Monday, February 2, 2009


Before I start, let me just make one thing clear about yesterday’s game. We needed a confidence-booster to give us the momentum to make a good run to the playoffs and didn’t get it. That fact is scaring Montreal fans into thinking the worst: that our Montreal Canadiens may not even make the playoffs despite all indications at the beginning of the season pointing the other way.

Looking a little “Where’s Waldo”-like, in the 1912-1913 Canadiens’ uniforms, the Habs lost a big one yesterday afternoon against the big bad Bruins. One game doesn’t seem like that big of a loss… but a weekend culminating in the loss of Josh Gorges, a solid and mostly consistent defenseman, Guillaume Latendresse, who has been playing well of late, and Robert Lang, our number one scorer, does. The question is, what are we going to do now?

When about 20 games back we lost Koivu, Higgins and Tanguay among others we thought the worst. But guys like Pacioretty and D’agostini showed us that there wasn’t much to fear. The problem is that when the Canadiens called Hamilton for help, they answered, BIGTIME. But now, who is left down there in the reserves, able enough to give us a much needed scoring jolt?

We’ve called up Chipchura in the past, but his potential is a solid PK guy, maybe a 3rd or 4th line centre. Not the scoring touch we’re looking for. We’ll probably need to call up Weber, now that Gorges is injured, and Breezer is ailing. Maybe give Greg Stewart and Ben Maxwell another go… But these are clearly not the long-term answers.

I’m the last person who’d sanction a trade, but I’m thinking we may have no choice, and that depresses me beyond belief. I think our guys can do it themselves, but if they are all injured then I don’t know how that’ll be possible. It’s a little scary, how injury-ridden the team has been after a great start. Komisarek, Price, Laraque, Dandenault, Andrei Kostitsyn as well as all those mentioned above… it seems like there are more players who have been injured at sometime during the season than those who have been healthy straight through.

Thankfully Markov has been fine, because without him, we’d be lost. He has been the only consistent defenceman (and player in general) of late, and has remarkable offensive skill to boot.

I feel like a broken record, but Alex Kovalev needs to do something. Anything. It seems like the high from all-star weekend is wearing off, the “C” on his jersey has disappeared and with it his desire and the undeniable presence that usually transpires just from his being on the ice. I noticed him twice all weekend. Once because I couldn’t find him on the ice and spotted him on the bench shaking his head (Carbo was sitting him in the third as punishment for his play (or lack thereof)), and the second was for one of his trademark cross-ice passes, that ended up on the stick of a Bruin. He has the talent, he has the skill, he should have the desire… what’s missing? Is it possible it’s the energy? He looked tired both days… and it showed on the ice. His plays were sloppy, and his passes rarely reached their targets. He had 1 shot on goal through 2 games. He was a -2 on the weekend. He needs to find some motivation… a reason why he wants another Stanley Cup ring, and needs to rest up and recuperate from whatever is making him so tired, otherwise I’m not sure if I see him being re-signed for the next season. It’s sad because, if he does end up leaving, it will be a great loss for the city of Montreal. As one of his old colleagues said on CBC recently, every team that doesn’t have a Kovalev wants one, but those who have one don’t realize his worth until he’s gone.

Now all we can do is push that game into the back of our minds, and focus on Crosby and the Pens Tuesday night. We really need to step up and change our luck around. We need to stop relying on other teams’ mistakes, and make our own chances. Otherwise, teams like Toronto will be laughing all the way to the playoffs.

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