Friday, February 20, 2009

Welcome home Pat


It wasn’t surprising to see the goalies steal the show on St-Patrick’s jersey retirement. Tim Thomas just happened to be a better thief tonight. The all-forgotten All-star was spectacular at times and lucky when he needed it. Markov’s open net late in the third period had me curled up in foetal position for hours after the game. But then again, it’s not like he was the only one missing chances. Kovalev had a breakaway and the puck slipped on his stick. Again. I am wondering if it’s Kovy’s bad luck this year or if the ice at the Bell Center is sub par. If there is one thing I’d love the Montreal Canadiens organization to work on, it’s the ice. Make a statement: The best place to play ice hockey!

But back to the game, I cringed when I saw that Carbo’s option to replace Guillaume Latendresse was Georges Laraque. I don’t like Georges. I would rather have him lose it on Lucic and scare him and the rest of the league but instead, he politely asked for a dance. And as the reject he is, he can’t get a partner. However, no matter how painful it is to admit it, when he was shadowing Lucic in the first period, Milan was invisible. Two hit; one against Tom the Bomb and one as a retaliation to Ryan O’Bryne who hit him seconds before. That’s it. Actually Lucic only came to life in the 2nd period. On the second shift of the period where he didn’t have to bother about Georges he hit Koivu, Kovalev and score. All within a minute.

To an even bigger surprise to me, Laraque Koivu and Tanguay had one of the best scoring opportunities in the first period with Tanguay barely missing a backhand rebound. I hate to say it but for the 6 minutes he was on the ice, the Habs 17 was effective. It’s a shame we can’t say the same of 27. On Lucic goal, Kovalev was replacing Bouillon who ventured in the offensive zone to keep the pressure. That’s the perfect play. But when he had to backcheck and keep it up with Lucic, he failed. That’s on top of many missed opportunities. I can live with giveaways from Alex, his style of play will create as many scoring chances as turnovers. I expect that. But losing the puck on breakaways, that’s a problem. Another big surprise was how totally ineffective Lapierre was tonight. No shots, no hits and a very poor 33% on faceoffs. Keep Begin if Max can’t get the message after missing 3 games.

Sometimes I feel like I’m saying the same stuff over and over. Again tonight the captain of the ship was good. His hit one Wideman was a highlight moment and created a turnover. I loved it. Again Price was solid. He can’t do everything by himself. Again, I’m wondering where the hell is Higgins (good job of closing your eyes on that one Rocket). Again O’Byrne looked bad on the first goal. I’ll give him some room, again, for not having support but that’s got to stop. Maybe he’s not as ready as we all hoped he was. Again the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge was playing in shootout. 7 games already. That’s way too much. With the talent this team has they have to score that goal that gives them a clean win and avoid giving points. Although tonight, the shootout was a point the Habs could have lost.

The Lang, Andrei K and Tom Kostopoulos combination seems to be working better than I expected. Hell, Tom even looked liked a superstar with that deflection from Breezer point shot. But Tom is working hard every night. Every shift. He deserve the credit for never giving up. That’s a positive.

And I think I’ll leave it on a positive note. Against the red-hot Bruins, the slumping Habs came out with a point. They played their better “jersey retirement game” in a long time. They failed to score on many occasions but the occasions are there. It’s only a matter of not losing the puck next time…

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