Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Morning Skate Sunday Brunch Edition for September 30th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a seat in the Molson Ex Zone...
  • Habs, without Kovy, Koivu or Markov put up a brave fight while losing to the Sens 5-4 in OT in their final pre-season game. Alfredsson had a hat trick, and Gerber outplaying Huet was the difference, as the Habs outshot the Sens 39-22 (!!). HF10, shacked up at Casa del TMS this weekend for a wedding we went to yesterday (congrats to über-Habs fan Damion and his lovely wife Amanda, who is so nice she allows him to keep his old Forum red seat in their closet-size NYC apartment) had this to say about the game: "Braised Stanstead Rabbit or Grilled Highwater Venison with wild mushroom risotto for dinner last night. Wow. Oh, and we're still on schedule for 82 and oh, 575 goals for."
  • Oh yeah, the actual season started yesterday. If a season starts in England, does anybody hear it? Anyway, Kings beat the Ducks 4-1. That Stanley Cup defence is off to a great start, Quackers...

Taking a break from the stripperriffic season preview today as we prepare to bring you the Habs Big 3 tomorrow through Wednesday while you need to waste time at work. The FHF has been slogging along this summer in the off-season with mindless filler and random strippers - we are totally psyched for the season. But we can't believe that we may actually have to come up with something intelligent starting this Wednesday night. We may be in trouble.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview Presents Francis Bouillon

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

It part two of the undersized defenceman series, FHF looks at Franky Bouillon.

The tits - Throws out some absolutely bone-rattling checks, and a fan favorite for it. Also respected for his work ethic, he's like the blueline version of Steve Begin. Built like a small tank. Francophone, which keeps a segment of Habs fans happy. Looks like he has a nice tan 365 days a year.

The cellulite - Duh, he's small. Although he does play a physical game, he tends to wear down against physical opponents. Not much offense, as he's never scored more than 3 goals or managed to reach 20 assists. Did I mention he's not large?

The armpit hair - He was injured last year and he took a step back in his play, but even if he regains his form there's still not much upside there. Plus, hearing unilingual Anglophones trying to pronounce "Francis" properly.

In the VIP Room - Although you can't help but like this guy, you have to believe the Habs need to upgrade if they hope to take the next step and be considered Stanley Cup contenders. His days should be numbered, with players like O'Byrne, and Emelin expected next year, along with the "Big-3" of Markov/Komo/Hamr, which leaves one spot for Streit, Georges or Franky. And Valentenko and Carle are next in line. If one omission was too subtle, let me just add that I don't have a lot of faith that El Dandy will be in the mix after this season, if not sooner. (At the same time, I would be thrilled to have him prove me - and the rest of those on the anti-Dandy bandwagon - wrong.)

Chez Parée Bound? For the time being certainly, and he doesn't even have to pay cover. But only because Komo sneaks him on under his coat.

Signature Song - "So Small", by Carrie Underwood. I love Google.

5 lap dances (out of 10) - Basically a less talented but more physical equivalent to Streit.

The 4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF29 - If we could somehow use the an torture rack and some weights to make him 3 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier, I’d keep him around. But since that’s not happening, make room for the new guys

HF33 - He's the other D that will pull off a rattling check that engulfs the Bell Centre with that unmistakable crashing noise of the boards. It's incredible to see but unbelievable to hear.

Friday, September 28, 2007

No Sex In The Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview is On the Fence About Mark Streit

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Well, before we get to the big three, we still have a few undersized defenders to look at. Today, it's everyone's favourite Swiss Mis(ter), Mark Streit.

The tits - Can play on the wing or on defence. Decent skater, and moves the puck quickly and intelligently when playing on the backline. Can quarterback a power play. For a forward, his size is decent. The captain of the Swiss national team, he has lots of experience in international play, which I suppose could come in handy when the Habs have that crucial home and home versus HC Frolunda in November.

The cellulite - For a forward, his size is okay, but when he moves back to the blueline, he becomes yet another small Habs blueliner. Still looks a little out of sorts when playing up front because his instincts are to play as a defender.

The armpit hair - He's Swiss. Switzerland is the home of skiing and chocolate and banking and clockmaking and heavy metal band Celtic Frost but not a lot of top-notch hockey. He's the captain of the Swiss National team, sure, but that's mostly by default as the only Swiss NHL'er not playing goal. Like many other Habs defenders, he gets shoved around by large, angry men in different coloured jerseys.

In the VIP Room - Little known NHL rule/UN resolution 137.45 b) (ie "The National Symbol Rule") allows Streit, as a Swiss citizen, the right to carry a "Swiss Army" stick that can also be used as a broom, ski pole, ice augur, canoe paddle, and shovel. The same National Symbol rule was once invoked by Belfast, North Ireland-born winger Owen Nolan to escape suspension by citing the rule as the reason he used a shilleagh and a bottle of Dewar's to batter former Hartford Whaler Glen Featherstone in a Nords/Whalers brawl in 95'.

Chez Parée Bound? - If he goes, he'll be on time. ('Cause he's Swiss, get it? Watches? 'Cause they make ... oh, forget it.)

Signature Song - Coldplay, Clocks. (Too easy? Too bad. You come up with a signature song for a Swiss-born 6th defenceman/4th line winger and see what you end up with.)

5 lap dances (out of 10) - He's versatile, skates well, doesn't do stupid things to hurt the team. No real "wow" factor, not going to dominate ... what can I say? I'm (wait for it ... wait for it ...) neutral. 'Cause he's Swiss, get it? Eh? Neutral? Oh, shut up. It's been a long offseason.

The 4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich

HF33 - Streit had that one game last year in which he was introduced into the lineup as a forward for the very first time. He played with intelligence and defensive awareness. The coach was very impressed with his natural response to this new position. Problem though: his time as a forward risks eroding his instincts as a defenseman. It’s time for the Swiss inquisition; fully convert the man or leave him be.

HF29 - Whatever.

Panger - I think he's highly underrated. He's perfectly suited to the New NHL, in the same mould as Jean-Micheal Liles or Marc-Andre Bergeron. Think of him as a 21st Century version of Gaston Gingras. He's not going to be a top-4 for years like Markov or Komo, but for 3-4 years in his prime he will be a useful, if not high impact, player. Last year he showed commitment to the team that impressed the braintrust, and this year they are going to play him at his preferred position if at all possible - not to say his days as a forward are necessarily done. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if by the end of the season he's considered the #4 defenceman ahead of Franky Bouillon, Dandenault et al.

The Morning Skate for Friday, September 28th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the Vezina trophy. Hey, it may be the only shot we have at any trophy...

  • Kovy, Markov and Pleks score as the Habs beat the Broons 3-2. Huet played well. Saku wants the season to start already. Get in line, Captain;

No but really, look at the countdown clock on the top right. The FHF is getting giddy. And the real season actually starts this weekend (!) in London (?). In your stripperriffic season preview, we're gonna clean up the last of the crappy defensemen today and over the weekend, and then next week we'll hit you with the big three of Saku, Huet, and Kovy. Stick around.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Morning Skate for Thursday, September 27th Presents No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview Presents Mike Komisarek

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of the FHF blending two features into one and like, blowing your mind, dude...
  • Today's training camp report looks at Josh Gorges and Ryan O'Byrne. Can we keep both with the big club?
  • Stanley Cup hits London in advance of the Ducks-Kings this weekend. No one cared. If you going to have games in Europe, you know there are countries that play hockey there, right Bettman?
  • Chicago Black Hawks owner Bill Wirtz died yesterday at age 77. There are very few deaths you celebrate, but I have a feeling Hawks fans have a bit if a smile.

Alright, the FHF season preview continues... right now!

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Wow. I cannot believe I have a chance to post a photo of one of the most awesomest hockey helmets ever. I love those things.

I also may have a bit of man-love for the the guy under that helmet. Might as well know that up front. This year I guess you'd have to call him the 2nd D behind Markov. But is he the tits? Speaking of...

The tits - a really, really solid defensive D who seems to be getting better every time he steps on the ice. Size! On a Hab! 6'4", 240+ pounds, and thank god, he's not afraid to throw it around. 4th in the league in hits last year. Did I mention he's a really, really solid defensive D? +7 last year led Habs D and was second on the team. Durable, playing all 82 games last season. Put in major minutes too. Not afraid to step in front of a shot. Not afraid to drop the gloves even with the league's heavyweights. Skates well for a big man. Can move the puck up the ice or pass out of his own zone. Decent shot. Did I mention he's a really, really solid defensive D? I guess I did.

The cellulite - never gonna be mistaken for Bobby Orr. 19 points last year was a career high, though I remember a couple of nice shorthanded markers.

The armpit hair - sometimes his rough hits and fights are just poorly timed, putting him in the penalty box when he needs to be on the ice. That annoys the shit out of me. But at 25, I think he'll learn.

In the VIP Room - I wasn't fucking with you when I said he seems to be getting better every time he steps on the ice. I have watched him get more comfortable out there every game since he started playing regularly with the Habs. And defensemen don't peak at 25 - he's still climbing the hill of potential. Could be a top 5 defensive defenceman for a decade to come. I'm giddy. Alright, there is man-love and it's making me sick.

Chez Parée Bound? In a restored classic V-8 American muscle car. Let's just hope he doesn't have a fight with the bouncer.

Signature Song - Hit Me With Your Best Shot

8 lap dances (out of 10) - I'm leaving him room to get that 9 or 10 in the 2008 FHF Season Preview (Live from The Spearmint Rhino Las Vegas).

The 4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich - as the rest of the FHF emerge from private booths today, they'll have a smoke and tell you what they think.

HF10 - When was the last time we had a someone that huge who made opposing forwards really think twice about their route to the net? Komisarek's the only Michigan grad this Notre Dame fan likes.

HF33 - Komo can put his stamp on this team this year. He is one of only 2 players with the Habs to raise the crowds out of their seats with board cracking hits. The other one is soon to be previewed...This season will allow Komisarek to audition for the role of a new Captain K.

Panger - Last year there was talk about trading him to the Isles. At least Gainey's inaction paid off on this occasion, cause Komisarek is going to become one of the dominate physical NHL defencemen by the time everything is said and done.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview Presents...

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Erik Estrada has captured the hearts of millions of fans world-wide as a result of his six year run starring as highway patrol officer Frank Poncherello in the highly successful television series, "CHiP's". What do you mean that’s not the rights “Chips”? Oh, you meant Kyle “Chips” Chipchura. Ok then, let’s go.

The tits - all about grit, character and may become the heart and soul of this team after Saku. Good size at 6’2 200, and used it well although he’s no wrecking ball like Begin. He’s likely the type of player that most fans won’t notice much as there isn’t much flash to his game, but his role is indispensable to a team’s success - think Mike Keane, although probably with a little more offense (not that that is a great measuring stick). Plus, since HF10 stole Higgins from me, I’ve decided that he’s My Boy this year; well, if he makes the team, otherwise I'm going with Komisarek.

The cellulite - Obviously he hasn't proven himself at the NHL level. It’s unlikely he’ll ever lead the team in scoring, probably only enough offensive talent that he’d fill in on the second line, but would earn his living on the third line. May be similar to Higgins in that his physical style may lead to injuries - but he's also likely to down blocking a Souray howitzer if it'll help the team win, so we'll accept that.

The armpit hair - Kyle isn’t a pro hockey player name; Exhibit A: Kyle Wellwood. Plus coming out of the WHL there’s always the Vallis/Bilodeau/Wilke curse to worry about. Also may not make the team out of training camp.

In the VIP Room - Mentioned as a potential future captain from the moment he was drafted, he’s already been captain of his junior team as well as the Canada’s perfect entry in the 2006 WJC. Although we’ve heard the same about Higgins, Komisarek and this Ryan McDonough guy we drafted this year. Hmm, all anglos - clearly a conspiracy. Why hasn’t 110% freaked out about this yet?
Also, in his draft year the Habs picked him instead of Andrej Meszaros (my pick that year) and so far Meszaros has had the upper hand career-wise. That may change, though.

Chez Parée Bound? - Yeah, although you probably won't notice him, this season anyway. He's in the back with that smoking hot girl who was on stage 5 minutes ago.

6.5 lap dances (out of 10) - Just like Price, I can’t give a guy who’s on the bubble anything higher. But next year I’m betting it’s an 7.5/8.

4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF10: Natural leader, good hockey sense, excellent defensively. Not the glamour boy that gets the fans rocking, but the type of player we all know is essential to any successful team. I hope he's a fixture in the lineup for the next 10 years.

HF29: What happened to the other guy from CHiPs? And BTW Panger, Komisarek has been my boy since he was drafted, so you need someone else. Re Chipchura, just read what HF10 wrote; he's way hockey-smarter than me.

HF33: He already looks like he's in his thirties. Poise, Jerry! Poise! That's what I see in Chips. A calm demeanour that shoud have a ripple effect in the room. Hmm.... Chips,... ripples....intersesting...

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, September 26th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of Higgins becoming a 40-40-80 man like he wants to be...

And the neverending stripperriffic season preview continues today with our new fourth line center (?) Kyle Chipchura. TMS thinks he's ready for the big time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room Wants to Jump on the Bandwagon in this FHF Season Preview of Guillaume Latendresse

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Son, I've seen Guy Lafleur, I know Guy Lafleur, I've cheered for Guy Lafleur. You're no Guy Lafleur. But we want to like you.

The tits - Crash and bang. Shake and bake. He's blessed with size and strength and has the potential to become a real power forward. If he can find a place in front of the net, he's hard to move. He's not afraid of getting dirty in the corners and will lay out good hits when opportunity comes A Knockin'. Also, he is dating a Miss Canada contestant shown in the photo above. I think he can practice his skating drills on this girl's forehead. It's pretty big. He showed offensive promise when Higgins went down last year with an injury. He was promoted to the first line with Koivu and Ryder; at that point he had not yet registerd his first NHL goal. It took him a while to get it but when he did they came in bunches. In the end, he scored 16 goals in his rookie season.

The cellulite - He's not a great passer which leads to think that his vision on the ice hasn't fully developed. He seems to have had a hard time adjusting to the speed of the NHL game. He was a -20 last year, and came out a minus with every line he played on. His defensive coverage lacks intensity. So does his skating, so does his shooting, and so on, and so on, I miss those Sassoon commercials... In 2 exhibition seasons, this kid gave it all and had the fans begging for him to crack the roster. He hasn't really shown us that spark over the course of a full NHL regular calendar.

The armpit hair - See for yourselves (photo above)! He was 19 years old and playing lazy and spoiled. The fans want to adore this kid. But his game is often uninspired. He only came to play when promoted to the Koivu line. When shifted back to the fourth, he looked subdued. He will only do well in this league if he plays with passion. There was little sign of that last year. He may have God given talents that stand out in the juniors but as far as the pros go, get in line kid, there are a couple of guys ahead of you.

In the VIP Room - You could split Latendresse's inaugural NHL season into 3 parts: 1/3 on the fourth line. 1/3 on the first line. 1/3 playing with Maxim Lapierre and Alex Kovakev (was that the fourth line? the second? ???). He responded by giving us three different types of play. At his best with the no. 1 line, his dispassion was still evident. He looked overwhelmed in his first 25 games, only to settle into a quieter mold by season's end. Problem is, that's not what Guillaume Latendresse is about. We need to hear the noise. Of the puck cracking off his stick, of the boards rattling against his weight and that of the poor opposing player clasped between the two, of the fans in their seats in anticipation. A quiet Latendresse is a Latendresse out of character.

6.5 lap dances (out of 10) - He was heralded by the fans as the next young local hero due to the most aleatory coincidence: his first name, Guillaume, evolving into Guy and maturing into a full-body, roaring Guy! Guy! Guy! Quebec is starving for a Quebecois offensive star to love. The name fit the bill. It made little to no sense at all. But it is part of the dynamic that starts to thread the fabric that legends are made of. Only he will decide where the story goes.

Chez Parée bound? - He'll cut in line, and get in without paying cover which will infuriate everyone because we all know he should wait in the cold like the rest of us.

Signature Song - Invisible Sun. For a kid who was supposed to shine a bright light on the future of this organization, last season was one we all spent in the shade.

4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich -

HF 10: If you close your eyes when the "Gui! Gui! Gui!" chants start coming down from the rafters, you can almost imagine it's the late seventies, the Habs are king, and some poor schmuck in the opposing net is in for a long night ... I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

HF29: If he takes up smoking, then we can chant Gui! Gui! Gui! Until then, he’s just another next Great French Hope.

Panger: He's not going to be a "power forward" in the Brendan Shanahan mould, but he's got size and a finishing touch. Let's just pray he doesn't get traded to Philly before he fulfills his potential like John Leclair before him. Wait, what we were talking about?

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, September 25th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of a an 0-10 start.

  • Habs are off to Mont Tremblant. Here's a preview from Pat Hickey about what's going on up there, mostly focusing on the goalies. Halak, Price, Halak, Price. Watch the pendulum swing...;
  • Habs made a ton of cuts yesterday. Scroll down to the next post to see who. I'm pretty upset we won't have Sergei Tits around this year, cause it would give the FHF twice the chances to write "tits";
  • Goalie fight alert! Goalie fight alert! This just in, Rangers and Isles don't like each other, stemming from the Chris Simon stick-swinging incident last year. 10 fighting majors, Rick DiPietro wins his in a knockdown.

The long-awaited Gui! Gui! Gui! preview goes today, so check back on your lunch hour will ya?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Habs Chop Off Some Parts

So the Habs made a huge round of cuts today before they head up to the glory that is the St Jovite - Mont Tremblant region with its many bars and strip clubs that have their own rules.

Those who have been unceremoniously dumped like a 20 dollar hooker include Yann Danis, Sergei Tits, HF29 favourite Matt D'Agostini, Corey Locke, Jonathan Ferland, J-P Coté (he's still around???), and Duncan Milroy. Danis, Locke and Milroy all have to clear waivers before going to Steeltown. We're losing at least one of them.

There are 27 players left. Survivors of today's cuts include youngsters Kyle Chipchura, Ryan O'Byrne, and Mikhail Grabovski. I will drop dead if Chips or O'Byrne actually make the big club. They are anglo rookies! It can't happen!

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview reveals its schoolgirl-crush on Chris Higgins

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Look, up in the sky! It's the Habs own Superman, everybody's hero, Mr. Christopher Higgins. We will try to remain objective, but damn, do we love Higgins.

The tits - Tremendous hockey sense and talent to match. Higgins is versatile enough to be the Habs best winger and is a potential number one centre too, and he has great chemistry with Koivu on the top line. A willing and able defender, he's also a very dangerous penalty-killer. He can score in bunches and had 8 goals in the first 13 games last year before an ankle injury slowed him down. Higgins is a workout warrior and spends his summers looking for ways to improve. A potential future captain and team scoring leader, he's hit the 20 goal mark in both of his first two years in the league.

The cellulite - Let's see ... he's a forward for the Habs, so size is an issue. Higgins is a willing forechecker and spends tons of time receiving punishment in front of the net and in the corners, but he's not going to ever be confused with his best buddy Komisarek on the way through the airport. He's listed at 6'0 and 200 pounds but looks smaller. All that battling takes a toll. He can be a bit of a streaky scorer. A lot of teenage girls like him, so there could be ear-piercing screams when he gets his good-lookin' mug on the Bell Centre scoreboard.

The armpit hair - That ankle injury scares me a little; freak occurrence or the start of an injury-plagued, Koivu-esque career that tantalizes but never becomes what we hoped for? For the love of Guy, please let it be the first choice.

In the VIP Room - A lifelong Habs fan, Higgins claims current Habs assistant Kirk Muller was his favourite player growing up. If he moved to the middle he might be Muller with better hands, a legitimate 40 goal threat that takes important draws, kills penalties, sets up linemates with passes that make the Bell Centre go "ooooohhh!!" and collects Cups because of the "C" on his sweater. As it stands now, he's one of the leaders of the young gun Habs, the team's best all-around winger, and, until Kovalev cures his in-game narcolepsy, the team's best chance at cracking a top twenty scoring list. He's the team matinee idol; loved by the FHF, young girls from NDG, tough dudes from St. Henri, grandmothers from Westmount and the working class in the East end. Stay healthy, and the All-Star game beckons. (Oh please, stay healthy so that the All-Star game beckons.)

Chez Parée Bound? - Going in a stretch Hummer with a police escort. Getting the best seat in the house. Having strippers from other joints leave work early to come to Chez Parée to sit at his table, buy him drinks, and make sure he gets home safe whenever he decides it's closing time.

9 lap dances (out of 10). - Higgins says he wants to become a 40 goal, 40 assist man and win Cups. Don't bet against either occurrence. (Okay, you could probably bet against the Cup ... this year.)

Signature Song - Foo Fighters - Hero. I told you we loved Higgins. Our site, our crushes.

4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

I am comfortable enough in my masculinity to say 3 little words to Chris Higgins: I love you. And if I love him, you can bet Panger thinks he’s God.

Panger: Higgins is My Boy. If the injuries are behind him, he’ll be a star by the end of the season and you’ll be wishing you had picked him earlier in your hockey pool.

When are we talking about Gui! Gui! Gui! Tomorrow? Fine. I'll wait...OK, OK, I'll admit it. Higgins is my favorite Hab too.

The Morning Skate for Monday, September 24th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the perfect hip check...
  • Habs win! A 4-3 victory over the Bruins. Pleks has a natural hat trick. TMS gave him an 8.5 for a reason, people;
  • Habs will make a bunch of cuts today, then head up to Mont Tremblant for training and bonding. Maybe they'll head to FHF favourite strip club the Faucon Bleu on a couple of nights. Tell Martine we said hi.

The NHL season starts in less than a week! The FHF season preview continues today with a look at The Man, Chris Higgins.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview Ignores the Spell Checker for Tom Kostopopoplopolopolous

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Tom Kostopoulos. The name just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? But who is this Greek God of Hockey ready to take his place amongst the Habs greats, er, lunch pail workhorses? Don't ask me, I barely ever heard of the guy.

But I guess you are asking me, cause you're here on FHF. So with an assist from The Google, let's see what we can come up with.

The tits - classic grinder. Not afraid to go into the corners or pick a fight. Never gives up on the play. Responsible on D. Heart, energy, grit, etc. in the Bégin mold. Hopefully entering his prime at 28. Great guy in the locker room, the kind of guy who would kill or die for his teammates. Kings voted him unsung hero last year, and the Kings fans supposedly really like him and we're really upset to see him go. I didn't know there were enough Kings fans to get upset about anything.

The cellulite - for a grinder / tough guy, not so big at 6'0". Not much of a scorer, though better than an average goon. Exactly 22 points per year each of the last 2 years with the Kings. He did average a point per game in the 2003-2004 playoffs, but it was for Wilkes-Barrie.

The armpit hair - for a 4th line defensive guy, you don't like to see negative +/-, but Tommy Boy is -29 for his career, with nary a year on the plus side. Though admittedly that was for the Kings and pre-Crosby Pens.

In the VIP Room - The FHF really don't know what to make of this guy. Besides talking about what nickname we should give him, we are pretty in the dark here. $900,000 per season for two years seems like a little much for a guy who may be getting a reserved seat in the press box. On the other hand, he might be a serviceable replacement, if not an improvement, for Aaron Downey or Mike Johnson. But on the other other hand, if his signing means there is no room for a rookie like Chipchura or Locke, I'm annoyed. But on the other other other hand, the FHF always likes the character guys, they are a necessity. Note the ambivalence here.

Chez Parée Bound? He's waiting for the bus. We'll see.

5 lap dances (out of 10) - Seems about average.

4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF10 - Last year Mike Johnson did a competent enough job on the fourth line, but I'll bet most fans couldn't pick him out of a police line-up. I expect Greek Lightning to perform similar to Johnson, but with some Mediterranean flair to boot. A round of ouzos on the house!

Panger - I'm not sure what he brings to the team besides a little veteran depth - he's not an upgrade over Mike Johnson and doesn't seem to bring much size, which the Habs are in dire need of. Maybe he'll add something in the locker room and some energy on the 4th line, but I hope by the end of the year younger players are pushing him out the door. Although I hate to disagree with HF29, Corey Locke will not be one of those players.

HF33 - Who?

The Morning Skate Sunday Brunch Edition

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of making the big club...
  • Habs lose 2-1 to the Sens at the Phone Booth. Panger's boy Higgins made his first appearance, didn't do much. PP continues to suck, now 2 for 33 in pre-season. Paging Sheldon Souray;
  • TMS has only one player who has impressed him so far - Matt D'Agostini. I barely know him, but boy he has outplayed all the other rookies so far imho, including last night where by all accounts he rocked the ice and helped set up the Habs only goal;
  • Habs back on the ice this afternoon, in Halifax against the Broons.

TMS is alt-tabbing to another window to finish up his preview of Greek Lightning, Tom Kostopopolopolous. Check back in a hour or two for the goods.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview Presents Carey Price

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Carey Price comes to town with more hype than a Star Wars prequel. Let's pray we avoid that kind of fiasco again. Anyhow, here's FHF's 'much anticipated' well-balanced, hype-free Carey Price preview.

The tits Potential franchise starting goaltender. He has all the tools: size, reflexes, fundamentals, character, commitment, competitiveness. He's probably the Hab's best puckhandling 'tender right now. He already has an impressive resume, especially at the international level, between the WJC and Under-18 and below tourneys. Look at what he won just in the past year: Calder Cup (AHL Championship), Jack Butterfield Trophy (Calder Cup playoffs MVP) , Goaltender of the Year (Canadian Major Junior), Del Wilson Trophy (WHL Top Goaltender), WHL West First All-Star Team, Men's Jr Hockey Championship, Tournament MVP and Top Goaltender. Wow.

His commitment has been well documented (i.e. his dad flying him to his games as a youngster). He was cut from Canada's WJC team in '06, and came back with a dominant performance the following year. He's played regularly on a weak Tri-City Americans team, which is good - he faced more shots and challenges (just like Patrick Roy with the Granby Bisons.)

There is every reason to believe he will: soon be mentioned as a top young NHL goalie, like Ryan Miller, 'King Henrik' Lundqvist or MA Fleury; one day be considered one of the best NHL goaltenders along with the Luongos, Kiprussofs and Turcos; and perhaps in the future compared to Roy/Hasek/Brodeur/Fuhr/Dryden/Sawchuk/etc.

(OK., a little hype. But we'll balance out soon, I promise.)

The cellulite
– Only two things I can think of, and neither is in his control: he's only just recently turned 20 freakin' years old; and none of things mentioned earlier has been either proven or achieved at the NHL level.


The armpit hair – Jimmy Waite was Tourny MVP and Top Goalie in the WJC. Theo (and Halak) won Top Goalie honours there. Trevor Kidd was a top 10 pick, and was rated 5th in his draft year by The Hockey News. Joclyn Thi-bad was a top 10 pick and was rushed to the NHL as an 18 year old. Other top 10 busts: Jamie Storr, Brian Finley and Dan Blackburn. Similarities in name between One Hit Wonder Jim Carey and Carey Price? Ok now I'm reaching.

Plus, "Price is Right" jokes for the indefinite future. Do we yet have the power to start a blanket demand on all media outlets to put a moratorium on this phase? Who's with me people??

In terms of his impact this season, some perspective needs to be kept: it takes goalies a few years to develop to the point they can dominate at the NHL level. Look at Ryan Miller. Even 1 Overall pick M-A Fleury had a full season in the minors, then a split AHL/NHL season, before arriving full time in the NHL at 22. For those of you non- accountants at home, that's 2 full seasons away for Mr. Price. And look at Justin Pogge: he dominated the WJC, spend an entire year in the AHL last year and doesn't seem to even be in the mix for a spot in T.O., although the Leafs do think they have co-No.1's (we'll see).

In the VIP Room – I admit this is minor and and I don't want to sound like the hateful gossip-mongers at 110%, should there be some concern over the way Carbo seems to be playing mind games with this kid? There was no problem early, as Coach Carbs stated what had to be obvious - a player with the potential of Price has to play and start, so he either has to be the starter in the NHL or (more likely) in the AHL. He'll give him a chance, and if he blows the doors off the competition in training amp, then we'll see.

But after a so-so 1/2 game against the Pens, and an unremarkable game last night (again not really in his control, as the Isles failed to generate much offense), he certainly hasn't stood out against Huet - or even Dannis. But after making comments to the media about how there was a huge difference between junior and the AHL and between the AHL and the NHL, and how last year Price basically won everything and so he hasn't faced much adversity yet, it already sounded like Carbo wanted to deflate his young goalie's ego a bit. And instead of saying something vague like "he's young, he has lots of time to develop," Carbo said on Thursday "no one has stood out" and sends Price to practice with the players headed to the AHL. A bit of a slap to the face if you said you'd give him a shot, plus he's not exactly encouraging the kid early on.

But maybe the coach spoke to his young prodigy privately. Maybe he was playing him with the AHL players so he's see more ice time, or perhaps could get more personal attention from Rollie Melanson. Maybe Carey's ego needed deflating (although there have been no such reports in the media, who nows if something else goes on in the locker room.)

Chez Parée bound? - Oh hell yeah - perhaps not on a regular basis this season, though.

6.5 lap dances – We're talking this season, and I can't give a guy who only has an outside shot at an NHL roster spot any higher. And it's not like he has been dominate when he's been given a chance.


4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF10 - The great bleu blanc et rouge hope. I wondered about taking a goalie at 5th overall until I saw what everyone else saw at the WJC and in the AHL. Holy hell, this kid is good. Finally, a contender rather than pretender for the throne.

HF33 - One more stupid "Price is Right" analogy and I'm going to tear the fucking office walls apart.

HF29 - I feel like if I say something good, I'll just jinx him. So let's say he will implode under the Montreal media pressure and end up hanging out with David Wilkie and Terry Ryan.

Friday, September 21, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview - Roman Hamrlik

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

The tits – Last year, +22. Let's begin there. He's here to replace Sheldon Souray. He's even chosen Shelly's no.44 which is like having the new guy who's sleeping with your mom right after the divorce tell you to take the trash out in the morning whereas your dad, who's been on the bottle since your mom left him for this douchebag, would let you play violent Xbox games while you were eating your breakfast cereal. He's a very good D. He's not great (Phaneuf, Pronger, Niedermayer), and never will be, but he is very good. He's got offensive flair, he's solid on the back check, he hits hard, he shoots hard and he's 33, prime age for a blueliner. He never gives up because he's 2 Legit to Quit.

The cellulite – He was born in Gottwaldow, which means to masturbate in Czech (I Gottwaldov last night before going to bed). He's the beneficiary of the most lucrative contract ever afforded to a Montreal Canadien. Yowzer. That falls into the Say What? (in a Samuel L. Jackson voice) category in Montreal Canadiens history where you'll come across other notable factoids such as Andrei Kovalenko scoring the last goal at the Montreal Forum (I want to French kiss a bag of razor blades) and Sergei Berezin scoring the Habs' 10 000th goal at home. Also, he gaffes in his own end like any very good not truly great defenseman.

The armpit hair – He's banging your mom. He replaces flash on the blue line the likes of which this team has NEVER seen. Those Sheldon St-Laurent cannons were not traceable on the replay dammit! Shit, I'd even slow the replay down on the PVR and still wouldn't manage to see the puck! Hamrlik will not score 26 goals, he will not set an NHL record for most goals on the PP for a defenseman and he will not make love to the majority of the female contingency in Montreal on an off night at Globe.

In the VIP Room – He has played on so many bad teams over the course of his career that it's hard to assess if Hamr (after a few seasons he dropped the MC) was really overhyped in going no.1 overall in the 1992 draft. What would have become of him had he played on a contender right of the bat? I guess my answer to that is that a special player after a while makes a mediocre team a contender. While he improved significantly in the +/- department after having left them dark years in Tampa Bay behind he still never proved to be the no.1 defenseman that anchors your team, who you turn to for leadership and consistent play and who brings an organiztion over the top. Stop! Hamr time! However, he does bring versatility to the Habs blue line...and he won't stink up the Bell Centre with brain fartage Sheldon will always be prone to.

Chez Parée bound? - With the no.44 jersey on his back so that he can fool the girls in the booth who may not have heard that Shelly left town. But I suspect they will learn the Hamr Lik pretty soon.

8 lap dances (out of 10). – He should combine nicely with Markov on the power play. He 's got everything to be excellent but has played under the weight of having been drafted no.1 and has not lived up to expectations. Now he plays in the shadow cast by Souray's departure. This is Montreal, Expectationsville. Play, or be deported.

4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF29 - Yes, but can he play effectively in a pair of parachute pants?

HF10 - He may not offer the same menace from the point on the powerplay as big Sheldon, but in a one-for-one trade, he may be better at everything else hockey related. He was a top four guy on a damn good defence in Calgary, and averages 35-40 points a year. Good enough for me.

Panger - While Hamrlik ostensibly was part of Calgary’s Big 4, he was in fact the whipping boy for most of the 05/06 season – although not quite as much last year. When Montreal signed him Flames GM Sutter basically said ‘you can have him at that price’. While the feeling is the Habs overpay him, MC Hamrlik seems to be a victim of going 1st overall, with all the ensuing pressure to be a Scott Niedermayer-like superstar, and a steady two way game just doesn’t cut it. Plus, he tutored Dion Phaneuf for his first couple of seasons to positive reviews (from Phaneuf at least), so if he does the same for, say, Ryan O’Byrne that would be another bonus. And something certainly I would not have wanted to see Souray do (“So when the guy dekes left, just lung at him and hope for the best.”)

The Morning Skate for Friday, September 21st

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a world where the Canadian dollar and the US Dollar are at par. No more excuses for not signing the big UFA's, right?

The temperature may say summer but fall is upon us officially. The season is really close now! And the FHF season preview continues today and all weekend, with looks at Roman Hamrlik, Frankie Bouillon and a player to be named later.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview - Andrei Kostitsyn

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

After our group therapy session over the return of the human Métro turnstile known as the Breezer, something to cheer you up: the FHF preview of one of the Habs’ young guns, Andrei Kostitsyn.

The tits – According to HF33, he and his little brother Sergei are the “Tits” already, and if there’s one thing the FHF appreciates, it’s tits. Andrei is as talented as anyone in the Habs organization; he has good size and speed, and he’s an excellent puckhandler with a sniper’s shot. Reminds me a lot of Maxim Afinogenov. The talking heads at places like TSN and Sportsnet use words like “deft” and “shifty” and “dangle” to describe his game, and he nearly makes Pierre Maguire’s head explode when he does stuff like this. His point totals increased all three years he was in Hamilton, culminating in last year’s point-a-game pace and a plus minus of +24. Seems to be developing an understanding with Kovy.

The cellulite – Needs some work in the defensive zone. Sometimes guilty of handling the puck too much instead of playing it safe. For as talented as he is, he doesn’t seem to light the lamp as much as one would hope. Again, a lot like Afinogenov.

The armpit hair – His name gets tricky to spell if you aren’t paying attention. The “s” after the “o” could get misplaced, or you might add another “t” by mistake. There’s a possibility opposing fans could come up with some unflattering nicknames. Bastards.

In the VIP Room – Kostitsyn was the 10th overall pick in the loaded 2003 draft (Eric Staal, Nathan Horton, Dion Phaneuf, Zach Parise, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, Tomas Vanek and Marc-Andre Fleury were all first-rounders that year), and many experts felt he was top-5 material. Rumours of heart problems and an actual epilepsy scare frightened some teams off, but the Habs were happy to snap him up. If he puts all his skills together, I think he could be as good as any of the guys listed above. Seriously. Little brother Sergei is also a Habs prospect and put up 140 points in the OHL last year for London. Yowza. Somebody get Mrs. Kostitsyn on the phone and see if she has a third son who plays centre.

Chez Parée bound? - In a Habs-jersey red Dodge Viper. Kostitsyn has seen the last of Hamilton. He’s got a spot on Kovy’s line and 30 goals (most of the highlight-reel variety) in his near future.

Signature Song – Poison’s "Something to Believe In." I want to believe that “the Habs lack a game-breaker” argument will be buried in an avalanche of Kovalev-to-Kostitsyn masterpieces.

9 lap dances (out of 10). – Am I delusional? Maybe. But I think the Habs have a future star on their hands and I can’t wait to see what he can do on a scoring line. At the very least, he’s going to keep youtube busy. At best, he rewards my optimism to the point where I start posting as HF46. Hmm … 4 + 6 = 10 … oh man, I have to go lie down.

4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF29 - I share your optimism. Total tits. Klever player. Serious kemistry with Kovy. Krossing my fingers for a real breakout year.

HF33 - The kid has the skill set to make any coach fondle himself. Yet, why am I not convinced? Probably because the team had my hopes up last time around with Kostitsyn when his name was Perezhogin.

Panger - [Inaudible mumbling about Huet's performance last night.]*

*Not true. Panger never mumbles.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, September 20th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a team full of Kostitsyns...

Alrighty today in the preview check out Andrei Kostitsyn. You know, I always had trouble spelling that name until I realised the word "tits" is in the middle of it. Tits. heh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: FHF Season Preview Presents (sigh) Patrice Brisebois

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Wow. What a task. The FHF have chronicled the Breezer's return to a Habs uniform and it ain't been pretty. This whole town has, shall we say, feelings about this particular Hab. No pressure.

So look at that photo above. Breezy is totally dominating Iginla (with a glove to the face). He's, like, an amazing D! We're so lucky to have him! Great signing, Bob! [pause for comedic hammer to the forehead]. That's better. Let's get serious.

The tits - he's, uh, a veteran D who can maybe bring leadership in the room, and has, uh, maybe a couple of offensive skills left and can maybe, uh, be a back-up third string PP QB. He's the only current Hab who has won a Cup in a Habs uniform. We're not paying him that much. I hear he does a lot of charity work. We're starting to stretch here.

The cellulite - he's old, slow, fragile, prone to gaffes in his own zone (to put it mildly), prone to gaffes in the other two zones, and most fans hate him. That enough? There's alot more, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to list it all.

The armpit hair - got injured on the first day of training camp by... walking into a doctor's office. Hey-yo! But it's true. His groin (hey-yo!) was out of whack (hey-yo!) before he could even get a uniform on and he failed his physical. Total harbinger of the season to come.

In the VIP Room - Ok it's rant time. WTF is he doing here? Seriously. Can someone explain it to me? You don't bring back a guy who was practically run out of town when he doesn't have any skills left to make up for that. There are plenty of other veterans around to get leadership from. He's a total distraction. He's a waste of space. What was the point of this???

We've said it before and we'll say it again, the FHF mantra "Trust Bob" was stretched to the limit with this signing.

Chez Parée bound? In an ambulance. The best thing for everyone would be to have him injured around game 10 before it gets ugly, he goes on IR for the rest of the year, and then retires next summer with a modicum of dignity.

Signature Song - "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)"

0 lap dances (out of 10). Like trying to avoid eye contact with the "full-figured" stripper as she walks by your table.

4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF33 - I just threw up a bit in my mouth.


Panger - What can I say that hasn't already been said? How about: I think he's a great addition who will bring alot to the team. OK now I have to go take a shower in sulfuric acid.

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, September 19th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of consistency, dammit. Is that too much to ask?

Take a deep breath, get yourself mentally prepared, because today in the FHF season preview we have... THE BREEZER. Written by yours truly. I'll try to limit my use of the word "crap" to 100 instances.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Habs-Pens II: Rumble in the... Pre-Season - Game Night Open Thread

So after last night's experiment in non-linear live(-ish) game blogging, tonight we try a more traditional open thread for your game comments, as FHF continues to figure out what the fuck this blogging thing is all about. Watching the game on RDS? Listening online? Either way, here's a spot for you to say how great Carey Price is, or bring the snark. We like snark.

And the totally random stripper shot is to give you something nice to look it all night. It's like a public service from the FHF.

No Sex In The Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview - Jaroslav Halak

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Today we tackle one of the heads in the Habs 3-headed goaltending monster, the Pride of Bratislava, Jaroslav Halak.

The tits - The Habs 9th round pick, 271 overall in is not a huge goalie, but has extremely quick feet. He plays a hybrid style (like Carey Price) and tends to stay on his feet more than some recent Habs goalies (we're looking in your direction, Theo and Abby). He's also excellent on shootouts, stopping 6 of 8 shots last year and winning both games.

He's enjoyed a meteoric rise since moving to North America, so much so that he's challenging for the starter's job at the age of 21. Over the past three seasons he jumped from the Q to the ECHL, finishing that season in the AHL before playing phenomenally in Hamilton - grabbing the starting spot from Yann Danis - before being recalled to the NHL when the Christo-wall got hurt. Halak has represented Slovakia at both the Junior and Senior World Championships, earning Goaltender of the Tournament honours at the 2003 WJC. Not only has he adjusted to each rise in level, but has excelled.

Also key for a goalie, he has a really nice paint job on his mask, combining an element of aggressiveness (kind of a ram/gargoyle head thing going on) with Habs history (Roy raising the Cup on one side).

Finally, he's not named nor related to "Andre Racicot".

The cellulite - Size and experience. He's only 5'11, so there's alot more room upstairs when forwards are crashing the net than would be available in front of, say, Roberto Luongo. Ideally he would need a much bigger defensive line-up to compensate - i.e. he has a hard time looking through traffic - but that's not going to happen in Montreal. He could work on his rebound control, but few 21 year-olds don't. He's only 21 and in his 4th year living and playing overseas, so expectations may tend to get out of hand if he gets hot.

The armpit hair - Right now it's timing. Huet is paid (and last night certainly playing) like the number 1, and Carey Price is knocking on the door. There are any number of scenarios which could unfold this season, from Halak earning the starting job to him being traded away. Chances are, however, the Habs are going to need him to steal some wins. Plus, you know, he's only played 16 NHL games in his career.

In the VIP Room - He is the fourth Slovakian born netminder to play in the NHL, joining Ján Lašák, Rastislav Staňa and Peter Budaj. So in other words, he could be the starting goalie for the Avalanche this year. Plus by the end of the year he quite possibily could lay claim to the title of “Greatest Slovakian NHL Goalie Ever”.

Chez Parée bound? For the time being, no doubt. But he may only be visiting FHF's favorite gentleman's club a couple of times a year on road trips after this year.

7 Lap dances (out of ten) - This may seem low but he's only played 16 games in the NHL. He's proven it at every other level, though, so we're guessing this will be revised heavily upeward by the mid-season rankings.

4 am Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF29 - Total trade bait. Starts the season in Mtl, plays well enough to attract attention, gets replaced by Price in February, and along with 3 other good young players gets traded for a veteran forward in March to help the Habs drive for 8th place.

HF33 - He will be our backup and take on the role Mathieu Garon played in the shadow of Jose Theodore. Garon was good enough to start in the NHL, but Theo was anointed the team’s star for the future. He would never be a no.1 in Montreal. The same can be said for Halak behind Carey Price. This is Price’s team for years to come, not Halak’s. The only way that will ever change is if Price never fulfills expectations – an unlikely scenario given the generous latitude he’ll be given to develop into the team’s starter. Until then, Cristobal is in the driver’s seat of the Citroen, with passenger Halak along for the ride. He’ll play well when asked to and attract attention from the league. He’ll hop off the Citroen in the next two years via a trade.

HF10 - I like Halak, but until I looked at his stats I had no idea how well he played last year. It all seemed a blur of 5-4 scorelines other than the two shutouts of the Bruins (WHOOOO!!). In a perfect world, he's so good he shares time with Huet, and Price dominates the AHL for a year. In an imperfect one he gets Vokouned out of town too early and a gypsy curse fells Huet and Price the next day.

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, September 18th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of 60,000 plus fans watching a hockey game outside...

Alrighty the Habs and Pens go again tonight. And the stripperriffic season preview today has resident goalie Panger taking a loook at Jaroslav Halak. Regular season in a mere 2 weeks!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Things Alex Said...

So as you all may know by now, this blog was born out of the back and forth daily email chains exchanged between whom have now become known as the FHF. This daily routine provided much laughter as we sat there giggling in front of our respective computer screens. We wanted to spread the joy. Now it's time to unveil a second form of Habs ranting that has amused HF33 as much as the old emails. He shares season tickets with Alex. Over the past 2 seasons, this membership has forced them into marathon hockey talk sessions during the games, which have produced some memorable lines. It's time to share what random thoughts go through Alex's head at the Bell Centre while the Habs are at work.

  • If you were assured the Habs would win the Cup, would you forfeit two years of sex?
  • Je ne suis pas un marin, je suis un capitaine. Yo no soy marinero, soy capitan.
  • After being snubbed at the Emmys, Christine Lahti went to Finland to learn how to play hockey. Amazing...
  • Gonchar has a good release.
  • Did you fart? - No - It smells like someone took a shit on my lip.
  • Is Kasparitis signed?
  • Look, Komisarek is an assistant captain to Koivu now with Kovalev. First they send P.K Subban down, now we have KKK leading the team, I don't know if I'm comfortable with this.

HABS ON THE ICE!!! Live(-ish) Game Blogging 5 - The Random Notes and Summary Thread

Let's throw this evening's random notes from the game into one thread, shall we? (FHF is still working out some kinks here). From the 1st period:

  • Kyle Chipchura looked good. AND he handled the end of period interview with class and style. He would make any NHL roster most likely, except the Habs and their "no rookies unless they're francophone" policy;
  • Admission time - I'm not paying 100% atttention here. I had a few drinks after work, and the season premiere of Prison Break is on. I need to get a PVR and/or quit drinking before the season starts. Yeah, right on that second part.

And the 2nd period:

  • Kostitsyn (A.) from Kovy (!) and Crosby's goal have the game at 1-1. Sid doing his RDS interview in English, not French and I find that weird, he speaks fine French;
  • The name I heard most often in the 2nd for the Habs was Corey Locke. I'm not kidding, played with energy;
  • Prison Break was awesome.

After the 3rd period:

  • A Crosby-started tic-tac-toe on the PP made it 2-2, and we are off to OT! In the pre-season? Really? We can't just have a tie?
  • Injury report - Habs D Mathieu Carle and Andrew Archer went out, never to return. Maybe Panger can tell me who Andrew Archer is.

And after OT the game is over.

  • WOW. Best pre-season OT I have ever seen (whatever that means). It was late regular-season intense, coming to a crescendo with a Komisarek-Crosby shoving-spearing-cross-checking match in front of the Habs net on the PP, leading to a bunch of penalties and 3 on 3 hockey for the last 40 seconds, leaving Kovy the room to skate with the puck and bury the winner off the inside of both goal posts. Alex the Enigma, 1G 2A in a 3-2 OT win, is your #1 star.

And this experiment in non-linear live(-ish) game blogging comes to a merciful end. Catch any of the game? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments, and we'll put a pre-season win in perspective in the AM.

HABS ON THE ICE!!! Live(-ish) Game Blogging 4- The Pens Thread

Angelo Esposito is playing, and he just tried to get fancy and Mark Streit made him look silly by just taking the puck away. Bell Centre didn't know how to react to that one.

Sid the Kid looks OK, but hasn't really done anything exciting. (8:59 UPDATE) Excecept bury his chances when he gets them, from practically behind the net. 1-1.

HABS ON THE ICE!!! Live(-ish) Game Blogging 3 - The Goalie Thread

The Christo-wall is looking in peak form right off the bat. Several highway robberies already. Got the feeling the Habs will live and die by the goaltending this year?

3rd period UPDATE - I should mention that at some point in the 2nd, Yann Danis took over. Some good saves, but not as sharp as Huet. Does Danis have any chance of being the #2 with the big club this year? David Puddy's magic 8-ball jacket says "doubtful."

HABS ON THE ICE!!! Live(-ish) Game Blogging 2 - The Kovy Thread

So far so good. Kovalev, Andrei Kostitsyn and Grabovski are playing together and are generating all sorts of chances, both 5 on 5 and on the PP. Kovalev actually seems to be working hard. And it's the preseason. Maybe he's turned the corner. Hahahahahahahahahaha, I kill me.

7:58 UPDATE - Kovalev just tried a ridiculous move and lost the puck and almost gave up a breakaway the other way, needing a D to bail him out (he gave up on the play when he lost the puck). That's better, Kovy.

8:47 UPDATE - Kovy makes a spectacular inside-out, dropped the pants of the D move, only to be robbed by Fleury. Live-blogging an enigma is hard work, and it's only game 1 of the pre-season.

9:39 UPDATE - This time the enigma helped produce an actual goal, with a beauty between the legs drop pass to Corey Locke (he's everywhere) who buries a nice shot and it's 2-1.

HABS ON THE ICE!!! Live(-ish) Game Blogging 1 - Prologue

So the Habs finally take to the ice tonight. AND it's on TV! (God I love this province). I figured I would throw some thoughts down in the form of 1's and 0's as the game wore on.

But first, a prologue. As I came home on the Métro (subway), there were many Habs fans going to the game. People had pennants, flags, and of course, jerseys. Amongst the Koivus, Ryders, Huets, etc., one guy was wearing a brand new Brisebois Habs jersey. I could tell it was new 'cause it had number 71, not 43.

No joke I could make would do that moment justice.

No Sex in the Champagne Room Season Preview - Maxim Lapierre

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

22 ANS, toutes mes dents....

The tits - We may have a Sean Avery on our hands. We had a gem of a pest in Darcy Tucker a while back. We gave him away. Lapierre's career was barely a few weeks old when he single handedly created a rivalry between the Penguins and the Habs, between he and Sidney Crosby. The FHF are enthused that the Habs may finally have the cliched "hate to play against him, love having him on your team" type of player. The Habs brass kinda knew as much. This kid and his handful of big league games seems destined to reprise his role as Doctor Pain in the Ass. His audition was convincing enough to give the Habs marketing team the foresight to get his mug on one of the posters at the entrance of the Bell Centre. It reads: Maxim Lapierre, 22 ans, toutes mes dents. He's not going back to Hamilton.

His first stint with the Habs bred hope that a new scoring machine had arrived. He was sent back to the minors quickly though after injured players healed and left him without a roster spot. The fans were not happy. Back by popular demand, he showed little signs of the scoring touch that had people thinking power forward. He lost the red light skills but retained the power in power forward. A pest was born. Lapierre was smart. Knowing full well he would not crack the top two lines, he had to make himself invaluable to the 3rd or 4th. That meant he needed a mean streak. That's what would have made Carbo reflect: this kid's a little son of a bitch, I kinda like him.

Lapierre never looked back. He gave this team the little prick (both meanings apply here) they needed. He got under the opposition's skin, whether it was the best player on the opposing team, or the best player in the world. Every night, he found a way to relay the message and give the other team assurances that tonight boys, I'm gonna make life miserable for you and you're going to hate me for it.

The cellulite - When thinking of a downside to Maxim Lapierre, I can't help but think of Dennis Rodman. Here's why. The two-part arrival that was Lapierre's NHL debut last year featured two very different styles: swift, gritty power forward (like Rodman's early years with the Pistons -hair was black, the only holes in his body were his natural orifices), then came the pest, the Tucker-Avery, not really an enforcer because he lacks the physical frame (think Dennis giving Michael Jordan a three year migraine, yes along with three championship rings). If Lapierre has found fame in the latter role, how far will he take it? How mature can he be in arresting himself when his nagging antics no longer benefit the team and prove more of a distraction or even a liability. It doesn't ever have to get to this point and he'll have ample opportunity to show us his character as he attempts to fuse both players he has been into one very complete performer. If that happens, hold on to your helmets. If he shows up at practice with green hair and a date with Madonna, brace yourselves...

The armpit hair - Is a sequel to The Pierre Dagenais Story in the works? Can the kid stay focused enough to keep his roster spot? Inevitable line juggling, roster shuffling and injuries could make Lapierre the odd man out, unless he plays his role PERFECTLY. He's not a natural offensive talent, nor is he truly gifted despite his interesting dimensions. This explains why he has molded himself into the player he is today. More so than anyone on this team, Lapierre in his agitating ways is suiting up for a role, it's an act. If he fails to convince he'll be forced to reinvent himself in Hamilton.

In the VIP Room - The Habs missed the playoffs, although he tried his best to avert that disaster. He went to Hamilton. The extra reaction time afforded in the minors allowed him to regain his scoring touch. He scored, he hit, he annoyed, he did it all. The Bulldogs won the Calder Cup. He was instrumental in victory. The intangibles he can bring to the Canadiens were all on display in the AHL playoffs. He can be a pillar for the Habs for years to come, because he'll never cost them a fortune, will always be a fan favorite and will allow his leadership to solidify a bond with the organization; this can make Montreal his destination of choice when time comes to contemplate his options.

Chez Parée bound?... Through the back door, with several strippers waiting to perform a Lappy Dance for him.

7.5 Lap dances (out of ten) - This is based on his performance last year, on sheer speculation and on the hope and promise that the Habs may have found a player that can be shaped into what coach Carbo once represented, with a splash of what Kirk Muller provided. The result may be a blend of character, relentlessness, offensive imagination and a "Who do you think you're fucking with?" smirk that commands the opponent's respect along with a sudden need to decapitate.

Signature Song: Les Boys. As Eric Lapointe once said, si "y a l'coeur à la bonne place", this kid will go places.

4 am Smoked Meat Sandwich:
HF10: Sidney Crosby's still thinking about how much Lapierre annoys him. I hope he becomes this generation's Esa Tikkanen, the one guy in the league every number one centre hates for the sixty minutes of faceoffs lost, bruises received, and insults hurled in an incomprehensible accent that result when Maxim lines up against them.

HF29: I’m sorry I can’t say anything negative about him I’m afraid of a spear to the groin.

Panger: If he scores 10 goals, gets around 100 PIM and is over 50% on faceoffs he’ll be challenging Begin for most popular energy guy by the end of the season. Let’s hope his hair doesn’t get in the way.

The Morning Skate for Monday, September 17th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a 100-point season...
  • The exhibition season opens tonight, with the Habs hosting the Pens at the Bell Centre. Real(-ish) hockey! Woohoo!
  • Potential Hab Ryan O'Byrne really impressed on the ice so far, but was the victim of a a vicious hit by a midget yesterday;
  • Season previews of the Habs are starting to flood in. Check out TSN's version. AOL's The Fan House has one too.

But of course its the FHF's own season preview that you want to read. We've got the in-depth coverage. If you weren't around over the weekend, scroll down for Dandenault and Markov. Today we've got Maxim Lapierre. Don't forget, we're Montreal "media," so he's great 'cause he's from Quebec.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview - Mathieu "El Dandy" Dandenault

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

So it's a run on defenders now, as we follow Markov with one of the backline's lesser lights, Mathieu "El Dandy" Dandenault.

The tits – Experience. El Dandy won three Cups with the loaded Red Wings over his first ten years in the league, so he's not going to be overwhelmed by the big occasion. A very fast skater, he can jump into the rush when needed. Can be used on a second power-play unit if a better option is lacking. Usually pretty durable and at least tries to get his nose dirty. Versatile enough to play up front and willing to do it if it's the best thing for the team. A Quebecer who wanted to come home and play for the Habs, he obviously gets what being a Canadien is all about.

The cellulite – El Dandy is never going to wow anyone in the offensive end despite his speed and fancy nickname. At 6'1 205, he still isn't much of a physical presence, and is overmatched by power forwards in the corners and in front of the net, so he needs a head-cracker for a partner. I have no problem calling him "El Dandy", which must say something about his toughness.

The armpit hair – El Dandy has been in the league 11 years, and TSN says he "Still struggles to pick up the finer points of playing defence." Well, that ain't fucking good.

In the VIP Room – One of El Dandy's brothers was on CBC's Making the Cut, and another was on Lance et Compte (He Shoots He Scores for our non-Quebec readers). Insert your own "so they all play NHL defensemen on TV" joke here. El Dandy is a French-Canadian who came home to play, and he plays hard whether he's up front or on the blueline. The FHF can appreciate that. Word from Carbo is he's in a dogfight for a spot with some of the rookies, but he's a handy insurance policy to have around if someone falters. Having three Cups on his resume might make him trade bait if the Habs are out of it early, but if he stays around he's one of the only guys on the team allowed to look Carbo, Gainey, Beliveau, Lafleur, Cournoyer and whomever else is wandering the halls flashing Cup bling in the eye when speaking.

Chez Parée bound? – If he plays hard and does what a depth defender is supposed to, he can hitch a ride there, but he's probably going to freeze his butt off in line for awhile before he gets in. Unless of course he dressed as "El Dandy"; then it's straight in, private booth, no cover and complimentary bottles of Patron for all.

Signature song – "Bye Bye Mon Cowboy". C'mon, like Mitsou isn't right for a guy I've christened "El Dandy"?

6 lap dances (out of 10) – Depth guys get depth marks. He's a good guy to have around, and if he gets 75 games in the jersey this year it wouldn't be the worst thing. The worst thing still wears number 43, I believe.

The 4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich -

HF33 - "The worst thing" thinks that he can fool the good people if disguised in a 71. Evil. But back to the Dandy lion. I thought this 3 time cup winner would be muuuuuch better. I have now come to realize that the Wings would have won every single one of those three cups WITH OR WITHOUT HIM. He doesn't make the team better, he doesn't make them worse. He just is and that just bites.

HF29 - I like his experience. I like him as a depth guy. I like that he plays forward when needed. I like his nickname. But as an overall player, I'm completely indifferent.

Panger - There is no way I can follow up a "Bye Bye Mon Cowboy" joke, so I'm not going to try. All I'll add is that I hope Ryan O'Byrne outplays him for the 6th D spot.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

No Sex in the Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview Takes a Look at Andrei Markov

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Andrei Markov was a famous Russian mathematician of the 19th century. He was mostly known for his work on stochastic processes, which became known as Markov chains. He became Professor of Math at…Huh? What’s that you say? I’m supposed to be talking about Andrei Markov the hockey player? Alrighty then.

The tits – great two-way D. Fabu quarterback on the PP. 49 points last year made him Habs’ fourth best scorer. Very solid in his own end, almost always playing against the opposing teams’ best players (Alex Ovechkin has called him the best D in the league, though they are like BFF’s, so take that with a grain of salt). His +2 last year is really the tits next to Souray’s minus 4000. He skates very well, can move the puck up the ice nicely, and a great passer. Also likes playing in Montreal (chose to sign here as a UFA), which is a rare quality. Has hockey smarts. Logs major minutes.

The cellulite – not really physical (c’mon, he’s Russian!). He may not be so durable, with assorted back and lower-body problems over the last few years, though he seems to play through it most of the time. Not the biggest guy either. The Habs site has him listed as 6’0” 200 lbs, but that must be in high heels after 20 bowls of borscht.

The armpit hair – every now and then he’ll make a gaffe in his own end. Not quite to Breezer standards, but he can look silly. His decent shot would kill several fans a year if not for that new netting behind the goals in NHL arenas.

In the VIP Room – Markov is fresh off signing a four-year, 23-million dollar deal. The signing of a big deal always has two possible outcomes in sports. Player X, now secure in his financial future and rewarded for past successes, can concentrate on actually playing and have a great year. Alternatively, Player X becomes lazy and disinterested now that he’s rich. Unfortunately, you never know which you get.

Chez Parée bound? In a Hummer stretch on top of a big pile of money with many beautiful ladies. Ready to take his place among the league’s elite D.

8.5 lap dances (out of 10) – I know this is the second 8.5 I’ve given, but trust me, I’ve got a lot more crappy players coming up. Markov deserves it, maybe even a 9. Could easily be our MVP this year.

The 4 AM Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF10 - He makes his defence partners better, which is a good sign. Everyone is waiting for him to "break out" as a top-ten guy, but here's a newsflash: he's already 28. I think his ceiling isn't far away, which makes him a very valuable piece, but probably not a perennial Norris contender. Below the Lidstroms/Prongers/Phaneufs of the world, but easily the best we have.

Panger - Sorry HF10 but you're wrong, 28 is not too old to take that step. Some good players need strong teammates to get them over the hump into elite status - think John Leclair when he joined Lindros in Philly. I'm betting, however, that Markov is the opposite - now that Souray is gone and he is the undisputed "Man" on the Habs blueline he's going to take a step up into Elite Defender status. But then I'm an optimist.

HF33 - I don't know if his signing with Montreal this year really warrants the tits. I think it is more refelective of a decision taken by a real introvert who has had significant difficulty adapting to life away from home. In short, during his entire tenure with the team Markov has not looked happy. In that sense he reminds me of another hugely talented - on the cusp of greatness - Russian defenceman: right, Vlad Malakhov. The similarity in their demeanour is striking. They labor through a season with this heavy aura of sadness, this quiet and collapsing discomfort very near them wherever they go. For Markov, this has caused significant problems in learning English and has delayed the enmeshment with the team. The anxiety he seems to be struggling through would have been revisited in a move to another city, something he obviously was compelled not to experience again. He is the team's best on the blue line, but these afflictions signify that the team cannot depend on him to lead them to wherever it is they are trying to go.