Friday, November 30, 2007

"Ladies and gentlemen, bend over for the Devils" - Game Preview and Open Thread

I of course love these ladies, but I really wanted to post this.

Waiting in line details and chit chat - 7 PM start, the lovely new Prudential Center in beautiful downtown Newark. Watch your wallets kids! RDS-HD has the broadcast of course, and there's Montreal English radio CJAD, Montreal French radio CKAC for the Shaw Cable folks. Beware El Diablo. Winners of 5 straight, if they win tonight there is going to be a massive clusterfuck from 4-8 in the East. Not to mention they would be just two points out of the Atlantic lead. You didn't think a team with Brodeur and a Sutter behind the bench would suck all year, did you?

Oh and in case you weren't aware, the Habs have lost 8 straight to the Devils. And their last win in Jersey happened the same week the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl.

Pay your cover charge to - 2 man advantage. "Serving Kool-Aid, 3 Cups at a time." Not bad, sirs (and ladies), not bad at all.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - Carey Price between the stripper poles in only his second back-to-back start this year. Kovy continues to be our MVP, with 2 goals against the Laffs. AND he says he wants to score more 5 on 5, to be a more complete player. WTF is up with his attitude, it's freaking me out. Gui! scored a goal and looked good in his time on Line 4B.

Hot sexy Devils to watch - the aforementioned Brodeur, with his .948 save % through the win streak. Zach Parise leads the O, with 9 points through the streak and 24 points overall.

Skanky Habs to watch - it's Friday, I'm in a good mood no one goes here.

Skanky Devils to watch - they've won 5 in a row, no skank.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - pop over to Paterson, NJ and head to Sunrise Gentlemen's Lounge. I like that the dancers are described as "well spoken," like that's an important selling point at a strip club.

Watching the game? At the game? Listening? Imagining the game in your head? Let's hear your dirty, dirty thoughts in the comments.

Here's to all that gorgeous snatch in FLA

On the occasion of its fucking 30th anniversary, ESPN.com's Terry Frei calls Slap Shot the best sports movie ever made. We don't fucking disagree. We've seen that movies so many fucking times it's hard to count. So thanks to Mr. Frei for giving me an excuse to post one of the greatest fucking scenes in any movie ever. I feel shame. Now shut up and listen to the fucking song.

Quotes on IMDB

The Game Day Skate for Friday, November 30th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a green fairy...
  • NHL does something intelligent for once and redoes the schedule. Scroll down and Panger and his midnight post will explain it to you;
  • Swiss Cheese had 29 stops, but unfortunately also let 6 go by, as the Sens lost their 5th in a row last night. I actually sort of feel bad for them;
  • Leafs postpone the JFJ / Maurice Death Pool climax for a little while, with a 4-2 win over Atlanta;
  • Roberto Luongo is a freak, as he registers his 3rd straight shutout;
  • Rangers finally win a battle of New York this year, and continue to flip flop with Habs for 4th place in the East.

Another Friday / Saturday double for the Habs coming up. Will TMS' social calendar ever get back to normal?

NHL GM's Finally Get The Thumb Out From Their Asses


The NHL has finally approved a schedule change, reverting back to the Old NHL ways, so that every team plays every other team at least once. Good job on realizing the NHL isn't like Major League Baseball or the NFL, GM's. Too bad it took you three years to figure it out, geniuses. Those cheap-ass bastards (hello, Brian Burke) can talk about creating divisional rivalries all they want (ignoring the fact that the best rivalries are made in the playoffs. Or by Claude Lemieux hammering Kris Draper headfirst into the boards), it's really about cash, specifically travel expenses for opposite-coast road trips.

It breaks down like this: 6 divisional games, 4 games against conference opponents, and 1 game against non-conference teams. This means no more 4 games in 2 weeks against the fucking Sabres (of course it also means Tuesday night games against Columbus, but whatever.) For those of you better at math that me, the new/old schedule leaves 3 "wild card" games. For the Habs, this probably means 3 more games against the Western Canadian teams. Habs fans living in those cities (like Calgary!), rejoice.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lunchtime Blogalicious

Some FHF-approved good stuff for your lunchtime reading pleasure 'cause I don't have an original thought in my head today...

The Morning Skate for Thursday, November 29th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of an excellent Thursday night football game...
  • So yes, SLC, Sens don't lose two in a row. But they do lose four. Fear the Isle, people. They beat the Sens in a shootout;
  • Beware New Jersey too, picking up steam and handing Dallas a 4-2 loss;
  • Colorado shoves itself into the clusterfuck that is the top of the Northwest division by beating the Oil 4-2;
  • Chicago gets Martin Havlat back and he scores 2 in a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay. Hawks better stop winning, it's messing with TMS' head;
  • If you missed the Laura Gainey special report on The Fifth Estate last night, it was well worth an hour of your time. Here is some info as to when it's on CBC Newsworld and it will be online soon too.

Yours truly is out of the JFJ / Maurice Death Pool. HF10 was right, the Laffs aren't organized enough to get this done quickly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yes, I know, I don't watch The Fifth Estate either. But I will tonight.

Not even sure I should post this because it's not a hockey story. But it is a Habs story, so I would be remiss if I didn't say anything.

Tonight at 9 PM on CBC, The Fifth Estate has a special investigation into a possible cover-up in the death of Laura Gainey, Bob's daughter, lost at sea last year. Bob is interviewed, and says there is in fact a cover-up. I'll watch.

More from the CBC.

Second Verse, Same as the First: Price Punks Leafs a Second Time

Second verse, same as the first! Tucker is a punk, Stajan is a runt ...

Remember this? It's deja vu all over again as Carey Price guarantees Christobal Huet has seen his last start against the Leafs in a Montreal jersey.

Plan the parade - The Christo-Wall might become the first guy to start the All-Star Game while playing back-up for his actual team. The Franchise Saviour (TM) was the difference again, turning aside 43 shots and holding off 4 of 5 Leafs in the shootout. Jason Blake finished the night with 8 shots and a shootout miss, and will be seeing a ten foot tall Price in his sleep for weeks. I'm seriously running out of ways to say the Franchise Saviour (TM) is calm, cool, steady, unflappable, always in position, and brilliant. Canadiens 31 jerseys will be flying off the shelves for Christmas this year.

The "Number 1" power play looked like it at times, going 2 for 5 thanks to brilliant passes by Markov to Kovy and then Smolinski to Kovy. El Dandy showed some jump tonight, using his speed to create chances and frustrate the Toronto defence. He looks comfortable up front. Gui! Gui! Gui! added some muscle to line 4A and potted a goal to boot. After an awful first period the Habs righted the ship and played a desperate Leafs squad to at least a standstill for the next forty minutes and overtime. The penalty kill was solid. The Habs even won more faceoffs than they lost, a remarkable feat considering they were around 30% after one period. Two points in the bank is always welcome, especially against the Leafs.

Special mention to one Michael Ryder. The FHF slams Mr. Milk Carton as much as anyone, but despite all his struggles this year, the demotions to line 4C, the benchings late in games, the calls for him to hit the bricks or sit in the pressbox, Ryder has not quit once this year. He works his ass off every night and deserves credit for that at the very least.

The sky is falling - 46 shots given up to a horrible Leafs team ripe for a beating. A first period that could have been a disaster if not for the Franchise Saviour (TM) and the Leafs tendency to aim right for the big CH on his chest. Our "shutdown" defence pairing of Markov and Komisarek let Chad Kilger pull a Mario Lemieux move for the second Toronto goal. Once again, a team coached by defensive wizards Carbo, Jarvis and Muller couldn't hold the lead with less than a minute to go, with Captain Koivu not getting enough wood on a clearing attempt in the last 30 seconds. Someone needs to look at the conditioning of this team, because they always look more gassed at the end of games then their opponents. Two points is good. Crushing the Leafs and eating their souls would have been better. Giving them a point is a bitch.

The League offices are upstairs? We'll save a stamp sending the tape. - Someone needs to fire every damn official involved in this game. The refs were atrocious in this one, and both sides have legitimate beefs. The next time Hal Gill and Andy Woznewski finish a shift without high-sticking someone will be the first. Stajan set a pick on El Dandy that got the Dandy two minutes for a brand-new on the spot penalty called offensive interference. Koivu probably thought a steel chair was the next wrestling staple someone would try on him, they even fucked up an icing call that lead directly to a Habs penalty. I'm sure there is a Leafs blog somewhere right now rhyming off just as many bad calls the other way. That was a stunningly inept performance. The only guy who had a worse night was the bloody moron on the Zamboni.

Chez Parée bound? - Franchise Saviour (TM). Kovy for the two goals and the shootout beauty. Big Tits for the shootout winner. Ryder, because he works like hell and deserves it after all the bitching and moaning he's heard. Leaf haters everywhere, because JFJ survives another day (and Glen Healy thinks he saw JFJ making a trade late in the game ... 2008 first rounder going where?)

4 lap dances out of 10. - Honestly, this was an awful, awful game to watch. The Habs were listless in the first, and if you take out a four minute span in the second and the overtime, this game was dismal start to finish. The fans were lifeless, the refs were bad, and my hoped-for curbstomping of the Leafs never materialized. Now we get to hear a few days of "Price stole you another one ... you can't beat the Leafs without your goalie stealing it" crap from the mouthbreathers. Deep breaths, everybody. Remind them that Messrs. Belfour and Cujo stole games aplenty for the Leafs over the past decade and they didn't apologize for it once.

Next evil evil foe - Habs travel to Newark to meet the Devils. If you're planning on attending, bring your kevlar and leave your valuables at the hotel ... and don't look Lou Lamariello in the eyes; you'll end up trading your plane ticket home for a Bon Jovi tape and the rights to Alex Mogilny.


The Morning Skate for Wednesday, November 28th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of having your NFL comeback blunted by injury...

Still time to get your pick in for the JFJ / Paul Maurice Death Pool. Might want to make it quickly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FHF Salutes the Leafs:
Game Preview, Open Thread, and GM/Coach Death Pool

Well, well, well. 3 Leafs posts around here in 2 days. It's not our fault - they are the ones coming apart at the seams. As is now the custom, male strippers and a variation on the normal preview for Leafs games. Until we lose of course.

The boring crap - 7:30 P.M. start at the ACC. On TV, the game has the magical RDS-TSN HD double-double. Does that mean it's still blacked out in Toronto? Habs losers of 2 in a row. Leafs, after beating the Sens, have gone on a 3-game slide.

Again? Pension Plan Puppets features the FHF in his 5 questions with... feature. His readers must be sick of us by now. Or they are too busy leaning over the precipice to notice. Other blogs to watch the downfall of the Leafs front office include Bitter Leaf Fan, Raking Leafs, and the just-discovered and quite enjoyable He Score, He Shoot.

More crap about the game, in easy-to-read, "HF29 has too much real work to do today to do this properly" bullet point format:
  • Price gets the start after stopping 40 en route to the last win against the Leafs;
  • Gui! gets promoted to the "first" line (line 4B in Guy!'s head), at least for the first shift;
  • Conversely, Ryder will play with Chips and El Dandy on Line 4D;
  • Saku has one goal in his last 11 games;
  • Here are the Google Image Search Results for "hot Finnish babes" to make up for that (NSFW if your "safe search" is turned off);
  • Jim Popp has "relinquished his coaching duties" with the Als. That's code for "we want to fire you but we'll be classy about it";
  • Markov still leads all East D and now Huet leads all East goalies in All-Star in-progress voting announced today;
  • Those last two points had nothing to do with the game and I don't give a fuck, they were important.
Other crap on TV - when your ears hurt from McGuire, switch over to Fox or Global at 9 PM for House. Big episode tonight as Dr. House chooses the new members of the team. I am rooting for Thirteen for obvious reasons.

JFJ / Paul Maurice Death Pool - if you can guess the exact day and time of the announcement of one or both of their firings in the comments, you win a prize. I don't know what the prize is, but it'll be stripperriffic I can promise.

K let's hear your game thoughts and Death Pool guesses in the comments.

Leafs Nation Needs Resurfacing
Peddie: "Hiring Ferguson was a mistake"

The sopa opera that is the Leafs front office is taking on a new twist today. When the President of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment says hiring your GM was a mistake, you know you're in trouble.

The question is no longer whether someone will be fired, but who and when. Maurice and JFJ? Tonight? Before or after the Habs tilt? As was discussed extensively in the comments on yesterday's Leafs post, Habs fans know this affects us tonight. We just can't agree how.

The Game Day Skate for Tuesday, November 27th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of being shot dead even though you're an NFL star. Violence doesn't discriminate...

Leafs tonight. Leafs: in turmoil or gonna pull out all the stops to save everyone's jobs? Or is this the day they all get fired? So many questions. Stick around, maybe they'll get answered.

Monday, November 26, 2007

At Least We're Not the Leafs

"Now starting at left wing..."

Sure, the Habs had a sucky weekend. Sure, we can't score goals anymore. Sure, our coach has returned to his line juggling ways and his pained facial expressions. But it could be worse. Our front office could be in turmoil, as it appears to be down the 401.

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun is reporting that John Ferguson, Jr. may be fired as early as today. This comes from Simmons' always-reliable sources and The Toronto Sun, so it must be true.* This on the heels of Simmons reporting last week that JFJ tried to have coach Maurice fired, which JFJ is now denying. Of course, if you are in a fight for your own job, you'll deny anything.

So cheer up everyone, we're not part of Leafs Nation!

*That's irony, for those of you unfamiliar with Simmons or the Toronto Sun. But this is the most believable thing he's ever written.

The Morning Skate for Monday, November 26th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of winning the Grey Cup...

So we are just going to pretend like the whole weekend never happened, OK? Not the Panger visiting and strip club adventures, that was real. But the two Sabres games are erased from our memories. It's a whole new week. Yeah, right.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ti-beau Shuts out Habs 3-0. Keep you head up, the Sky Really is Falling. Seriously.

Jocelyn Thibault once played in an All-Star game. Look it up. FHF had a bad feeling about his play when the 'Thi-bault' chants started early in the first. Just like you don't do the Ole! song with 5 minutes left in a 1 goal game, wait till the goalie gives up at least one goal to start heckling, Habs fans! Damn, do we have to tell you everything?

The Sky is Falling: Keep your head up out there Habs Fans, because the forecast calls for large rocky objects, thought to be remnants from the Big Bang, entering the atmosphere and crashing in to the surface of Habsland sometime after 3pm local time this afternoon. How else to explain a Ti-beau shut out in Montreal on a Saturday night, other than a sign of the apocalypse? On the upside, the blast just might melt my eyes out and erase last night's vision of glove save after glove save coming from the man in the Sabres goalie sweater. And this on the only night Panger gets to see them play live. You owe me $500 for a plane ticket and $140 for the ticket, you bastards. Shouldda stayed home and watched the Flames beat the Hawks. Yeach.

From the view from section 206, it looked like the Habs played ok, but didn't bring nearly the intensity, either on offense or in front of the Christo-Wall, required to beat the same team that handed them a similar defeat the previous evening. Put it simply, the Sabres won the battles along the boards and for the loose pucks, and basically beat the Habs at their own game (timely goals and great goaltending). Once again Saks is a no show; Hamr looked disinterested and Brisebois couldn't cover his shadow if it was standing in the crease; Komo had a rare weak performance; and generally no pressure on offense besides the Dance a dix line. By the third Carbo had put back on his Court Jester hat and juggled the lines again, reuniting the Pleks-Higgins-Big Tits line from teh end of last season, and putting Kovy on Saks' line with TheTendernesse. Lets hope Kovalev lights a fire under Saks.

Read that last line again and tell me the sky isn't falling in Habsland.

Plan the Parade: Not much last night (I want my money back, Bob). Once again AK 27 looks like he is interested this year. Even though nothing came of his play, he made several nice moves in the offensive zone thanks to his puckhandling wizardry, and even laid out a Sabres' D man in back of the net (although Lydman could be forgiving for relying on last year's scouting report on Kovy: wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight. Evidently Hova writes the Sabres' scouting reports.)

Best line of the night went to Carey Price, which almost was worth the price of admission. During the warm up they play the Habs player's answers to a stupid, weird question. Last night the questions was "What kind of animal would you choose to be?" Price says "A horse. I like horses." Best. Answer. Ever. (although reading it makes me think it was one of those "you had to be there" moments. I swear it was funny: I even laughed at the replay.)

0 lap dances out of 10. You blew it in my return to the homeland, Habs. No forgiveness from me. Plus they get swept in a home-and-home, and even worse let Thibault shut you out. Ugly. Just Ugly.

Chez Paree bound: hell no, especially since they'd have to wait in line behind Thibault for a booth. The only Chez Paree visit will be by the FHF (the next time I am back in town anyway). See HF29's post-game recap, below. Did I mention Mrs. Panger is the best wife ever?

Next Evil Foe: Leafs on Tuesday. The Habs better find a magic elixir for the offense by then or that throbbing vein in HF10's temple may finally pop. The Franchise Saviour (tm) gets the start.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stripperriffic Saturday:
Referees 4, Habs 2
Sabres Preview & Open Thread
Tales of FHF Adventure

Picture this guy as HF29, picture two naked girls instead of 3 schoolgirls, and you have an idea of the big FHF party last night. Too bad the Habs spoiled it.

Plan the parade - well not much to plan really. Habs played about 20 minutes of good hockey last night which was fun. And having Panger in from Cowtown to watch the game at Casa del HF29 was friggin' sweet, and he got to see his boy Higgins extend his goal-scoring streak to 3 games. We both marvelled at the tape-to-tape pass Price made from his own net to the Sabres blue line. That was mind-blowing.

The sky is falling - we all want to blame the refs. I understand. That call on Komo that led to the Sabres' winning PP goal was a fucking joke. There were some other questionable calls and non-calls. Note, however, Habs had 6 PP's to the Sabres' 3 so it wasn't as bad as you thought. But the simple fact is you can't play 20 minutes on the road and exepct to win. As I said to Panger last night, you can get away with 40 minutes of hockey. But 20 don't cut it. Habs players deserve as much blame as the refs.

And something else was discussed last night. Saku Koivu. Where the hell is he? For the last handful of games it seems like he's invisible. We all love Saku to death and would never doubt him. But at a certain point you have to ask what's up. We're asking.

Chez Parée bound? Uh, no. They are all going home to get chastised by their wives instead.

2 lap dances out of 10 - Price was his usual steady self and those 20 minutes were great. The rest, not so much.

Next evil, evil foe - at least the chance for redemption comes quickly against the Sabres again tonight. Speaking of...

Waiting in line details - 7:o0 PM start, Phone Booth. On TV: RDS and RDS-HD in French. Montreal English radio CJAD, Montreal French radio CKAC. Habs wine one, lose one philosophy is right on track, so expect to see a win tonight. And expect to see Panger cheering like mad at the game.

Pay your cover charge to - Top Shelf. Heather B. is one of Hockey's Ladies of Greatness and can really turn a phrase, and somehow there are cookies involved.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - the aforementioned Higgins. Huet in nets. No one else.

Hot sexy Sabres to watch - credit Ryan Miller with excellent play last night. Just as solid as Price was if not more. He's on a hot streak.

Skanky Habs to watch - Guy Carbonneau's face. It was back last night. And goal scoring is becoming a problem. In 7 of our last 10 games, we've scored 2 or less.

Skanky Sabres to watch - none. Sabres are playing well and will soon really be climbing the standings. They have won 3 in a row and have gotten to one game under .500 after just a disastrous start.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - you gotta head over to Montreal Strip Club (Language Police where are you?), scene of FHF debauchery last night. MSC is the former Oh Caresses!, located in the HF29 hood of St. Henri. HF33, Panger, HF29 and HF10's spirit enjoyed a quality evening at the newly rebranded and redesigned place. After setting off the metal detector, we settled in to the front of the club and some fine stage entertainment. Discovery of a whole other bar and stage in the back led us to move around a bit throughout the evening. Plenty of room in the place, and some decent talent. Note: cowboy hats get in the way when you're having a lap dance.

The evening highlights included featured performer Jamie James and her sprinkler of love, and HF29 involvement in the lesbian show referenced in the photo caption above. Alas, 4 hours after we started is was time to close the wallets and dream of how perfect the night would have been had only the Habs won.

K let's hear your ref complaints, Saturday night in-game thoughts, or any stripper-related discussions in the comments.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Ladies and gentlemen, on stage for your dancing pleasure, the Buffalo Sabres" - Game Preview and Open Thread

We need more "famous" people dressing as strippers.
Tonight is Lucy Pinder.

Waiting in line details - 7:30 PM start, HSBC Center, Buffalo, NY. On TV: RDS and RDS-HD in French. Montreal English radio CJAD, Montreal French radio CKAC. Did we not play in Buffalo last Friday night? Or is this my version of that Star Trek: TNG Episode where the Enterprise keeps blowing up because it's in a time loop? (Best. Scene. Ever.)

Pay your cover charge to - Check out The Willful Caboose. They have Star Wars references and professional viola-playing female hockey bloggers. Awesomeness!

Hot sexy Habs to watch - hmmm. Price is in nets, looking for his 4th straight win. Steve Bégin? He exploded for 2 goals against the Isles. Higgins has a goal in each of his last 2 games. Markov leads East D in all-star voting so he must be hot, right? Not to mention I am listening to the Melrose Line ESPN podcast as I type this and The Mullet says he is a Norris candidate.

Hot sexy Sabres to watch - well they just beat the Sens 4-2 so alot of them. Ryan Miller is getting better, while Derek Roy has 4 points in his last 3 games and Vanek has 4 assists in his last 2.

Skanky Habs to watch - I can feel it. This is the night Ryder breaks out. Hahahahaha.

Skanky Sabres to watch - Maxim Afinogenov has zero points in his last 5 games, and only 6 points all year.

In the VIP Room - Lots of good discussion today on FHF about the Habs' place in the league (scroll down to the next post). Are we an elite team? No way imho. But there really aren't alot of elite teams this year. We can take a step towards being elite by winning more than one fucking game in a row.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - a secret spot. With Panger in town, he and I will be watching the game at Casa del HF29 and following it up with a trip with HF33 somewhere. Try to find us!

Watching the game? At the game? Listening? Imagining the game in your head? Let's hear your dirty, dirty thoughts in the comments.

Habs are the 5th Best Team in the NHL. Seriously?

I am a slave to rankings. I love anything that has numbers attached to them. The interwebs seem to have been invented for rankings, from SI.com's Dr. Z NFL Power Rankings to the awesomeness of the Scarlett Johansson-centric With Leather Power Rankings. As you can imagine, I check hockey rankings pretty religiously.

And what did I find when I checked this week's ESPN.com Power Rankings? Tha Habs are at number 5. FIVE! CINQ! Boy that was exciting. And that was even before the Isles win. But honestly? It feels totally wrong.

Look, I like the Habs. But don't they seem sort of middle of the road to you? Win one, lose one. Lose to the shitty Leafs twice. Not show up for a Sabres game. Crap out on Larry Robinson Night. A (former) number one line struggling. Defensive zone lapses. We are not a Top 5 team.

Interesting that the ESPN rankings have 5 out of the top 6 teams from the East. Shift in power or East Coast bias?

Anyway, I feel the Habs should be in the 8-10 range. You guys?

The Game Day Skate for Friday, November 23rd

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of being a rejuvinated Brett Favre...

Habs at the HSBC Center tonight in the first of a Friday-Saturday home and home. Enough with the one win, one loss pattern boys. It's annoying. And Panger is in town for games and strippers. Let's not let him down.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tom Johnson, 1928-2007

Sad news out of Boston this afternoon (and I'm refraining from the obligatory "the Bruins are still in existence" crack) as former Canadiens defenceman Tom Johnson has passed away at the age of 79.

For those who don't know, Johnson was one of the unsung (well, maybe "not-as-sung") heroes of the Habs juggernaut of the fifties and sixties. Born in Baldur, Manitoba in 1928, Johnson spent 15 years with the Canadiens and won six Cups as a player, including the fabled 5 in a row from 1956 to 1960. Johnson never got the press his more illustrious blueline counterpart Doug Harvey did, but he was a talented defender and leader and won the Norris Trophy in 1959 after a career year of 10 goals, 29 assists and 39 points. Injuries put an end to his career after a final two seasons with the Bruins, and Johnson embarked on a second career in Bruins management, getting his name on an additional two Cups as Assistant General Manager and Coach in 1970 and 1972, respectively. He remains the Bruins all-time leader for winning percentage by a coach at .738.

Johnson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970. He leaves behind his wife Doris, son Tommy and daughter Julie.

Rest in Peace, Tom. Although the FHF never saw you play, we realize what your contributions to the legacy of this great franchise were, and for that we salute you. Harvey, Rocket, Boom Boom, and Jacques have a seat waiting for you at Blake's Tavern.

Habs 4 Isles 1 - Sweet, Sweet Higgins Homecoming

The Karmic Fashion Police are still making the Islanders pay for the crime against the senses.

Plan the parade - The Habs beat a decent team on the road. Giggidy. FHF and Fan fav Steve Begin pots a pair, and El Dandy adds a couple of helpers. Christo-Wall makes a season high 43 stops, although to the defence's credit, he wasn't called upon to make a whole lot of difficult stops. Dance a dix keeps up the pace with Pleks potting another off a defelction from a phenomenal AK 27 pass. Home cooking obviously agrees with HF10's Boy Chris Higgins, as he busts out of the corner and blows one by Di Pietro, showing us a glimpse of his power forward potential. By the way Isles fans, enjoy the next 13 1/2 seasons of Rick DiPietro. Yeah, good luck with that.

The sky is falling - after killling off Komo's 4 minute minor, the Habs kinda mailed in the 3rd. But we'll forgive them after picking up the win with only 45 minutes of work. Speaking of Komo, the Habs 'Long Island Ice D' had rather a forgettable trip home. Not only does he get whupped by Brendan Witt, he gets a double minor for high sticking, giving the Isles a 30-second two man advantage, and puttng the Habs a man short to start the third. Don't worry Komo, HF29 still loves you.

Is it bad that it was a relief when Ryder was stoned twice late in the second, because of the always looming fear that a Ryder goal means the Habs will find a way to lose? Just asking...

When Andy Sutton and his 6'6 frame were on the UFA market, the Habs instead chose to reach out for the Breezer. Not that Breezer hasn't played ok, but wouldn't all 78 inches of Sutton look good in fromt of our net? Instead Sutton when to the Isles , and Habs fans have to suffer through the Streit-Bouillon midget convention on teh blueline. (Imagine 6'4 Komo, 6'4 Hamr and 6'6 Sutton as one half of each defensive pairing....I wish Bob would have...)

Big Tits gets his helmet knocked off by Sutton - and man, Big Tits needs to talk to Theo about a exemption from the NHL drug testers for the use of some strong hair care products. Dude, aren't you, like, 22 or something? I though you were from Belarus, not the Ukraine.

8 lap dances out of 10 - a solid (though less-than-60-minute) performce which earned a tough win on the road against a decent opponent. Sweet, we only need about 20 more road games like that to make the playoffs.

Next evil evil foe - the road trip ends Friday in Buffalo. Mmmm, wings. What, is there something else Buffalo is known for? Besides losing?

And more importantly, Panger is going to be at the rematch Saturday night! Live! Sweet! They better not suck.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, November 22nd

Bukllet points for what you missed while having nightmares of missing a really good NFL game because you're Canadian and in the office today...

Happy Thanksgiving to all our U.S. friends, including regular readers El Oso and Damion. May all your turkey be moist.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Ladies and gentlemen, on stage for your dancing pleasure, the Isles" - Game Preview and Open Thread
Special 1/4 Season Awards Edition

So given the Habs have played 20 games, we thought we'd bring you some lame yet stripperriffic 1/4 Habs Season Awards. Note by "we" I mean me, HF29. Other HF's may disagree. And then they will email me to tell me I suck. We're one happy family!

Before we dive in, here's some basic game info for tonight - 7 PM start on Long Island (Higgins and Komo homecoming alert!). Huet between the stripper poles. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the Isles are good. 11-6-0 and 6th in the East, with a bunch of games in hand over everyone ahead of them. 7-3 in their last 10, great 7-2 home record. DiPietro and his 400-year contract have 10 wins already. I don't like the sound of this. OK, on with the show.

She's really hot and I think she likes me Award - Alex Kovalev. Our MVP of the first quarter. He's elevated the 2nd line to #1 line status and looks like he's having fun out on the ice for a change. He's even thrown a body check or two! But like that hot stripper who you think likes you, he'll just break your heart when you realize it's total bullshit and he was faking it.

Quietly sitting by the bar, but when asked she can really perform Award - Kyle Chipchura. IMHO the unsung hero of the first 20 games. He has quietly gone about his business of being an excellent 3rd or 4th line player, proving to be 100% ready for the NHL.

The bouncer threw him out for being too rowdy Award - Tom Kostopoulos. Feisty, full of heart, defends his teammates. He's been exactly as advertised. I'll take a one-game suspension for instigating any time.

"I'm sorry, Candy is out sick tonight" Award - Michael Ryder, duh! 3 goals through 20 games. Lawyers can't do math, but even we know that can't be good. Give him credit for effort, but effort ain't enough for the guy who should be your leading goal-scorer.

This Molson Ex costs $9? Award - Bryan Smolinski and his $2 million contract. Like Molson Ex, serviceable but in no way worth that price.

6 beers in a bucket for $30 Award - On the other hand, Roman Hamrlik has been worth it. I've said this 100 times already, but you have to go to a game to see how well he plays defensively. And that's even while he plays with Breezer! Markov and Komo get the publicity, but the Hamr has been the rock of the D.

Can both of you fit in this booth? Award - Huet and Price. Despite some shaky play lately, you gotta be happy when you have two goalies with above .910 save % and below 2.7 GAA.

7 lap dances out of 10 for the season so far. 4th place in the East is pretty damn good, but our disinterested play on certain nights of late has to be a concern.

Let's hear your dirthy thoughts on the first quarter of the season and the game tonight in the comments.

The Game Day Skate for Wednesday, November 21st

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of some decent defensive zone coverage...
  • As HF10 pointed out,when your 2 biggest rivals play you root for the building to collapse. It didn't happen, but the Leafs getting beat by a Tuukka Rask making his NHL debut is still pretty sweet;
  • Andrei Markov leads the East defencemen in All-Star voting. He says he's surprised. That makes two of us;
  • Oil get out of the West basement with a win over the Canucks in a SO. Baby steps, baby steps;
  • ESPN.com best / only hockey writer Scott Burnside presents his 1/4 season review - East and West. No mention of the Habs. Under the radar I guess. Or maybe just mediocre.

Habs hit Long Island tonight. Watch out for the traffic on the L.I.E.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sens: "Well What the Hell Were We Supposed to Do?" Senators 4, Habs 2

If the Robinson family had been served an injustice in the way of time spent waiting for the long anticipated arrival of this day, all seemed forgiven at centre ice last night. And if Habs fans were afforded the luxury of reminiscing during the festivities, the Ottawa Senators made a quick point that that was then and that this was now.

As the banner bearing Robinson’s name and number took flight, you had to wonder if it gave an on-looking Jason Spezza a glimpse of what following a certain other number 19's climb to the rafters would feel like. In any case, he played as if those plans were on his mind.

In a perfectly fitting tribute that gave every Canadien the motivation and pretext to play inspired hockey for the one who helped build the mystique that surrounds this team, we were reminded that no NHLer could be unaffected by a moment of this magnitude. And so if all things remained equal and the ceremonies also heightened Ottawa’s passion for the game, the Habs were riding on wishful thinking if they hoped to punctuate this evening with a fitting conclusion.

No chance.

Although the Canadiens threw their insides at Ottawa early on, Martin Gerber turned everything aside. The Habs’ shooting gallery played the same trigger-happy game that saw them direct 52 shots at Boston’s Tim Thomas on Saturday. By the first period’s 13th minute, the Habs already had 14 shots; that made it 66 shots in their last 73 minutes of play. This time around, Montreal had nothing to show for it.

The Senators’ forwards responded in kind by giving the Habs’ defense corps fits in their own zone. They found ways to thread short passes through narrow corridors around Cristobal Huet’s crease. They found holes through the Montreal blueliners, and if the openings weren’t immediately there, they created them with incredible speed.

Talent won this game. Sure, inspiration can whip players into responsive, even eruptive states. But by nature, motivation fades and unyielding effort will come to the surface to claim the last word. By the time the Sens had made it 2-0 in the first, all residual effects of the Robinson ceremony had dried up. And Montreal was destined to play catch-up against the best team in the league.

You would expect that a perfect scenario paint a Montreal victory in extended logic of a memorable evening. These brittle hopes don’t work if the Senators are introduced into the story. Start the plotline anyway you want, but enter the Senators and it seems of late to only end one way: Sens win.

Sens win.

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, November 20th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of winning the MVP...
  • Blech, blech. Habs honour Larry Robinson by sucking and losing to the Sens. Though Gerber, Heatley and Spezz deserve some credit. But we still sucked. More later today;
  • Other games may have been played, we're too in a daze to react this morning.

TMS is not happy. Still three games this week to redeem ourselves, including back to back against the Sabres. As HF10 said in the game comments last night, when do we get to some garbage team from the South or West?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hello, Larry - Sens Game Preview and Open Thread (Classy Edition)

Yes, I know I promised a return to the strippers when the Habs gave the effort. And they gave it in spades Saturday night. But this night will be too classy for me to sully it up with your tawdry desires.

Some quick and possibly classy bullet points about the game:
  • In case you hadn't noticed, it's Larry Robinson Day around here (scroll down to read all the great memories from the FHF) as the Habs will retire his number 19 prior to the puck dropping. We guarantee it will be classy. Well, except for the presence of Lou Lamoriello;
  • Greek Lightning has been suspended one game for instigating so he's out, with Grabs taking his spot. Someone want to tell me how Chara got off without any punishment?
  • Sens are gonna be pissed after losing 3-0 to the Laffs Saturday night. Uh-oh;
  • But saying that, if Habs win in regulation they would be only 3 points out of first in the Northeast! (whoa, I may be hallucinating);
  • The Christo-Wall will get the start;
  • Hello, Larry was a short-lived sitcom of the early 80's starring MacLean Stevenson;
  • Michael Ryder had 13 shots against the Bruins. 13! He still didn't score;
  • Chris Higgins will play despite the ankle injury from Saturday;
  • Habs Inside/Out now requires you to be registered to post comments without moderation. Welcome to all of you who want to comment but are too lazy to go through that crap. Normally we have strippers, snark, and swearing, but we're taking the fucking high road tonight in honour of Larry.
Let's hear your classy pre-game and game thoughts in the comments.

Eye to Eye With a 4-Year Old


There we were, face to face, eye to eye, both standing roughly six feet, four inches tall. He was a four-time Stanley Cup winner. I was about four years old. He shook my little hand. Perched atop my father's shoulders, I couldn't have been more star struck, left in awe of the red-bearded giant, his clasp on my fingers, bestowing upon me the title of Coolest Kid in pre-school...for a day.

Of course, this all started with my mom noticing Larry Robinson exiting the Montreal Forum from that oft-cluttered side entrance on DeMaisonneuve Boulevard. As he began his dash across the street towards the nearby parking lot (can you believe it? in those days the players parked in public lots, among the fans and their beaten Chevys!), my mother yelled out her yearning "Larry! I love you". My father, showing encouraging enthusiasm rather than disconcerted jealousy, turned towards one of my boyhood heroes (the other was Ken Dryden) and did what any great dad is put on this earth for: he harnessed me over his shoulders and took me to my idol.

My mom may or may not have had sex with Larry Robinson that day, and that isn't the point of this story. What I will remember though is that he took the time to say hi, to flash a smile that makes a kid's day and stores the moment wherever the brain loads immortality. He even amused me by asking a few questions that I was probably too nervous to answer coherently. Larry could have acknowledged my parents from afar and gone his merry way. But he didn't. He took the time and made it a Moment in my life. Something too few fans can appreciate today in a world of parking lots tucked away, deep beneath these colorless corporate arenas, over-sized Hummers with tinted glasses and a disinterest among millionaire players that leaves the kids void of athletes to really love and know.

To all of you Habs, take the time, sign the cards, smile at the kids. You were once in their little shoes, with your outstretched arms holding your hockey cards and felt pens, waiting, waiting, for a glimpse.

Thanks Larry for going beyond the call of duty, on that afternoon, and as the forever owner of the number 19.

Larry Robinson or Bobby Orr?

Look, I know Bobby Orr was the greatest offensive D ever, don't scream at me for comparing them. But Larry was an offensive machine as well, with highlight goals and QB'ing the PP with pinpoint passes. Watch this and tell me otherwise:



Big Bird could play offence. During his prime (the 4 straight Cups in the late 70's) he averaged about a point per game. He was even regenerated and re-energized in 1985-86 and came up with an 82-point season. I know Habs forwards who would kill for that now.

208 - 750 - 958 in 1358 career games. Not bad for a guy who dominted in his own end.

Oh and BTW, that goal above was scored in Game 5 of the Finals. He thrived under pressure.

Larry Ends the Reign of "The Hammer"

So as TMS noted, tonight is the LONG OVERDUE (screw you, Savard, Houle and Corey) raising of Larry Robinson's number 19 to the rafters. As a dominating presence for almost twenty years, the Big Bird had a number of memorable moments. He scored fantastic goals, laid out ferocious hits, and had a leadership role in six Cups. However, perhaps his greatest contribution to the game of hockey was the hand he had in destroying the rep and the aura around one Dave "The Hammer" Schultz and his thug teammates on the mid-70's Flyers.

Now I make no secret of the fact that I consider the Bob Clarke-lead Flyers of the 70's the absolute low point of NHL history. That gang of cheap-shot artists, goons and animals were an embarrassment who ran roughshod over skilled teams and battered their way to two Cups. They spawned cementhead teams like the Jonathan/Weinsink Bruins, they turned an exhibition against the Red Army into a farce with their tactics, and they brutalized stars like Lafleur, Perreault, Potvin and Salming. But then came Robinson.

The Flyers and Habs were waging war at the Forum when a brawl broke out. Ordinarily this ended badly for whomever the Flyers were up against, and ended horribly for the unlucky victim in the clutches of The Hammer. As you will see, that night Schultz is looking for a dance partner and tries to engage a Hab already grappling with another Flyer. Enter Big Bird.



Robinson wasn't known for dropping the gloves, but was certainly a capable fighter. He took on the most feared man in the game that night, and while he didn't destroy Schultz the way some apochryphal versions of the tale tell it, he certainly won the fight and effectively ended the Hammer's legend as an invincible destroyer of men. Larry and the Habs stole the Flyers lunch money that day, made them human and showed the rest of the league that speed, skill, and the willingness to stand up to the neighbourhood bully would work. The Habs started their run of four straight Cups that spring: the Flyers remained in contention but their brand of street fighting on skates hasn't won them a Cup since. Robinson's rep as a fighter became so great that for the rest of his career he merely had to glare and point his finger at someone and they would cower behind the linesman.

Here's to a long overdue honour, Larry. You had a hand in ending the NHL's Era of Thuggery. Everyone but the Bob Clarke Appreciation Club and the City of Philadelphia thanks you.

Today's Game Day Skate is brought to you by Big Bird, the number 19 and the letter A

Larry Robinson's #19 gets lifted to the rafters tonight before the Sens game. It's about fucking time (thanks for nothing Savard / Houle / Corey). TMS thinks he was one of the Top 5 D ever. The ultimate combo of defense, offense, size, hitting, fighting, everything.

Check back throughout the day as the FHF brings you their big memories of Big Bird. TMS starts it off with the hit that literally broke the boards:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

You'll Have to Earn Back the Strippers, Boys - Bruins Game Preview and Open Thread

Greatest. Mask. Ever.

Seriously, after last night's lobotomy (h/t HF33), the Habs don't deserve any beautiful ladies. And my collection has some spectacular strippers waiting to be posted. Tough shit. Show up for the game boys, I'll bring them back. In the meantime, my annoyance knows no bounds. Ye be warned.

Waiting in line details - 7 PM at the Phone Booth. Yeah, I guess it's on TV. Check your local listings. I guess it's on the radio, but who the fuck listens to the radio anymore? Habs have already won 2 this year against the Bruins.

Pay your cover charge to - Bruins Nation. "Blogging about the team that is going to win the Stanley Cup." Jeebus, they are almost as delusional as Leafs fans.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - none. OK maybe Carey Price, who's in nets, and had a great performance against the Bruins this year in a 2-1 win.

Hot sexy Bruins to watch - Tim Thomas has a 1.68 GAA. That is not a misprint. Marc Savard has taken over the scoring in Bergeron's absence, leading the team with 17 points.

Skanky Habs to watch - uh, all of them? After the feces last night, all of them are on the list.

Skanky Bruins to watch - not too many. Bruins are playing well, 2 straight wins and nipping at the heels of the Habs for 2nd in the division.

In the VIP Room - rant time. I understand you can't expect to win 82 games. You are going to lose. But you can lose gloriously (last Saturday against the Sens) or you can not show up (last night). I refuse to accept the latter. It may happen once in a while, but damn, you fucking better come back the next night and show us what you're made of. You hear me, boys? Show me something.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - sorry, no strippers for anyone until we have the effort.

Watching the game? At the game? Listening? Let's hear your rants in the comments.

Injury Report: All Habs (Lobotomy) Out 2-3 Periods Sabres 4, Habs 1


This was a Sabre team that had not scored first in 14 games. Nor held a lead since John Glenn's ass was revolving around the galaxy (the first time around). Playing with that kind of Buffalo in the room, the Sabres found purpose last night.

And so it began. The first period was u-gly. Cristobal left to his own devices for most of it. Then those very devices failed him miserably on a 6000-footer from the blue line at the old Buffalo Auditorium.

The Casa Greque Solution conjured up memories of the Axl Rose-Elton John duet. You don't ask Fred Astaire and 50 Cent to Paso Double together (largely because 50 would confuse the term as meaning double or nothing and murder Astaire if he didn't come up with the cash).

No need for auditions on the first line. Just cut to the chase and give the part to Grabovski. And stick with it, no matter how much it hurts, because it can't get any worse than the Ryder Softly Motion Picture we have been forced to watch since the start of the season.

We can't fault la Ligna Una alone (or as I recall, it's now la Ligna Dos), for there were other culprits on this night. Every anal cavity extended to full capacity with the giant egg the players laid last night (Yes, in my imaginary world humans lay eggs out of their asses, not their mouths nor a fictitious new orifice designed solely for egg laying).

The Sabres wanted this one. They pressed the Habs as much as they could early on to set a tone that is familiar to la façon de faire in Montreal: skate, play the puck deep in the offensive zone and work hard at both ends. When Daniel Briere and Chris Drury decided to dismount the Buffalo this summer, the Sabres were left with a very Montreal-like team. Save for Vanek, the only pure scorer on either side, one is a mirror image of the other. Small and skilled forwards, mobile blueliners, youth, and reliable goaltending all playing to the tune of their offensive limitations and adhering to a defensive, tight-checking system. There was no escaping this game featuring a case of "a taste of their own medicine" regardless of who was going to administer the drug.

Habs
fans in anticipation of guts and glory on this cold Friday night were brought back to earth faster than a John Glenn U-turn in space after forgetting his Metamucil near the launch pad (the second time around).

They say don't seek intentions in other peoples' mistakes because behind every culprit lies a victim crying for help. Carey Price to the rescue tonight.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Ladies and gentlemen, on stage for your dancing pleasure, the Buffalo Sabres" - Game Preview and Open Thread

K so we're agreed male strippers for Leafs games only?

Waiting in line details - 7:30 PM start, HSBC Center, Buffalo, NY. On TV: RDS and RDS-HD in French, TSN and TSN-HD in English. Montreal English radio CJAD, Montreal French radio CKAC. Habs already have taken 2 from the Sabres this year, including a 2-0 shutout less than 2 weeks ago. This is the last stop on the Habs 4-game road trip through the Northeast division.

Pay your cover charge to - you know, for a supposedly hockey-mad city, Buffalo has a real lack of Sabres fan blogs. No cover tonight! I should specify that the infamous and brilliant photoshopper twoeightnine rocks over at BfloBlog, but it's got football too, so it doesn't count.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - The Danse à 10 / New Number One Line. They are carrying us offensively now. Huet back in nets, he had that shutout last time. You really can't go wrong with either of our goalies right now. Leafs fans are SO jealous.

Hot sexy Sabres to watch - none and none. Sabres are playing like crap, sitting second to last in the Easter Conference. They've scored 5 goals in their last 5 games, and haven't held a lead in regulation in almost 6 games worth of playing time.

Skanky Habs to watch - the Old Number One Line, with Greek Lightning taking Ryder's spot. Oy. I love him and his work ethic, but does he even know where the net is?

Skanky Sabres to watch - all of them.

In the VIP Room - Habs hot + Sabres not + end of a road trip = classic trap game. Have I mentioned how stupid I think this Kosto experiment is? I know you had to do something Carbo, but yeesh. Should have taken Panger's advice.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - in my comprehensive guide to strip clubs throughout North America, Buffalo only has 3 listings. Damn, there are 3 strip clubs within 2 blocks of where I am typing this. Anyway, Rick's Tally Ho looks pretty good. "Ho." Heh.

Watching the game? At the game? Listening? Imagining the game in your head? Let's hear your dirty, dirty thoughts in the comments.

Things Are Even Worse in Dallas than We Thought

In light of the Brett Hull being named most bizarre GM in the history of the league news this week, yours truly was perusing the Dallas Stars team pages. What I discovered may shock you. It may frighten you. It may lead you to wet your pants. Or soil them. Or have a heart attack and die. I really don't know how you'll react, all I know is I can't sleep at night now. The reason? Mike Ribeiro is the leading scorer for the Stars.

18 points in 15 games played (he missed 3 games with wussiness). He even leads the team in +/- with a +8 rating. He's actually tied with Morrow (even though Morrow played all 18 games), but ahead of such names as Lehtinen, Modano, Zubov, and Jokinen. You know, real hockey players.

I can't live in a world where Mickey Ribs leads anything. Please leave your suicide suggestions for me in the comments.

The Game Day Skate for Friday, November 16th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of being indicted...

Tonight in Buffalo as the road trip ends, tomorrow home for the Broons. These Friday-Saturday games always wreak havoc with TMS' social calendar.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This is a Sheldon Souray Post We Swear

Any chance to post an Angelica Bridges photo...


Thanks to Anonymous* for pointing out to us that TSN is reporting that Sheldon Souray is out indefinitely. This was only supposed to be 3-4 weeks, now he's out for a while. I would guess the new year at the earliest. Weird, because shoulder injuries are usually not that bad. Too much work in the sack maybe? That's a good way to get injured I'll tell ya.

Mmmm that's good schadenfreude.

*Now dubbed HabFanatic. Nice name.

Lunchtime Blogalicious

Been a while, so here's some FHF-approved blogalicious links for your lunchtime reading pleasure:

UPDATE - just for posterity, thanks to El Oso for giving us a link to the Jiri Tlusty photos. I guess they're NSFW.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, November 15th (Smile, we're taking naked pictures edition)

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightnmares of taking naked pictures of yourself in the mirror with your camera phone to send to yourself (for an unspecified reason) only to find they end up on the interwebs and a brouhaha is born...
  • TMS thinks Panger needs to move back to the East Coast so his posting schedule mixes with the rest of us. Scroll down to read his quality post from late last night and we'll check in with you later.

Look, we've all taken naked pictures of ourselves, the kid shouldn't feel bad or apologize. Damn prudish Toronto media! If it had happened in Montreal, he would be a god.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why Not Grabs?

Won't this look better when he's wearing a bleu blanc rouge #54?

Finally, Mr. Milk Carton, Michael Ryder has been dropped from the first line. Luckily he stumbled only to the third line, where he will try to rekindle his scoring prowess with vet Smolinsky in the middle and spark plug Steve Begin on the opposite wing. In his place, Greek Lighting will be playing with Cap'n Saks and HF10's Boy Chris Higgins, where the latter two will no doubtedly benefit from the removal of the curse that was Mikey Ryder. We know Greek Lightening is going to out-work Ryder, but are we to believe that he will provide better finish for Messrs. Saks and Higgins?

I say this: give Grabs a chance! We'll see if he can do what Big Tits did when he joined two scoring-type linemates - partners that can take advantage of his skill level. Grabs has not been given any quality ice time or two scoring linemates as of yet. He has shows flashes, both of offensive wizardry and defensive laziness, on the third and forth lines. But doesn't that sound like a certain former memeber of the (former) top line? Wait, I guess maybe not so much the wizardry...but certainly the defence. The difference is, there is real upside to giving Grabs a chance to play with the big boys. Besides, Saks and Higgins know how to play defense, too, so there's not a huge defensive risk with Grabs there.

Besides, Grabs strikes me as a player who likes the limelight. Remember last year in his first ever call up when the Habs were suffering through the Great Flu Epidemic of '07? Remember his breakaway against the Rangers last year? (Anyone know what language those guys are speaking? I'd really like to know.) He was terrific in that game. Giving him a legitimate shot at playing on the top line might give Grabby a shot at the limelight again.

Obviously he tailed off in his second game and was rightfully sent back down. But he succeeded in Hamilton (although perhaps not dominant with the 'Dogs), and then he stuck with the big club out of camp this year. He rotated for a while with Big Tits, but since Big Tits is playing like he has a big pair, Grabby's been the odd man out.

Grabs just seems like he can make something happen out there, just not on a consistent basis - yet, we hope. But, like TheTenderness before him, perhaps some of the top line's talent and intensity will rub off on young Mr. Grabovsky. Maybe when Grabby can rely on better linemates and finds himself in more offensive situations as a result, he can use his skills to create or finish plays that ol' Milk Carton couldn't.

Clearly the Habs do have other options. Smols, Latendresse, maybe even Begin - they'd all bring something to the first line's proverbial table. But I don't think anyone else on the roster has as much upside as Grabs (outside of the the members of "The Line Formerly Known as The Second," and there is no way you break those guys up right now).

No one else - at least on the Habs roster. I do believe there is room on the roster for one (pair of??) Little Tits, Mr. Gainey.

But let's give Grabby a chance first.

"We'll take those 2 points, thank you" - Habs 4, Leafs 3 (OT)

Outshot 40-25, Habs (OK, Price) steal a couple of points last night at the ACC.

Plan the parade - we beat the Leafs. That's enough dammit! Especially after we had already lost twice to them this year by one goal. Certain wins just taste sweeter. The Leafs are at the top of the list. Mmmm, that's good victory.

Carey Price. Hello! Do we all agree his Franchise Saviour tag is earned? Sure, it's early. Sure, he's 20. Sure, he's only played 6 games. But are you watching? You just can't shake him. His calmness is seemingly drug-induced. 40 shots, 37 saves. Nothing to blame him on any of the 3 he let by (and one of those was off a high stick). He had several big ones to keep us in the game. He had a huge one against eventual goat Bryan McCabe about 15 seconds before Komo got the OT winner. AND he is just a classy guy off the ice, giving all credit to his teammates. The FHF developing man-crush on him must be stopped.

We hereby grant the Danse à 10 line number 1 line status. They had the jump all night. Kovy had a goal and two helpers and continues to look like he's enjoying himself. Pleks was flying! And Big Tits looks like he's starting to get comfortable. Let's hope the Gui! experiment on this line is over. He just can't skate with those guys.

Komo will be leading off the next shootout. And he had some nice big hits. Sure, one of them was on the late side, but it was on Darcy Tucker, so it's OK.

Finally, we should mention Chips, who is quietly going about his business on the 4th line and doing it very well.

The sky is falling - well putting Ryder in this space is now just redundant. But the problem is he's taking the rest of that line down with him. They have a combined one point over the last 3 games. At least they seem to be working, but damn they need to start you know, scoring, like a first line should (see above).

Penalties, penalties, penalties. Credit the PK for holding the Leafs to 1 goal, but chastize Markov for putting them there. 4 minors, and some stupid ones. Yes, he had a goal, but Markov is supposed to be good at both ends of the ice. I hope he's not turning into Souray v. 2.0.

Chez Parée bound? Price and Komo are getting the 4 on 2 special. The Danse à 10 line is enjoying complimentary beverages. The old #1 line is washing their underwear and glasses respectively.

7 lap dances out of 10. A 10 on the happiness scale, we admit that the Leafs deserved better. Hahaha, that's total bullshit. The Leafs deserve nothing. I deserve a lap dance for going through this whole review without once writing "Leafs Suck."

Next evil evil foe - the road trip through the Northeast division ends Friday in Buffalo. Mmmm, wings.

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, November 14th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of being a delusional Als coach who can't understand what he did wrong...
  • Behold the power of the firefighter male stripper. Habs win. Be sure to watch the highlights as Carey Price makes 37 saves and Mike Komisarek scores in OT. More on the game later today;
  • Stars dump GM Doug Armstrong. Brett Hull will take over. Seriously. No really, stop laughing;
  • Sean Avery is an idiot;
  • St. Louis beats the Read Wings. Did you know the Blues are over .500? Of course, in the Western Conference that will get you 11th place, but still.

Bask in the glory of the win today. Price may have stolen one, but damn TMS is happy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Time to Change our Luck - Leafs Preview and Open Thread

The playoff beard. The rally cap. Adjusting your batting gloves 600 times per at bat until I want to shoot myself in the face. The sports world is full of superstition. The last time our Habs played the Leafs we brought you the perfect preview loaded with a bevy of female strippers. And we lost. And I was there. And I'm still pissed. So we're shaking things up today. Let's change the format, and hopefully, the luck.

The 411- start is 7:30 in Toronto. It's on TV, RDS and RDS-HD in French. In English, Sportsnet Ontario and Sportsnet HD. Montreal English radio CJAD, Montreal French radio CKAC.

Our good friends around the blogoshpere - Pension Plan Puppets once again features the FHF in his 5 Questions with...

Totally boring bullet points about the game and its participants with nary a mention of a certain MIA Newfie:
  • Carey Price starts in nets;
  • Pavel Kubina is out of the Leafs line-up indefinitely with a knee ligament problem;
  • Habs reaction after the tragic Sens loss - channeled anger or discouragement?
  • This is game 3 of the Habs 4-game road trip through the East;
  • Leafs will wear their away whites tonight, maybe because they have lost 4 straight at the ACC;
  • I was at the ACC on Friday night for The Police concert;
  • The ACC is a lovely arena;
  • Habs PP still leads the league;
  • Habs have lost to the Leafs twice this year by one-goal margins;
  • Leafs actually got 3 out of 4 points over the weekend;
  • They still suck.

Watching the game? Listening? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments. Or not. It's totally up to you.

BREAKING "NEWS" - Garth Murray is a Panther

Thanks to reader Anonymous for pointing out that Garth Murray has been claimed by the Florida Panthers. As he said in his comment, "yawn."

He had a few moments last year, but there's just no room in the new NHL for a fourth line enforcer who doesn't do much else. Goodbye and good luck, I guess.

The Game Day Skate for Tuesday, November 13th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of breaking the rushing record one week then tearing your lateral collateral ligament the next...

Leafs tonight. If we lose I may be physically ill.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Welcome to the Hall Boys. Respect your Elders.

Mark Messier.

Ron Francis.

Scott Stevens.

Al MacInnis.

Tonight.

'nuff said.

ESPN coverage.

Montreal Gazette Can't Pay its Bills

Hahahaha. No seriously, I have to laugh. The Gazette pours all its resources into making the crappiest hockey "blog" in the history of hockey blogs, and they can't pay their bills. I went to Habsinsideout.com to check on any news a few minutes ago, and I get redirected to a page with the message: "This Account Has Been Suspended. Please contact the billing/support department as soon as possible."

All you Habs Inside Out fans come join us! We have strippers!

UPDATE - at 2:11 PM it seems like everything is back to "normal." Well, they have a new design so I guess that was the issue. The new design is, uh, blue. Like the Leafs?

I took a screen shot at the time so you know I wasn't on crack:

The Morning Skate for Monday, November 12th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of gambling on 3rd down and then not being able to gain ONE FUCKING YARD and losing...
  • The Blackhawks beat the Red Wings and are now 10-7. The Hawks are good? Insert curse of dead owner joke here;
  • Leafs spiral continues, with Pavel Kubina out indefinitely with an MCL problem. Of course, as soon as I say that, they'll beat the Habs tomorrow.

BIG thanks to the rest of the FHF for holding down the fort over the weekend while TMS was in Tronna checking out the local adult entertainment talent. Never thought I'd say this, but something in TO was damn good.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Landscape of Loss: Sens 3 - Habs 1


For 54 minutes yesterday, the Montreal Canadiens reduced the Evil Empire that is the Ottawa Senators to an obedient colony. Then came the uprising.

The Putsch toppled a Canadiens grip that seemed to have taken too much out Les Glorieux by game's end. The strike came in the appearance of 3 goals in 6 minutes by a team unfazed by Montreal's determination to add a third defeat to the Sens' loss column. In this game of do or do not, there is no try, almost amounts to nothing. And so Montreal carried only pride aboard the bus down the eastern stretch of the Trans-Canada. They made it hard for Ottawa, an effort worthy of almost-satisfaction, but again almost doesn't pad the stats.

If the Habs didn't collect their harvest on this day, they may have planted a seed. A seed of doubt in the minds of the Senators who saw a team deliver the full package to Kanata.

As the Canadiens were coming out with the passion that transforms regular season play into playoff intensity, Cristobal Huet was slowly writing the storyline that was meant to see the Habs upset the Senators. As the simmering emotions enveloping this game rose to a furious boil, Huet was at the top of his craft foiling Ottawa's onslaught with unbelievable stops from all sides of the crease. After a beautiful save on a Daniel Alfredsson penalty shot, the game pried a jubilant fist pump out of a usually bland and unresponsive Huet who proved incapable of containing the excitement that had taken over this game.

Because don't fool yourselves, this was the best game of the season. Evenly matched teams led by sublime goaltending, solid defence, relentless forechecking, swift skating and a will to win.
The Canadiens showed that their record this season is one of merit. After yesterday's game they deserved more.

Let it be known, however, that despite what was beginning to look like another shutout performance for Huet, that is until Alfredsson's tally opened the gates, the Senators probably had every spectator in the building, in the country believing in what eventually happened: they could find a way to beat Montreal. In containing the natural talent to be found everywhere on a team performing at an improbable record setting cadence, the Canadiens' pace slowed to a point of physical and mental fatigue. Cue a tiring and predictive defensive shell that Ottawa soon found ways around. Followed by the Alfredsson marker that pinned the Habs on the ropes. Then came the Neil knockdown that caused irreparable damage to Montreal's fleeting hopes. The empty netter, an unnecessary reminder of what was amply evident, Ottawa will decide when and how a game ends no matter how close they are pushed to the edge.

Montreal pushed them close, but in doing so they also followed the Senators to the brink. And by that time, in the bat of an eyelash, Ottawa catapuled around Montreal and simply needed what seemed like a flick of a finger to send the Canadiens to their fatal fall.

Sens win. Get used to it.