reaction at first than the one I had had when I found out about Luc. It was one of complete and utter shock. When I found out about Luc, I couldn’t believe it, but I felt complete sadness right from the beginning. With Alexei, I have never felt such a horrible feeling of shock in my life. Another young, talented player. Another loss.
You’d think we would be used to loss by now. We see it daily, are even desensitized to it by the media and yet sometimes you just get this horrible slap in the face.
I am now feeling intense sadness… thinking about how much he accomplished, but of how much more he still could.
The one source of comfort for me is that he died playing the game that he loved, even scoring a goal that game. He was a fierce competitor, an undeniable success and an amazingly happy and gracious person. My thoughts go out to his family. Пока Алексей. Мы тебя любим.
I must admit, the Leafs surprised me tonight… this coming from an avid Habs fan, who has felt nothing but disdain for them in the past.
In a 6-1 game, you may think that there probably wasn’t much that Toronto put on the table, but for the first time in a long time I saw potential.
I think that mainly came from Ron Wilson who seems to exude a confidence, not only in his players but in his own ability to make them believe that they can be great.
You can’t really talk about the team as a whole, because it’s piecey at best… but some of those pieces are developing or may someday develop into really talented, even coveted players: I’m talking about the Stajan’s, Steen’s and Schenn’s of the Leafs. The management finally seems to be taking a page from Gainey’s book and looking to get players through the system instead of making an impulse buy here and there.
I’m not saying that they are anywhere near becoming a contending team… they have a ways to go… but I saw a spark tonight… an undeniable spark.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
We think we’ll never see the day that we’ll have too many good players on the team…
I mean look at the Leafs… we trade them Grabovski and now he’s their number one center. It makes you wonder what is going on in that organization…
Regardless, I look at the Habs this year and they seem to have an excess of excellence! They still need to cut 4 players and it’s hard, when players who were thought of as locks to play in Hamilton turn up the heat and play their hearts out in the preseason.
A perfect example of this is Max Pacioretty. This guy is just incredible. He seems to have such skill & hockey sense at such a young age, and with his play should be a shoe-in for a spot on the Canadiens roster. But no matter his determination and work ethic… it seems there is little, if any space for him.
I mean as I see it, up front we have:
And Price & Halak in nets…
That leaves 3 spots on a 23-man roster, two of which will certainly go to Laraque and Brisebois. That leaves Chipchura, Max Pac, Dandenault & Weber (as well as Denis, but I’m thinking he’ll be in Hamilton quite soon).
Assuming Dandenault doesn’t get traded, he seems like the guy that they’ll keep for that 3rd spot because of his experience & leadership. He’s one of the fastest (if not the fastest) skaters on the team hands-down, and he doesn’t mind being shuffled from defense to forward and back again.
Chipchura has had a so-so training camp, but he’s a talented young player, who hopefully will get his chance eventually, but he didn’t shine enough this year to bump someone else out of the roster.
Pacioretty on the other hand did. He outplayed and outskated many of the players, and easily made the biggest impression of any rookie at camp (though Weber had a good camp as well). You can tell he wants it, and that he wants it bad, but is his best better than someone on our current roster? If not, or if Carbonneau and Gainey have any uncertainty at all, I think he’d be better off in the minors, to be able to play a lot and work on some aspects of his game. But if they are sure, then someone is going to be sent packing… With such a solid roster, I really wonder who that person could be…
Saturday, September 13, 2008
As much as I would have enjoyed having Sundin, I think that Lang is a perfect addition to the team at a little bit cheaper of a price (he makes about $4 million according to sportsnet.ca). He's got a big body, is the centerman we've been looking for, plus has that experience with Kovalev, and as we've seen in the past few years (though last year was an exception) it's sometimes tough to find players who have the talent to support Kovy. Plus he's played for a long time, so hopefully will have that veteran presence in the dressing room, among many of our young guys.
Second, Brisebois's back, which I'll admit, I'm really happy about. I remember last year attending the home opener and being terrified that he'd be booed, but we ended up giving him a standing ovation... he had a great season, and I think that all the players like him, and will happy to have him back. He really fought the controversy well, and deserves a spot on the team.
I think we have an awesome team this year, and that for the first time in a long time, we've filled all the gaps that we've had. We have a really solid offense, an equally solid defense, and 2 awesome young goalies who have unlimited potential. I think that they are the only question mark on the team... if Price & Halak play well, the team will go extremely far, but if for some reason they don't, then we'll have an uphill climb. But odds are, they'll push each other to do well, and our team will hopefully have a successful year!
Training camp in a week, and rookie camp in 2 days. This year is starting to look quite exciting!
Go Habs Go!