Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Battle of the 49th Parallel: Canada-USA Preview and Open Thread

FUCK YEAH HOCKEY GOLD MEDAL GAME BITCHES!!!! Does it get any more exciting than this? I think not. Before we dive in to some hockey, let us review yesterday around the Olympics, shall we:

Curling - GOLD BITCHES!!!
Snowboard parallel GS - GOLD MOTHERFUCKERS!!!
Long track team pursuit - GOLD SUCKAS!!!
Four-man bobsleigh - A delightful bronze.

Congrats to all. Special shout out to Jasey-Jay Anderson who has represented Canada for a very long time around the world, winning World Cups and World Championships along the way but never medaling at 3 previous Olympics. You've always held your head high, and now you've got what you've deserved all along.

OK enough of looking back, we've got a great fucking game to look forward to. 3 PM on CTV. Canada looking for redemption for losing to the USA in the round robin, USA looking for redemption for losing to Canada in the 2002 gold medal game. One McSplooge employer vs. another McSplooge employer. OK that made me sick. Let's try some actual hockey analysis, with a little breakdown of Canada vs. USA like TSN's Panel I'm Totally Sick Of did this morning:

Goalies - LOOOOUUU!!!! has played solid since taking over from Brodeur. Showed some real balls against Slovakia by letting in a crappy goal then coming back to make some huge saves to secure the win. On the other hand, Ryan Miller is the best goalie on the planet right now by far, and went a long way to stealing that game in the round robin.
Significant Edge: USA.

Defence - Canada's young guns of Keith, Doughty and Weber have been a revelation, and Niedermayer is picking it up as the games go on. Subtract one point for Chris Pronger who blows. For the USA, Brian Rafalski may be the best D in the tournament, and actually leads the Americans in points. And the American D has been getting better as a unit as the tournament has gone on.
Edge: Canada, for the depth.

Forwards - Patrick Kane came alive with 2 goals against the Finns. Zach Parise has been one of the best players in the tournament. For Canada, Ryan Getzlaf has had a great tournament, and my whipping boy at the beginning Brendan Morrow has turned out to be a key player. Jonathan Toews has really shown some mettle. On the other hand, the fact that we're talking about Getzlaf and Morrow instead of superstars like Crosby and Nash makes me nervous.
Slight Edge: Canada, again for depth.

Intangibles - Canada playing on home ice in our national game for all the marbles. However, there is a ton of pressure for Canada playing on home ice in our national game for all the marbles. Are the Americans just too young? Can Ron Wilson lead a team to a championship? Canada hasn't played an afternoon game all tournament, while the USA has played most of their games at that time. The Americans have the last line change, which might be huge.
Slight Edge: Canada, for the home crowd.

Female actress on Lost - Evangeline Lily up there vs. Maggie Grace. Call it a push.

Winner: You think I'm jinxing anything by picking a winner? Let's just hope the winner isn't somehow Gary Bettman.

OK grab a brew, or in kevincrumbs' case that swill you Americans call brew, and let's do this thing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's time for some celebrating

"Canada leads the Olympic gold medal standings" is not something I ever expected to hear in my lifetime. But that's exactly the phrase that was used as I watched sports news this morning. I think that deserves some celebrating, Canada style. How about some good old-fashioned bullet points to recap yesterday's action worth celebrating:
  • Roller Derby! FINALLY the short track men get off the schneide, come up huge. Gold and bronze in the 500m. Gold in the relay. Charles Hamelin, double gold-medalist. My goodness that sounds amazing;
  • I'm not sure if we should celebrate those last 10 minutes of the third period, but the boys were cruising til that point. Anyway, it's a 3-2 win over the Slovaks thanks to LOOOOUUUUUU, and a rematch date with the Americans Sunday;
  • Cheryl's silver curling medal was heartbreaking at the time, given she had two chances to win gold and blew them both. But she had a great run overall, so we'll celebrate that;
  • The men's long track pursuit team is guaranteed at least a silver after advancing to the final yesterday. We'll just ignore what happened to the ladies.
Hopefully today will be another day worth celebrating. Besides the aforementioned long track pursuit, Kevin Martin goes for gold in the men's curling final, Canada 1 sits in second place after 2 runs of the 4-man bob, and we have real medal chances in men's snowboard parallel GS. Grab a brew and some champagne, and let's have a toast.
(Ignore this - EAVB_TTWMWYUCIM)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Canadian Olympic Hottie of our Hearts and a Canada-Jaro Preview and Open Thread

I really hesitated long and hard about posting this awesome pic of awesome Joannie Rochette. I didn't want to tawdry up her amazing story with sexiness. But then I thought fuck it, that's what we do and that's what we should continue to do, even in the face of tragedy. We all grieve in our own way. So félicitations Joannie, your performance for a bronze medal last night in the face of tragedy was nothing short of heroic and one for the Olympic ages. We couldn't be prouder.

Around the Olympics, GOLD MEDAL BITCHES!!!! Our women's hockey team took care of business, 2-0 over the 'mericans. They've done it all tournament, taking care of business. A couple of goals from 18-year old phenom Marie-Philip Poulin and an outstanding performance between the stripper poles by Shannon Szabados was all they needed. Even some beer and champagne can't dampen this one.

Elsewhere, props to both our curling teams who will play in gold medal games. Cheryl's team really did not have their A game, but managed to do enough to win. They'll play for gold today at 6 PM EST. Kevin Martin and his team, on the other hand, are on a mission from God. They are making everything and looking unstoppable. Of course, because they are Canadian men at these Games, they'll find a way to choke. You know, like the men's aerialists.

OK, on to today's main attraction, the Canada-Slovakia semi-final. It's at 930 PM EST. Got that? 21h30. On paper, a mismatch. In real life, anything but. I think everyone around here can appreciate that Jaro can steal a game. The Slovaks have a formidable first line of Gaborik, Demitra, and Hossa. As much as we hate the big gorilla Chara, he's a force on D. The Slovaks have the best PP in the tournament. Canada will really have to have all four lines working, because Slovakia can't match our depth. Constant pressure and physical play like they had against Russia will be key. So pour yourself a Zlatý Bažant and we'll see you in the comments.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Canadian Olympic Hottie of the Last 14 Years

Way back in 1996 a young Clara Hughes took two bronze medals in cycling in Atlanta. Cut to 14 years later, when Clara, now 37 years old, wins bronze in her very final race, the women's 5000m. She's now tied with Cindy Klassen for the most Olympic medals by a Canadian with 6. She is the only person in the history of the universe to win multiple medals at both the summer and winter Games. Along the way, she was gracious, smiling, and the ultimate perfect Canadian and Canadian ambassador. We salute you Clara. You rock.

Clara was only part of a HUGE day for Canadian women yesterday. Women's bobsleigh, whoda thunk it? Gold AND Silver. And on the short-track, our women's relay team comes up silver. Four medals in a day ties the best ever Olympic day Canada has ever had. It wasn't quite redemption for all the chokage in the Games so far, but damn it felt good. It felt especially good because...

HOLY FUCK WE CAN PLAY HOCKEY AGAIN!!! I have no idea what happened, still. Canada dominates the Russians 7-3. We outplayed them, we outhit them, we outcoached them, we pretty much out-everythinged them. Sid and Ovie were both non-factors, but everyone else seemed to pick up the slack on the Canadian side. Great physical, energetic play. Come out firing and don't let up. Canada has booked a date Friday night in the semi-finals against... wait for it... wait for it... Jaro and the Slovaks, who beat the defending Olympic Champ Swedes 4-3. WOW. That's gonna be fun. Your other semi-final will be USA-Saku. The Finns beat the Czechs thanks to a helmet that came off. No, really.

OK let's take a look ahead to today. I'm not sure if Canada-USA for women's hockey gold could be overshadowed, but Joannie Rochette and the long program just may be able to do it. The curlers are back on the ice for semi-final action, and we have some medal potential at men's aerials. Consider this your open thread for the hockey game and whatever else your little hearts' desire talking about.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Golden Canadian Olympic Hottie of the Olympics and a Canada-Russia Preview and Open Thread

FUCK YEAH!!! Our hottest hottie comes up with a gold medal? Goddammit she rules the Olympics. Say hi to Ashleigh McIvor, but you know that already. Ski cross goddess, in more ways than one.

Around the Games yesterday, our women bobsledders are off to a great start, in 1st place after 2 of 4 runs. And Joannie Rochette fought tears and all odds to come up with a magnificent and courageous 3rd place performance in the short program. Nous sommes avec vous Joannie.

OK, hockey. Canada took care of business last night against the Germans in front of the FHF faithful at Hurleys. Thanks to some strategic free shots of Black Bush, a wonderful time was had by all. I'm not sure how much of the game we saw, because the one-liners were flying fast and furious. Anyway, the win has earned Canada a quarterfinal dance with the Russians, 730 PM on CTV. Lose and you're, well, you're a big loser. You can bet Luongo starts again. Sid-Ovie. Rooting against Vodkov. What else do you need to say? It's Canada-Russia. No preview required. Let's do this thing.

Oh, one pic of Ashleigh wasn't enough? I don't blame you. Go pants, or lack thereof.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Canadian Olympic MILF Hottie of the Day and a Canada-Germany Preview and Open Thread

After talking about her for 10 days, please finally say hello to Canadian curling skip Cheryl Bernard, still looking gorgeous at 43. She's even caught the eye of ESPN's Sports Guy. Man she looks angry at a rock. Yesterday she led our gals to a big win over the world champion silver medalist Swedes and it wasn't even close. Clinched their spot in the semi-finals. Between Cheryl's team and the men, our curlers are kicking ass. Too bad there are only 2 medals available.

Speaking of medals, GOLD MOTHERFUCKERS!!!! I of course didn't watch because ice dancing is stupid, but major congrats to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and their gold. I may think ice dance is stupid, but being the youngest ice dance champs ever and being the first North American gold medalists in the event are serious fucking accomplishments.

In our non medal-winning performance of the day, big props to our men's cross-country team of Kershaw and Harvey (they have names!), who ended up 4th in the sprint relay. For the second time this Olympics, that's the best result ever for Canadian men cross-country skiers. Alex Harvey is just a kid and I predict now he will medal in 2014 (he'll choke).

OK, bring on the hockey. If we have to. 730 PM on CTV against the Germans. Not much to say. Luongo is getting the start and there's no more fucking around now, lose and we're fucked. And we better start playing some much better hockey or we'll be fucked anyway come tomorrow when we would be playing a real team in the Russians. In practice yesterday, Crosby had Iggy and Staal as his wingers. Let's hope Babcock keeps Iggy there, and keeps the aging D-men on the bench.

The best part about this game will be the viewing. Yours truly is gathering with HF4, Panger, LG77 and Mrs. Nussbaum for the first-ever drunken FHF Olympic hockey viewing summit. Film at 11.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Canadian Olympic Hottie of the Day

This is Meghan Agosta, a fine member of our women's hockey team. She plays with her teammates tonight at 8 PM in the semi-finals. We are rooting like hell for the women, because...

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THE MEN SUCK. Look out, I'm alarmist again! But seriously, that sucked. Canada loses to the U.S. 5-3. Martin Brodeur, Chris Pronger, and Scott Niedermayer all need to be put out to pasture now. The TSN panel this morning said "Brodeur's resume gave him the right to start this tournament." Well, resumes can't play the motherfucking puck. Did no one notice Marty came into the Olympics playing really shaky hockey? Did anyone notice Pronger and Niedermayer are old and slow? Why do we have so few skilled players Brendan fucking Morrow is playing the PP? I will give some credit to Ryan Miller who played a great game and made many many many saves. But still, double meh. Anyway, next up is the Germans (oooh, the Germans) in the qualification round tomorrow. Because of course, what the old fart trio needs is another game to play.

Major mazel tov to Kristina Groves who nabbed a silver in the 1500m to rescue another otherwise crappy day. Lots of chokage notably in men's ski cross and two-man bobsled.

Finally, our deepest sympathies to figure skater Joannie Rochette, who tragically lost her mother a mere 24 hours after her parents arrived in Vancouver to cheer her on. Joannie says she will still go ahead and skate starting tomorrow, and we'll have a prayer and a cheer for her no matter where she finishes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Canadian Olympic Hottie of the Day and a Canada-USA Preview and Open Thread

Say hellooo to Kristi Richards. She may have flamed out in women's moguls, but fuck I don't give a shit, for obvious reasons. Rowr.

Speaking of flaming out, yesterday was a day of epic chokage for the Canadians. Goddamn it, that $118 mill to own the podium should have been spent on health care. We're now down to 5th in the medal standings. Let's start with our "sure thing" medalists, the Hamelin brothers in short track, finishing 4th and 5th. Gah. Let's move on to our alpine skiers again failing to medal, this time in Women's Super G. Joining the crash parade was our two-man bobsled crew Canada 1, third after the first run then literally crashing out. And Denny Morrison blew huge chunks in the 1500m long track.

On the other side of the coin, sometimes non-medal performances are outstanding. Take our men cross-country skiers, who had three in the Top 10 in the 30k pursuit. The 5th place finish was the best ever for a male Canadian in the sport. That's the type of performance we like. Rising to the occasion, instead of crashing out in front of it. Good on ya, nameless cross-country skiers who toil in obscurity.

We can also be proud of our Habs yesterday. Little Tits had 1G 3A in Belarus' 5-3 win over Germany, and Jaro stayed hot and shut out the Latvians. In BWAHAHAHAHA hockey news, Mikhael Grabovski spent the night in jail.

OK, on to today's hockey action. What a day for hockey fans. Sandwiched around the big game are two other rivalry games, Russia vs. the Czechs and Sweden-Finland. I may be a zombie by the end of it, but it's gonna be fun.

The Canada-USA game should be the highlight of the hockey tournament so far. 7:30 PM on CTV. Huge game, not just for pride but for standings. Canada needs a win to finish first in Group A. Finishing first means a direct trip to the quarter-finals instead of heading to the "qualification round", whatever the hell that means. If someone could explain the system to me, free ice cream and free meth. The last time these teams met in the Olympics the Canadians took the gold medal final in 2002. Brodeur is getting the start. Looks like Mike Richards will get a chance with Sid, as the coaching staff does their best Carbo line-juggling impression. The only consistent line we have has been the San Jose line. And our defence may be slow and injured. Add facing a goalie that can easily steal a game (Ryan Miller), and Canada is in tough. Hopefully Kristi Richards can inspire them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Canadian Golden Olympic Hottie of the Day for the Ladies

He's Jon Montgomery, but you can call him SKELETOR thank you very much. And he took gold yesterday in head-first sliding down an ice track. FUCK YEAH SKELETOR!!! [/holds up metal horns with both hands]

Look, I'm sorry gents. I really planned on featuring Melissa Hollingsworth today, who's a total cutie, but she crapped the bed big time in women's head-first sliding down an ice track, ending up 5th when she expected to medal. She was quite tearful after the race, so I kinda feel bad, but not really. She wasn't alone yesterday in chokage though, as our men's skiers failed to deliver any medal again, this time in Super G.

In hockey (this is a hockey blog, if I remember correctly), Alfie's 2 goals lead the Swedes over Belarus 4-2, Pleks had a goal in the Czechs' 5-2 win over Latvia, and Teemu Selanne became the all-time Olympics points leader with an assist for his 37th point in the Finns' 5-0 win over Germany.

And in other news, apparently we're a 3rd world country as there is a breakout of leprosy in Vancouver.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Canadian Olympic Hottie of the Day for the Ladies

Ladies, say hello to Stefan Read, part of Canada's young and upcoming ski jumping team. Stefan will be jumping in qualifying on the big hill today, but don't expect any medals from him or any Canadian, they'll probably be happy to make it to the finals. If he does, go easy on him during the celebration party; he's only a spry 5'9", 132 lbs. Half of it abs and smoldering eyes.

Around the Olympics yesterday, GOLD MEDAL BITCHES!!! Christine Nesbitt takes the 1000m long track. She was the overwhelming favourite coming in and she actually lived up to the billing. That alone is a brilliant accomplishment imho. Thank Darwin for the long blades, because...

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WE SUCK AT HOCKEY. Not to get all alarmist here (too late), but fuck a 3-2 OT win AGAINST THE FUCKING SWISS AGAIN THOSE FUCKING SWISS was really unpleasant. A PP failure of epic proportions. Sure, call it a great performance by Hiller, and sure, the boys got it done in the end, but fuck, I still say that was a failure. All sorts of weaknesses exposed. I know I say this a lot, but meh.

In more fun hockey news, Jaro was dominant against the Russians, leading the Slovaks to a 2-1 (SO) upset. 36 saves and he stopped Ovie twice in the shootout. Just wow.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Canadian Second Place Olympic Hottie of the Day and a Canada-Switzerland Preview and Open Thread

A surprise silver medal? On your 20th birthday? And you are just adorable? Well that earns you Hottie of the Day, Marianne St-Gelais. Just a fabu performance to get a silver in short track 500m for someone who was only suppose to medal in 2014. Félicitations Marianne!

Around the Olympics, Jaro was outplayed by Tomas Vokoun in the the Slovaks' 3-1 loss to the Czechs, with Pleks scoring the 3rd goal. The Canadian women just crushed the Swedes (defending silver medalists remember) 13-1. Our "Canadian solid performance" of the day goes to Britt Janyk and a quality 6th in the women's downhill.

On the other side of the coin, there was Canadian chokage yesterday aplenty. Emily Brydon a very disappointing 16th in the downhill. She is ranked 5th in the world. Even worse was Denny Morrison in the long track 1000m, just terrible finishing 13th, when he was really expected to medal. Own this podium, losers [/grabs crotch].

OK, hockey. Bring on the Swiss! 7:30 pm on CTV. The Swiss are coming off a 3-1 loss to the USA to open the tournament. Brodeur will get the start. Don't underestimate the Swiss. Outstanding goaltending in Jonas Hiller and Martin Gerber. And I believe we all remember losing to them 2-0 in Turin in 2006. Iggy scored two goals against Jonas Hiller over the weekend in a Flames win over the Ducks.

Be sure to taunt the Swiss Mister in the comments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Canadian Golden Olympic Hottie of the Day

I don't think I need to introduce you to Maëlle Ricker, Canada's Golden Girl (sorry Mrs. Nussbaum) this morning after she won the women's snowboard cross yesterday. And DOMINATED. I said I loved yesterday's OHD, but today I mean it. What a personality! Did you see her post-race interview? What a smile. And giggling! Lots of giggling! She seems so nice and cool. Could totally picture her with me chilling with a fattie and watching a South Park marathon. Anyway, congrats Maëlle, you've got a whole country trying to figure out how to type an ë this morning.

In other Olympic news, the hockey team hit the ice and scared the hell out of me by not scoring for a period. They made up for it in the 2nd and 3rd though, and cruised to an 8-0 win over Norway. Iginla with a hat trick. Elsewhere, our curlers opened with wins, including two wins for Kevin Martin and the men. Martin looks on his game. I saw him easily draw to the button when he needed to and make a spectacular angle raise takeout for three. I can't believe I just wrote "angle raise takeout for three" and actually knew what it meant.

In Canadian Olympic chokage yesterday, Patrich Chen stepped out of a triple axel and ended up 7th after the short program. In Olympic stupidity news, biathlon officials can't tell time.

Finally, in non-Olympic sort of Habs news, guess who's been asked to coach the Canadian men under-18 team this year? Really, go ahead and guess. The answer is pretty fucking funny.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Canadian Olympic Hottie of the Day and a Canada-Norway Preview and Open Thread

I am pleased to introduce you to Kimiko Zakreski. She is a Canadian snowboarder who competes in the parallel Giant Slalom, which goes on February 26th. She probably has no chance for a medal, but who gives a fuck? Look at her. I'm in love. Er, I mean as long as she does her best, we'll be proud of her.

We're also proud of yesterday's medalist, Mike Robertson, a silver in men's snowboard cross, the most kick-ass extreme sport ever to make it into the Olympics. Also let's highlight Erig Guay's 5th in the men's downhill. A quality result. A true Canadian enjoys a quality result. We are not proud of VANOC's inability to have a working zamboni. Fucking embarrassment for Canada if you ask us.

In "Habs around the Olympics" news, Big Tits will not play for Belarus despite rumours he might. Vodkov, on the other hand, is good to go for Russia, as you can see.

So at 7:30 EST this evening on CTV, our Canadian boys make their debut on the ice. They face the powerful and scary Norwegians. Ha. Norway is currently ranked 11th in the world. That's actually not too bad, but really, Norway? If there was actual speed skating involved maybe I'd be worried. Luongo is getting the start. Team Canada has beaten Norway 3 times in Olympic competition in the past.

Anyway, if you're so inclined, feel free to bring on the snark about Ryan Getzlaf's ankle and your fears about our all of a sudden very shaky goalies in the comments.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Morning Training Run for Monday, February 15th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of WINNING A FUCKING GOLD MEDAL ON HOME SOIL WOOO!!!!! (alternatively, having nightmares of the Quebec franco media claiming Alex Bilodeau as their own for the next 2 weeks)...
Buh bye NHL. This post is really an excuse to tell you we're not going anywhere over the next two weeks. We've got, uh, filler! Yes, filler aplenty! I'm sure there will be some hot babes, and we'll do some Team Canada open threads. Plus, two weeks worth of recriminations and anger. Do stick around.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Um, Let's Talk About the Future, Shall We? Phlyers 6, Habs 2


Admit it, you were thinking it. Stop it.

Well, that was unpleasant.

Lots of negative things to take out of that home-and-home against a second tier team with more goons than brains. We could start the discussion with lack of clutch goaltending, move on to talk about how tired and old both Hamr and Jaro 2.0 looked (among others), continue with a lament about how Gio and Pleks are the only forwards who could find the crease without a road mad (don't get me started on Gomez), and finish off with how unlikely a playoff spot now appears, especially give the injury situation.

So let's not do that. Instead, let's talk about the positive.

P.K. Subban.

I don't recall being more exciting about a young skater for the Habs since a certain young Finn in the early '90s. After all, when was the last time you saw a home-grown player wearing the CH go coast-to-coast? Not in my lifetime.

The Norris Trophy pic is obviously wishful thinking. He got caught out of position a couple of times - once forcing Spacek to take a tripping penalty which later resulted in a goal. He has a lot to learn.

But it was his second game, and you can teach defence. You can't teach the guts it takes to spin on the blueline or the puck skills to pull it off, or the heart it takes to rush the puck up the boards when you know you'll pay the price. Even when it didn't work, he's such a great skater (arguably the Habs best already) he's often right back on D when the play goes the other way - if he doesn't create a scoring chance or draw a penalty, like he did against Brayden Coburn.

This is the Habs, after all, so the hype machine will be in overdrive after the 2 game-2 assist weekend for this bright and engaging young man who seems destined to force his way onto the blueline in the (relatively) near future. We're been down this road before: Benoit Brunet rightly (oh, I feel dirty) pointed out that the very same finicky fans chanting "PK!" were also chanting "Gui!" a few short seasons ago - and we all know how that turned out. Although it should be pointed out that, for a large contingent of Habs fans anyway, there was, let's say, other non-hockey-related reasons to see more in Latendresse that there really was.
(See also: Price, Carey.)

So here's an idea: let's not predict multiple Norris Trophies; let's not start engaging in hypothetical trade scenarios ("Now let's trade Hamr, Spacek and Dagger to TBay for Lecavalier and St Louis!"); let's not place the weight of 24 Cups worth of expectations on a very young man, albeit with exciting potential; let's not even assume he should be on the NHL roster when the Olympics are over.

He may yet turn out to be the best and most exciting Canadiens defencemen of our generation. But let's see him earn it before we ruin yet another prospect with unrealistic expectations.

One last thing, now that the Habs are officially on their Olympic break (and Darwin knows they needed it):

GO CANADA GO

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A quickie (Flyers preview and open thread) with Megan

Megan was very upset that those bastard Flyers won last night. So upset, she went out and got a Habs tat to show her support and inspire the Habs to a big win tonight. I'm with her; a win tonight will make us all feel better going into the Olympic break, so Go Pant(ie)s!

I've still got a couple of Dogfish Head IPAs to get to (lesson NOT learned), so quickly, let's set this up. 7 PM at the Bell. On CBC, unless you're in Ottawa/Windsor/Peterborough. That is some bizarre triumvirate of Ontario cities. After the end of game activities yesterday, we expect a spirited affair. Jaro is getting the start. Vodkov, Jaro 2.0 and Mara are all game time decisions, if Stubbs' Twitter is to be believed. If one of them can't go, Subbanator will play. Dammit Jacques, find a way to get PK in anyway. He's our best fucking player right now.

OK, less talk, more Fox.

20 minutes does not a hockey game make - Phlyers 3, Habs 2

As we have very little time before the rematch, I'll be brief. Also, feeling hungover. Those Dogfish Head IPA's are delicious, but killer. I think there must be some evil chemical in them. In fact, they've made me so hungover, I don't feel I can do much else besides list out some bullet points. They're easier on the head.
  • Despite repeated pleas for me to go out to dinner, I watched every second of that game, so I feel I am in a position to say: what the fuck was that for 40 minutes? Maybe for the first 5 minutes of the first we were sort of barely ok, but after that the Habs stood around watching, like they were trying to figure out why four penises rose out from the BC Place floor during the opening ceremonies;
  • For 40 minutes, the only player to really show up was the Subbanator. Truly a joy to watch. Puck-handling! By a defenseman! On the Habs!
  • Blame TFS all you want (and on that 2nd goal, you'd be right), but he made MANY key saves at key times that gave us some hope for a comeback. Jaro wouldn't have won that game either;
  • Blame the refs all you want (and for a lot of stuff, you'd be right), but Habs can't win a game in 20 minutes;
  • Blame injuries all you want (and sure, you'd be right), but the guys out there were still NHL'ers (sort of). They know how to skate, right?
  • Congrats to Dominic Moore for getting his first one for the Habs. If only I had heard your name over those first 40 minutes;
  • Let's hope Jaro 2.0 is alive. Phlyers are still a bunch of dirty fucks. I thought the 1970's were over;
  • Nice to see The Mexican show some of that hot-blooded Latin emotion at the end of the game there. If only he would have showed some of it during the game.
OK that's all my head can take for now. Enjoy Sexy Saturday. Go Jenn Heil! Back later for Round 2.

Friday, February 12, 2010

TFS looks to conquer Philly - game preview and open thread

So the big pre-Olympic break finish is upon us. A home and home with the Flyers. If one game in the East clusterf*** would be called a 4-point game, would we not have to call this an 8-point home and home? F*** me, lawyers s*** at math. Either way, these two games will go a very long way to deciding how we think about this team while we watch Team Canada lose the bronze medal game to the Slovaks (a Jaro shutout, thanks to the power of chocolate milk).

Waiting in line for a cheesesteak details - 6 PM from the Wachovia Center. 6 PM? WT*? I guess they want to finish on time for us to watch the opening ceremonies. Habs have actually won 6 straight (regular season) in Philly. Again, WT*? Habs coming off the Miracle on de la Montagne, while the Flyers are coming off sweeping a home and home from the Devils. Habs won the only meeting so far, 3-1, in a game where all 3 of our goal scorers - Squid, Big ***s and the Urologist - won't be in the lineup tonight.

Ready to rumble - Ryan and Fran do great work over at Flyers Goal Scored By...

Hot like the Eagles Cheerleaders - Pleks with 4G 4A over his last 6 games. Gomez 6 points in his last 4. Props to Little ***s and his 3 ***ists against the Caps, maybe the best game he's ever played. For the Phlyers, Jeff Carter has a goal in each of the last 2 games, Pronger has 3 points over that span, Gagné a point per game over his last 6, and Michael Leighton has played well between the stripper poles lately.

Cold like a brew from the Philadelphia Brewing Co. - after the Miracle, let's say no one. Though the Faceoff preview numbers say both Jaro and TFS are cold. I guess the TSN guys know what they're talking about, right? For the Phlyers, Brière and Richards both a measly single point in their last 4.

Injured like when BobBY Clarke hacked you in the back of the leg - oy, I don't even know where to start here. Apparently both Vodkov and Gorges are game-time decisions. The Subway Foot Long will be there in case one of them can't go. Dominic Moore will wear #42, and should be in the lineup. In case you have forgotten, our other injured are: Squid, Urologist, Big ***s, CHicken, Mara.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - head over to Christine's Cabaret and Steakhouse for some meat, and uh, meat. You know, for all the strip clubs we have in Montreal, do we have one where I can get a decent steak? No. I feel this is a real business opportunity.

All hockey and opening ceremony comments welcome

The Game Day Skate for Friday, February 12th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of Bar Rafaeli in many bikini pictures...
Habs in the City of Brotherly Love tonight at the very odd starting time of 6 PM. Plan your drinking accordingly. Here's a random Sexy Friday video, some chick changing her Habs jersey in the middle of the street. I respect her for doing that, I do not respect her for changing into the fucking barber pole monstrosity.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Phat Whale is Back, Baby



Hey there! Dudes &&& Dudettes!!


The good fellas here at FHF asked me to write a little bit about late night's game. They tell me that this use to be J's gig, but now that I'm a pine-ridin', ball-cap-wearin' backup goaltender, it's my turn to enlighten all of Habs' fandom with my words of wisdom.

Who's J, you ask? Duh, that's the one and only, Mr. Jaroslav Halak. I hear you guys know J cause he's written a bit about his times here in Montreal waaaaayy back when I was the main dude in the blue paint - before the braintrust decided to rest me for the playoffs - a little early in my humble opinion, but whatever, dude. Anyway, J and I get along famously: he's always jokin' around with me, calling me a Phat Whale in his usual straight-faced, you-wouldn't-know-he-was-jokin'-unless-you-shared-a-net sort of way. I also love the way he calls our head coach "Martoon". Makes me think of Bugs Bunny. Now that's a funny rabbit! I call coach "Captain Jacky" - you know, cause he doesn't want a team captain, and his name is really "Jacques"! That's why it's funny! I love irony, dudes.

Anyway, back to J: It amazes me how many dudes think he's serious when he writes that stuff about me! Dudes, J's from behind the I-Ron curtain, he can't spell "Phat" right! He calls me that cause I look so BIG in the net: like the world's largest animal. And it's not like he pissed on my rug and called me an asshole or anythin'. I fucking hate when that happens. And really, there's not much I hate. Karma, you know.

-- Thought just popped into my head: If you could be any animal, whadda ya think it'd be? Not a whale. Dude, I just LOVE horses. That'd be AWESOME. Anyway.

Oh, and before I get into the game action, what's with Bobby G takin' a walk before those games back in my home state even get started? The G's my type of dude: quiet, thoughtful, likes a toke from time to time. And he fucking LOVES bowlin'. You should see him when he's in the lane: I say he's the best all-around and most complete bowler alive today. And he's not even a pro! Dude, that's cool. But did you see that presser with the new main dude, Peter whatever? It was like a funeral for Bobby or somin'.

Anyway, so what's up with the Caps and that winnin' streak? Can't be selfish like that, gotta let the other team win once in a while, as they finally figured out (oops, don't want to ruin the endin'!). Bad karma if you win too often, ya know? Look at me, I'm all about the good karma: I've made sure not to win two in a row since I got called up from Hams - even though I could if I wanted. The braintrust know I'm The Dude. Just wait 'till you see all the zeros on the contract Peter the new dude gives me this summer! (Speakin' o' which : tokes' on me, Bobby G!! Couldn't a done it without 'cha, buddy.)

So let's get to the game. What a start, dudes! Gomer and the NEW Tommy P were fucking FLYING out there on that first shift. But what the fuck was up with o'Byrnsy on that giveaway to that Light dude? Dude was wearing a WHITE jersey, o'Burnsy-dude! But if I know o'Burnsey - and of course, I do - he was high as a KITE by then. He's our very own Rocket Man, ya know what I mean?

But really, the first period of time was all about my good, close personal friend, Mr. Josh Gorges - Gorgeous George to his buddies. You wouldn't know it from all that faith he talks, but dude's got a temper. I bet he pulls a gun on that Mike Green dude in the parkin' lot after the game. It's a league game, Mike!!

And the start of second period of time - wouldn't you know it - same freakin' thing, dudes. The NEW Tommy P pots his FIRST CAREER GOAL just 41 tiks in, and then - BANG - that Ovie dude's line cuts a swath to the crease and - BOOM - all tied up. Did you see that Ovie dude just plow over the Space-head on his way to the net? (We call him "Space-head" cause when he's high, dude comes out with some WILD fucking stories, dudes. You wouldn't believe what you can pay hookers to do back in Space-head's hometown back behind that I-Ron curtain I just learned about.)

So you want to know the real reason the Caps pulled that kid, Newbirth or whatever? Dude couldn't hold my JOCKSTRAP, yo. Just kiddin', I wouldn't ask anyone to do that, except Captain Jacky! Just kiddin again, of course - Captain Jacky loves me, that's why he's playing J so much more. He knew I needed some more pot time. Uhh, I mean...pot time. Anyway, I heard the Newbirth kid was so worried about facing me he crapped his pants. So they brought that Josie dude in, 'cause he has some sort of history around here. I don't remember anyone talking about him before, though. I thought some Patrick dude played here before me and Huey the Real Frenchman. I keep hearing about that Pat guy for some reason.

Anyway, after Josie made a few ok saves, Subway scored (get it? Because that's English for "Metro"? I fucking kill me sometimes. Trust me, we'll be seeing that nickname on Puck Daddy's 'jersey fouls' pretty soon.) Nice goal, even if Subway dude needed to kick it in. Then - BANG - another BUT as they say in Quebecer. I have no idea why the crowd was cheering Josie's name after that one, though. Dudes (some one's gotta tell me what is french-speak for "Dude", by the way) WE scored, not them!!

Then that Ovie dude just plowed over ME to almost score a goal. That's why me and Space-head are so cool, I know how he feels. 500 pounds of Ovie dude and Gillie Weed (dude smokes like a CHIMNEY!) is like a horse coming at you. (I just LOVE horses. Did I mention that yet? It's important.) But that Ovie dude is cool - he's got the quality hook ups for me and Bobby G, if you know what I mean.

-- So I was just wonderin': any of you dudes have any idea why Captain Jacky would be handin' over a big-ass briefcase to some group of dudes in stripy shirts before the game? Probably nothin'. I keep my undies in a briefcase sometimes. Never know who's after your undies.

So anyway, before the end of the second period of time, Tommy P (Classic) scored another one. So when the third period of time started, I was thinkin' "Carey, what would Jesus do?", so right away I let that Mike Green dude score from 45 feet with no one standing anywhere near my paint. I though I'd buy some karma with that since I knew that Mike Green dude must be feelin' worried about what Gorgeous George was gonna do to him in the parkin' lot.

But I was just starting on the karma train, dudes! I've gotta have a whole BUNCH of karma saved up after that (almost) last period of time! You know, cause I let Light shine though to the back of net, twice! (Ha, see, I'm freakin' hilarious when I want to be! It's funny cause he's not really made of photons: he's a man!).

Let's be serious here for a moment: it's not like I couldn't stop all those pucks if I decided I wanted to. Just ask any RDS dudes - they know the truth - it's never my fault. It's just that karma thing, plus this time I was hoping the fans would throw some hats on the ice for that Light dude so I could pick out the ones I like for the next half-dozen games when I'm done playin' and I'm back to watchin'. And I wasn't upset about that last one - as some SUPER excitable dude on TV said - I was just giving the puck to stripy shirt dude. I figured if Captain Jacky liked 'em enough to give 'em a whole briefcase, I should give them something, too. Karma, you know?

Anyway, so then we got into an extra period of time and in the end it's all about my stellar goaltendin' - oh, and the winner by Tommy Classic from Tiny Tits. Tiny Tits was pretty good, what with the triple helpers - but not as good as good ol' Carey, of course. (Ok, ok I know I have to explain that last nickname to you: you see, if you look at the middle letters in "Kostitsyn", what do you see? The word "Tits"! And Sergei's not a big guy, plus he's a little brother, so, like, "Tiny Tits" is a natural! Fuck I'm a funny guy.)

Anyway, that's it. That's the story. Of course, like any good movie, the good guys win in the end. And I'm a good guy.

You're welcome, dudes.



I just love me. And horses, of course!


FHF would like to warn its younger viewers that this is what happens when you smoke too much pot. Probably worth it, though, if your life isn't turning out quite like you expected. Losing touch with reality has it's upside. Let's hear your pot-induced hallucinations in the comments.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss - Caps game preview and open thread

With apologies to The Who and moeman (especially moe who I think may have used this one before)...

We'll be sighing in our seats
Bulldog children at our feet
And the CHicken that we worshiped is now gone
And our boys who spurred us on
Are playing Ovie, it's all wrong
Fourteen straight, only a shotgun could stop the run

I'll tip my hat to our forwards Lilliputian
Give four weeks to the Pierre revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pierre pick up the phone and play
Not like yesterday
And we'll get on our knees and pray
Pleks will get signed again

The change it had to come
Fire Gainey knew it all along
Bob's been liberated from collapse that's all
But the team looks just the same
Habs' history ain't changed
New Cup banners, may not flown evermore

Need Bulldogs to make big contributions
We'll never know Bob's goalie solution
Smile and grin at the Leafs ranked fifteen
Pick up our sticks and play
Just like yesterday
And we'll get on our knees and pray
Habs don't get schooled again
No, no!

Jacques moved Jaro and his accent aside
If Price happens to be still half alive
He'll still be the Saviour and we'll smile at the sky
But we know that the statistics never lie

Do ya?

[guitar, synth, drums, etc...]

PIEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRREE!

No GM on this team
Looks any different to me
As the Bob's been replaced, bye bye bye
And our wingers on the left
Are like our wingers on the right
They're just Bulldogs that were called up overnight

CBC is twenty-nine's institution
Danse à dix is the new prostitution
Smile and grin at the babes all around
Pick up my oven mitt and play
Like Kristin yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
I don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!

[longer guitar, synth, drums, etc...]

PIEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRREE!

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

The Game Day Skate gets his 3 seconds of fame for Wednesday, February 10th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of being on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue... (and here's a lot more SI Swimsuit just for fun...)
  • Habs continue to drop like flies, now the Urologist and CHicken won't be seen for a while;
  • Not only are our players dropping, teams around us are winning. Let's start with the Bs' 3-2 SO win over the Sabres;
  • Bolts move ahead of the Habs in the standings with a 3-1 win over the Nucks. Weren't the Bolts in 13th like, 2 weeks ago?
  • Isles win in a SO;
  • Ottawa beats the Flames, now have as many points as the Sabres in the division;
  • Carolina wins, dumping the Leaves to last in the East. I guess that's sort of good news, right?
  • In real good Habs news today, Pleks seems to want to stay here.
Caps and their zillion-game win streak at the Bell tonight. For our last media-whoring act, we present the lame 3 seconds of yours truly on the teevee (check the 1:45 mark). Many lap dances to hfotwc for capturing and sending us the vid. Here's the widescreen version so you can see more of my dishes in the dish drainer, and at least a glimpse of the cute but married reporter actually in my apartment.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I JUST WANT TO PLAY THE PIANO

Good luck Bob. Sing your heart out. You're free now.

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, February 9th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a topless Anna Torv...
  • Nothing. You missed nothing yesterday. Very quiet day around here;
  • OK ok, so the GM stepped down and Pierre Gauthier takes over. The best part of the press conference yesterday was Pierre saying he was already negotiating with Pleks and lying that he's not trading any goalie any time soon;
  • Here's a little tidbit from Renaud Lavoie - Bob tried to get Kovalchuk to make one last big splash, but the Thrash wouldn't let Bob talk to Kovy's agent, so Bob wouldn't go forward;
  • Meanwhile the league rolls on. There were games last night - Jiggy finally loses, Brodeur can't help the Habs as he gives up a two-goal lead and loses to the Flyers, and Saku had 1G 1A in a win over the Kings.
A reminder that yours truly will be on CBC Daybreak around 7:15 this morning to talk about the quiet day yesterday and try not to swear. There's a "listen live" link on the right side of that page, in case you're awake early or in Korea.

Media whoring update - the CBC, TV this time, will be at my place after practice, filming me for a piece that should air tonight. More details as they develop.

Media whoring update 2 - The CBC reporter (Kristin Falcao) and her cameraman just left. I'll be on in the 6-630 half hour on CBC Montreal tonight. I'll try and figure out a way to get a copy and post it here too.

Monday, February 08, 2010

MAJOR MILKSHAKE ON THE HORIZON


Major.

Rumours about a major change in the Habs' front office began last night. It seems as is General Manager Bob Gainey is leaving the team. The terms are not clear at the moment.

President Pierre Boivin is making the announcement at 4pm today.

Pierre Gauthier will replace Gainey on an interim basis.

The timing couldn't be stranger. Days before the trading deadline, is this Gainey saying that he's just not capable of making the deals he's been after? So many hunts for a big fish that have come up dry. One tight race for the last playoff spot after another, year after year.

One thing is very interesting, Carey Price just lost his biggest supporter.

Let's just see if from this perspective. There have been many moves. Some were good, some not so good, but on a whole, nobody can question Bob Gainey's dedication, value and sacrifice for this organization of the last 35 years. He's been a staple in Montreal and for this we thank him from the bottom of our hearts.

HF29 edit - yours truly just got the call from CBC, I'll be on Daybreak tomorrow morning at 7:15 AM to discuss this. Tell me your opinions people, I'll shock the world with 'em.

The Morning Skate for Monday, February 8th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of gagner le Super Bowl...
  • Meh. After giving the Bruins life in the first, Habs did play better (outshooting a team 15-3 in the 2nd? really?) but couldn't solve Tuukka Rask. Lose 3-0. Meh;
  • Caps and Ovie storm back from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Pens 5-4 in an OT thriller.
How about Betty White to cheer us up? That's not what your girlfriend says.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Habs vs. Bruins vs. Colts vs. Saints preview and open thread

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL??? And, uh, hockey? Don't forget the hockey. Enough talk, let's get to the coin toss already.

Jim Nantz' professionalism is all in the details - 3 PM start at the Bell. You'd think 2 PM would be better to give everyone a chance to get home and have a good hour to get drunk before kickoff. Habs on a 3-game win streak. Really? (checks) Really. Bs on a 10-game losing streak. Really? (checks) Really. Habs are 3-0 against the Bs so far this year, including the shootout win just the other night in Beantown.

The Saints Rants and 18 to 88 of the hockey game - Oh Cornelius, why didst though forsake us Thursday? Maybe the guys at The Big Bad Bruins can show their faces today.

Hot like the chili you're making for your Super Bowl party - And lo, the children shall lead them. Desharnais! White! That other Hamilton guy! And that other one! Let's see if they can bring it again. Props to the Giant Mexican Pleks who seem to be rising to the occasion of bearing the scoring load. For the Bs, well, a ten game losing streak doesn't give much hotness, though Savard has a point per game over his last 5, and Tuukka Rask is playing better even though the Bs keep losing.

Cold like the crushed ice in a hurricane they'll be drinking in New Orleans to celebrate - The Faceoff preview actually lists no cold Habs except for TFS. Okay then. For the Bs, Satan pointless in 7 and Lucic pointless in 4.

In the trainer's room with Dwight Freeney - Squid, Big Tits and CHicken are our 3 best wingers and are all out. Who needs wingers anyway? Mara still out, and now the Urologist seems to be gone for who knows how long too. Your starting goalie is... [checks Stubbs' Twitter]... [checks Stubbs' Twitter]... [checks Stubbs' Twitter] unknown as of this writing.

All-day adult entertainment - Many galleries of SB XLIV cheerleaders and Saints and Colts babes.

All hockey and football comments welcome. And chili recipes.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hamilton crushes Pens, 5-3

Trotter.
White.
Desharnais.
DarCHe Vader.

The names just drip off the tongue, don't they? Sure, Gio had 2G 1A, Pleks had 1G 2A and The Mexican added 1G 1A, but today was all about the kids. Their work ethic rubbed off on the adults. I am still unsure how that happened. Only 21 shots against. That can't be right, can it?

Deep breath. Tomorrow's another day.

An Interview with Andrei Markov - Pens Game Preview and Open Thread


Famously taciturn defenceman Andrei Markov has shown much more willingness to talk to the press since his return from injury, touching on subjects like Ryan O'Byrne, Mike Komisarek, and his dressing room dust-up with goalie Carey Price. Now, the strong, silent leader of Montreal's defence corps sits down with our own FHF Late Night Host, Jacques Paré for an in-depth look at today's matinee:

"So today's game is at 2:00 pm against the Penguins at the Bell Centre, on RDS and CBC. Do you like playing afternoon games?"

Markov: "I play when I am told to play."

"What do you like about Ryan O'Byrne?"

Markov: "That's a tough question."

"Do you feel bad for Mike Komisarek now that he's out for the season?"

Markov: "Is he here in this room? I have no memory of him."

"Is the defence here better with or without Komisarek?"

Markov: "I have no memory of him. I have no memory of any defence here. It is only me. Mara is a fuck-up."

"Who's better, Crosby or Ovechkin?"

Markov: "For me, Ovie is friend, and better Russian prostitute killer. Crosby never kills Russian prostitutes. Crosby, for me, is a virgin. No Russian prostitute killing."

"Crosby or Malkin?"

Markov: "Never see Malkin with Russian prostitutes. He spends all his time with his Mom, and also needs better linemates, I think. Malkin and Crosby both hot right now, but virgin Crosby is playing better. No Mom."

"Price or Halak?"

Markov: "Halak is hot right now, so you play. Price, I like, we hug, but we have our troubles like any family, you know? Also, Halak has Russian prostitutes all the time. Slovak too."

"Are you better than Sergei Gonchar?"

Markov: "Right now, yes. Right now Kris Letang better than Gonchar. Could change."

"Is there anyone else on the Penguins that worries you?"

"You know, Marc-Andre Fleury is playing good for thirteen-year old. Very good. Also, Bill Guerin not scoring much, but look like Crazy Mischa from alleyway behind house back home in Voskresensk."

"How about your teammates? Has losing Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Cammilleri long-term ended your playoff hopes?"

Markov: "Not ended, no. We are in playoffs until we are out. First we need win today, then tomorrow, then lose two, maybe three, then Olympics, then play more, and then we know playoffs or not. So we hope."

"Kostitsyns versus Sedins in a street fight. Who wins?"

Markov: "Sweden and the Russians have been at odds since the Novgorodian wars of the late 1400's. By the 17th century, Sweden was a great power, and a brave people. In fact, at one point during the Thirty Years War, Sweden looked to be the dominant power of the Holy Roman Empire. But series of missteps lost them the support of many Germanic allies, and a half century of warfare exhausted the Swedish treasury and arms. Despite that, if the Swedes had pressed their advantage after the Battle of Narva in 1700, they could have destroyed Russia once and for all, but they made the fatal error of attacking Poland first. By the time they met Russia in the Battle of Poltava in 1709, Russia had recovered. The Swedes haven't won a war against a Russian army since, and this would be no different. Also, one Sedin is actually woman. You guess which."

"Do you want to be Captain of the Montreal Canadiens?"

Markov: "Bertrand Raymond say only French Canadian can be captain, so no. I do not want to be French Canadian. Russian. Markov is Russian. Also, would hate organizing Annual Scavenger Hunt."

"Any predictions for the Super Bowl? Are you having a party?"

Markov: "In Russia, party has you. That's joke. I predict D'Agostini will eat too many wings and get sick, and Gomez will bring three-bean dip. Gomez always make fucking three-bean dip. Last year, Lapierre put penis in chili. Also, Saints win."

Comments and interview questions for Markov's next appearance below. Remember, hit 500 comments in any thread this weekend and it's free meth delivered personally by HF29 (or shipped overseas to Grrreeeeggg and others)*

*Not a guarantee.


(Also, Condolences to Brian Burke, who lost his son Brendan in a car crash on Friday. Say what you want about "hated Maple Leaf GM Burke", but his love for his son and the barriers they both helped break down in hockey deserve respect and prayers today. )

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bratislava is Getting Giddy: Habs 3 - Bruins 2 (shootout)

It's not as impossible as Kovalchuk turning down 110, .. what?

Quite surprising that we'll be inserting a plan the parade tag to this post. But last night's win got us thinking about another kind of parade. La fête, eastern Europe style.

Vibe with me people.

Isn't Jaro Halak's performance starting to feel like Jose Théodore's back in his Hart winning 2002 season? Remember when he started really getting his game together at the 50-game mark and brought home one 45-stop win after another? That year, the race for the Hart trophy was a close one, with Jarome Iginla's Flames missing the playoffs and probably depriving their star of well deserved MVP status in the process. This year, it's really no contest. Ovechkin with that newly minted C on his chest is helping the Capitals runaway with the Conference. Unless Ryan Miller takes the Sabres there or bags another 5 or 6 shutouts by year's end, Ovie will claim the Hart.

But Jaro is doing a fabulous job. Last night, with the Bruins outshooting the Habs by a wide margin for 2 periods, skating them to sleep and looking very much like a team that was ready to break out of a historical funk (didn't we tell you guys about Michael Ryder?), Jaro kept the Habs within striking distance with some inspiring goaltending. He's officially in the zone, as the acrobatic blocker and toe saves would suggest. Gomez had a bit of spark in him in the third and so did Metro and Markov, but make no mistake: Jaro won this game pretty much all by himself. And he's writing an increasingly interesting subplot.

Something has happened to the Habs' ability to keep the opposing team to an acceptable number of shots. And we're not just talking plain shots, we're talking decent scoring chances. With a defence corps and a depleted lineup at the forward position clearly scrambling for some kind of structure on the ice, Jaro remains square to the puck, unfazed, totally together.

What does Gainey do? Does he trade his MVP with a team clearly still in the playoff hunt? Does he stick to his Carey is my big horse of a thoroughbred stallion, look how well he chews hay I love how he gallops logic? Two years ago, he handed mission control to Price with Huet's UFA status looming large. Well we're back at Mission Control and Gainey's got a small problem. He's been praising Price for years.

I was speaking to someone not too long ago who was discussing the concept of potential. She used lawyers as a good example of the trouble that arises when one remains stuck on the promise of potential. Society has been branding lawyers as an elite group, monetarily speaking, well capable of reaching important financial heights. And so people keep on selling lawyers their potential rather than what they actually have. The result is that lawyers live more over their means than any other category of workers. And they are hurt by it in the process.

If you import this logic, there is no doubt the Canadiens' prestige drives them to think in similar terms, that in Montreal, we need to do well, we are capable of far more because of who we are and what our franchise stands for. Everything this organization has done with regards to Price speaks of a team desperate to see something in the goalie and in itself. And lost in that projection of mystique is the blunt reality of things: on its face, there is nothing mystical about the Montreal Canadiens in 2009-2010. It's an average hockey team blessed with a very passionate fan base, and it has been a very average team for a very long time.

This franchise has been almost fraudulent for 3 years now. Selling us anything that can be made in Small Medium and Large with the 100 Years logo on it, while giving us mediocrity to feed on in the now. Selling the past while shortchanging us in the present. Why can't the Montreal Canadiens just call it the way it is?

Carey Price is not a thoroughbred. He's a young goalie with a ton of upside who's just adjusting to a life in the spotlight while playing hockey in the league's most capricious and voracious market.

How much is riding on Carey from an organizational credibility perspective? Picked 5th overall, way higher than anyone had predicted. Given the number one status way before anyone thought he could handle it. Constantly re-endoresed by management despite so many flat performances. And it makes sense, no argument there. Stand behind him. Believe in him. Get him to where he needs to go. But Montreal has to stop throwing the rest of the team under the bus in a grand sacrifice for Carey's anointment to something nobody can be sure about.

You keep on trading away your "backup" to keep the "Carey is our future" banner flying high, and you're just guilty of wanting too much, too soon. You're paying Scott Gomez 8 million a season now so better make the most of it now and get the best team on the ice now. Selling promise over reality and over-stretching a team in goal, a crucial position, just perpetuates this need to see something now that's just not ready to be there.

What they have now gives them a chance for today, and maybe tomorrow if the team dare look beyond next season and what that could mean about their self-assessed Price chart. How much better does this team, those other 20 players, get in the future if they ride a hot streak with Jaro and do something in the playoffs? Why has it been about how much experience you need to give Carey no matter how much it deflates the rest of the team? There must be room for this logic: a more confident team will only alleviate the pressure on Price in the future. The way the team has orchestrated things so far is making it up to the young goalie to lift the entire weight of the franchise. How much easier would it be if they had it going in the other direction.

And this speaks so much to how Jaro has been treated by this organization. Did Jacques Martin fly over to Jaro's house this summer to have a quality chat with his young goalie? Has Jaro ever played a game following a loss in his THREE YEARS in Montreal (can you believe that???)?

Would you want to commit to this team if you were Jaroslav Halak? So at least make it interesting, Gainey. See what you've got before he goes, because you're not going to resign him and by all accounts he's in a much better position to deliver something special this year than your young stallion. Make it interesting. Keep him, give your team a fighting chance, give the goalie what he's earned. He's your number one, he's done what it takes to get there. Maybe the best way to assess his true worth is by keeping him and risk losing him. If he does well, really well, you may not need to buy into the Price perspective. You may see yourself suddenly detaching from it. If he does well, really well, then at least you'll be in a better position than anyone to apologize and make it up to him. Take him for one of those celebrated walks around Old Montreal.

The Morning Skate for Friday, February 5th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of Alison Brie in a bikini...
  • Play huge stretches like crap. Give up 40+ shots. Let Jaro stop a bunch of them. Win! It's the Jacques Martin system everybody! Somehow this morning the Habs are 6th in the East. The East is fucked up;
  • Kovalchuk goes to... the Devils? Atlanta gets a famous suspended junior player for him. If Waddell is being truthful that Kovy rejected a $101 mill, 12 year deal, well, hmm, that's a lot of cash;
  • The streaks are alive. Sens beat the Nucks 5-1 to extend their win streak to 11 games, while the Caps beat the Rangers 6-5 to take their streak to 12;
  • Tampa Bay is winning some games (5-2 over the Isles last night) and moving up in the East;
  • I'll give you one guess who scored the game winner for the Wild.
Here are the video highlights for those of you who were out for dinner.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Habs' and Bruins' seasons heading down the toilet? Game preview and open thread

We're gonna need a big fucking plunger to get Zdeno out of there

Wasn't Boston supposed to be the class of the East this year? They had a great season last year, they tweaked in the offseason to get better. Well, POOF! They now suck worse than the Habs maybe. If that's possible. Losers of 8 in a row (why do we always meet teams on streaks now?) and falling down the standings to 12th in the East. All we can say is BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's almost as schadenfreude-y as hearing Komisarek's season is finished.

Of course, I should just STFU because karma's a bitch. Habs are no prize. Hanging on to that toilet bowl rim (i.e. 7th in the East) for dear life. A blistering 4-4-2 in our last ten. By the Globe's Playoff Push calculations, Habs need to go 14-10-1 to make the playoffs now (I updated it with Tuesday's win). I suppose that's theoretically possible, but for a team that lives playing .500 hockey, well, hmm, ahh, we'll see. Anyway, bring on the toilet humour!

Waiting in line for the ladies room details - 7 PM start in Beantown. Habs riding a one-game win streak! Habs have won the two meetings so far this year, including the 5-1 win in the Centennial game when Squid got a hat trick (sigh).

In China there is often no bowl, just a hole in the floor - our good friend Cornelius over at The Hockey Blog Adventure is trying to stay positive: "it looks as bleak as a post-apocalyptic wasteland." Okay, maybe not so positive.

Awesome like a Japanese toilet that cleans your ass after you go - CHicken is our most consistent offensive force right now. Not bad for someone we essentially picked off the scrap heap. Pleks showing signs of life again after his slump. Jaro of course. Little Tits coming off his best game of the year. For the B's, Marc Savard has a point per game since coming back from injury.

Shit - The Mexican and The Urologist both pointless in 4. Gio just 1 point in his last 4. For the Bs, Satan and Ryder both pointless in 5. And Tuukka Rask is falling apart.

Needing a trip to an actual urologist - Squid and Big Tits are now officially your long-term injuries. Though the official NHL preview buried this nugget: "(Tits) could make his return before the Olympics." That's news to us. Anyone else heard that? Jaro 2.0 is probably back tonight, though Mara is still out. Bs are missing a couple of D I've never heard of, Ference and Stuart.

Post-game adult entertainment - I'll spare you linking to all the scat porn on the internet. OK maybe just one. I was freaked out to discover the existence of Scat Porn Tube (DO NOT FUCKING CLICK ON THAT LINK). This is some world we live in.

Go ahead and share your toilet stories in the comments. Hey, Deadspin does it.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, Februrary 3rd

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of getting an Oscar nom...
  • Wow what an evening! That Lost premiere was FANTASTIC! What's that you say? Habs won? Scored three 5 on 5 goals? Little Tits scored? Habs are in 7th place now? Must be an alternate universe / timeline or something. Oh, you say Halak made a million saves and stole the game? Same old universe;
  • In case you missed it yesterday, Squid says he's out 6 weeks and will not have surgery. He'll be back in time for the playoffs!
  • The new look Leafs shutout the Devils. Dion has a great game and Jiggy gets the SO. Tronna plans its parade;
  • Bruins' death spiral continues;
  • Kings win their 7th in a row;
  • Gui! scores again but the Wild lose.
Now all we need is there to be a Lost premiere every night when there's a game.