Friday, April 30, 2010

Little People Can Do Big Things Like Bullet Point Previews When Timing is of the Essence (Thanks, NBC and Point Park University Commencement)

So the original title of the preview was "Little People can do big things, but they're on a deadline because of the stupid schedule and the Igloo's dumbass decision to rent the rink to some fourth-rate Pittsburgh trade school for their graduation while their defending Cup champs/main tenants are defending their title so it's all bullet points and quick thoughts preview," but that was just a wee bit too long for Blogger. But the point is made, we had no time to think thanks to the schedule. Hey, bullet points are quick! Let's do bullet points! Herewith, our team effort series preview, all thanks to Point Park University. Fuck them and their convocation Saturday and their most famous alumnus, that used-to-be-funny-now-right-wing-asshole Dennis Miller.

The Goalies bullets by Panger:
  • Halak needs to channel the ghosts of Vezina and Hainsworth and Durnan and Worsley and Plante and Dryden and Roy for the Habs to have a chance. He could steal a couple - but 4 is asking a lot.
  • JM better not give another start to the Fat Whale, even if Halak gives up 5 and gets the hook 2 minutes into the first. Even if Halak's appendix bursts. Even in the event Jaro needs a limb amputated. Should he actually pass out on the ice due to sheer exhaustion, JM better strap him to the posts a la Milhouse.
  • Fleury, like Theodore before him, just needs not to self destruct. Like if he went back to those hideous yellow pads.

The Defense bullets by HF29:
  • Hal Gill;
  • Hal Gill;
  • Hal Gill;
  • Did we mention Hal Gill? Talk about a story. Not re-signed after winning the Cup with the Pens last year. Played like a MONSTER the whole Caps series, blocking every shot he could see and basically being 1.5 players on the PK;
  • Along with his partner Josh Gorges, USS Gill helped shut down the Caps offense. Can they do the same to Sid, Malkin, et al? Won't be easy. Sid plays a much grittier game than Ovie, down low and against the boards and behind the net, always a bull with the puck. You can't just get in front of him as he comes down the wing and block his shots like they did with Ovie;
  • Is something wrong with Markov? Played a lot of minutes against the Caps but didn't really dominate in any way. We would love to see a return of the Markov we saw just after he came back from the injury;
  • Habs D wildcards: PFK, The Urologist, and Jaro 2.0's mysterious infection of death;
  • The Pens D is not the Caps D. They can't be as easily exploited. Gonchar is not as bad a defensive liability as Mike Green was. Like Gonchar, Goligoski and Letang also get points;
  • Then they have some shutdown D your average joe sports fan never heard of - Eaton, McKee and Orpik. All of them were positive +/- against the Sens;
  • I'm out of D bullets. What am I, a hockey expert?

The Forwards bullets by HF10:
  • Someone needs Andrei to spread the goals out a little. Three in a seven game series good; all three in one game less helpful.
  • Chicken sure can skate better than Gui. He got replaced by Travis Moen on the top line. Enough said.
  • Giant! Mexican! MoeMan! Played some inspired hockey versus Ovie. The ante just got upped.
  • JagrPleks was fairly quiet after Game 1's heroics, wasn't he? But Cammy is full value right now, getting goals early and often.
  • Habs got fantastic work from the ditch-diggers. Mad Max is ready to re-annoy Sid. Dominic Moore scored that goal. I wouldn't trade throw-in Tommy Pyatt for Chris Higgins straight-up right now. Metro needs to get back to full-strength but he's almost there.
  • Jaro's crease just got more crowded, because unlike the Caps, Pens are coming full speed towards the blue paint. Jordan Staal, Bill Guerin, Max Talbot, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and Tyler Kennedy won't have any issue with getting ugly goals.
  • Matt Cooke: Still a cheapshotting ass.
  • Here's hoping Malkin stays asleep. Deadline addition of Alex Ponikarovsky didn't help as much as the Pens hoped. Ruslan Fedetenko always seems to score one back-breaking playoff goal.
  • Looming over everything is the FACE OF THE LEAGUE (Bettman's fantasy) himself. With Malkin sleepwalking most of the year, Crosby has single-handedly dragged this team whereever it needs to go. 14 points in the first round. 14. 51 goals in the regular season. An Olympic gold. Impossible to knock off the puck down low. Not too get too McSploogy, but Sid the Kid is a hockey-playing terminator right now and far and away the best player on the planet (in my opinion.) Fun fact: He has 25 career points in 18 games versus his childhood favourites. He's 22 fucking years old. We could be writing this paragraph for another 15 years.

Some closing random bullets:
  • Game tonight is at 7 PM, on the See Bee See. We're getting Bob Cole according to Stubbs. Great, now I'll be slitting my wrists watching Benny Brunet;
  • Pens won 3 of 4 from the Habs this year. Meh. But it's a whole new season!
  • Here's The Pensblog's excellent take on the Habs and the series. Honest and accurate (and funny as always). What's wrong with them today? We expected way more hating;
  • Chris Lee is one of the refs tonight. Fuck Chris Lee and Fuck the NHL. Seriously, Fuck;
  • Fleury, Talbot, Dupuis, Letang are all "playing in front of friends and family" as they say. That smells trouble;
  • Special teams are important;
  • When you start writing ridiculous obvious tripe like "special teams are important," you are officially out of bullet points.
So that's it. The pants are off, the beer is poured and the puck will be dropping soon. This is your open thread in case that wasn't clear or you're drunk already. Go you fucking Habs!!! Go you fucking Pants!!!

The Game Day Skate presents the Pantscast Episode 2

Good morning kidz! HOLY FUCK THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH SHIT GOING ON. Wasn't it like yesterday we were celebrating? Yes it was. Now we're right back at it. And to get us all psyched up, it's the Pantscast Episode 2! If you thought all the kinks would be worked out, YOU WERE WRONG. The quick turnaround means EVEN MORE TECHNICAL GLITCHES! Basically, just a dude with a really loud fucking voice at the table next to us, even after we moved you can still hear him. And a bathroom break in the middle! That's professionalism. Sorry about that. Anyway, hope you enjoy. Once again, our special guest is Chris Aung-Thwin from HIO's The Other Wing. Thanks Chris for jumping in on such short notice. Chris, HF4 and yours truly look back at the Caps series and look ahead to the Pens in 50 minutes of unfiltered bullshit. Sorry, still no iTunas subscription, this was just too rushed to get that organized. Hit the play button or the download link to immerse yourself in glorious drunken rambling.

Download the MP3

Now, bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of Octagon girls...
  • The second round got underway last night, with the Sharks winning their opener 4-3 over the Wings. Joe Pavelski had 2 goals and now has scored in 4 straight games;
  • Crosby, Ovie, and a Sedin (not sure which one) are your Hart Trophy finalists;
  • Looks like Drew Doughty won't be headed to the Worlds because of an injury. Four other playoff losers were added;
  • A couple of leftovers from the Caps if you missed them in the comments: Ted Leonsis is a classy guy, as is the tire-changing Brooks Laich;
  • And now some Pens things, from the 514: Hal Gill is out for revenge, EOTP preview is solid as always, Habs Laughs has some Pros and Cons of making it to the second round, and Ya! The Habs Rule looks back at the Habs-Pens Games this year;
  • Over the next days, we're sure you'll get to know The Pensblog, Pensburgh, and Igloo Dreams. Watch out for Pensblog invaders around here. They're, uh, special.
Gah! We're totally not ready for this. Some sort of preview coming up later today. Go you fucking Pants! Let's make some more history.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stunning Chemistry - Game 7 Review: Habs 2 - Caps 1

I'm not sure what to say. I don't know what words to use to describe the feat, the feelings, the renewed hope, the sobering reality that stands in our way tomorrow.

Maybe the numbers can convey why it's so hard to understand. The numbers themselves make this achievement inexplicable.

In the history of 7-game series in the NHL, only 8% of teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit. None of the teams that accomplished the reversal were 8th seeds. The stats show that Montreal's ousting of the Washington Capitals last night was nearly impossible from a statistical standpoint.

It was nearly impossible from a logical standpoint. From a reasonable one. After the Habs went down 3-1 in the series Halak allowed 3 goals. He faced 38 shots on the road in Game 5, he played an epic and unforgettable Game 6 in front of the luckiest 21,273 fans ever assembled at the Bell Centre and made 53 saves. And he made 41 stops in Game 7 to eliminate the league's giants. 134 shots in 3 games, 3 goals scored. The Caps, done with.

41 shots blocked in Game 7.

1 power play goal allowed in 7 games, against the league's best power play.

Shutting down Alexander Ovechkin in the last 3 games, all elimination games. Keeping him pointless 4 times in the series.

There are no words. It's just an impossible feat that defies anything remotely fathomable in the world of hockey. It's a freak of nature and savour it, because this was one of the most special, magical, anthological performances this team has ever produced. This team, a mixed bag of old and largely new faces, disjointed and hurt in October, connecting in November, struggling through the winter, and realigned in February, is now entirely together in the spring and has managed to write another remarkable chapter in the Canadiens' layered history.

Whatever happens, what experts called a science experiment last summer has worked well enough to produce this unforgettable narrative. The feeling we feel today is exceptional.

We undertand the desire to sign Hal Gill, without whom the Habs would have lost the series. We are in admiration of Mike Cammalleri, the last Canadien to score this often in the clutch since God knows when. Gomez, Gionta, while not as effective played their part in toppling the Capitals with grit and intelligence, with dedication to the team. Bergeron, getting it in the end, even if it meant he would play a restricted part in favour of a young rookie who had only played 2 games in the NHL. Bergeron played 90 seconds in the first last night. Look what he did with them. Moen, adding that Mike Keane factor you so desperately want, giving Gomez and Gionta room and heart.


But still, we worry. We worry that this trend cannot continue and that you don't get outshot 2 or 3-1 throughout the playoffs and live to tell. You cannot help but wonder why the Kostitsyns even bother to wear a jersey that means so much, when their play shows so little. That hat trick in Game 2 should have lifted Andrei to another level. He stalled after it. He reverted to his nonchalance, one strong shift followed by a lackadaisical one. Andrei Markov, a shadow of himself throughout the series, playing hurt possibly or simply caught in a rut? Or was this series so hard on him that he needed to hyper-focus on his defensive mission against this offensive juggernaut and leave his own team's offence to the forwards.

The second round that starts too early to bare seems daunting now. If we the fans aren't ready for it, how do the players feel?

Whatever happens, the performance the team put together, with its stunning feats and discernible flaws, was a kind of magic. Of course we want more because we don't want the feeling to end, but I think we'll take what we can get and, as far as 2009-2010 goes, consider ourselves lucky, proud and satiated.

TMS is both speechless and ranting for Thursday, April 29th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of water from space...
  • We know we've said this before, but !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Un-fucking-believable. Habs complete an epic comeback from 3-1 down in the series to win, thanks to Jaro, The Urologist, and Dominic Moore who led us to a 2-1 win over the Caps last night. Really, there are no words. More later today;
  • Okay, here are some words. FUCK YOU NHL AND NBC AND BETTMAN AND ANYONE ELSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FUCKING SCHEDULE FOR THE NEXT ROUND. GIVE US A FUCKING BREAK. No, you can't give us a break. Less than 48 hours after an epic win we have to get back on the ice against Pensburgh. THAT'S NOT THE WORST PART. Maybe you could ride some adrenalin and get some wind back after that BUT NOOOOOOOO. Game 2 is SUNDAY FUCKING AFTERNOON. THANKS ALL YOU SCHEDULING FUCKTARDS FOR PUTTING US IN A TWO-GAME HOLE TO START. Take your fucking precious Sidney and GO FUCK YOURSELF NHL. Boston and Philly have been jerking off for days already and THEY ONLY FUCKING START SATURDAY. Here's a headline from TSN: "After four days of waiting, Penguins ready for next round." OF COURSE THEY FUCKING ARE;
  • Ooh, that felt good;
  • There was only minimal rioting in the streets last night;
  • The Lester B Pearson Award is now the Ted Lindsay Award. We have no problem with that;
  • Joe Sacco (Avs), Dave Tippett (Yotes) and Barry Trotz (Preds) are your Jack Adams finalists.
Long-form video highlights after a Game 7 win? Heaven.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Caps/Habs GAME 7 Preview and Open Thread: 2004 Inspiration Edition

Okay, so let's try this again.*

Details: if you don't know starting time and roster news etc. by now, perhaps you would be more comfortable here.

Good omens: Remember the 2004 series? Second place Bruins versus seventh place Habs (despite the fact that both teams actually had the same number of wins.) Here's a game by game recap to refresh your memory.

In a few words, the improbable comeback story then was about Theo's saves, Kovy's goals and Jumbo Joe's choke. If the Habs pull this off, the storyline will be Halak's saves, Squid's goals and Ovie's choke. Now, we're not saying that last one is necessarily fair to Ovie, we're just suggesting that maybe, perhaps, Caps fans may be less than satisfied with their new captain's first playoff series if the Caps lose tonight. Then again, maybe Ovie buries Jaro the Cult Hero tonight. (Hedging now over.)

Bad omens: The Caps finished with a bunch more wins than the Habs and are WAAAY better than the '04 Bruins. Even if the Habs win, in '04 they then lost 4 straight to the eventual Cup champ Bolts. If the Habs win, they will play the Pens. Hmmm.

Now playing the part of the Koivu/Kovalev/Zednik line is Squid/Turtle/Big Tits meaning just like in 2004, one line is probably going to have to get it done, scoring wise, to win the game.

Also meaning that just like the Little Fuckity-Fuck and that waste of space (cap and ice) Micheal Ryder utterly disappeared in 2004, Gomer and CHicken have been abysmal, meaning Habs management still needs to do a better job stocking the second line.

More importantly, Markov has to play like Markov, meaning...some more things haven't changed all that much in half a dozen tours around the sun; Skillsie (or Georges - somewhat ironically - or as I now like to call him, Forth Star) has to play like a Rivet meaning the Habs need a guy to keep shutting down the Caps' PP and eat up minutes on D since Hamr and MAB are useless; and Jaro has to play like that guy who started in the series but is now warming the end of the opponents bench meaning - wait, what?

However the on-ice roles play out, one thing is clear: defence is the key.

first 4 games: 11GA
last 3 games: 3GA

first 4 games: 19GA
last 2 games: 2GA

So the game plan is pretty simple: allow 40 plus shots (just like Jaro like!), wait for Turtle to score a couple and go ahead and book that flight to Pittsburgh.


* That 1971 analogy before game 4 was totally flawed and doesn't count. If anyone is like Dryden, it's Halak: Jaro has been around a little longer, but he's closer to Dryden's age in '71 and, like Dryden, earned a starters role in a platoon situation down the stretch to get the playoff call. Plus, I was lazy and didn't commit to the premise. Yes, I am nuts - but if I didn't think my actions had some influence on the outcome, what would be the point of being a fanatic?

We like comments, and unless you're Anonymous the Gay-Bashing Troll we won't shut down or delete any comments on our site...unlike some other people.

The Game 7 Day Skate for Wednesday, April 28th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of being asked if your mom's a prostitute...
  • Detroit wins Game 7, puts an end to Bettman's nightmare scenario of the Yotes in the Finals;
  • That gives us Wings-Sharks, Nucks-Hawks for the next round in the West;
  • The Flyers' Ian Laperierre is gone for the season;
  • On the other hand, Bruin Marc Savard will be back in the second round;
  • Habs-Caps series roundup from the DC P.O.V.: Japers' Rink does some soul searching and introduces Tom Poti's call-up replacement (their version of PFK), our nice new friends Two in the Box have some line combo suggestions, Capital Offense says Jaro is not Roy or Dryden (they got that right... for now), Dan Steinberg tells us the official Caps message board was shut down in the wake of Game 6, and Ted Leonsis himself says the Habs played better than the Caps in Game 6;
  • Habs-Caps series roundup from the 514 P.O.V.: EOTP gives solid hockey analysis as always, Copyranter can't watch Game 7, and Dennis Kane looks at Habs Fans' superstitions. Personally, our superstition is to not wear pants during Game 7's.
Go you fucking Pants!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WHO SHAKING NOW OLIVECHKIN!!! Game 6 Review: Habs 4 - Caps 1

Helo to everyonebady! It's me again, Jaro. I so hapy to see you again, but for now, I want to talke to my gret and very nice friend, Alexendre Olivechkin.

Alex, last week, after my Cenedien teem play game number 2 and lose, I was taking spa in lacker room with bubles and eulicalitucus oil for good smell to water and I watch jurnalist media press conference that Olivechkin say to media journal peeple. And Alex, he talke about me!!! Si I listen to it on iphone with my slinbbox pleyer on iphone that help me to control my digital rsvpr box at home and watch my tv on my iphone and sell more itunas. Itunas is gret beesiness.

So I pleying with my bubles and I hear Olivechkin sey. "Ya, I see Jaro and he drink water after gols we scrore to behind his net and his hand was shaking, so we think Jaro is very scare".

Olivechkin. I have this to sey to you, my friend.

There is nathing cooler than shake. Its all about the to shake.

My favorit music is the shakedancing from when we were litel children in Bratislava. My mather would tell to us, "hey kids, go make maney on the streets for to us and dance for femily!" So we bot a gret record by Herbi Handcock. My brather think this was audio tutorial for learn to mastourb but he put record on pleyer and we here this fentestic shake dance beets! We make such good shake dence and meke gret many that summer of 84 in Bratislava! Oh, Handcock!

Of course the shake music is so good. Olivechkin that you have to be looser to not love the best song in world today, with gret inspiration words: "My milkshake bring the boys to yard and the boys like they better than your and the boys like they beter then yours, my milkshake it bring the girls to..." Oh, milkshake song! Best song to sing at karayokidoki while I pley my sakudoku. Even gret Peter Gabriel have Shaking the Tree. Thank gad I buy tickets for thursday concert in Mentreal and not tomorrow becase then I cant play game 7! Ouf! So lacky!

But gret shaking not end there, Mr. Olivechkin. There is more to shake, you fat mammal.

Gret shaking movies, like most smart and teling movie in a post-war era involoving countries that tear by difficult conflict that doucimates the econamic leyer of these fragile societies. Yes, Shake Hands with the Devil, the Martoun Bradeur and Romeo and Juliette Dallaire stori is good to make me cry all the time i watch everytime.

But no, Mr. Mister so taf and macho Olivechkin, you no show your teers becase you so man.

Shaking is the best. Even peeple that shake sametime are gret peeple like my amazing frend Andrei Kastoutsin who sametime shake in the bum becase of his poopilepsie. We go out for drinks with his brather Sergei and the friend Pasquale and Andrei tell me "Oh, no Jaro, my but hurt so mach I have to go to toilet!" And he run to toilet and me and Sergei and Don Pasquale (he want me to call him Don, but he name not Donald!!! So funy!! Ok ok Don, call me Bob Jaro - Bob Jaro and Don Pasquale friends for the life!!!). So, ya, Andrei run to toilet for bum poop, so I sey to the boys, look Andrei and his poopilepsie again! And we all laf hard and Sergei give Don Pasquale litel envelope wth Cenedien logo on it and number of his bank acount.

Shaking make love amazing fentestic Alex. But you not know this.

My blond byeautiful girlfrend who sey bye to Cari during Oulympics tel me to be in bed with her becase she love when I make bed shake so mach. She sey Cari never make bed shake like this, only Jaro do this. My girlfriend sey that one time, Cari try to fool her becase she was upset bed dont shake enough and Cari took her to motel and he said bed would shake and he asked her to close eyes and so she only close one and she see Cari put coin in machine next to bed. Cari only know to make machine robot shake love!!! Me Jaro, my bed shake man made love shake!

You know wat I eat yesterdey before game Alex when I make 32 saves on you? I eat chicken, shake and bake chicken. You know what my favorite temprature is Alex Olivechkin? Earthquake temprature. I want to build my house on san andrea fault, but I sad for san andreas becase poor san andreas, its not his fault! I speek to Mike Richter about this, but he hang up on my face.

Alex Olivechkin, hear me now. I can tell you all this but it not matter. The most important shake in my life will happen in 36 hours, when I shake your hand at centre ice. You will see how my hand shake then. Too bad for your game yesterdey. Try to shake it off.

The Morning Skate is having a heart attack for Tuesday, April 27th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of losing a ball game 13-12...
  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Jaro!
  • Jaro!
  • Holy crap, we'll have a Game 7. Jaro comes up with six jillion saves to beat the Caps 4-1. Squid got two goals early and Mad Max was all over the scoresheet for good things and diving. And alleged diving. Whatevs, we won. See ya Wednesday in DC. More later today;
  • Assorted recaps: Japers' Rink, Puck Daddy, EOTP, JT.
  • Congrats to the Bs (ugh) who took care of Buffalo and won the series 4-2;
  • Ditto for Chicago;
  • Jacques Lemaire has retired from coaching. We'd say good luck, but we think it's a trap.
Be still my beating heart, long-form video highlights after a win.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Giant Mexican MOEn comes home - Habs/Caps Game 6 preview and open thread

Well, well, well. Game 6. Whoda thunk it? Certainly not me and my forecast of doom in Friday's Game Day Skate. Yet here we are. At home sweet home for Game 6. Ah, the Bell Centre, where we always win in the playoffs, right? RIGHT?

So how did we get here? Sometime between Games 4 and 5, Count Chokula became a genius. Or more likely, a half hour before Game 5 he said "maybe I'll just do something stupid and go out with a bang." Either way, he decided to shove Travis MOEmaN onto a line with Gio and Gomez. Stanley Cup winners all. Moen went into the corners and crashed the net and did the dirty work. It paid off with his first goal of the playoffs and a Habs win. And the Giant Mexican MOEn was born.

[phone rings]
GMM: ¡Buenos dias! MOEn's Tavern, birthplace of the Rob Roy.
Ovie: OH HAI! Ovie likez to speak wit a Missuz Schorwit, first name Amanda?
GMM: Anyone here Amanda Schorwith? I'm looking for Amanda Schorwith!
Little Tits: No me! Andrei, MORE WODKA!
[assembled Habs laugh]
GMM: Look, you rotten little punk, if ever I run into you in the corner I'll shove a stick so far up that gap in your teeth you'll feel it in whatever it is in your head that substitutes for a brain.
Ovie: LULZ!!11!!!1!!

Sing along, kidz:

When the weight of the series has got you down
And you want to end your life,
Meth to buy, a dead-end job,
Carey's sleeping with your wife.
But don't wave stupid towels
'Cuz there's a line down at the Bell
That's gonna take our misery away...
It's G-M- MOEn.... (Let's all love the GM MOEn...)
When all our hope was lost (GM MOEn...)
Then JM's lines got crossed
Now Game seven's just a GM MOEn away
Game seven is just a GM MOEn away...

So let's do this thing! Anthem-booing at 7 PM at the Bell, where Montreal has lost 6 straight in the playoffs. Squid, Ovie, and Backstrom are hot. CHicken and Semin are not. We assume Jaro starts and Jaro 2.0 is still half-dead. And since The Urologist and Hamr both suck, the Habs have... (drum roll, please) called up the Subbanator! While this is very exciting, I also fear that it could be a disaster waiting to happen, shoving PK into the lion's den. I'm a pessimist, as you know. But what the hell, might as well go out swinging. However this may be a moot point as he is not necessarily playing. JM says he's a game-time decision, depending on Jaro 2.0's health. So we'll see. Also, The Mexican was not on the ice for TMS. Hmm, this whole preview may have been for naught.

OK that's enough from me. I gotta go 'cause I've got a hot date tonight. A date. Dinner with friends. Dinner alone. Watching TV alone. Alright, I'm just going to sit at home and ogle the ladies in the Victoria's Secret catalog. Sears catalog.

Go you fucking pants!

The Game Day Skate (yay we were wrong!) for Monday, April 26th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of dangerous aliens...
Let the day of optimism begin!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ok I Can Speak Again: Game 5 Review: Lil' Habs 2 - Wadlowvechkins 1

Pretty inspiring what these little people have done to the giants. No matter how far they go, it will have been a series. Sure a few bounces here and there and we could have had a totally different series, but Caps in 6 sounds pretty honourable to me.

Little People did some very good things last night, like:

  • not allowing an onslaught of goals in the third period
  • not allowing more than 3 goals in under 4 seconds at any point in the game
  • not allowing the Caps short handed unit outscore their power play unit
  • not allowing Jaroslav Spacek anywhere near a Caps jersey
  • not allowing Jaroslav Spacek anywhere near a Habs jersey
  • deciding to live and die with our cult hero
  • not dying
  • not allowing the Caps to score as a result of the most random, insignificant and unfortunate series of unlucky bounces that end up in your own net with 0.4 seconds left to play in regulation
  • not allowing Roman Days of Our Lives Hamrlik to back up with the cadence of a pregnant cement truck. (yes, cement trucks have libidos too)
  • not allowing Benoit Pouliot any access to his old linemates, even through unsuspecting sign language
The Wadlowvechkins have seen their growth stunted for at least another weekend. That may be the nicest thing about our own surprising growth spurt; we get to enjoy it for a bonus day, with Game 6 (geez that sounds nice) only going on Monday.

Enjoy it caramba.

Bruce Boudreau is emotional

It's mini-post day at FHF! Random thoughts about the game to follow. Here was my personal highlight, Bruce Boudreau calling Varlamov a stupid fuck when he skated back to his goal while being pulled for the extra attacker, leading to a too many men penalty on the Caps that put the kibosh on any comeback.

Imagine JM doing something like this. HAHAHAHAHA.

Holy Crap: Habs 2 - Caps 1

Holy crap.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ten Things I Hate About the Washington Capitals ... Little People being Little and Petty on the Brink of Elimination Game Preview and Open Thread

Oh Ovie, your jealous bitter tears are delicious.

10 Things I Hate About the Washington Capitals

Hey, any Caps fans remember the above picture of Bob Mason? No, of course not. It happened before Ovie. Yet here we are, in the playoffs, and the lot of you are all Rocking the Red and getting ready to dispose of our beloved Habs. I hate that. Know what else I hate?

10. The Caps are usually boring. In the 80's and 90's, the Caps were the nameless, faceless, dull and vanilla team from the Patrick, lead by the Michael Pivonkas, Bengt Gustavssons, Calle Johansens and Mike Ridleys of the world. Even when the Caps had a bona-fide star he was a one-dimensional sniper like Mike Gartner, Bobby Carpenter or Peter Bondra. For the first 30 years of their existence, the Caps were the dullest team in the NHL.

9. Wait, that's not correct. At one point we all sat up and took notice of the Caps because they traded for Jaromir Jagr and trotted out some hideous new uniforms in crap blue and gold. Fantastic. Nothing like being the hockey team in the capital of the good old Red White and Blue U S of A and trashing those colours for this.

8. Of course, the Caps wore those terrible jerseys to their only Stanley Cup final in 1998, which happened to be one of the worst finals I've ever seen. Hockey's dead puck era might have reached its nadir with the abject display that final represented. Just terrible hockey and it wasn't Detroit's fault.

7. Dennis Maruk. Dennis Maruk's mustache. As a kid I received a book about NHL superstars. It featured Gretzky and Lafleur and Bossy and Trottier and Dionne and Dennis Fucking Maruk. Ruined the book. Seriously. A full slate of Hall-of-Famers and Dennis Maruk? Even finding a decent shot of Dennis Maruk on the web wasn't easy. Know why? Because it's Dennis Fucking Maruk, that's why!

6. If I hear one more announcer mention the hardscrabble, 17 teams in 13 leagues rocky road to the NHL that fat, bald whiny Bruce Boudreau took to get the Caps job, I'm going to murder someone. Boudreau's a good coach who travelled a lot. WE FUCKING GET IT. Cory Clouston in Ottawa is also an interesting story. So is Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh. Peter Laviolette's journey over the past few years is pretty interesting too. Boudreau isn't NHL coaching's fucking answer to "Rudy", for fucks sakes.

5. Hey, has Dan Snyder traded for Terrell Owens yet? Did Donovan McNabb buy a house in Arlington? No? Okay, like the rest of the bandwagoning "Rock the Red" Caps fans, I'll continue to pay attention until the Redskins start training camp. Where the hell were all these Caps fans when Rod Langway or even Scott Stevens patrolled the blueline? Where were they 2 years ago when I was in Washington for a conference and Ovie was gunning for his 50th goal of the season and I went to the box office the day of the game and the ticket office basically offered me whatever price point I wanted? ( Christ, they even a student rush ticket. I was 34 years old.)

4. Dale Hunter. Dale "Head" Hunter. Author of one of the cheapest shots in NHL playoff history (you know the one). Guy with the second most penalty minutes in NHL history. Guy who fought with his own brother in an NHL game. Guy who now regularly gets suspended and fined for allowing his London Knights players to leave the bench for fights and abuses opposing coaches, players, and referees with abandon. Yeah, the Caps retired his number.

3. Hey, speaking of cheapshotting pricks, it's Alexander Ovechkin! You know, rookie of the year Ovie was a real treat to watch. He scored, he hit, he looked like he loved to be at the rink. Sure, he was a little reckless sometimes, but what a competitor! But the Ovie of the last couple of years has become a sullen, showboating, cheapshotting ass. He throws out knee on knee hits, he shoves cameramen, he treats reporters like shit, and he's become a miserable fuck. Two years ago if you'd asked me who I wanted on my team, I would have debated Crosby/Ovechkin for days. But today? Crosby deals patiently with the media, doesn't say stupid shit, doesn't throw dangerous hits and wins. Is Ovie bitter that Crosby keeps winning stuff he wants? Good. His whole "black hat" act (if it is an act) is wearing thin. If it isn't an act, he's just a dick.

2. There is a 10-DVD set of the 10 greatest Capitals games ever. Hold on, you say. Aren't the Caps only 35 years old? And didn't they suck for their first oh, 15 years? Oh, don't worry, you Red Rocking fans. The Caps thought of that. The first game in the set takes place in 1988. The second is in 1996. The third is the victory that sends them to their first and only Stanley Cup final in 1998. The other seven discs are from 2005 on. That's right, of the 10 greatest games in Washington Capitals history, seven of them just happened to involve Alex Ovechkin. In fact, one of them is Ovie's debut! There's also Bruce Boudreau's debut (really?) the night the Caps defeated their age-old Southeast Division rivals the Panthers to clinch a playoff spot, and the night they beat an imploding Rangers team to advance to the second round in 2009. Thankfully they didn't include one of the most interesting and famous games in NHL history (the Easter Epic that resulted in our feature photo above) because Caps fans would be confused by the funny star-covered white jerseys that Washington allegedly wore at home BO (Before Ovie).

1. Of course, the DVD collection makes perfect sense to TSN, CBC, Versus and ESPN, because according to them, this Capitals team is the 1955-60 Habs reincarnate, an unstoppable juggernaut of scoring awesomeness and Monsters! (TM McSplooge) that is destined for Cup glory this year and for the foreseeable future. Relax. This Caps team is about the eliminate an over matched, unlucky 8th seed with goaltending issues and the slowest defence this side of France's Maginot line ... however, change a bounce here or a boneheaded play there and they might be down 3-1 in this series. Beating this Habs team doesn't mean a damn thing.

Got comments, final words, funeral elegies? Put them in the comments.

The (probably last) Game Day Skate for (the probably last in-season) Sexy Friday, April 23rd

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of hot sports mistresses...
  • In an epic 3 OT, Sens stay alive with a 4-3 win, led by Pascal Leclaire. Pascal Leclaire? Anyway, let the Habs show that much pride and work ethic tonight we'll be happy;
  • Buh-bye Devils. Props to the Flyers (ugh we feel dirty) who really dominated the #2 seed;
  • San Jose has the Avs on the ropes with a dominant 5-0 win;
  • Patrick Sharp had a couple of goals as the Hawks even their series;
  • Matt Duchene, Jimmy Howard, and Tyler Myers are your Calder finalists;
  • Carbo leads our U-18 team to a glorious 7th place finish;
  • Here's that video of Ovie spraying the little 6-year old Habs kid that everyone is talking about if you haven't seen it yet;
  • Caps-Habs updates: Jaro 2.0 is out. Whatever. Like it matters.
OK, this is it. Or is it? Game 5 tonight.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sun setting on Habs season - Caps 6, Habs who the fuck cares anymore

Well, it's been a real slice kids. This season has been a wild up and down (mostly down) ride we won't soon forget. I am not here to bury the Habs, nor to praise them, or however that stupid saying goes. I'm here to thank you for all your support of FHF this season and the good times we've had. We'll see you back in September.

Wait, what's that you say? Caps only up 3-1? Season not over? Well, it sure feels like it to me.

I'd love to dissect for you guys what happened out there last night, I really would. That would be my "job" as a blogger wouldn't it? Alas, frankly it's just too painful. Like the Habs' season! Zing!

Here's what I'll dissect - the moment when the season ended. Late 2nd period. Habs have dominated. 21 shots on net in the period. Finally get rewarded with a Gio PP goal to go up 2-1. NOOOOOOO, the Habs have a lead! Bad news. Habs get a late penalty. Like all penalties to that point in the series, Habs come up with an epic kill. Then the Caps have 6 skaters on the ice for about 3 minutes. Habs PP, and they're riding more momentum than a fat whale riding a perfectly spherical boulder down a 60-degree slope. A couple of chances on the PP, only a handful of seconds left 'til we come out of 40 minutes with a 2-1 lead we'll fight to protect in the 3rd to finally win a home playoff game and even this series. And then...

Oh, Hamr, you hurt us. It was sort of flub with the puck, it was sort of a pinch that he shouldn't have pinched, it's kind of hard to tell. But it led to a 2 on 1 shorthanded break the other way. Goal, KKnuble, with 7 seconds left. Game tied 2-2. Season over. Really.

The 3rd period was a mere formality. Habs never came out of the dressing room. Caps pop two in quick succession in the middle of the period, and it was downhill from there. All that was left was a bunch of Carey Price unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and empty net goals. To be honest, I loved the first Price penalty, shooting the puck int the Caps goal celebration after the 4th goal. Showed he's a crazy goalie (redundant I know) who cares. Unlike his teammates in the 3rd.

You could say the Habs deserved better in this series. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Shoulda won Game 2. Without Hamr, woulda won last night. Coulda been up 3-1. But that's all for shit now. Yes, there is a Game 5 on Friday night. But that's probably a mere formality as well. See you in September.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Caps/Habs Game Four Preview and Open Thread

Move over Breezer, there's a new Franco-Canadien defencemen in my trunk who couldn't cover my sister if she was standing in the slot.

That smell you noticed wafting from Le Centre Bell the past couple of days is the smell of desperation. CH-CH-CH-CHanges.

Darch is out, Rhino is in. Can't wait to see Rhino play smash mouth, crease clearing hockey - moslty because that would be a first for a Montreal player in this series. I can wait to see Ovie coming down on a rush while I hold my breath waiting for Rhino to trip over his own feet. Love DarCHVader but this may be his last game; I call Ryan White taking his place next season (if White learns to skate, that is). Yes, I am already talking about next season.

Jaro out. TFS in - he of the zero victories in the past 50 days. Last one right after the Olympic break. (Remember cheering for a team that won something? Yeah, good times; long times ago, though.)

Habs may be down two Jaros, as Spacek is apparently a game-time decision. If Jaro 2.0 is good to go (please please please) The Urologist moves back from defence to forward. Thank darwin, because he was FUCKING AWFUL on the last goal and has basically been a whipping boy back there all series. And I am less than impressed with his PP work (heh).

If not, DarCHVader is probably back in while Little Tits wonders if he'll get traded to the same place as Grabs in the off season. (Yes, I am talking about next season again.)

Lots of CHanges and perhaps more to come, but will it make any difference?

Alright, it worked for Game 1 so I'll try it again:

CAPS/HABS GAME 4 PREVIEW, 1971 Inspiration Edition

Ken Dryden = Carey Price meaning stop everything they throw at you, Mr. Franchise Saviour, or it's back to Fat Whale Offseason Training and maybe a new postal code next season.

Post comments below this line:

The Game Day Skate for Wednesday, April 21st

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of being able to fly from Europe again...
  • Stick a fork in Ottawa, they're done. Well, not technically, but you know what we mean. Sid, points, etc.;
  • Philly continues to dominate the Devils. Fuck, we wish the Habs were playing the Devils;
  • Nashville goes up 2-1 on half the hockey world's pundits pick to go the Finals;
  • San Jose wins in OT to avert another playoff disaster and even their series 2-2;
  • Detroit also ties their series 2-2 with a Jimmy Howard shutout. Fuck, we wish we could tie our series 2-2;
  • OK Habs-Caps morning wrap-up: EOTP apologizes for the anthem booing, Japers Rink has a good interview with Varlamov where he takes Jaro's side over Ovie, and early reports have TFSTM starting tonight.
For those of you who insist on reliving the Game 3 carnage, scroll down to read HF4's take on the whole thing posted last night. For the rest of you, follow the oven mitt pointing us to Game 4 victory. Or at least hopefully non-embarrassment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Little People Will Need to Do Something Big to Avoid the Collapse: Caps 10 - Habs 1 (including previous periods)

It's unfortunate that this is playing out the way we expected it to.

An interesting game intro, marking an obvious and deliberate schism with the past, highlighting the feats of 86 and 93 only, leaving any footage in black and white behind. The only homage to the antiquated past: a child skating around the rink with a torch in hand and a number 9 on his back. And then, a live shot of a healthy looking #4 in the stands. They also showed Jean Béliveau.

Strong first period, riding on the energy cascading from a delirious crowd.

And then, the little push followed by the all too predictable metldown, a meltdown that would send shivers down a polar bear's spine.

Jaro Spacek and Roman from Days of Our Lives Hamrlik are making a huge case for discrimination against Czech defencemen wearing the numbers 6 and 44, named Jaro Spacek and Roman Hamrlik.

This series is making the 2 D's look out of place, out of context, like they just don't belong. I honestly can't imagine a young PK doing any worse. Actually his speed would be a blessing.

Not a peep from me about Jaro Jaro. Jaro No Jaro Jaro, no playoffs playoffs.

Every futile goal Pleks scores only costs the team another 500k in salary next year. Boy would it be greater if his tallies weren't in a losing cause. I'm glad he's shedding the Thornton rep though.

Carey will take over from here on in unless we see another 4-goal outburst in less that 56 seconds tomorrow. That doesn't help to wean me off the asthma medication. The two goalies that gave the two best efforts in this series are now relegated to the passenger seat. Strange. So demonstrative of the short leash the goalies are on today in this modern league driven by instant gratification.

It's going to take something special now. The team is moving closer to a re-articulation of what most versions of the Habs have displayed for many years. Another collapse in the makings and yet an immediate opportunity to at the very least lose with a bight more bite.

But maybe it just boils down to how fucking good these Capitals are.

Habsfan10 for Coach - before it's too late

I'm sure the game review will be along sometime this century. In the meantime, there is a movement building here at FHF that we need to propagate. With this very simple comment,

Sergei for Darche.
O'Byrne for Urologist.
Price starting.

HF10 has proven himself worthy to coach the glorious tradition that is the Montreal Canadiens. He has ideas! He will make moves! Bold moves! He's our man.

And I have personally seen HF10 take a rag tag group of law school women and whip them into an intramural "B" league hockey playing machine. No one, I repeat no one, had his bench presence. No one, I repeat no one, had his tactics. No one, I repeat no one, had his ability to show those chicks how to put on their equipment and tie their skates. This is a born leader people. We need leadership for Game 4. 10 is our man.

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, April 20th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of finding a 4G next gen iPhone in a bar...
  • Oy. Well, that 5-1 loss was a nightmare, on so many levels. The first period was good, that's something. The rest, not so much. Our D is now very, very suspect. I think the term for the next 48 hours is "regroup." More later today;
  • Maybe this Facebook group is the key to the series. Important Caps info! (lap dance to reader ncbeets);
  • Boston takes a 2-1 lead over the Sabres;
  • Jaro can take solace in the fact that Luongo was also chased in the Kings' 5-3 win over the Nucks;
  • Miller, Mart and Ilya are your Vezina nominees.
Comments? Questions? Complaints?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Weight of the Franchise - Living in Between : Habs/Caps Preview and Open Thread

With every passing year, the Canadiens jersey signifies a more daunting experience.

Fans are adjusting to a squirming sensation; restless in the face of a new brand; a historically winning franchise that doesn't win as often as it used to is now a storied franchise with fewer stories to tell. If not fewer, than different.

Over what is now suddenly 17 years, a mounting collection of losses is turning the face of the franchise, slowly. Transforming the Canadiens brand into apologetic mediocrity. Wearing this jersey today may compels the player to reflect: "We know we should be better, but this is what we're capable of for now". The logo that used to make things easier just because it was there is now making life harder.

That slow transformation will produce nerves out of winning. As if winning were now so unlikely, so out of place, that you become focused on not losing your footing. The winning stance becomes so foreign that you don't know what to do with it once you're there and you're terrified to let it escape your grip. And that's when the errors come, when the grip loosens and the story turns. It's an unravelling and heart breaking experience.

It's happened often since the team's last title.

These are the notable falls from grace.

In 1996, Montreal took the first 2 games at Madison Square Garden, against the odds. They came home and lost Game 3, the inaugural playoff game at the Bell Centre, in front of the largest crowd the team had ever seen in the post-season. Playing well over their heads, that loss was enormous because it pierced their swagger. They simply couldn't recuperate the momentum. By the sixth and final game in Montreal, the Rangers had run them out of the building.

In 1998, after the Habs beat the Penguins in the first round (a series that saw Turner Stevenson basically expel Jaromir Jagr from play), the team faced the Sabres in the second round. The held leads often during the series, but were scored on consistently seconds after they had tallied. The 1997 team could not build on the momentum they constantly created for themselves and amazingly lost in 4 games. They simply choked in the 4 games, having outplayed the Sabres by a wide margin. Coach Ruff recalls that series as being too hard on his team and points to it as the reason the Sabres fell to the Caps in the next round.

In 2002, after having beaten a superior Boston team in the first round, the Habs held a 2-1 lead against Carolina heading into the fourth game. Winning 3-0 in the third with 10 minutes left, the team managed to fall into one of the strangest abysses you've ever seen. In an all too familiar storyline, the Canes scored 3 straight in the third and won the game early in overtime. The Canes won the next three, capping the 4-win comeback with an 8-2 rout of the Habs in Montreal. It was probably the most monumental breakdown the city had ever seen. This series more that any other created the swivel that shifted the franchise in a different light. It made fans realize that history could no longer rightfully repel these storylines.

In 2004, after beating the Bruins in an epic series, they were swept by the Lightning in the second round.

In 2006, history repeats itself, as the Habs lose the series to the Canes after winning the first 2 on the road. The first loss creates a pending sense of collapse. They don't win another game.

In 2007, the team misses the playoffs on the last night of the season after blowing a 2-goal lead against Toronto with seconds left to play in the second period.

In 2008, the conference leading Habs barely survive a first round series against Boston, but come out strong in Game 1 against the Flyers. A loss to Philadelphia once again spells the end of a playoff run and Montreal loses 4 in a row. In game 5 at home the team sees their 3-0 lead in the second period evaporate in less than 10 minutes.

To win in the playoffs, you have to be resilient enough to absorb the ups and downs in a series. You have to have that inner fortitude that allows you to roar back in the wake of defeat. In the past 17 years, only one team managed to win a see-saw battle that is almost compulsory in the road to a championship. That's the team that rallied from 1-3 against the Bruins to take the series from the Bruins on the road in Game 7. It's unfortunate that they never won another game.

What happened on Saturday night is proving that this team is still writing from these pages of anxiety and unease in the construct of adversity. A 4-1 lead with seconds left in the second frame. A chance to go up an impossible 2-0 against a giant. It was the type of disheartening collapse that rips the emotion right out of the unconditional fan. What does it do to the players?

It has become almost impossible to win here. It used to be impossible to lose, at least to lose for a long time. In the end, the normal balance usually came to the fore with the Cup popping up every now and then, even with second tier teams. Today, no more. The losses are denting the team and shaping a new mindset: "We're winning and it scares us to death to lose what we've got". It's called unusual winning. Teams geared to win this way do very well when trailing. They're familiar with those emotions, they're charged by the ease of that familiarity. They've been there often, because losing is almost where they belong, so they know what to do to climb out of it. But once they're there, push them ever so slightly and the cards will tumble. Quickly.

2009-2010: They're right here. The Caps pushed, the team collapsed. One game. If it happens again tonight, we've seen this scenario often enough to know how it all plays out. If Montreal wins, they can start to climb out of this, this whatever this has been for all these years, and make a new name for themselves. It's a new team, it's going to be together for a while. Let them start with something now to make create chemistry and character. They don't need to win the series, but they don't have to collapse again. There is something in between and it's precisely this franchise's inability to live in between that has hurt them for so long.

Let's do this. And let's cheer them on with everything we've got to help make things a little lighter, and make that enormous boulder feel smaller.

Game is at 7pm, it's at home. It's on TSN and RDS and every player that is supposed to be hot is.

Jaro is in. Theo is out. That's too bad. Metro is back. Sergei is also back, where he belongs.

Good luck to our boys. Stay positive in the comments.

The Game Day Skate for Monday, April 19th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of controversy-free Game 3...
  • The Pens are back in control up 2-1 after a 4-2 win over the Sens. Sid, Malkin, etc., etc.
  • New Jersey, on the other hand, goes down 2-1 after Carcillo scores in OT to give the Flyers a 3-2 win;
  • Here's a good omen maybe - West #1 seed San Jose lost to go down 2-1. They lost by a freak goal in OT. Man would we love a freak goal like that tonight;
  • Fear the Yotes people!
  • Chicago comes back from their Game 1 loss to win 2-0;
  • Carbo leads Canada's Under-18 team to... the relegation round. Nice job Carbo!
OK some morning notes on to the only series that matters. Metro may play. Ovie should really STFU. Japers Rink tries to guess the Caps' Game 3 starter. JT really sums up our own feelings after Game 2.

OK deep breath everyone. Had you told us five days ago we'd be coming back from Washington tied 1-1 we'd have been happy, right? RIGHT?

Media whoring update - our Daybreak appearance from this morning is on the interwebs. Go to the archives page and click on the "Game 3 tonight in the Habs / Capitals series" link

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Habs Robbed: Caps 6, Habs 5 OT

[If I can get hold of a screenshot providing the specific photographic evidence I'll post it. Update: Meanwhile here is a link to the video. Lapdance to commentator RiRi]

HF29 Update: Here's a screen cap to make Panger's blood boil:

Here is my goddamn review (sorry for the expletive so early on. I'm a goalie and a lawyer. You bet I'm worked up. Doesn't mean I'm wrong.):

Rule 69 - Interference on the Goalkeeper

69.1 Interference on the Goalkeeper - This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review.

For purposes of this rule, “contact,” whether incidental or otherwise, shall mean any contact that is made between or among a goalkeeper and attacking player(s), whether by means of a stick or any part of the body.

The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

[Emphasis obviously added.]

Poti Knuble clearly comes into contact with Halak before Gill hits him. Knuble's skates might have been outside the crease but it doesn't matter because he initiated contact. Even if he didn't, the fact is that Halak could not come out to the top of the crease and get set and square to the shooter, as he is entitled to do under the rule, because of Knuble's fucking huge ass hitting him in the chest right before the puck went in .

It is true that goal was scored in the second and the Habs had plenty of time to recover. But, admittedly, the Caps are too good offensively for the refs to hand them goals and expect Montreal to have a chance to win the series.

1-1 may be better than down 0-2, but it's a helluva lot worse than up 2-0 heading home. It could be worse - and it will be if the calls don't even out from here on in.

Comments! Comment on how right I am - unless you're a biased Caps Fan or Leafs Nation Kool-Aid Drinker. After all, Habs fans, especially us Four, are never biased.

HF29 media whoring update - 6:40 AM tomorrow, CBC Daybreak, yada yada

Little People Can Do Big Things - Habs/Caps Game 2 Preview and Open Thread

Tony: So Doc, way back when, I told some people that I was a big Habs fan. And that almost got me whacked.

Dr. Ruth: That's terreeble Tony.

Tony: I know. Everybody in Jersey goes gaga for the Devils. They're also going gaga for Gaga, but I don't undertsand what the fuck that's about. I don't get that broad's style. I mean what that fuck, she looks like the freakin statue of liberty at the Grammys. Then she looks like a credit card. And she's singing with Elton John like she's Tony freaking Bennet.

Dr. Ruth: She bozers you zis much Tony?

Tony: Look Doc. a few years ago I woulda banged fucking Gaga, but my last shrink and I we kinda worked on some stuff. She called it a sex addiction, I called it a freaking gift from Jesus Christ himself personnally gift wrapped to me.

Dr. Ruth: So you would not, ahem... how do you call it - bang Gaga today?

Tony: Oh boy I want to so bad Doc. But I can't. That's why I'm here. These freaking Habs. I'm hooked. I'm doing flapjacks Doc. We win game 1. I mean that's freaking unbelievable and the like and such. Now I'm so gaga about the Habs, I can't get gaga about banging Gaga!

Dr. Ruth: But what makes you think Gaga wants to make love to you?

Tony: Please Doc, don't show me no disrespect.

Dr. Ruth: I'm not sure about ze grammar there.

Tony: Looky what we got here, I'm being mentored by Lady freaking Volkswagen over here.

Dr. Ruth: Talk to me about your sexual problems Tony. You are not aroused by women anymore?

Tony: Doc, don't get me wrong. I'm as hard as a freaking slab of pastrami when my Habs are winning. But after that? Nuthin. I don't wanna bang nobady. Not my wife, not her sister, nobady.

Dr. Ruth: This is extremely serious Tony. It seems your addiction to ze Montreal Canadiens is taking over your sex addiction.

Tony: Doc I want to be addicted to both. Can you fix this?

Dr. Ruth: No Tony. Sex is so much more involving than hockey. You watch hockey, think of it like masturbating. All alone, you and your hockey. Sex however Tony is far more inclusive. Much more challenging. Pleasuring your partner, finding her clitoris..

Tony: Ooooh!!!!! Doc!!!! Do you know who you're talking to here? Finding the clitoris? Doc I INVENTED the clitoris. It never escapes me. That's all I see. Clitoris, clitoris, clitoris. Last week I'm banging this girl and her clitoris is like in hiding from me, like, in a safe house. And I'm like, are you freaking joking? You can't hide from me you clitoris! Don't you go anywhere, I see you!

Dr. Ruth: So how will you feel when your addiction to ze Habs makes it impossible to find the clitoris again, or even WANT to find it. What happens if zis unhealthy obsession with ze Habs gives you ED?

Tony: Oooohhh! Oooh!!! Whadaya mean ED. Like ED phone home? Like what the fuck ED?

Dr. Ruth: If you don't quit zis obsession Tony you may not be able to have an erection.

Tony: I'm fuckin done with you Doc. This stuff comin outta your mouth is horseshit. And if you keep it up they're gonna find every little dwarf piece of you buried in a small hole in Reno, you got that?

Dr. Ruth: Zis hostility is very unhealthy.

Tony: So's the fifth artery that feeds my heart that just clogged up. So what, I'll live. I'd say you're too small to know what you're talking about Doc, but because of my Habs I know that little people.....I'm gonna fuckin cry......little people can do big things.

Dr. Ruth: So what will you do?

I'm gonna do this Doc. I'm gonna do this. This is all I know.

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Verizon Centre, Washington D. fuckin C.

What if I wanna watch the game in French?: RDS with my favourite fanuch, Benny B. But it's gonna be on TSN with that chatterbox McGuire.

Who's hot: Everything in blue white and red.

Who's not: I'm afraid I'm gonna jinx it if I say his name.

Best thing that starts with the letter J since Jersey: Jaro. I'm gonna get him made one day.

Adult entertainment: Ohhhh!!! Are you fuckin kiddin me? Badabing. I'll smash your fuckin head if I see you someplace else.

So, you guys banging much? Let me know in the comments. Go freakin Habs go, and such.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Little People Can Do Big Things - Habs 3, Caps 2 (OT)

So the gang over at MYFO discovered the secret about how the Habs managed to win last night. Thanks to some secret spies they must have, their Habs-Caps preview was able to transcribe a meeting at Hurleys between the four HF's prior to Game 1 (this is all pretty meta, I know). But MYFO's spy missed the follow-up meeting at Hurleys this morning. Here's what transpired.

HabsFan29: Hair of the dog, bitCHes. If there is an Irish invention that has had as much success around the world as Irish coffee I'd like to hear it.

HabsFan4: Bono's pretentiousness?

Habsfan10: Hey where's Panger?

4: Calgary?

10: No there he is down there. Hi little buddy!

Panger: Fuk offf.

10: I love the way he typo-talks. So cute.

Panger: Luk, if it wasn't for the littel peeple last night Habs would have been blownn out of the water.

10: You got that right Panger (well, sort of). Did you see the Mexican on the tying goal? Isn't that the type of thing Ovie usually does? End to end rush, the defense backs off, make a nice move then a nice play? That was fucking incredible.

4: Brought tears to my eyes. All the haters of the little people can suck it. And speaking of Ovie, damn our little adventure with him yesterday really worked. No shots. Zero! Zip! Nada! Bubkis!

29: Not sure if it was the strippers that brought about the rumours of him being less than 100%, or if was the work of Jaro 2.0, but shutting down Ovie like that was a dream come true. It probably was a dream. We suck.

Panger: Hey can sombudy passmy bear? I can't reech.

10: Here ya go little buddy [pats Panger on the head]. Truly the little people are triumphing. So amazing to see Squid get off the schneide just at the right time and fire that bullet on the PP. And to see our Jaromir Plekanec get the OT winner against notMiller-notMarty was the highlight of the playoffs so far.

29: [takes meth hit] I'm sure it will be the only highlight for the Habs.

4: Isn't it a little early for that 29? And why can't you fucking be positive for change? Anonymous commentors will take us to task. We can't have that.

29: Fuck the anonymous commentors. This was one fucking game. Sure it was great, sure I'm high it was a high, but there is still a ton of work to do. And I don't trust anyone.

10: But all of a sudden we have a head coach! When the fuck did that happen? He must have really made some adjustments during the first intermission because we blew chunks in the first, when Jaro kept us in it. He did a great job getting matchups on the road. And he actually called a strategic timeout after an icing to rest tired players! And he even showed some sort of emotion, I think it was "slight concern," on that total non-call on Gio on a partial breakaway in OT.

Panger: Can sumwon pass mee a napkin pleese? I spillt some beer.

10: Here ya go little buddy [pats Panger on the head]. And 29, shouldn't you be impressed with the way all four lines seemed to work hard? When was the last time we saw that? We need to give serious props to Laps, DarCHe, Little Tits, all of those guys. They put in quality minutes and helped to tire out the Caps D.

4: I agree with that. This was the best team effort we've had since the good run right after the Olympics. And not just the forwards. The D as a squad was pretty solid too,especially after the first. Yeah, we let up a bunch of shots, but overall they played well. Even The Urologist! And the signing of Hal Gill's 8-foot stick is paying dividends.

29: I'm not convinced.

Panger: zzzzzzz

10: Aww, so cute. The little guy is all tuckered out after a half beer [pats Panger on the head].

4: Let's hope the Habs' little guys have more stamina than Panger.

29: We'll find out tomorrow.

Late afternoon update for no apparent reason - thx to commentor moeman for finding this, it deserves to be posted:

The Morning Skate for Sexy Friday, April 16th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the 25 hottest blonde athletes...
  • !
  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • !!!!!!!111!!!!!!!1111111111!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Sorry, we just haven't really regained our speech after last night's 3-2 OT win over the Caps in Game 1. Jagr SuperPleks with the OT winner. Full credit to alot of people in this one. Habs players (even Laps!), Habs coaches (even JM!), Habs front office staff, Habs training staff, whoever. After a lackluster (at best) first period where Jaro held us in it, we played full value the rest of the way. The best we've played in weeks. We'll be happy to eat our words from the Pantscast if they play like that every night. We'll try to get some speech back and have more later;
  • We may not have speech, but let's see what the fine and friendly folks of Japers' Rink have to say: "By just about any metric, the Capitals controlled this game." I guess that's technically true, but there is only one metric that matters. No, not the score. Ovie's 0-fer SOG. Suck it. We kid, we kid. The review is actually quite fair. And we can't piss those guys off, there's way more of them than us;
  • Ryan Miller is Ryan Miller, saves the Sabres' ass in a 2-1 win over the Bs. He made 23 saves in the 2nd period. Yikes;
  • More Canadian OT magic, this time 3-2 from the Nucks over the Kings. Mikael Samuelsson showed his playoff experience and bagged the winner;
  • Leafs will have a giant goalie for two more years;
  • Sens have lost Milan Michalek for the rest of the playoffs with a torn ACL;
  • !
Who'd have thunk we'd be writing "long form video highlights after a win", eh? Yet here we are.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Caps/Habs Game 1 Preview and Open Thread: 1993 Inspiriation Edition

It has been 17 years since the Habs won a Cup. That means if they don't win this spring, next year there will be fully grown, adult Canadiens fans who can drink liquor and fornicate but have never witnessed a Stanley Cup parade proceed along the usual route. And you need to be able to do all three to call yourself a true Montrealer.

I'll let that reality sink in for a monment - sspecially for you old people like HF29 who grew up hanging off of light poles on Ste Catherine Street every spring.

So what's it going to take to return Lord Stanley's mug to its rightful and favorite home? It's going to take a number of key guys playing waaaay over their (usual) heads - just like in 1993. As a favour to the current Habs lineup, who may not have obsessed about that '93 team quite as much as I may have, here is FHF's guide to what each of our key players need to recreate if there is a Parade to be Planned:

Captain Kirk = Squid meaning he has to score in the clutch and bring both heart and leadership

Vinnie D.= Gomez meaning he has to play like a true #1 centre and lead the playoffs in scoring

Keaner = Little Giant meaning he has to skate like the wind (okay, that would be more than what Mikey did), hit anything that moves, play aggressive and constantly hound the puck carrier. Keane actually had 13 assists, but we'll take 10 goals from Gio instead

Bellows = CHicken meaning he has to use his size and natural scoring ability to prove the Habs didn't trade Russ Courtnall Gui! for nothing

LeClair = Big Tits meaning he's got to show some break-out scoring ability - although I must admit I as surprised to learn that Johnny only scored 4 goals in the playoffs. I remember it more as 50.

DiPietro = Moore meaning someone has to score unexpectedly and The Goat's first trade acquisition seems a likely candidate

Desjardins = Markov meaning he's got to lead the blueliners, play Norris-like defence and score a hat trick in the finals

Odelin = Gilliweed meaning the heretofore nicknamed "HMS" has to be the unsung defensive rock and bring a physical presence to the blueline

Haller = Urologist meaning he'll be forgotten in 8 months, but needs to be the unsung offensive hero on the blueline in the next 8 weeks

Roy = Jaro meaning "your 2010 Conn Smythe winner". Realistically, it's the only way any of this is gonna happen

Racicot = Big Fat Whale meaning he'll play 18 minutes when Jaro has to take a dump.

There it is. That's all these Habs need to pull off a monumental upset in the first round (just like 17 years ago), Then, if last night is any indication, all the lower seeds will do the Habs a favour and knock off the other contenders. After the Caps, it will be smooth sailing into the finals.

I wonder who will tell Jacques which stick to measure.

Yes, yes I am delusional. I do think the Canadiens have a shot, especially if Phoenix can beat Detroit. But ask me again after the first when Alex already has a hat trick.

The Game Day Skate presents The Pantscast, Episode 1

Top o' the Morning, bitCHes! This is it. Loss one tonight! Game one tonight!! Go Pants!

So here's something fun. What do you get when you mix Habs-Caps, a MacBook Pro, and beers and Irish whiskey at Hurleys? You get the first-ever FHF Pantscast! FHF goes multimedia. Yours truly, HF4, and special guest Chris Aung-Thwin of HIO's The Other Wing had quite a little chat yesterday. We of course are previewing Habs-Caps, but along the way you get gratuitous swearing, Brian Burke, my own maniacal laugh, Kobe Bryant, and HF4's pubic hairs. There's still some kinks to work out (like slipping HF4's real name you fucking idiot 29), but we hope you'll enjoy. Just click play or hit the download link. No iTunes subscription yet, we're waiting to hear from you that this was crap before we do it again.

Download the mp3

Mucho thanks to Chris who was just awesome as our first guest. As mentioned during the Pantscast, check out the great work he's doing at Homeless Nation.

OK we're almost getting excited! Though with all the upsets last night, we're not sure there's one left for us. If you went to bed a reasonable hour, make sure to scroll down to the next post for HF4's Little People Preview of the D. We'll see you in the special preview and open thread later today.