In the first of two premieres, the Montreal Canadiens presented a feel-good story: ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT GOALIE.
Alex the Bald finally made his much-anticipated debut, and had a tour-de-force performance as "The Goaltender Who Just Stands There And Lets The Puck Hit Him". In his first live, public show since January 29, Alex showed the rust one would expect, but also how much preparation he put into his new ongoing role. Thus far, his door opening skills have been impectable. This script called for only a little more than that, and could not have played more into Auld's strengths: consistently in the right position but not called upon to make many reflex saves. While it was a successful debut, there is also no question that Auld is the understudy to Carey's leading role. Alex just doesn't have the smooth yet snappy moves of the younger and handsomer leading man Price.
Starring again in a supporting role was Benoit Pouliot, once more playing well off set up man Jeff Halpern. Also keeping themselves firmly in the spotlight were SuperPleXXX, the Squid and Big Tits with what used to be a staple of Canadiens' presentations, the now-rarely seen "power-play goal".
Trying to steal just a bit of their thunder were the likes of Gomez/Gio/Moen. I won't give away the ending of the next feature, but more on them later.
All in all, a feel-good crowd-pleaser featuring great chemistry and timing built around a sassy lead performance, it recalls up haunting images and Oscar-worthy performances.
In an even-more anticipated debut, Andrei Markov finally returned to the show in RETURN OF THE MARKOV. Not content to allow the Russian his moment in the spotlight, though, it was clear early on that Czech Tomas Vokoun was intent on stealing the limelight. While Markov received over 23 minutes of screen time, he was denied 1:25 of prime exposure while the Habs enjoyed a 5-3 advantage. Vokoun, though, was definitely the star, turnning aside 39 of his former club's shots.
But lets get to an exciting sub-plot: TFS(tm) versus hotshot David Booth. Carey once again played the Habs hero, twice comin up with large saves off turnovers. But the Jaro-That-We-Should-Have-Traded decided to up the suspense level by needlessly tripping David Booth after young Booth got a step on the Old Man on the D. Handed a free pass, Booth donned the black hat and played the villain to a "T", blowing a shot past our hero, Carey.
Despite a performance that could graciously be described as "tired" for 40 minutes, the Canadiens almost wrote another feel-good, come-from-behind story. Veteran character-actor Mathieu Darche stole the puck - and a few more hearts - in the second, and offered Canadiens fans their only chance to stand and cheer in what was ultimately a tear-jerker. Much was expected of the Gomez-Gio line both given its pedigree and paycheck, but was again disappointing insofar as it was another PG-13 performance - not enough offensive material for this reviewer's taste. That is a script that has already become all too repetitive to Canadiens fans.
Hopefully Gio/Gomez and the Canadiens generally can come up with a new script - one that includes a lot more offensive material - by the time the next show starts on Tuesday.