Sunday, December 09, 2007
Just like after losing to the Leafs, FHF refuses to put up strippers after performances like that. Anyone who notices any phallic imagery, well, I guess that's a reflection on you.
The Carolina Hurricanes (yes, we will cease referring to them as the Whalers after last night drubbing) walked into Montreal last night and won their ninth straight on Hab ice. Maurice Richard is rolling over in his grave, God Bless him. Let's hope the sky is still blue in Montreal, cause allot of prices of it fell last night. But before we get to a detailed analysis, because that is gonna take a while, here's the game in a nutshell:
Habs player 1: you feel like working tonight? Those Canes can skate.
Habs player 2: Not really, lets mail this one in and head over to Super Sex.
Habs Player 3: Sounds good. Besides, Cam Ward is God on Bell Centre ice. I just pissed my pants thinking about him.
Carolina Players: We'll take the two points from you, gents. And your strippers.
Patrice Brisebois: I like cake!!
The Sky is Falling: Oh, where to begin. After the game, LG77 and hubby blamed Carbo, and that's as good a place to start as any. While coaches often get to much blame (and credit) for their teams' play IMHO, Carbo has to accept some blame for the Habs coming up so flat in a Saturday night game against a foe who must have had at least one eye on the next afternoon's game against the Best Team In The NHL (sorry SLC), the Detroit Hot Wings. No passion. No emotion. No FUCKING hitting. When Greek Lightening straightened out Cory Stillman at the Canes blue line with 5 minutes left in the 2nd, it was the first time I saw a Hab intentionally lay the body on a white jersey.
LG77 argues that Carbo's defensive system is so complicated and the players so wound-up worrying about making a mistake that the inevitable result in crappy-ass play like last night. I responded by saying that I could only agree if I figured out what system she was referring to - skating in circles and making crisp passes onto opponents' sticks doesn't sounds like a system I've ever heard of.
But Carbo wasn't the one who has his pocket picked in the neutral zone because he was taking his sweet-ass time making a play (hi there, Chips), or provide his man - who happens to be known to everyone in the province as a Hab-killer - with a ten-foot cushion in the defensive zone on the ensuing turnover (Mr. Hamr, please stand up), or fail to come up with a tough but not impossible save (more on The Franchise Saviour (tm) later). Nor was it Carbo who lost a faceoff in the defensive zone leading to a goal 3(!?!) seconds into a PP (sorry Pleks, otherwise you played ok). It also wasn't Carbo's fault that Swiss Miss Streit gift wrapped a pass to the Canes, leading to yet another turnover and yet another goal. I'm no cultural expert, but I have never heard of Christmas arriving early in Switzerland. It my have been his fault for Breezer letting Cole get in behind him for a breakaway minutes after Hamr's miscue, if only for allowing Breezer on the ice in a Habs uniform. In case I was being too subtle, Patrice Brisebois sucks. Most likely something shaped like the above picture, I should add.
The only serious complaint I have about Carbo is for pulling Price in the third. The boy is 20 years old, don't fuck with his ego. And don't feed the fans a line about resting him for Tuesday - he's 20, if he can't go all night on two days rest he is a lesser man that I was at that age. Or say it was about "sending a message" to your players - perhaps you should have sent a message BEFORE the debacle began. All Carbo is doing is messing with the future of the franchise's confidence - during the anniversary week of the Habs giving away their last franchise player, no less. As much as it usually doesn't seem that way, I'm sure the Iceman does have feelings underneath that cowboy mask. Plus, it's not like Halak stood on his head in the third. One good glove save isn't going to inspire his teammates, especially when he gave up a weak one on the Canes last marker.
That being said, The Franchise Saviour (TM) was clearly outplayed by Damn Cam Ward. It seems that Price is great on saves which require him to move and/or anticipate, but when he is planted he gets beaten on shots from the slot, which leads to questions about how deep in his net he is playing (and may eventually lead to questions about his reflexes). Example: Cole beat Price in the first goal on an opportunity that resembled a chance Higgins had on Damn Cam late in the third. Damn Cam came up with a relatively easy save as he was aggressive in challenging Higgs. Obviously it's too early to get down on The Franchise Saviour (TM), and we haven't forgotten last week's game against the Leafs, but the fact remains we were out-goaltended last night.
LG77's remaining venom was spewed in the direction of the officiating. Lopsided powerplays (with even-up calls going for the Habs only after the game was decided - and somehow one got the feeling the officials pitied the Habs at that point in that embarrassment of a game). So while I see her point, I can't offer up the Habs a convenient excuse like reffing. While I still don't understand how the Swiss Miss's goal can be overturned when the refs called a goal and numerous replays did NOT show any conclusive evidence of a kicking motion (it looked like a deflection at most, which is allowed), and RDS even reported that the Canes broadcasters were surprised it was disallowed, it wasn't responsible for the loss. Plus, the Cane's disallowed goal in the third (albeit at a time when both teams were just trying to find a way to deplete the remaining seconds on the clock) was a blown call as well. Kovalev clearly knocked the feet out from under Halak, not the Canes forward.
An argument could also be made that the 2/5/10 given to Komo after Scott Walker nailed him from behind into the boards was bullshit. How can Komo get the instigator when he's driven face first into the boards AND Walker drops the gloves first? Incredible.
But again, the officials didn't lose this game for the Habs. They had 6 other defensemen plus Breezer on the bench, even with Komo in the box. The bottom line is that nothing in the rest of the game gave the slightest indication that the Habs were interested in fighting for lose pucks, battling along the boards, or even skating with the Canes - refereeing and coaching be damned.
Offensively, the first line had two good shifts, and both resulted in Canadiens' power plays. Beyond that, zilch. HF10's boy Higgins (he's not My Boy after games like last night's) has been watching Kovy in practice too much, and thought he could dipsy-doodle like AK 27. In reality, the Canes knocked the puck off his stick an estimated 973 times last night. Milk Carton Micheal still couldn't score if he strapped dynamite to his chest, cried "Long Live the Ayatollah", blew himself up in a crowded market, and was granted his harem of virgins in the after life.
As for Saks, P.J. Stock had an interesting observation on HNILeafLand After Hours last night: he thinks Saks feels betrayed by the City and has lost the fire that drove him in years past. I want to believe that is untrue, if only because Saks should be revered as a god in our city for all he has done. But his play on the ice suggests otherwise. Just like his team, no passion, no emotion, no hitting.
RDS suggested that being outhustled was only part of the problem, that the Habs don't have the talent of Carolina. But I think (on paper) the goaltending is even, the Habs defense a little better, and the Canes forwards a little better, so I'm not ready to agree with Pierre et Yvon's assessment yet. But that doesn't mean GM Bob shouldn't be going after a No. 1 center and a top-six winger. Sooner rather that later, Bob. We're panicking here. At least the Leafs winning streak is over, or we'd really be freaking out.
Plan the Parade: Kovalev played pretty well, looked interested, created a little on offense (which is a whole lot more than most of his teammates), and was even seen covering a white jersey in the defensive zone. Ditto Big Tits, who potted the Habs lone goal off a terrific pass from Kovy. The Chips-El Dandy-Gimauve line was probably our most energetic, but of course that's not saying much.
LG77 thought Rhino and Max were our best players because "Carbo hasn't had a chance to fuck up their confidence with his system yet." I watched Rhino closely and he played pretty well, but in limited action, even with Komo in the box. Nor did I think Max had a big impact, although he didn't stink either. But if they are our best players, the Habs will be golfing sooner rather than later.
Chez Paree Bound: no waiting in line, no cover, and free lap dances for the whole team. Obviously we're talking about the Canes. No wonder Eric Staal told Chantal Macabee that he loves playing in Montreal. Well, that and that pancake-faced MILF offered him a hummer in the parking lot after the game. Truth be told, we'd hit that too, Eric.
Meanwhile, Breezer is providing the lap dances in the Habs dressing room.
Next Evil foe: I think we can all assume we'll be losing to the Lightening on Tuesday, what with Lecavalier and St-Louis returning to their home province. At least we can look forward to a few days of trade rumours about those two from lame-brained hockey "experts" like 110%. Although who am I to question the report that Tampa will take Max, Breezer and a draft pick for Marty.
Excuse me while I look up the number of a good lobotomist.