Friday, October 2, 2009
ONE DOWN, 81 TO GO
Markov before his injury, along with Price and Spacek. (Photo from habsinsideout.com)
posted by habsbloggergirl
What did I think last night in the first 3 periods of the Montreal-Toronto game? There may have been a lot of change, but these are still the same Montreal Canadiens as they were last year: slow to react, a little spaced out (I’m talking to you Andrei Kostitsyn), needing their 4th line players to get them the big goals, seemingly unconfident and unable to finish. Then of course Markov has to get injured, by his own teammate no less. It was a game that you just wanted to be over... or at least I did.
Price was good but I still don’t think his confidence was 100% back, though as the game went on, it seemed to slowly return to him.
O’Byrne was also great. I noticed him, as usual, but this time it was for doing good things, really good things. He really worked hard the entire game, and with Markov’s injury it looks like he’ll be a top 6 D for a while and he deserves it.
Last season when we lost Markov, we lost our chance. We stopped winning entirely, squeezed into the playoffs and played a gruesome 4 games against Boston, only to embarrass ourselves in our centennial season.
But we won this game (although he was only gone for about 15 minutes). It was a bit of a shock... When we got to overtime, I was just hoping it would go to a shootout because Price is pretty good in them and we have Gionta et al. to possibly give us a boost in that area. But Cammalleri pulled a Kovalev, and Gorges pulled a Markov and we got ourselves a goal.
Gorges seems to thrive in situations where he is needed. Last season with Komisarek injured, he stepped up big time and played wonderfully with Markov. Here again, a important guy goes down, and looks who steps up. He’s a great guy who really leads by example, and I’m happy Martin chose him to be in his “Committee”... though I think in a couple of years (or even sooner) he’d make a wonderful captain.
One of the things that looked great last night was the team cohesion. Everybody looked happy to be around each other and at points looked like they were actually having fun. Let’s just hope it continues that way.
With Markov gone we have a troublesome road ahead, but they showed last night that they aren’t willing to give up that easily... Even if it took Metropolit, Moen and Gorges to score some important goals.
The one thing that bothered me was that on RDS they were REALLY tough on Gill... I didn’t think he was that bad, but for example, on one of the goals against us, he was covering two guys and there were three other Habs in front of the net, and when he couldn’t clear the puck entirely (because he had the two Leafs right near him) and it ended up on the stick of another Leaf (who no one was covering), they blamed it on him. Personally, I think blame is overrated... but if you really need to blame someone, it’s probably one of the 3 guys in front of the net who weren’t covering anyone, not the guy who was covering 2 Leafs. He’s already the scapegoat after only playing one game... not quite fair.
Plekanec was also unfairly judged on RDS. I thought he played really well. But every time he did something they had to comment that maybe it wasn’t the right move. Or they would make comments like “Plekanec is not playing THAT badly tonight”... That’s a backhanded compliment if I ever did see one. He had 2 assists, 5 shots on net and was a +1.... I definitely wouldn’t call that a bad night.
The one guy I didn’t hear much about was their favourite player Latendresse (well they mentioned him a few times but not throughout the entire broadcast as usual). He was invisible last night. I didn’t really notice that third line at all... I thought the fourth line was much better (as did RDS... they also credited Laraque for setting up the Moen goal when I thought Metropolit was the one who did a good job behind the net... but that’s another story).
Saturday against Buffalo should be interesting. How will the team fare in 60 Markov-less minutes? Will RDS stop hounding Gill? Will Gionta and Cammalleri play as impressively as they did last night? Will Price keep his head in the game? All we can do is wait. Go Habs Go!
And by the way, I was wrong. These aren’t the same Montreal Canadiens as last year. These guys can finish.