Saturday, December 19, 2009
Markov, ready as ever. (photo taken from rds.ca)
posted by habsbloggergirl
To be honest, I’m a little scared for this game. Terrified actually.
This is the day that our defensive star returns after missing 35 games. It’s the game that can become the 6th in a series of losses, or the 1st in (hopefully) a streak of wins. It’s against the Islanders, who have somehow caught up to us in the standings, but are ahead due to their game in hand. We sit in 12th, only ahead of Philadelphia, Toronto and Carolina.
The past few games have been grim at best. With little secondary scoring, Plekanec, Cammalleri and Kostitsyn are dragging this club along, and Plekanec is particular (due to his heroics on the PK) is showing signs of exhaustion. Our defence as a whole is mediocre (if that), and with the loss of the Hamrlik, we’re pretty subpar. We have taken an enormous amount of penalties. To win our goalies have had to have been incredible, but lately they have only been good. Not their fault, it’s hard to be perfect, and with scores like 3-1 and 2-1 in the past two games, perfection would have been the only way for us to win. We know this, and have been going over and over it for a few weeks. It has been extremely frustrating, and the only possible solution is that someone, or rather some people, need to step up.
On L’antichambre the other day, they said that someone needs to get mad in the locker room. Although that may be one solution, most of our team doesn’t fit that role. Perhaps a better one would be for someone to step up and play their heart out on the ice. Now I’m not talking about those mentioned so far. Plekanec et al. do it every night. I’m talking about Maxim Lapierre, Matt D’agostini, Max Pacioretty... The young guys really haven’t been bringing much to the table lately. I’m also talking about Scott Gomez and Marc-Andre Bergeron. Honestly, most of the team has been a bit off lately.
Markov leads on the ice, no question. But we can’t expect miracles from him. He’s just one player (albeit one player who can affect the course of a game). I’ve always been a bit jealous of Pittsburgh, Washington, LA... with guys like Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kopitar... it’s a little frustrating that they were rewarded for playing badly, but that’s beside the point. They have these “franchise players”... amazing talents. In Montreal, it seemed like we never had one of those uber-talented stars. But I realize that Markov IS in their league, and am quite thankful that we still have him. When Bob Gainey blew up the team this summer, this is one piece I’m thrilled he kept intact. He may not have been 1st overall in the draft (actually it’s a bit unbelievable that he was still around in the 6th round!), but his play in the past 8 years has shown otherwise.
Whether he has a great game or doesn’t, I’m thrilled to finally have him back, because honestly the Habs haven’t felt like the Habs without him. I’m still member of the Markov for captain fan club, and I think no one would do a better job. I also think we need a captain ASAP. At the beginning of the season, when Jacques Martin said not having a captain would work, I knew it was a bad idea. There are a lot of leaders in the room, yes, but without one clear leader, it’s hard for the others to organize themselves. If everyone stepped up in the room it would be too chaotic, and so, though many may want to, no one does, and nothing gets done. Captains exist for a reason, and with our lacklustre performance this season, you’d think Martin would realise that. It won’t solve all our problems, but at least we’d be going in one direction instead ten different ones.
I think we can pull it off tonight. Ending the losing streak now would keep our confidence levels from hitting rock bottom. Markov’s return should give them some form of fuel, and hopefully he can make a difference in the game.
On that note, I’d like to wish him a very happy (early) 31st birthday, and good luck tonight! We’re probably going to need it.