Sunday, November 30, 2008


And in saying “finally”, I’m really hoping it doesn’t mean “finally for today, but the next game we’ll lose 2-1 in overtime”… But I guess you never know, since that’s how the Habs have been playing of late.

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


Just when you thought the glue holding the Canadiens together was starting to disintegrate, Alex Kovalev showed tiny gleams of the player we all know he has the potential to be, Tomas Plekanec partied like it was 2007 and Chris Higgins finally hit the back of the net after missing so many golden opportunities: talk about killing 3 birds with one stone!

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.


(November 19th)

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.

More a general question than a blog...

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!

A Big Effort but...

Again a little old - (November 15th)

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

The Kostopoulos Hit...

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

Richards vs. Morrow

I’ve actually been a fan of both Mike Richards and Brenden Morrow for a while. They are both gritty forwards who risk so much of themselves for the game. They’ve both got speed, skill and raw talent, making both assets of extreme importance to their respective teams. Most of all they share a true love and passion for the game, which they use as a starting point for how they lead.

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.