Saturday, January 31, 2009

Habs heading towards missing the playoffs?

The Habs (27-15-6) went 0-for-Florida, and sucked endless dick in the process. They followed up one of their worst games of the season—the 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday—with their worst game of the season—a 5-1 ass-whoopin' administered by the 8th place Panthers. Florida now sits 6 scant points behind Montreal. And ninth place Carolina and Pittsburgh, both pretty good clubs who are almost certainly going to pick up play, are only 7 points behind the Habs. The Florida game was an absolute meltdown. The plethora of blown defensive assignments was fucking embarrassing. Carey Price wasn't great in goal, but he was the best Hab on the ice; it very easily could have been 10-1. Losing streak is at 4. What's next? Two home matinees: today vs. Los Angeles and tomorrow vs. the 35-8-6 Bruins. Could be an ugly weekend.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My annual All-Star Game boycott.

Sorry for the lack of game reports for the last two losses against Atlanta and New Jersey, but I've been busier than usual at my ad copywriting job. Frankly, the All-Star break comes at a good time for the Habs (27-13-6). In Atlanta, Jaro Halak let the Thrashers first two goals leak through him on the way to 3-0 deficit. And The Canadiens—despite a nice PP goal by Max Pacioretty and Carey Price spelling Halak—never recovered. I didn't watch the NJ game, and that was a good thing. A supposedly healthy Price made his first start in a month and captain Saku Koivu finally returned from his ankle sprain. But the Devils, now 3-0 against the Habs this season, coasted to the 5-2 win.
So, tonight's the boring skills competition, which I abhor. And tomorrow is the All-Star game, which is as big of a joke of a sporting event as any Harlem Globetrotters game. I don't give a shit that it's in Montreal. So, no. No reports. I'm not watching. For the record: Andrei Markov and Price deserve to be there; Alex Kovalev and Mike Komisarek do not. Back to regular posting next Tuesday/Thursday as the Habs make their second two-game swing through Florida.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Canadiens 5, Senators 4, SO.

Missed the game as we spent last night deep in the avant-garde belly of the downtown Manhattan beast, taking in Celestial Excursions by the Godfather of experimental opera, Robert Ashley. If you're, like me, a fan of the magic and music of spoken words, it is highly recommended...I'm glad I didn't watch the Habs (27-11-6) unmagically blow two 2-goal third-period leads on the way to a stupid skills competition win over the disgraceful last-place Ottawa Senators (Seriously, with a monster #1 line like Heatley-Alfredsson-Spezza, you gotta at least be a playoff team.). Watching the highlights, Robert Lang had two nice assists, one on scalding-hot Andrei Kostitsyn's 7th goal in the last seven games. Max Lapierre got the winner in the shootout and is now 2-for-2 on the season. Notes: In his first NHL game, winger Gregory Stewart got a nice assist on Matt D'Agostini's 7th G...Still waiting for Saku Koivu to return...Carey Price says he's close, and hopes to play in either Atlanta or New Jersey this week... Next game: Tuesday @ Atlanta. (pictured disgraceful Republican senator Larry Craig)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Canadiens 3, Predators 2.

The Habs (26-11-6) expended just enough energy (20 SOGs) to beat the hardworking, skills-challenged Preds. The Andreis Markov and Kostitsyn stood out in this rather boring tilt. American hockey writers can moan and groan about his All-Star starting position all they want—but Markov is one of the five best defensemen in the league. Kostitsyn ripped in his 15th on the PP (off a great pass by Markov), and is finally returning to last season's electric form. Not much else to say—it's January, and it was fucking Nashville, hockey mecca of Appalachia. Next game: tonight @ Ottawa.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bruins 3, Canadiens 1.

I'm ridiculously busy at work, so just a short post to say that the Bruins are a better team than the current Koivu-less, Price-less Canadiens. The Habs (25-11-6) played a respectable game in Beantown Tuesday eve, but solid Bruin D and clutch goaltending by Tim Thomas (he absolutely robbed Andrei Kostitsyn late in the third period with a post-to-post lunging glove save) won the game for Boston. Enjoy your spectacular regular season now B's...because it means absolutely nothing come April. Next game: tonight, against a professional ice hockey team from Nashville, Tennessee, think they're called the Kerchiefs or something.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Canadiens 5, Capitals 4.

(the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Ford Theatre, Washington, D.C.) Oh baby, what a third period Saturday night. It felt like a mid-1980s Oilers vs. Anybody game. Six goals, four by the Habs (25-10-6), end-to-end mayhem. Finally with 21 seconds left, Sergei Kostitsyn (8Gs) pounced on defenseman Milan Jurcina's mishandle and slid a change-up wrister by stunned Capital goalie Brent Johnson. Earlier, Washington had tied it at 4 on a lucky double deflection PP goal as Kostitsyn sat out a lazy hooking penalty. The Caps entered the third period leading 2-1, thanks to a moment Hab fans had been anticipating with knowing dread; Patrice "Sweepstakes" Brisebois gave away a left boards gift to Alexander Semin who walked in on Jaro Halak and nonchalantly roofed it. Notes: Habs on a 9-1-1 streak have also won 4 straight...Why didn't Cap coach Bruce Boudreau again start ex-Hab Jose Theodore in net?...Tomas Plekanec (9Gs) scored twice, including his third shorthanded tally of the season...Robert Lang, showing those greats hands again, potted his 16th on the PP...the amazing Alex Ovechkin had 8 SOGs but somehow didn't score...Next game: tomorrow, on the road, against the second best team in the NHL—the hated Bruins...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The last time I saw the Canadiens win in person, Lafleur and Shutt both scored goals...

(click pic: Robert Lang [#20] about to skate down the bench receiving line after scoring his 2nd of three goals—a spectacular rush and roof-it number) Well it hadn't been that long, (though I did see Lafleur and Shutt score in a 4-2 win over the Rangers at the Garden back in 1980 when I was...much younger) but I was starting to worry I was an unqualified jinx. I lucked into free third row seats through my job, and we were seated at the end where Montreal scored all 6 of their goals. In other words, it was fucking heaven. We were seated directly behind Long Islander and ESPN broadcaster Linda Cohn (image via). She was of course rooting for the Blueshirts, but non-obnoxiously (the same can not be said about my taunting shouts of "Go HOME!" after Lang's 2nd made it 5-3.). When Lang's empty-netter gave him the natural hat trick, I doffed my Habs cap, and came thisclose to tossing it over the glass...but it's a newish hat, so I balked. Don't know if I'll be able to get good seats for the April rematch at the Garden, but April games for playoff teams are useless anyway. Anyway, more pics from Georgina!

(click pics: coach Carbonneau clapping and oohing.)

(click pics: Habs win a center-ice draw; action right in front of us)

(click pics: the ruggedly beautiful Alex Kovalev, who scored the Habs first goal after Henrik "The King" Lundqvist handed the puck right to Max Pacioretty and he fed a wide-open Kovalev for the jam-in, had plenty of offensive-zone room all night. (R) SUCK it, Gothamists.)

Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs (sic) 2.

Thursday night, the visiting sub-.500 Leafs (sic) decided that they would out-tough the Habs (24-10-6). And out-penalty them. And out-dumbass them. Two minutes into the game, Sergei Kostitsyn scored a PP tap-in goal off a sweet feed from Patrice Brisebois (3 assists, 1st star) and, helped out by bad Vesa Toskala goaltending, the Canadiens skated to their easiest win of the season. Toronto laughingly macho-jammed Jaro Halak's crease after every stoppage, but the Czech keeper was never rattled and played his second straight solid game. Six different Habs scored, including a wicked wrister by Alex Kovalev (11Gs, two-game goal streak), and impressive American rookie Max Pacioretty's 2nd. Notes: ex little-Hab Mikhail Grabovski earned himself a three-game suspension by shoving a ref during a non-fight with fellow Belarussian Kostitsyn—read the whole back-story here (scroll down)... Montreal's on an 8-1-1 streak...Cap Saku Koivu won't be back until next week...Tom Kostopoulos and Francis Bouillon, both giving up much size, both lost decisions in their fights with Jamal Mayers and new Leaf goon Brad May, respectively...Habs lead season series 2-1...Next game: tonight against the hot, dangerous, 27-12-3 Capitals. Later today, I'll post more pics/notes from our wondrous visit to MSG...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Canadiens 6, Rangers 3.

(click pic) I was at the Garden last night, in the 3rd row, and had a perfect view of the Habs (23-10-6) lighting up Henrik "The King" Lundqvist like a fucking pinball machine. I'll do a longer post on this game Saturday, with many more pics by Georgina. In the meantime, here's the Max Lapierre line gracefully turning up ice in unison. Next Game: tonight! Against the hated Leafs (sic). I smell rivalry trouble.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Canadiens 6, Panthers 5, SO.

Late post 'cause I'm busy. Sunday, the Habs (22-10-6) played one of their best periods of the season, but sandwiched it with two of their worst periods of the season. After literally watching the Panthers take a 2-0 first period lead, Montreal scored four straight even-strength second period goals while out-shooting Florida 19-5. Then in the third stanza, the Cats feasted on Montreal's lazy sloppiness, finally tying the game on Radek Dvorak's 2nd goal with less than two minutes left. Comrade Andrei Markov scored the only shootout tally in the ill-gotten win. First star Andrei Kostitsyn tallied two goals, including an Alex Semin-quality wrister. Jaro Halak was again sub-par between the pipes...Jesus Christ, come back soon Carey Price. Note: pathetic Hab PP was minus one-for-5 as Dvorak scored on a shorthanded breakaway after idiotic Alex Kovalev tried to skate thru three Panthers. Next game: tomorrow night, here in NYC, against the HATED Rangers. I'll be there.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Devils 4, Canadiens 1.

(image: a sieve)
Jaroslav Halak has been an acceptable backup goalie to Carey Price this season. But last night against New Jersey, he sucked Satan's sweaty stinky sack. The first two Devil goals went straight through the leaky Halak. And with the Habs (21-10-6) missing an entire offensive line to injuries, well, pray that Price doesn't get seriously hurt. But in Halak's defense, many of the forwards took a night off from backchecking (right, AK46?), and many of the defensemen's breakout passes were sloppy. Montreal's only goal was 2007 #1 pick (and U of Michigan product) Max Pacioretty's first NHL tally, set up by a beaut of a carom pass by Kyle Chipchura. Notes: The double-shifted Alex Kovalev played 22+ minutes and was often dangerous with 6 SOGs...third goalie Marc Denis saw his first action of the year, replacing Halak for the third period (1G against)...Next game: tomorrow afternoon vs. the not-hated Panthers...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Rubber Bullet Points, January 2nd.

Eying their 5th straight World Junior title, Canada blitzed the US, 7-4.
A look back at that magical night when Tretiak stoned the Habs on New Year's Eve, 1975 (image via).
Tanguay's out 6 weeks, Price is out tonight vs. the (hated) Devils.
Gaborik update: maybe facing season-ending surgery. He'll probably get injured during the operation.
They really know their hockey in San Jose.