Thursday, January 31, 2008

The threeway (predictions contest) comes to a climax - Capitals Game Preview and Open Thread

Just when things were getting exciting. Our awesome threeway (predictions contest) with Shmee and CapsChick has gone swimmingly so far, thanks to a 4-0 shutout in the opener. Rumour has it the Caps need to win 8-1 for one of the ladies to take the contest, but it involves math so the lawyers are in no position to check on that.

Wating in line details - 9 PM, ABC. Will Jack get all the Losties rescued? Will Locke keep them on the island? Oh right, hockey. 7 PM Verizon Center. Don't forget, February 2nd is Mr. Potato Head Day there! (seriously, the first 5,000 kids will receive a Capitals-Branded Mr. Potato Head)

Habs are hot. No two ways about it. 10-2-2 in their last 14. 6-1-1 in their last 8 on the road. Washington was pretty hot coming in to this home and home, but now you can say they've lost two of their last three, with their only win coming against the Leafs. However, Caps have gone 30 games without losing two in a row in regulation.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - Kovy, Pleks, and HueT are leading the way. The Swiss Mister had a goal and a helper on Tuesday and is heading towards a career year.

Hot sexy Caps to watch - we can't keep Ovie down forever, can we? Olie the goalie expected to get the start.

Skanky Habs to watch - Kovy's thumb. It's not broken, but bears watching. El Dandy must be getting tired of the press box. Gui! is MIA, or at least his scoring ability is.

Skanky Caps to watch - [space left blank for fear of angering hockey gods]

In the VIP Room - h/t to Shmee for pointing us to the Washington Post and their story about Habs "piling it on" in the last minutes of Tuesday's game, leading to extra motivation for the Caps. I personally think that Carbo is so clueless he just had no idea how much time was left in the game.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - we're busy with the threeway. No time for strippers.

K let's hear your dirty thoughts in the comments, either hockey or Lost-related.

tm HF10

Available at all finer dépanneurs.

UPDATE - Ladies spaghetti top now available!

The Game Day Skate for Thursday, January 31st

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of being Britney Spears' psychiatrist...
  • HF10's namesake, er, numbersake, will surrender to police tomorrow after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Ooh, juicy. Drugs? Prostitutes? Racketeering? Illegal cigarette trafficking ring?Uh, no, "giving contradictory evidence as a witness." We'll follow this story of course (h/t to LG77 for being on it last night) but really, this sounds dull, even for lawyers;
  • Thrashers beat the Pens, but Kovalchuk suffers a knee injury;
  • Jose Theodore wins again!
  • Souray on IR again. Habs' management beginning to look like geniuses.

Alright round 2 of the big Caps home and home tonight. Shmee and CapsChick are gonna be at the game in efforts to boost their chances for the big threeway (prediction contest), but we like our own chances. Damn, we're positive around here for a change. TMS sort of misses the sucking, it was easier to write jokes.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Predictions are for Fools: Habs 4, Caps 0

So we're halfway through our Three Way (predictions contest) with CapsChick and Capital Addiction and the big prize (so to speak) is still up for grabs. But the Habs won, and so we're claiming victory (even though all three of us picked the Habs to win). Now if only our predictions skills helps us out with some lottery numbers once in a while.... (Meanwhile, the Caps can pay this dude a buck in the hopes of seeing what draft lottery number they'll get).

Plan the Parade - SHUTOUT! Sweet. Of course it will come as no surprise to hear from me that the goalie is the key player on any team, but last night HueT really was key. Although the Habs played a great first period and built up a huge lead (including a shorty by Little Tits on a great play by Turtleplek), HueT still had to make some timely saves throughout the game, and sometimes even manages to look like he intended to make the save. Plus Rollie tightened the leash and CristoWall didn't have a chance to gift wrap a goal by wandering out of the net to play the puck. Kovy (cheap mullet and all) was clearly the best player on the ice - a fact which was most notable when he left with a finger injury in the second, and the Habs were stuck in neutral. AK27 led Alex the Gr8 with 6 shots to 4 and 1 goal to none, plus Kovy played 5 fewer minutes. As a team, the Habs generated 40 shots to the Caps' 35, and may have regained top spot in PP efficiency with a couple of man-advantage goals.

The Sky is Falling - for the purposes of the Three-Way (predictions contest), we refuse to acknowledge any weakness on the part of the Habs since they have a return engagement in mere hours. And since Breezer is still locked in a truck, we have no need to vent on any of the players on the ice last night (enjoy it while it lasts, Milk Carton).

So let's take a look at the opponent's problems for once: Ovie spent more time trying to prove his toughness (5 hits to lead the Caps) against guys like DOOM that he forgot about scoring goals (right now his only flaw seems to be that you can get him to lose his head with a little roughing up). Oh how to put this next question kindly: does John Erskine have some sort of learning disability? TWO penalties for putting pucks over the glass in the same game? Seriously? That's Breezer-like (not a compliment, FYI). Brent Johnson was in position to have some pucks hit him; I don't think Olie is worried about losing his job. Kolzilla usually kills us, but he's pushing 40 and I guess asking a guy making $5.5 mill to work twice in three days is inconceivable. That or Boudreau figured the Caps had no chance. Yeah, let's go with that. Finally, Backstrom looks like he should be scooping out ice cream at the concessions, not taking defensive zone faceoffs (Little Tits can work the register, for that matter).

Who knew we'd long for the days of Bengt Gustafsson (Washington edition) - you know, back when the Caps actually made the playoffs on a regular basis. Good news Caps fans, it supposed to be a good draft year, so that top-10 pick will come in handy down the road. Plus Ovie, Backstrom and Green don't suck.

Chez Paree bound - Shutout = free pass for the entire team. Plus HueT gets a three-way of his own.

Next Evil Foe - Duh, Washington again. Although it's hard to call a team evil when you're actually waiting for a certain player on the other team to hop onto the ice. For the purposes of our Three-Way, looks like we need the Habs to win and score 4 goals, we will already admit our Washington goals-for is way off, Ovie needs to score (but not Kovy - he can just set up Turtleplek this time) and Greek Lightening needs to kick Brashear's ass. Although we have to say Capital Addiction looks like she got it right on the fighting front - but we'll retort by pointing out that there is no need to fight when you're up by so many goals!

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, January 30th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of marrying Tom Brady...
  • A shutout? Really? HueT (apparently we're pronouncing the T now) makes 35 saves and the Habs beat the Caps 4-0. We'll have more later, including an update on the big threeway (prediction contest). Looks like Shmee and CapsChick may need a 12-0 win tomorrow with Ovie scoring 5 to get back in it;
  • Ottawa makes it hard to think of first place, though, with a 5-2 win over the Isles. Sens Army hold their breath (again) as Alfie may have tweaked his hip;
  • Leafs lose, woohoo! Against the crappy Blues, no less, double woohoo!

Fun to be a Habs fan now, eh?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Everyone Loves a Threeway: Caps Game Preview & Open Thread and Our Prediction Contest with Two Lovely Ladies

In our dreams

So as we announced yesterday, the big threeway (prediction contest) is a go! While we cue up the Barry White and warm up the oils and lotions, let's hit some bullet points to serve as your game preview:
  • 7:30 PM, Bell Centre, first of a home and home;
  • Habs are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Really! Only Detroit can match that;
  • Caps are 7-3 in their last 10, have won 5 of their last 6, and are 17-8-4 since dumping coach Hanlon;
  • The last Habs-Caps tilt was an epic 5-4(OT) win for the Caps that may have gotten TFS(tm) sent down to Hamilton;
  • No one particular Hab is hot, they all are considering that win in the alternate universe. Pleks has 13 points in his last 11 games;
  • Mike Green is hot for the Caps, six goals and 14 points in his last 12 games. Oh, and some kid named Ovie is on pace for 64 goals this season;
  • No word yet on any starting goalies or line-up changes, though expect Huet to start. Maybe Halak gets in this weekend?
OK, let's get to the reason you're all here. The threeway (blogger prediction contest), pitting the FHF against two of the HLOG, Shmee of Capital Addiction and CapsChick of A View from the Cheap Seats. Shmee runs down the rules (er, whatever rules we have) quite nicely.

Getting four lawyers to agree on anything is difficult. Getting four lawyer Habs fans to agree on eight predictions was damn near impossible. But after a late night at the strip club, we managed to reach a consensus. So without further ado, our predictions:

Total # of goals scored by the Habs over the 2 games - 8
Total # of goals scored by the Caps over the 2 games - 5
Total # of goals scored by Ovie over the 2 games - 1
Total # of goals scored by Kovy over the 2 games - 1
Winner of Tuesday night game - Habs, duh!
Winner of Thursday night game - Habs, double duh!
The Hab who will get into a fight - Greek Lightning (that's Tom Kostopolous, just so we're clear, not some other Greek Hab)
The Cap who will get into a fight - Brashear. Like there was ever any doubt.

From HF10: When do we get to start the trash talking? I want it on record that our Russian star is an enigmatic, airplane flyin, blonde-haired Adonis type renaissance man, while theirs is a gap-toothed, yellow-skate lace and tinted visor wearin, hair-by-hillbilly-barber goofball. Or something.

Consider it done, 10. Good luck to us all. And by "us," I mean us, and not "them."

The Game Day Skate for Tuesday, January 29th: the usual threeway with video

The usual bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of an endorsement from the Kennedys...

The threeway (blogger prediction contest) has the FHF taking on two of HLOG, our friends Shmee of Capital Addiction and CapsChick of A View from the Cheap Seats, in a battle of uh, predictions. The occasion is the Habs-Caps home and home starting tonight. Check back at 2:30 PM when all predictions will be revealed.

The video is of ESPN's The Mullet now picking to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Finals... your Montreal Canadiens! Kill me now.


Monday, January 28, 2008

SORRY ABOUT THE ALL CAPS

Hey kids! You know who the Habs play this week? Yes, it's the Washington Capitals and their Unfrozen Caveman Millionaire Hockey Player (tm myfo)! On Tuesday. And on Thursday. With an event like this, we turned to our friend Shmee over at Capital Addiction for some ideas.

The result? A bet! Well, not a "bet" per se. Shmee, fearing the IRS, the FBI, and /or mob reprisals, has deemed it a "predictions contest." We predict the Habs will win. Shmee predicts the Caps will win. Whoever is wrong will be forced to write an epic poem on why the other team has a better player than the other team's best player. Or something like that, we're still working on some details. We're lawyers, so the negotiations are going badly.

Considering we had our asses handed to us the last time we tried this, we need some redemption. If only we could get CapsChick involved too, we could have a three-way! Uh, bet. Three-way bet. Er, predictions contest.

It's Never Too Early to Start the Hype Machine

So TSN wants you to choose the 2010 Olympic hockey team. They want you to know, right up front in big bold letters, that "It's never too early to start talking about the Olympic hockey tournament!"

Yes TSN, it is too early.

Jesus Fucking Christ. I know we are a hockey mad country. I know TSN should just be called the Canadian Hockey Network (OK, the Canadian Hockey and Darts Network). But this is fucking ridiculous. TSN themselves seem to think there might be problems:

Keep in mind, the team won't play until 2010. By that time, some of the veterans might be fading, and some of the kids might be shining.

Good point TSN! Then what's the fucking point of this stupid exercise?

This is just a TSN.ca poll and NOT part of the official 2010 selection process.

Well that's good to know. But personally, I won't vote until Pierre Maguire tells me who to vote for.

The Morning Skate for Monday, January 28th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of another week of Super Bowl hype and Brady foot updates. Just play the fucking game already...

  • The East won the All-Star Game, with a thrilling, tightly faught 8-7 victory. Well, maybe the last 8 minutes or so were thrilling not boring. Staal-bot number 53 won the MVP. Rick Nash was the best player. Markov got a goal and generally looked OK out there. Alyssa Milano looked hot. TMS had several naps during the game.

Let's get back to real hockey.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hey, it's ASS (All Star Sunday)!

The FHF All-Star coverage has been either brilliantly rant-y (one last time, fuck you, you little fuckity-fuck) or, uh, well I guess that's been the extent of our All-Star coverage. I think it's because we just don't care. Or maybe it's because it's on a sucky network in the States we're still pissed the NHL re-upped with. (We kid, Versus, you're great! Can we have our magnetic playoff thingy now?)

Anyway, we're about to rectify our lack of ASS coverage, in handy HF29-patented bullet point form!
  • Well that fancy-schmancy shootout contest was a total suck-fest. No one could score and beyond Ovechkin's juggle-baseball attempt (which he whiffed on), no one was impressing Dominique Wilkins on this night;
  • There is some actual hockey news from yesterday as the NHLPA is pissed about the NHL announcing the Euro games even thought the players haven't agreed to it yet. Pick up the phone once in a while, NHL!
  • For some real All-Star coverage, head over to Interchangable Parts. Pookie and Schnookie's desire for the Versus magnetic playoff thingy is insatiable;
  • melt your face-off is your one-stop shop for ASS live blogs. hockey's ladies of greatness will have one too.

Well, that's really it. We just don't care. Sure, we'll be watching. But a 14-12 game is not hockey dammit.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dodo Eggs Hatch, America Pulls Out of Iraq, Spears Beats Kasparov in Epic Duel - Habs 4, Devils 3

Bloody impossible.

Down 3-1 to begin the third period in New Jersey, the odds had Vegas closing shop and headin' on home.

The latest Habs-Devils matchup couldn't have looked more redundant. The Canadiens played here in vain throughout the Bush administration. The trouncing of the Bruins on Tuesday night must have been the result of a Guy Carbonneau speech that would have included the following reminder: "Look, you ass warts, we all know we're gonna get raped in Jersey on Thursday, so we better come out hungry tonight and get those two points".

Psychology and sports. Like Denzel and passionate pleas from a prison cell. The Bruins boss the NHL around all year but can only boast a good but not great record because the Habs, in handing them a quarter of their losses so far, have balanced out their results. Embattled Boston faces the Habs and the Bruins suddenly look smaller, slower, feeble. Montreal is to Boston what New Jersey is to Montreal. The Habs require mental bypass surgery to get through the psychological blockade that inevitably leaves them clueless in a Brodeur crease.

Outwardly, a New Jersey-Montreal game usually looks like a bore. A slow tempo display of Devil patience in a game of low risk trapping and containment. It offers the few remnants of the NHL in the dark years, a nothing's changed cadence of three evenly dull periods in the blandest show hockey has to offer.

Yawn.

If the editors in New Jersey had commissioned the Another Day at the Office headline for the following day's sports section during the second intermission, those orders had to be called back 30 seconds into the third, when the Habs decided to leave the past behind and pen a fresh new story for this game.

Because, truth be told, this game really started in the third period. With a Brian Smolinski finally parking himself where he is paid to be, in front of the net, 2 goals would come off his stick. His second of the night, the early marker to begin the third, erased the New Jersey momentum conjured by the Elias goal in the second that had made it 3-1 and given the impression that the game was out of reach.

The Kovalev line appeared to draw much from this early sign of promise and resumed its inexplicable brand of genius from there on end. With Kovalev a master of puck possession, the line willed itself into the New Jersey zone. And there it stayed. And there it was joined, by the whole team, with every line taking its turn at pushing New Jersey deeper and deeper into their own end. With that came inevitable attempts to thwart the Montreal blitz, a tactic which only yielded a flurry of Devil penalties and an ensuing abundance of scoring chances for the NHL's premier power play unit.

We can attempt to lend Montreal Braveheart desire and label this game their unflinching dedication to a win in New Jersey. No need for the exaggeration. This was just a result of focus, work, and a good use of the team's most prized asset: speed. That, and the levelling out required by the law of averages; Montreal had to win in New Jersey one day.

It comes as little surprise that the Habs found cracks in a team that has begun to move away from the quasi dynasty built over the better part of the last decade. While still inspired by phenomenal goaltending, the Devils of yesterday were not constructed with the image of the new NHL in mind. Stripped away on the blue line with the departures of Rafalski, Niedermayer and Stevens, the rigid steel that opposing forwards feared at the back now bends, seemingly at will, should a team want it enough. Age, evolution and change in the way the game is played, all these things have aided in arresting New Jersey's imposing march. Despite its apparent demise, the franchise still manges to maintain and cultivate this aura of greatness, incredibly in the middle of oft-neglected New Jersey, the likes of which only certain teams in this league have managed to thread as part of their fabric. Everyone in New Jersey, including Martin Brodeur, knows who to thank for that. Even in a new found mediocrity, the Devils still appear to be great.

Last night, this evidence of mortality paid Montreal 2 much welcomed points. And with them, more importantly, the comfort in knowing that the Devils can now finally be beaten in New Jersey.

HF10's All-Star Rant: Fuck you, Mickey Ribs, you fucking ungrateful little fuckity-fuck


Mike Ribeiro, NHL All-Star.

Read that sentence again. Resist the urge to smash your limited edition Pierre Dagenais bobblehead against the wall. Do not phone Bob Gainey to complain. Do not curse Janne Ninnima to the heavens. Curse Mickey Ribs, who could have had it all in Montreal ... but fucked over his hometown franchise and fans.

Do you remember the ascension of Mickey Ribs? Local phenom, scoring almost at will at every level of youth hockey. A spot at the world's most famous hockey launch pad, the Quebec Pee-Wee Tourney. Scoring titles and scouts aplenty as a Triple A player. All-Star teams and Canadian Hockey League scoring titles as a junior in Rouyn-Noranda. Snapped up by his boyhood favourites in the 2nd round in 1998. Shoved to the forefront too early by an overwhelmed and desperate Ronald Corey and Reggie Houle, who needed something, anything to placate the fans after the debacle of the Roy trade and the horrid performance of the rudderless Habs.

You want a snapshot of the Corey regime's shortsightedness? Look at Mickey Ribs. Too small and slow coming out of junior, ill-prepared for fourth-line spot duty in the NHL, he was rushed into the starting lineup to thunderous applause and overblown expectations. He was shuttled back and forth between the AHL and NHL, force-fed to the National Junior team (rumours persist that the Corey and Houle only released Ribeiro for duty after receiving guarantees that Mickey Ribs and noted Canadiens draft bust Eric Chouinard would be first-liners ... lo and behold they were, undeservedly sucking up power play time from more motivated, more effective players), and handed a spot on a scoring line despite an alarming tendency to a) not play defense, b) get shoved around by every single player on earth and c) fall to the ground at the slightest of touches.

For every marvelous move behind the net, Mickey Ribs had two glaring defensive lapses. For each time he made running buddy Dagenais look like a sniper, there was Mickey Ribs shunning contact or tiptoeing around the offensive zone like a kid sneaking in after curfew. For each platitude about his hockey sense there was an apocryphal story about his continued lack of fitness. For each public appearance as the future of the franchise, there were whispers of two or three late nights spent out on the town.

Yes, the Habs were a lousy hockey team for much of that time. Yes, Mickey Ribs got rushed, jerked around by the clueless Houle, and feted too quickly by the Montreal media. The Canadiens organization and its fans deserve a share of the criticism for the way the Mickey Ribs era went down. But know this, you little twerp:

It wasn't the Canadiens who acted like a snarky little punk in the dressing room.

It wasn't the fans who didn't put in the necessary work on hockey basics like defensive zone coverage, faceoffs, backchecking, and avoiding lazy, jackass hooking penalties.

It wasn't the media who didn't spend any time working out in order to develop some semblance of the physique required of a professional athlete, rather than stick with the build of a high school clarinet player.

It certainly wasn't the Habs or anyone else's idea to collapse like you'd been shot, only to laugh about it on the bench moments later (against our most hated of rivals no less), causing the franchise and its supporters untold embarrassment and leaving proud men like Beliveau, the Richards, Gainey, and Koivu to wonder why a punk kid would cheapen their legacy.

No, Mickey Ribs, it was you. You, who so polarized a dressing room and a fanbase. You, who promised so much and really delivered so little. You who forced Bob's hand to the point where he essentially gave you away rather than put up with your lazy, unmotivated, no-backchecking, pansy, party-instead-of-work-on-my-numerous-deficiencies, scrawny ass. You, who after experiencing some sort of epiphany when you realized you wouldn't be mollycoddled and protected by certain fawning Montreal media and apologists and might see your ass carted right out of the league, decided to, in your own words "put my head in the right place and do what I have to do to be successful"

It was you who threw the Habs under the bus when you said things like this:

"They [the Dallas coaches] let me play the way I can can play ... You try to make plays. If I create a turnover, well, they won't bench me. They'll tell me to keep playing smart and create offence."

"If [the Canadiens] gave me the chance from the beginning [in a scoring role] maybe I would have started being the player I am now a bit earlier. I always knew, deep down, I could be that player. Playing with good players and a good team has helped."

You know what, jackass? You were too small, too slow, and too lazy to warrant any special treatment and still got it from the Habs. You got put on the top line when Koivu was hurt. You received plenty of power play time. You got plenty of chances considering you didn't work on your strength, conditioning, skating, or attitude in the SEVEN FUCKING YEARS you were in the organization. And suddenly it's all the Canadiens fault? Fuck you, you little punk. Christ, the Canadiens paid a salary to your idiot drinking buddy Pierre Fucking Dagenais for two years to keep you happy and you still crapped the bed. Now you're in Dallas and on pace for 90 points, and it's the Canadiens fault? Suddenly you get to Dallas, keep your fucking mouth shut in the dressing room, go home after practice instead of out to Crescent Street, hit the gym for the first time in your fucking life and it's the Canadiens fault? God, I wish someone would break your skinny ass in half. Enjoy the All-Star game, Mickey. It should be right up your alley, since no one is going to throw a hit or play defence. Can't wait to see you improve on your 8 points in 24 career playoff games when someone like Dion Phaneuf is using your spine as a fucking toothpick this spring.

Fucker.

The Morning Skate for Friday, January 25th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the Australian Open Women's Final...
  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Sorry, TMS still can't believe what happened. Habs score 3 unanswered in the 3rd against Marty and the Devils to win 4-3. Read that again, because there are at least three things in there that TMS just doesn't think could have happened in his lifetime. The highlights may be worth watching. Yes, that is Bryan Smolinksi who is prominently featured. More later if we can come out of our delirium;
  • Alfie! 3 G, 4A in an 8-4 win over the Bolts to pull the Sens out of their stupor;
  • Leafs back to losing;
  • Rangers win as Brian Leetch's number is retired. This bullet point is snark-free as it's well-deserved;
  • Kings beat Ducks in SoCal matchup. Wow. Must be because I saw Tommy Lasorda in the highlights, at the game wearing a Kings jersey.

The All-Star Break is here! We're excited. It's just like Spring Break but with more wet T-shirt contests. Watch all the action on Versus. Or, you know, a real network.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Habs Enter Ninth Circle of Hell: Devils Game Preview and Open Thread

If hell has babes like this, I'm willing to put up with the heat

Waiting in line details - 7 PM start, Prudential Center, Newark. Watch your purses, ladies! Also, it's Nathan's Dollar Hot Dog Night! Mmmm, those are good dogs. Habs coming off a big 8-2 win over the Bruins and are 6-2-2 in their last 10. Devils equally hot, 7-3 in their last 10, and coming off their own big win, 7-3 over the Flyers. Habs' 8 goals and Devils' 7 were team highs for the year respectively.

OK let's take a deep breath and discuss how much the Habs suck against the Devils. Devils have beaten us 9 games in a row. NINE! Neuf. Nueve. Eight of those were regulation losses. Marty has won all of them, with a 1.76 GAA. In the last five against us, he's got a 0.79 GAA. Lifetime: 34-12-0 with five ties, a 1.74 GAA and eight shutouts. Mother of god. Habs last won in New Jersey back when George Bush had a 90% approval rating. That's a long fucking time ago. We are 1-21-4 in Jersey since 1993. We are FUCKED.

Pay your cover charge to - Interchangeable Parts. Our friends Pookie and Schnookie (may not be their real names) kick ass over there. Brilliant writing, huge following (hundreds of comments per post!), and even their own glossary. We are humbled to be in the same blogtopia with them.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - Big Tits had a pair against the Bruins and Kosto had the Gordie Howe hat trick. Streit had his first 3-point game of his career.

Hot sexy Devils to watch - the aforementioned Brodeur of course. Up front, Zach Parise leads the team with 44 points and had a hat trick against the Habs in the game in November.

Dancers working the evening shift - look for the exact same line-up as the Boston game. Even Carbo is not that stupid to change it up. Bégin is expected to play. Huet, despite being 0-7 against the Devils, will undoubtedly start. El Dandy is undoubtedly still pissed.

Standings are a weird fetish, but HF29 is hard for them - anyone look at them lately? Ottawa's coming back to the pack, and their bloggers are beginning to seriously panic. Habs only 6 points behind the Sens with a game in hand for the Division lead. Devils only 5 points behind with a game in hand for the Conference lead. I'm just sayin'.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - save your money for the big All-Star trip to Atlanta.

K let's hear what's on your dirty little minds.

The Game Day Skate for Thursday, January 24th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of having a nice rest during the All-Star break...
  • Sundin ties The Rocket for 24th on the all time scoring list and the Leafs start planning the parade under the new regime old, recycled regime with a 3-2 win;
  • Canucks end their 4-game slide with a 3-2 SO win over the Blues;
  • Wings beat the Ducks 2-1 in your Western Conference Final / de facto Stanley Cup Final preview;
  • Kovalchuk gets one game for leaving his feet and hitting Michal Rozsival from behind. TMS likes a good double standard as much as the next guy, but that's a joke in our opinion;

OK, Devils and Brodeur tonight. We call mercy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Power of Mom: Habs 8, Bruins 2

As we reported yesterday, HF29 was accompanied by his mom at the Bell Centre last night. Mom was kind enough to file this game report. Thanks, mom. Your meatloaf is the bestest!

Plan the parade - my oh my, what a delightful contest! The Canadiens sure can score can they? They scored so many goals I could not keep track of them all. And it seems like everyone can score! My son told me that in the first period, each of the four lines scored a goal. Our coach must be very smart to put all those lines together. That's a hard job. I wonder how he does it so well?

That Canadiens player with the Greek name must lead the league in scoring. And when he was named the game's first star and came out on the ice with no pants, that was so cute! And he could fight, too. It was so sweet when he came to the rescue of his teammate Bégin who was hit by one of those nasty Bruins players. It looked like the Bruin hit him in the back. Is that allowed?

And speaking of fighting, that Sergei Kostitsyn sure can throw a punch! I'll bet he's one of the best fighters in the league. I don't understand though why my son kept calling him "Little Tits." I may need to have a talk with him about using bad language.

Our goalie was excellent! He made some very nice saves and flopped around alot. And I saw him make a very good pass from his own end to another Canadien in the other half of the ice. He can really play the puck well!

Such a magnificent evening. It was lovely to have dinner and drinks with my wonderful son before the game. And those flaming sambuca shots we had with dessert were delicious!

The sky is falling - well, there was a part of the first period after we had scored a couple of goals when we really did not seem to be playing well at all. Why did they stop skating like that? And I don't think the other team played very well. Their goalies were not very good. We seemed to be able to score on every shot!

And I thought that Boston coach was very mean. He did not look happy at all and kept sending big players out on the ice to push around our players. That's not nice.

And speaking of not nice, why did the Montreal fans keep booing that big tall Boston defenseman? That's not very sportsmanlike. I also did not like that "na na na na, goodbye" song we sang in the second period. Why were the fans so cruel?

Chez Parée bound? Where? What?

Next evil, evil foe - my wonderful yet unmarried and no grandchildren lawyer son tells me we are playing the New Jersey Devils on Thursday in our last game before the All-Star game. I sure hope that fellow with the Greek name will be there. He's our best player!

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, January 23rd

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of having a cast on your foot, while at the same time dreaming of sleeping with Gisele Bundchen...

This Leafs-free TMS was brought to you by Air Canada.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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

In honour of our Boston visitors and their short attention spans, let's hit the bullet points for the preview today. We've got a lot to cover, so let's see if we can break our own bullet point record.
  • 7:30 PM, Phone Booth;
  • Yours truly is putting his stellar 1-3 record seeing games live this year on the line. But I'm taking my mom, so that has to be good luck, right?
  • TSN-RDS HD double double;
  • Cover charge goes to Bruins Nation. How come there is no "Habs Nation"? Discuss;
  • Habs 5-0-0 against the Bruins this year;
  • Bruins 3-0-1 in their last 4;
  • I am standings-obsessed. Bruins just 3 points back of the Habs, nipping on our asses. Call this one a 4-point game, even if it's only January;
  • Michael Ryder has earned his way back to the old No. 1 line with Higgins and Koivu, something I have screamed for over the last week or two. Maybe "earned" is wrong. Maybe he was just lucky with Carbo's pulling names out of a hat line-up technique;
  • Let's hope it helps Koivu, who has no points and is -7 in his last 5 games;
  • Other lines at practice yesterday included Bégin-Smols-Little Tits and Guimauve-Lapierre-Kosto. Wow, I totally forgot about Bégin;
  • No official word on any goalie, but I feel comfortable saying Huet will start;
  • DOOM rules! Leads the league in blocked shots and is second in hits, and Pierre Maguire's man-crush on him knows no bounds;
  • Habs once-vaunted PP has slipped to second in the league and hasn't scored in 3 games;
  • Breezer has not just one, but TWO broken bones in his foot! Woohoo! OK, I admit I was responsible for one of them, but who did the other? I owe you a beer!
  • For the Bruins, All-Star Marc Savard has 8 points in his last 5 games;
  • Chuck Kobasew leads them with 17 goals. Who?
  • Looks like Patrice Bergeron is out for the season. I rarely feel bad for other team's fans, especially Bruins fans, but I do on this one. That just sucks;
  • Zdeno Chara has 6 points in his last 4 games. BOOOOOOOOOOOO. Sorry, was just practising for tonight.

K that'll do. Let's hear those dirty thoughts of your sick little minds in the comments.

JFJ Death Pool Mercifully Over

Well it's official. John Ferguson Jr. has been fired by the Tronna Leaves. Globe and Mail reports Cliff Fletcher will become interim GM.

[insert multiple snide comments and Leafs Suck jokes here]

I am sure Battle of Ontario and Pension Plan Puppets and Loser Domi will cover this much better than us, so just go there. We've got a Bruins game to win.

The Game Day Skate for Tuesday, January 22nd

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of / having nightmares of wearing of a bikini at Lambeau Field...

Bruins and their insufferable fans in town tonight. Just a note, we are NOT saying "Brooooons," or "Booo-urns," we are, in fact, booing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

You Be The Judge


We don't think this is legit, but who knows? Either way, this was too funny not to share with our readers.

Toronto, Canada (REUTERS) - A seven year old boy was at the centre of an Ontario courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with the child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the highest degree possible. The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him. After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him. After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Toronto Maple Leafs whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.

Breezer wants you to know he's not a pussy

Patrice Brisebois continues to suffer from pain in his foot, yet he wants you to know he's man enough to play through the pain. As has become tradition around these bilingual lawyer parts, we translate the Breezer's comments en français for you.

Il y a encore de l'enflure et c'est douloureux, surtout quand je marche.

Trans: My foot is as inflated as Pamela Anderson's tits, and I scream like a Norwegian death metal singer everytime I walk on it, but I have no fucking problem skating on it. Of course, I can't skate on a good foot, so what's the fucking diff?

Je veux jouer. Un athlète professionnel doit apprendre à jouer malgré la douleur.

Trans: I want to play. A pro athlete has to learn to play notwithstanding the pain. If only I was real pro athlete.

Aujourd'hui, j'étais dans le gymnase et j'ai invité Guillaume (Latendresse) à venir me rejoindre. Ca ne lui tentait pas vraiment. Mais une fois l'entraînement terminé, il était très content.

Trans: Today I went to the gym because I am bored out of my fucking mind. Guimauve came with me and we pumped each other good. He didn't want to go, but once it was over, he had a smile on his fucking face like Tom Brady after a night with Gisele.

L'équipe est jeune et les vétérans doivent montrer l'exemple.

Trans: I am totally losing my fucking job to Ryan O'Bryne and Josh Gorges. I've got to show those little pricks how to play D, the Breezer way. Then maybe I can get on the ice again.

The Morning Skate for Monday, January 21st

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of being 18-0. That was for you, Panger. I still think they are cheaters and if Norv Turner could play call in the red zone they would have lost, but I digress this is a hockey blog...
  • Devils end the Leafs hot streak with a 3-2 win. TMS was in Tronna over the weekend and the delusions of grandeur had returned amongst Leaf fans. Or maybe they never left;
  • Flyers crush Sens (!?), now lead Atlantic division (!?);
  • Crosby to have MRI today. Followers of Hockey Jesus everywhere pray.

This might get its own post, but TMS wants to salute the great, great broadcaster Don Wittman who died over the weekend at the age of 71. He was known for his Olympics work (amongst milions of other broadcasting credits) but he could kick ass on a HNIC broadcast too. If only he did East coast games during all those years instead of Bob Cole, life would have been that much better.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Flightless Birds 2, Fightless Habs 0


Injured Sidney Crosby = cure for insomnia. Who knew? Anyway, here's an abbreviated game review as FHF has to run out and buy chips and dip for the long afternoon on the coach watching football this afternoon. Go Pats!
The Sky is Falling: If it is, we slept through it. No one played great, although allowing Georges Laraque to look like Wayne Gretzky on that first goal is unforgivable. I guess that makes Dany Sabourin Grant Fuhr. As HF29 would say, this was one of those 'trap' games, where everyone was counting out the Pens after Sid the Kid's injury, and they were out to prove something. Plus, they are one of the few teams hotter than the Habs right now. So I guess what I'm saying is don't be afraid to leave your house, the sky may not actually be falling.
Plan the Parade: No one played awful. Huet made a couple of big stops early. DOOM turned 26.
Who knew we'd long for the days of Todd Ewen? While we're not big fans of goon hockey (see Clarke, Bobby) it would have been nice to have someone stand up and fight Laraque. And not DOOM (too valuable) or Greek Lightning (too likely to be killed). Hell, we'd even settle for Aaron Downey.
Chez Paree Bound: Not a night for this kind of excitement. Go home and get a good sleep, boys. Well except DOOM - it is his birthday, and we're not heartless.
Next Evil Foe: The Broons visit on Tuesday. If you need a reminder for while all things Bruin are evil just remember: Terry O'Reilly, Mike Milbury, Don Cherry, Cam Neely, and of course Jeremy Jacobs (although if the team's own fans hates their owner more than the opponent's fans, can we still rely on that as motivation?) And if you're at the game, remember to boo Chara.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pens Insta Game Preview and Open Thread just in case

I'm out of town, and I think there may have been confusion as to who was doing a preview. Just in case, here's a quick preview:

Habs vs. Pens 7 PM Bell Centre, Sid's not playing.

Enjoy the game.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Habs 3 Blueland 2 (SO)

For some reasons Thrashers fans keep talking about "Blueland". Don't quit know why that is, but if all the residents look like the above, I'm booking with Expedia right now.

Plan the Parade: Canadiens wrap up their road trip with 6 points out of 8. They continue to roll three scoring lines and also extract their pound of flesh for the pre-Christmas shootout loss in ATL with a SO win of their own. Big Tits scores an absolute highlight-reel goal (although unfortunately dwarfed on this night by Rick Nash's magic tricks against Phoenix) and adds another in the SO for the game winner. Captain K also scores a rare tally in the SO to secure the win, while Cristo-Wall stays on his feet (!) to stop Kozlov and then makes a save off Marian Hossa, who opened the scoring for ATL. Huet also made some sterling stops in OT to give the Habs a chance to win. Ryder scores again (in a win no less) so it looks like "Milk Carton Mike" has found his game. It's just "Who can we get in a trade for Mike" from now on. HF29's Boy DOOM is dominant again.

Oh, and Breezer is safely locked in a truck again after escaping briefly.

The Sky is Falling: The Habs again seem to play down to their opponent again and almost give away a gimmie game (yeah yeah, the Thrashers are in first place - in the doormat Southeast division). As soon as Ryder drops the "Milk Carton" moniker, Gui! is right there to pick it up.

Who though we'd long for the Good 'Ol Jeff Hackett days? Rollie needs to put a leash on Huet playing the puck - as HF29 pointed out, my head exploded on that play, and was only made worse by him staring down Hamr after the goal. Can the Habs petition the NHL for a rule change to extend the goalie no-puck handling zone to everywhere on the ice?

Chez Paree Bound: Big Tits gets in, no cover, with three girls in a booth. Milk Carton Gui!, the tab in yours.

Next Evil Foe: The now Crosby-less Pens on Saturday as the Habs return home. I don't know alot about this Paul Ranger guy, but he's getting a Christmas ham from HFH next year if the Habs beat the Pens and end up capturing 4th place in the conference as a result.

The Morning Skate Remembers: Willie O'Ree

The Habs won last night (BIG TITS, WOOO!). Panger's got your review later today. Many other games were played. But TMS would be remiss if he didn't take this time to recognize Willie O'Ree and his outstanding accomplishment 50 years ago today, when he became the first black player to suit up in an NHL uniform, against the Habs.

It's been said many times that O'Ree was "the Jackie Robinson of hockey." Fair enough. But unlike the flood of black baseball players who followed in Robinson's footsteps, the number of black players in the NHL has always been, well, pathetic at best. After O'Ree, no black player played in the NHL until 1974. Curently there are only 13 black players in the NHL, and in all of the league's history there haven't been many more. Only Grant Fuhr has made the Hall of Fame. To me, all of that makes O'Ree's accomplishment all the more impressive. Oh yeah, throw in he was leaglly blind in one eye.

O'Ree grew up in New Brunswick where he says he really didn't experience racism. He has also said that there was really no racism in Toronto and Montreal compared to what he dealt with in the States (his Bruins teammates excepted). I'd like to chalk this up to Canadians being more tolerant than Americans, and that's probably true. But let's not forget we have problems here, too. And they are in hockey, to this day. Don Cherry calling Euros and French Canadians soft? Sean Avery?

O'Ree's career NHL totals are barely worth mentioning. 45 games played, 4 G, 10 A. But that really doesn't matter. On this day 50 years ago, he made a difference. And Grant Fuhr, Jerome Iginla et al have all recognized that. We remember our history.

O'Ree at Legends of Hockey
NHL.com
50 years later

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Ladies and gentlemen, on stage for your dancing pleasure, the FIRST PLACE Atlanta Thrashers" - Game Preview and Open Thread

Bit of a crazy day at the office for yours truly today, so we're hitting the bullet points. And snark. Don't forget the snark. But in bullet point form.
  • 7 PM Philips Arena. Dutch electronics company sponsors Southern U.S. hockey and hoops arena. Alrighty then. I miss The Omni;
  • CJAD reports it's currently snowing in Atlanta. Ha!
  • Your cover charge goes to Do the Thrashers Have Large Talons? Spinal Tap reference in the top post, so The Falconer is good, because he's one louder;
  • Habs looking for the 3rd win in 4 in the road trip closer;
  • Thrashers are in first place in the Southeast. REALLY. After firing their coach this year. AND they just beat the Wings 5-1. Yikes;
  • Habs have lost twice to Atlanta already, by identical 3-2 SO scores;
  • Hot Habs include Turtleplek, 13 points in his last 10 games;
  • Huet between the stripper poles. C'mon coach, give Jaro a chance!
  • Hot Thrashers? Well, some dude named Kovalchuk is the league's leading goal-scorer. AND now Hossa has come alive with a hat trick in the Wings game. AND Mark Rechhi has a point per game since getting to Atlanta. AND Kari Lehtonen has a 1.58 GAA in his last 3 games and a .912 save % for the year. Jesus Fucking Christ, it's the '27 Yankees;
  • Check out the post below for some notes on the Habs lines.

OK, back to work. Let's hear your game thoughts in the comments.

Line Juggling 101: Carbo Explains Himself

Yeah, I'm gonna do what I want and you can't stop me, 'stie calice

So against the Isles and again at practice yesterday Carbo did some line juggling. Really? There's a surprise. As our usual public service from the FHF, we translate the coach's comments en français to the King's English.

On putting Guimauve down with Ryder and Smols:

Je n'ai pas remplacé Guillaume parce qu'il a raté des chances de marquer dernièrement. Il va en avoir autant avec Smolinski et Ryder.

Trans: Gui! is sucking as much as Amber Lynn in "American Cocksucking Championships 7." Did you see him miss that fucking wide open net against the Isles? His stick didn't even touch the fucking puck. I'm demoting that prick to the third line where he can rot in hell for all I care.

And on putting Higgins back with Koivu:

Chris se cherchait dernièrement et j'ai jugé le moment opportun, chez lui à Long Island, de faire le changement.

Trans: The guy was playing in front of his whole goddamn family and I thought I would give him a fucking break. But really, give me a fucking break. Three goals in his last 17 games? Time to rip that "A" off his fucking chest.

Je possède une belle marge de manoeuvre. Peu importe ce que je fais, on peut miser sur trois trios efficaces à l'attaque et fiables en défense.

Trans: I can do whatever the fuck I want and it makes no goddamn difference.

Ça me facilite la tâche, surtout à l'étranger, quand je veux accorder une surveillance étroite au meilleur trio de nos adversaires.

Trans: When we're on the road, I'm screwed without having the last line change. I have no fucking clue how we're winning. I've been watching the best opposing players very closely, and some of them are fucking incredible. Did you see that Ovechkin kid? I couldn't take my eyes off him. What moves! And that Sidney guy would look great in a Habs uni. Did you see him on the cover of Men's Fitness? Rowr!

The Game Day Skate for Thursday, January 17th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of going to the Australian Open...

Thrashers tonight. Ahhh, the proud Atlanta franchise with all that history. I hope we can overcome that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Behold the Power of the Turtleneck - Habs 3, Isles 1

Plan the parade - I think I've said it twice already, but 2 points on the road over a conference rival fighting for those 4-8 spots is golden. Nothing to sneeze at. And to bounce back after the Saturday Night Massacre on Broadway is just (El) dandy!

Let's start with the Danse à 10 line (Kovy Pleks Big Tits for all you newbs). The talking head with the curly hair on RDS this morning called them "one of the best lines in the league." I am not sure I would go that far (yet), but damn it's getting close. Consistent offensive production, always a threat to score, and now they have added defensive responsibility to their repertoire. Pleks I can believe, but Kovy and defensive responsibility in the same sentence? Bestill my heart! Turtleplek deserves special mention, he of the 5-6-11 in the last 7 games. Only denied the hat trick by (imho) the smart play of Kovy at the end to ensure the win. Kovy said he wanted to pass to him for the empty-netter, but didn't want to chance a broken-up pass when he saw the Isles D come over. Old Kovy? I say that's bullshit. New Kovy? I believe him 110%.

The overall defensive effort of the team was top notch. They certainly benefitted from a tired Isles team, coming off a road trip and big win in Ottawa, but only allowing one shot in the 1st period is alright with me. The game total of 18 for the Isles was a best for the Habs this season. Muchos gracias ("spasibo" actually) to Markov who blocked a bunch of shots, and DOOM (Komo, Destroyer of Other Men) played well too.

Huet had a nice personal bounce back from Saturday night. When the Isles came alive in the middle of the second, he was there. When the Isles were pressing for the equalizer in the dying minutes, he was there. When God was handing out puck-handling skills to goalies, he most certainly was not there. But whatever. Just make saves, we'll be happy.

The sky is falling - Snake. Bit. The inability of many, many Habs (Saku, Guimauve, Higgins most notably) to bury their chances will soon become an issue. The most beautiful PP tic-tac-toe I have seen in a long time ended with Gui! totally whiffing the puck in front of an empty net. I really think it's time for a permanent reconstitution of Saks, Ryder and Higgins. Lately they are doing no better apart than they did when they were together.

Other than that? I can't really complain. What's wrong with me?

Chez Parée bound? For a solid two points on the road? You bet. Start winning like this at home and we'll build you a fucking tunnel from the Bell Centre so you don't even have to go outside.

Next evil, evil foe - The 4-game road trip comes to an end in Hotlanta. Did you know they are leading the Southeast division? Me neither. Now, leading the Southeast is not much of an accomplishment, but still.

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, January 16th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of going to a hockey game and winning a free farm animal...

Oh, Pacman. Will you ever learn? You're giving us strip club lovers a bad name.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Ladies and gentlemen, on stage for your dancing pleasure, the New York Islanders" - Game Preview and Open Thread

Waiting in line details - 7 PM start, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Now that's an arena name. Isles coming off big wins against the Flames and the Sens in their last two. On the road, no less. Habs coming off sucking up the joint on Broadway. Both teams are exactly 5-2-3 in their last 10 games. Isles are in 7th in the East (really?), just 3 points behind the Habs (really?). Damn, 4 through 8 are really up for grabs this year.

Pay your cover charge to - The Drive for Five. "The wittiest Isles banter on the net!" OK, then.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - Kovy has 8 points in his last 6 games, and Higgins, while he only has 2 goals in his last 13 games, always plays well at home (for him).

Hot sexy Isles to watch - Rick DiPietro played well against the Sens, and has a 2.52 GAA and .913 save % for the season. Mike Comrie leads the team with 35 points.

Skanky Habs to watch - well, the whole team after the Saturday Night Stinkfest. Carbo said this about that game: "our passing was horrendous, we didn't skate with the puck, we didn't put the puck in the right place, and when the puck was there we just didn't battle for it." Trans: we sucked at every facet of the game.

Skanky Isles to watch - anyone trying to score. Isles are last in the league with only 108 goals in 44 games.

Habs on stage tonight - Huet in nets, no word yet on the line-up shuffle du jour. We'll update as the day goes by, but you can bet Carbo will do something after Saturday night. He's not the patient type.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - Gentlemen's Quarters. "Long Island's premiere upscale gentlemen's club." If you say so.

K let's hear your dirty, dirty thoughts in the comments.

The FHF Dream Comes True

We at FHF like hockey. We like strippers. I'm not telling you anything new. What I am telling you that's new is that the Slovaks have mashed up hockey and strippers. My god, we've died and gone to heaven.

(h/t Vakfan via AOL Fanhouse via With Leather. This story is HOT on the Web today.)



UPDATE - I found another one. Good times:

The Game Day Skate for Tuesday, January 15th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of testifying before Congress. But we're not here to talk about the past...

Habs hit Long Island tonight. Jekyll or Hyde?

UPDATE - Loser Domi's reaction to my Ty Conklin comments? Brilliant video (I should clarify, she didn't create the vid, just pointed it out). Enjoy:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Schadenfreude 101: Leafs Suckitude Makes Me Warm and Fuzzy

With fans like this, why do they suck so?

You know normally I don't like to revel in other's pain. It seems like kicking a guy in the nuts when he's down. But then I met Leafs fans.

Look, Habs fans are no prize. We think everything belongs to us (it does). We think every Stanley Cup should be ours (it should). We think every French Canadian superstar belongs here (they do).

But we have a sense of realism. We realize that our team is mediocre (well at least the FHF do). We are not delusional to the point we think we can win the Cup with an aging superstar and Vesa Toskala and a bunch of pieces that just don't fit together.

What generally pisses me off is that it's never their fault. Our friend Pension Plan Puppets wrote on Friday when Sundin was not named an All-Star that "it's just one more slap in the face for Leaf fans this season."

Oh, really? And the other slaps in the face have been whose fault exactly? I don't think it was the NHL who hired JFJ. I don't think it was the NHL who hired a hands-on management board who are hockey illiterate. I don't think it was the NHL who mortgage the future every year for short-term potential gain. I don't think it was the NHL who told Scotty Bowman to fuck off (contrary to previous reports). I can only hope PPP's comments were directed at Leafs management and not the world at large. Though generally Leafs fans think they are the world at large, so who knows.

So the Habs lost Saturday (OK, I finally admit it). Habs' Jekyll and Hyde act is growing thin. But in the face of the Leafs falling apart before all our eyes, I feel happy.

Schadenfreude, baby.

The Morning Skate for Monday, January 14th

Bulltet points for what you missed while dreaming of being the younger Manning for a change...

TMS is still in denial about Saturday night. Let's hope it was an aberration. Hahaha. Jekyll and Hyde indeed.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What game last night?

The Habs may have played last night. Or they may not have. While you think about the possible re-emergence of Mr. Hyde, please enjoy these puck bunnies.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Ladies and gentlemen, on stage for your dancing pleasure, the New York Rangers" - Game Preview and Open Thread

Waiting in line details - 7 PM start, MSG. Mmm, Chinese food. Patriots are coming off 16 straight regular season wins and are looking to capture their 4th Super Bowl in the last... oh right, hockey. Habs are 5-0-2 in their last seven. Rangers are 0-4-1 in their last five. Trap, trap! The last time the Rangers won was against the Habs on December 30th. No really, trap!

Pay your cover charge to - turb. Someone needs to eplain that reference to me, but Matt over there has got a nice bitter streak to him.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - The 4th line, aka Slowinski and the two D. I still don't like sitting Greek Lightning, but this line was great against the Bruins. I got a good feeling about Kovy reacting to his all-star snub and being back in NYC and going nuts.

Hot sexy Rangers to watch - uh, no one? Scott Gomez is going to the all-star game, so I guess him. Lundqvist has been mediocre (and unlucky) lately, but he's got a 2.41 GAA for the season.

Skanky Habs to watch - the old "first" line, Koivu + whoever, looked like shit against the Bruins.

Skanky Rangers to watch - see above re their record in the last five. Most of 'em. And don't forget to boo Jagr at the TV; remember, he can hear you.

Line-up shuffle du jour - no word so far except Huet in nets. Habs sent Corey Locke back to Steel Town after his cup of coffee in The Show. Er, sip of coffee.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - Scores. The only New York club that matters.

Let's hear your dirty, dirty thoughts in the comments.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Habs Hunt Down Bruins Again

Add another head to the wall ... that's 5 in a row this year

Another Habs-Bruins tilt, another Habs win. Ho-hum. It's just like most of the 80's, 70's, 60's, 50's ...

Plan the parade: 5 and oh versus our most hated of foes from Boston this year, 8 straight going back to last year, 17 of the last 21. I said it earlier this season and I'll say it again: after too many losses at the hands of the Black and Gold in the late 90's and early 00's, order has been restored to the universe.

The powerplay keeps clicking, no doubt aided by the stupid is as stupid does Bruins (Marco Sturm, Sean Thornton, come on down!).

The scoring got spread around, with Kovy and Pleks getting a goal and assist each, Mad Max jamming in a rebound from Panger's newly-returned boy Higgins on a 3 on 1, and El Dandy (Handy Dandy indeed!) looking his most Dandyish with a nice steal for his first and the proper finish of a sweet passing play from Slowinski and the Swiss Mister for the kill shot 5th.

The Habs let the Bruins waste their time with cheap penalties, headshots and sucker punches and made them pay on the scoreboard (hey, just like most of the 80's, 70's, 60's, 50's ...) and even gave as good as they got sometimes (see special "Mike Komisarek: Destroyer of Men" section below for more details.)

Carbo sat Greek Lightning for Slowinski and Slowinski didn't suck terribly. I suppose that's a plus.

The defence, lead by "Mike Komisarek: Destroyer of Men" (see further below) played very well at times, keeping Bruin threats Sturm, Marc Savard, Milan Lucic and Phil Kessel under wraps for most of the night. Josh Gorges in particular stood out with a number of nifty break-ups of Bruin rushes. Someone has been doing their homework.

The Sky is Falling: The Koivu line looked off for most of the night, with Koivu taking a bad penalty and finishing -1 and Gui! Gui! Gui! and Little Tits both -2. It appears as one Tits brother goes, so goes the other, because other than Sergei laying one big hit late, both Tits were nearly invisible for most of the night. We demand better Tits! Neither Tit will thrive in the scrappy environment that almost always results from a Bruins-Habs game, but tonight was especially disappointing.

Huet played solid at times but neither goal was a "no chance" type and could have been had.

Carbo's decision to sit Greek Lightning when the team was already down Begin meant that a lot of Bruins miscreants (Lucic, Thornton, Big-Dumb-Jackass Chara) shoved and scrummed their way around the rink all night. One of Greek Lightning or Begin would have probably tried to make Thornton explain his Downie-esque cheapshot on the Hamr. They may not have won, but they would have been there to ask the question. Thank goodness there was an answer in the form of:

"Mike Komisarek, Destroyer of Men": Komi played the game of his Habs career last night, showing everything Habs fans had hoped for since he went 7th overall back in 2001. Blocked shots. Cleared the net. Took an elbow (probably not a malicious elbow, but an elbow nonetheless) and came back out pissed after not missing a shift. Pounded on Savard, Lucic, and anyone else wearing a Bruins jersey with glee for 60 minutes. I loved it and hope it continues for 10 years. By the way, did you know he's 25? Giddyup. This actually could continue for 10 years!

Zdeno Chara is a big dumb jackass: Hardly news, I know. But the other Eastern All-Star starter on defence put the Habs first goal in his own net (with his hand, no less), spent a lot of the night trying to shove guys like Mad Max and Koivu around after the whistle, and topped it off with a glaring miss of an open net that would have tied the game 3-3 just as the Broons were getting the upper hand. Nice contract, ya big buffoon. Does the "C" on your jersey stand for "Completely Overpaid?"

Chez Paree Bound: "Mike Komisarek, Destroyer of Men" deserves to have a suite built in the back for his work. El Dandy will see the Patron flow freely in the VIP section, not only for the two goals, but for how he just stood there without even celebrating the second because he could. Deux of the Danse a Dix get in, but Big Tits has to go home with Little Tits to call home and apologize for their performance. Spots in line for almost everyone else. Why? Because Habs 5, Bruins 2. That's why.

Next Evil, Evil Foes: Start spreading the news; Habs head to New York for the weekend for two, Rangers then Isles.

The Morning Skate for Friday, January 11th: Special $124 Million Edition

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of signing a 13-year, $124 million contract extension. Let's just hope the Russian mafia doesn't hear about it...

FHF friend Shmee is happy. Delusional Habs Fans and Jack Todd aren't. Ovie BFF Markov is, well, who knows. He never smiles anyway. The FHF fears for their lawyerly futures. If Ovie can negotiate the biggest deal in NHL history without an agent, the whole system is breaking down.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

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

Waiting in line details - 730 PM, TD Banknorth Garden of Love. The TSN-RDS double HD is in effect. Habs have points in 6 straight. While the Bruins lost their last game 1-0, they won 3 straight before that including one over the Devils. Habs have already beaten the Bruins 4 times this year in 4 tries.

Pay your cover charge to - Wicked Bruins Fan (again). When you play a team 8 times in a year, you're gonna have some repeats.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - the usual suspects, notably the Danse à dix line. And Gui! had 2 points including the OT winner against the Hawks. Huet will be in net for the foreseeable future. And Breezer is looking for his 400th career point as he sits on 399, so watch him if you can stomach it.

Hot sexy Bruins to watch - Tim Thomas, after struggling earlier, has a 1.51 GAA in his last four games. Marc Savard is scoring more than a point per game.

The line-up shuffle - Slowinski gets back into the action tonight after being out 14 games, between El Dandy and the Swiss Mister on the 4th line. Greek Lightning and Corey Locke (nickname suggestions?) are healthy scratches.

Broons limping - Bergeron, Murray, Aaron Ward, all out.

Stupid fact not worth mentioning but I am doing it anyway - the 2 starting East D, Markov and Chara, face each other.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - Centerfolds Boston. Near naked hot chicks on the home page? That's enough for me. It looks very classy, like the lovely lady above, and they have a golf tournament, which sounds fucking awesome.

K let's hear your dirty, dirty thoughts in the comments.

The Game Day Skate for Thursday, January 10th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of enjoying the warm weather...

Habs in Beantown tonight. Mmm, TMS enjoys beans.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Primary Win - Clinton 4, Obama 3 OT


Something was decisively different at the Bell Centre last night. Sure, the fans came to watch a hockey game but on this evening, it would be set against a larger backdrop.

The evening would begin with another trivial, if altogether insignificant tribute to an original six (add forgotten) rival. I have no problem with this raising of the glass to Blackhawk legends. One can't help but wonder however what set of circumstances divorced these two once were fierce adversaries to begin with. Chalk it up to a mix of mediocrity and estrangement. While both teams enjoyed interesting times in the early 90's (shout out to my homies, Boyz II Men, ABC, BBD, the East Coast family), with each making an appearance in the finals, they then fell from grace and began competing for who can miss the playoffs more often. Only recently have the Habs and Hawks enjoyed a resurgence fueled by young talent. There is hope still.

The retirees left the ice, the personnel removed the ugliest plants ever used for on-ice ceremonies, and place au match.

It was a back and forth type of night, with no team ever holding a larger than one-goal lead. It was played openly with plenty of skating room afforded to the many speedsters on each side. The Dance à Dix line continued to provide the menace worthy of the number 1 line. The Habs power play maintained its ranking as the best in the league. And Andrei Markov thanked the fans who voted him into the All-Star game by showing every dimension of his game in All-Star calibre mode. Easily one of the best games of his career.

There was plenty of action in this one, with excitement to spare. Mark Streit was awarded a penalty shot after having broken loose at the red line and done his best to jump rope over the desperate stick swinging antics of a René Bourque caught on the wrong end of a breakaway. Streit missed.

The crowd looked on in agitation.

Then the scoreboard flashed the score: Clinton 101 764, Obama 98 672.

A palpable discomfort muffled the buzz in the crowd. The Bell Centre had always been known as an ecumenical, apolitical venue where fans of all walks gathered to cheer for their favorite team. It did not harbour political dialogue. But on this night, as New Hampshire went to the polls to support the party candidate that would then maybe win the party leadership at the national convention and possibly win the presidential elections barring a voting scandal in Florida, hockey took a back seat. All of a sudden, the people in the crowd were not just Montreal Canadiens' fans. They had political preferences. They had their own thoughts on Iraq, on the subprime credit crunch, on the Federal Reserve.

The fans, who for the longest time could look at each other with complete confidence in the camaraderie shared in loving the same team, suddenly saw these facades come apart. That guy on your right that you would always salute at the game, the one who you would share amusing hockey banter with, well that guy was a Clinton supporter, or an Obama admirer, or a center of left voter, maybe a liberal, maybe even a right wing conservative, or a left wing moderate toward the center progressive religious reformer. Whatever the case, he was no longer just a hockey fan. The reaction to the story in New Hampshire peeled off private political affections and created a never before seen discomfort and divide in the crowd.

As coaches drew the players' attention to the only score that mattered, both teams knew instantly that the game had just become as irrelevant as the ceremony that had preceded it.

During the second intermission, as America's native son Francis Bouillon rushed to call his wife for the results at the polls, Luc Gélinas asked the defenseman if he was satisfied with his play. Bouillon immediately downplayed the question: "The important comeback tonight is occurring somewhere else. It's in New Hampshire, Luc. Mrs. Clinton’s victory came after her advisers had lowered expectations with talk of missteps in strategy and concern about Mr. Obama’s momentum after his first-place finish in Iowa. Her team is now planning to add advisers and undertake a huge fund-raising drive to prepare for a tough and expensive fight with Mr. Obama in the Democratic nominating contests over the next four weeks. I gotta call my wife Lolita."

"Obviously it's hard for the players to keep their focus", said coach Carbonneau. "I have to admit, even I didn't really care about the game anymore. How can you? We really had to dig deep in overtime, but in all honesty we just wanted to get off the ice as quickly as possible to see what was going on. We had the big screen tuned to CNN all night, and the players would just sit there in front of it. You had to pull them away from Blitzer and the boys to start the periods. I understand them. I just want to go home and hug my kids."

The home boys got it done in overtime. Maxim Lapierre knew the team had a job to do. He was torn between getting off the ice after a long shift to regain the action in New Hampshire - as the Habs' trainers had now installed little personal screens for every player on the bench - and going for a last gasp attempt at goal with friend for life, Guillaume Latendresse. "Of course it was a hard decision", said Lapierre in the dressing room. "Obama wins it and the race, at least on the Democrat branch of the equation is over, it means everything. But I thought, if we could just score now, at least we can go back to the TVs right away." And so Lapierre chose to follow Latendresse who had parked himself at the side of Patrick Lalime's crease, and to whom he delivered a beautiful pass. Latendresse ended the wait. The fans filed out nervously.

Never had an overtime win in Montreal seemed so insignificant.