Gameday! Habs vs Blackhawks


Wednesday December 21, 2011

Montreal Canadiens vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Just a short month ago, the blogosphere was alive with stories about the impending return of Andrei Markov.  Finally the prodigal son would return!  Well, that didn’t really work out, did it?  Instead, Markov looks like he’ll probably take the rest of the year off, the coach has been fired (good riddance), Gauthier’s noose is perpetually tightening, and the Montreal media has switched to drinking Labbatt beer.

I seriously CANNOT believe the way these so called “fans” of the Canadiens are treating the interim coach.  Have any of them even watched a hockey game before?  Complaints have arisen that not hiring a Francophone coach for the Canadiens will result in the death of a dying language.  Are you serious?  Is your language really on such shaky ground that by one person not being able to speak it, the entire culture will die?  Get a grip!  Maybe if the French language was used for more than just griping and complaining, people would be more inclined to use it!

I am an English speaking Habs fan, in Southern Ontario.  I watch every Habs game, usually on RDS, even if it is broadcast on TSN and sometimes even if it is in HD on CBC.  Why?  So I can’t understand the drivel that is coming out of the commentators mouths!  I speak the language of hockey.  It goes like this…SWOOSH!!  SWOOSH!!!  BANG!!!  CRACK!!!  SWOOSH!!! BANG!!!  (HORN BLARING)  Le Buuuuuuuuuuuuut!!!!!!!  I couldn’t care less what language it’s spoken about in.

By the way, by watching RDS plus a limited amount of learning in school, I can now understand quite a bit of French.  How about giving the guy a chance to learn it?

As far as the coach being able to talk to the media, and answer “tough” questions, here are 5 phrases that Cunneyworth can learn to be sure to cover all angles.

  1. Ils lui ont donné cent dix pour cent là-bas.
  2. Nous ne jouions pas comme une équipe là-bas.
  3. Jamais l’esprit mon plan de jeu, avez-vous vu ce que youppi n’a tout simplement?
  4. Le fromage est vieux et moisi. Où sont les toilettes ?
  5. Quelqu’un peut-il m’aider à construire un bon CV ? Cet emploi suce.

The way the media has responded to Cunneyworth’s appointment as interim head coach is disgraceful.  Is this why Muller is no longer in town?   Was he never going to be considered for the head coaching job?  Will we true Habs fans never be able to witness a championship team due to politics and the demands of selfish morons?

What? He doesn't speak French? Who cares! Look! He's actually talking to the players!!!!

Who’s out?

Montreal

  • Andrei Markov
  • Scott Gomez
  • Ryan White
  • Brian Gionta

Keys to the Game

The only “key” to this game, is how the team adheres to the changes Cunneyworth has finally had a chance to work on, having his first full team practice yesterday since his promotion on Saturday.  The new philosophy will incorporate speed and pressure.  Something that this team looks like it was not only built for, but also dying to try to use.  A good way to tell if the players are happy with the change will be in their demeanor on the bench.  There have been a lot of hanging heads and blank expressions on the bench this year.

Budaj will get the start in goal tonight.

My Prediction

Habs 4 – Hawks 3

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Martin fired! …and there was much rejoicing


The Canadiens announced today that Jacques Martin, head coach has been relieved of his duties. Assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth will take over until the end of the season.

My only question is this. “What took you so long!?!?”. In hanging onto tho old dinosaur, they have missed out on the opportunity to have one of two of the smartest, most interesting young hockey minds in the league in either Kirk Muller or Guy Boucher. Both signed on has head coaches in the conference.

Martin, a defensive minded coach, had clearly lost this team. Players were listless, goals were few and far between and he failed to see and use his players for what they are. Quick offensive minded players that would definitely benefit from some longer leashes. Look out league! PK Subban is about to run wild!

It remains to be seen, but does this mean that Lars Eller might start to get some deserved ice time? When Louis Leblanc scores a goal again will he be rewarded with ice time and a shot with some quality players instead of spending the rest of the game on the bench?

This is an exciting move by Pierre Gauthier and while it may very well be a selfish move to save his own job, the results are much appreciated by this fan and, I’m sure, many more.

Cunneyworth will get his shot till the en of the season, but if things don’t turn around there will be a manhunt in Montreal that rivals that of Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive”. Possible replacements include Mark Crawford, Randy Carlisle and my personal favourite, even as assistant to one of the aforementioned, Patrick Roy. Wouldn’t that be a story?

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Gameday! Habs vs Flyers


Thursday December 15, 2011

Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia Flyers

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas?  Here in Southern Ontario, it’s raining.  Again.  My dog is a ball of mud, my wood shop is unreachable without hip waders, and my almost 2 year old son is getting stir crazy.  GIVE ME SNOW!!!!!!

Alright, on to hockey.  Everyone is excited about the Habs being on a December long, point streak.  They’ve  won 3 out of 6 games.  With the 3 losses coming in a shootout, the Habs were awarded the “you tried pretty hard, I guess, so here’s a sympathy, or loser” point.  Hardly a streak to get excited about.

If nothing else it has shown management that they can be content to sit with the players they have and not bolster their lineup.  At least not yet.

I find it pretty funny.  While reading my fellow bloggers articles over the course of this season, the general consensus has been, “Make a trade!  Make a trade!  Make a trade!”  Followed by “Spacek is useless and must be moved for anything!  A bag of pucks would do!”  So Gauthier makes a move, and acquires Tomas Kaberle, a player highly sought after in the summer AND last spring, to try to improve their painfully horrible power play, and everyone jumps all over him.  “Gauthier made a panic move and traded a dependable, veteran defenseman, for an ex-Leaf who is over paid and well past his prime!”  What?!?!?  You people are bipolar.  You need medication.

When news of the Kaberle trade was announced, I, for one, was ecstatic!  You mean, we’ll have a defenseman who can handle the puck at the point and will make tape to tape passes?  Awesome!

Needless to say, in the two games Kaberle has been with the team, he has 3 points, and 7 points in his last 4 games.

As for the notion that Kaberle’s 4.25 million per season will cost them resigning valuable pieces of the team, let me explain something to you.  Price, Subban and Gorges are NOT going anywhere.  Gill?  Campoli?  Bye bye.   Gill’s been great in Montreal, but given the option of Gill or Kaberle, who would you take.  Seriously?

Great move, Mr. Gauthier!  I commend you on your actions.

Next point.  I recently read an article by an Islanders blogger that suggested that Carey Price is having a “tough season”.  I only ask one thing.  Can you please actually watch a Habs game before commenting on their play?  This actually made me laugh out loud.  If not for Price, the Habs would be dead last in the league.  A place the Islanders should know a lot about.  Maybe if they had a goalie…..

Who’s out?

Montreal

  • Andrei Markov
  • Brian Gionta
  • Travis Moen
  • Scott Gomez
  • Ryan White

Keys to the Game

Price looks to continue his great season against one of the better teams in the league.  The shots will come, it will be up to Price to stand on his head in this game, methinks.

Continued dominance from the Desharnais, Paccioretty, Cole line will go a long way to securing a victory in this one.

My Prediction

Habs 3 – Flyers 2 SO

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Canadiens acquire Kaberle from Canes for Spacek


Breaking news! Spacek is out. Kaberle is in. This move addresses a serious need for the Habs. A defenseman who passes the puck well.

Living in Southern Ontario the sound of Leafs nation screaming “Shoot it” at their televisions while Kaberle was running the power play in the Big Smoke is still ringing in my ears. I don’t think shooting will be a problem in Montreal. There are plenty of players willing to shoot the puck, but what’s been seriously lacking is someone to move it around to said players. Kaberle is a perfect fit here.

Now about that coach of ours….

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Gameday! Habs vs Blue Jackets


Tuesday December 6, 2011

Montreal Canadiens vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

So…rough week, huh?  Markov, back under the knife.

Guess what?  GOOD!  Better he look after himself than play 2 weeks and be done for good right?  Everyone is up in arms about this and calling out the organization for their handlings of the media.  I’m not so sure they’ve done such a bad job.  What would everyone have preferred?  False promises?  Guarantees that would have gone unfulfilled?

Take a breath, Habs fans.  He’ll be back.  But not until he is ready.

In the meantime, something wonderful is happening.  Louis LeBlanc has proved he can play in the big leagues.  Now, I don’t think he’s here for good, nor do I think he will realize his full potential on this stint with the big club.  What I do think, is that he is the first young callup the habs have had in a long time, that doesn’t look like a little boy out there.  He fits in with the men.  Can you imagine how valuable this experience will be to him, when he shows up to training camp next year with some extra meat on his lanky frame?

There is reason to be excited folks.  This is not a silver lining, this is the real deal!

Who’s out?

Montreal

  • Andrei Markov
  • Scott Gomez
  • Jaroslav Spacek
  • Ryan White
  • Chris Campoli

Keys to the Game

Alright guys.  You just beat one of the better teams in the league the other night, salvaging what looked like it might be a devastating western road trip.  Tonight, you play the worst team in the league.  You lost last week against the 2nd worst team in the league.

I beg of you.  WIN THIS GAME!!!!!

My Prediction

Habs 5 – Blue Jackets 1

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Notes from last nights game in San Jose


While watching the Habs blow yet another 3rd period lead to lose in a shootout last night, I compiled a list of thoughts about the state of the Habs.

BTW how cruel is it for a late game to not only go to overtime, but the sixth round of a shootout, only to see them lose? I’m very tired today.

Anywho, here’s my thoughts.

1. Weber is a Mark Andre Bergeron that doesn’t score. He’s not cutting it. Clearly he should be moved for someone, something, anything…

2. Diaz looked good at the start of the season. Since then, the league has gotten better. He has not.

3. Emelin is a train. That hit on Pavelski was one of the cleanest, hardest open ice hits I’ve seen in a long time. This guy is gonna be great for years to come in a Canadiens jersey. His defensive play has really improved as well and he seems to be understanding the Canadien game a lot better.

4. Something isn’t right with Plekanec. I don’t know if it’s an injury, confidence, or simply attitude (maybe that fat contract has made him too comfortable) but he is not the player we’ve watched and loved over the last few seasons.

5. Cammalleri looked rejuvenated last night. Maybe his love affair with Plekanec has come to an end? He was forechecking, backchecking (what?), crashing the net, I even saw him throw a couple hits last night! This leads me to my next point….

6. Desharnais makes the guys on his line play harder. Watching him play can either be frustrating or fascinating depending on whether his small stature is causing him to just be knocked off the puck easily, or allowing him to skate circles around his enormous opponents. (remember Chara in the playoffs last year? That was awesome!) regardless his play, however, his line mates always seem to play hard on his wing. This kids worth keeping around to see how much better he can get.

7. The Habs need to stop using the point on the power play. If there is no one there that can handle the puck, what’s the use in sending it there? Why not keep it down low and try out a cycling attack? Why can’t Martin see what everyone else can see?

8. On that note, Martin is a dinosaur. Trying to force an old style, boring game on a team that doesn’t want to do it. I sure wish Muller had his job, hell I’d even take Paul Maurice! Don’t get excited folks. Martin’s under contract for two more years.

9. Subban needs to stop flipping the puck at people. Just pass it PK! No one can accept a pass that’s flipping and bouncing across the ice! Has anyone mentioned this to him? Perhaps someone should tell him the benefits of a “saucer pass”

10. Price is awesome. He has become the bonafide leader of this team. From his dealings with the press, to his passion on the ice (did anyone see how upset he was after that tying goal got by him?). Price is teaching accountability by example. He already has my vote for the Hart trophy.

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Gameday! Habs vs Ducks + MARKOV IS BACK!!!


Wednesday November 30, 2011

Montreal Canadiens vs. Anaheim Ducks

So Bobby Ryan is up for grabs is he? So the blogosphere has told us today. As Habs fans, we give a resounding, “Who cares!!” There is a much more important story to tell. There is something much more exciting happening that has got Habs fans on the edge of their seats. Fans are pressing their sweaters and taking afternoon naps today in order to be fresh and ready for the late game tonight in California, for you see……..

MARKOV IS BACK!!!!!!!

Now, I’m gonna be as excited as anyone else for the Russian’s return, but lets be serious, folks. He’s gonna be a bit rusty. He hasn’t played in over a year, has only played a handful of games in the last two, and will need some time to get back to game speed. I figure, with this in mind, he’ll only get, I dunno, about 8 maybe 9 points tonight? Sound realistic?

In all seriousness, though, expect to see Markov play about 15-16 minutes tonight while paired with fellow Russian, Alexei Emelin. And teamed up with PK on the Powerplay as the first unit. This moves Plekanec back to forward on the second unit where he belongs with the Swiss pair, Weber and Diaz trying to keep their jobs on the back end.

Expected pairs tonight?

  1. Subban – Gorges
  2. Gill-Diaz
  3. Markov-Emelin
  4. Weber (playing wing on the fourth line?)

Lost in all this is the exciting news that Louis LeBlanc will make his debut with the big club tonight becoming the 800th player to wear the CH. Expectations should be held in check here as well, as this means he’ll have been a rookie on his 5th team in 5 years. Clearly Louis will need some more seasoning in Hamilton before he’s ready to make the jump permanently, but this is a great chance for him to get some extremely valuable experience under his belt, in a quiet arena, against a team that has been struggling.

Pretty damn happy day to be a Habs’ fan, huh?

Who’s out?

Montreal

  • Andrei Markov…is no longer on this list!!!! Yaaaay!!!
  • Andrei Kostitsyn
  • Scott Gomez
  • Jaroslav Spacek
  • Ryan White
  • Chris Campoli

Keys to the Game

The Habs are bound to be a little off tonight. Starting a game at 10:30 at night isn’t particularly something they are used to. I’m tired just thinking about staying up to watch it!

No one is going to benefit from Markov's return as much as PK. I bet he scores tonight!

However having a healthy Markov back in the lineup tonight should give them a little extra boost. Play off that boys. And play hard.

Are you ready for it? “Markov a Subban. Le tire. Et le buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut!!!!!!”

My Prediction

Habs 5 – Ducks 2

***update***Is it too late to post I was wrong? I don’t know why Markov isn’t playing and it would seem no one else does either. Stay tuned….

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Gameday! Habs vs Hurricanes


Wednesday November 23, 2011

Montreal Canadiens vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Yaaaay!  A guaranteed win right?  Not if Cam Ward has anything to say about it.  Cam hasn’t had the best season so far, statistically that is.  But he hasn’t really had much of a team playing in front of him either!  That being said, Cam Ward is always a threat to steal a game for the ‘Canes and the Habs have shown at times that burying the puck while outplaying the opposition hasn’t been the easiest task.  (see habs vs. bruins on Monday night)

Speaking of goalies, the Price haters sure have been quiet haven’t they?  I wonder if they still wish Gauthier had kept Halak instead?

Markov has been cleared for contact!!!  While this is the most exciting news out of Montreal in quite some time, it leaves the question, “Who will get left out?”  The young defensive squad that Gauthier has put together has played very well since being thrown into the fire due to injuries to so many Canadien, veteran blue liners.  Who am I most impressed with?  Alexei Emelin.  He gets better every game he plays, and I’m starting if they are going to have to rebuild the boards at the Bell Centre once again, or else he just might put someone through them!

My opinion?  (that’s why you are here right?) St. Denis is the first to go, followed by Diaz, then Weber.  All these guys have been pretty solid but that’s just the order I see their worth at this point.

Who’s out?

Montreal

  • Andrei Markov (still recovering from knee surgery)
  • Andrei Kostitsyn
  • Hal Gill (game time decision)
  • Jaroslav Spacek
  • Ryan White
  • Chris Campoli

Keys to the Game

Play these Hurricanes like they are the Bruins.  Play them like they are the Penguins.  Play them like they are the Canucks. (well last years version anyways)  Intensity is the key, and the Habs have shown they can have lots of it, or none at all.  Get on the board early and don’t let them gain momentum from their good goaltender.

My Prediction

Habs 4 – Hurricanes 1

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Gameday! Habs vs Islanders


Thursday November 17, 2011

Montreal Canadiens vs. Long Island Islanders

Price is the man!

7-1-2 in their last 10 games.  3 points behind Toronto and Buffalo for the division lead.  Almost comfortably in a playoff position.  All of this with a defensive line made up of rookies and sophomores.  All of this with Kostitsyn, Cammalleri, and Gomez spending too much time on the IR list.  It’s almost time to relax.  It’s almost time to start “giving it” to all my Leaf friends here in Southern Ontario who have been so eager to “give it” to me in the early part of this season.  Almost.  Give it a week.  Then I will be very, very mouthy.

Oh ya.  Congratulations Carey Price for your first shutout of the season.  You deserve it, big time.

And Kudos to Alexei (Y)Emelin.  You are becoming the player we all hoped you would be.

Who’s out?

Montreal

  • Andrei Markov (still recovering from knee surgery)
  • Andrei Kostitsyn (day to day)
  • Hal Gill
  • Jaroslav Spacek
  • Ryan White
  • Chris Campoli

Keys to the Game

It seems likely that Peter Budaj will get the start, and while being solid in his two games this season, cannot be expected to bail the team out as often as Carey Price does.  That shouldn’t be expected of anyone.

Look for the Habs to clench there defensive buttocks’.  Before everyone calls for Martin’s head, it is probably a good move tonight.  The Islanders just flat out aren’t very good, and this should be considered a “practice game.”

My Prediction

Habs 3 – Long Island 2

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Gameday! Habs vs. Hurricanes


Wednesday November 16, 2011

Montreal Canadiens vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Here I am, manning the sound board at the local cafe. (Note the Habs hat)

First off…my apologies for being distant in the last couple weeks.  My home town is having their annual River Arts Festival, in which I have been performing, doing sound and enjoying some wonderful musical acts.  Needless to say, the long nights (on top of my busy day job as a home theatre designer) have not left me much time for blogging.

In a Frantic Fast Forward Frenzy of game watching on my PVR, the Habs have left me with a feeling of…meh…

Injuries?  Tons.  Defensive breakdowns?  Not as many as the start of the year, but still there.  Solid goaltending?  Price is the man.  Plekanec still on the point on the powerplay?  -sigh

Something needs to happen.  This team needs a boost and they aren’t getting it from the three guys they should be.  Captain Gionta?  Gutless Gomez?  Mr. Glass Cammalleri?  YOU GUYS NEED TO STEP UP NOW!!!!!!

And now…tonights game.

Still makes my blood boil.

Anyone else still stewing about Saku Koivu getting Justin Williams’ uncalled, stick in the eye, effectively ending the Habs playoff run a few years back?  I am.  Even though both of those players have moved on to other teams, I am left with a bad taste in my mouth anytime the Hurricanes are mentioned.  To add insult to injury, (literally) the Habs are STILL without Andrei Markov.  How was he injured?  An awkward, and I still say questionable, hit by Hurricanes’ captain, Erik Stall.

Sure we stole one of their better players in Erik Cole, and it looks like he’s finally rounding into shape, but I still want retribution.  I want blood!

Hopefully someone on this Habs team will play with this same sort of passion.  This can be a statement game for the Habs.  Or it could just be another ‘meh’ feeling in hearts of Habs nation.

Who’s out?

Montreal

  • Andrei Markov (still recovering from knee surgery)
  • Andrei Kostitsyn (day to day)
  • Mike Cammalleri
  • Hal Gill
  • Jaroslav Spacek
  • Ryan White
  • Chris Campoli

Keys to the Game

Passion.  That’s all.  60 minutes of passion.  Don’t sit on a lead, don’t get lazy.  Play a full 60 minutes, like you actually care if you win the game.

Erik Cole should have no lack of passion tonight.  Returning to play his former team of 9 seasons should be plenty of fuel for the fire.  And he has been heating up as of late.  Could be a breakout night for the power forward.

My Prediction

Habs 5 – Carolina 1

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