Monday, December 29, 2008


Is anyone else extremely excited for the winter classic this year? I really am, and honestly have no idea why… I guess it’s a mix of being on New year’s day, after all the festivities have ended, the fact that the game is outside (bonus for it being at Wrigley’s field), and maybe, just maybe, it’s just it’s timing.

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


To the greatest NHL team of all time,

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!

Yours truly,

Monday, December 1, 2008


Is it just me or are the top NHL goalies dropping like flies this year?

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.