Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Sunday. Happy Sunday. Enough with Star Trek.

This is not your game review, that comes tomorrow.

We're quasi-impressed with the Habs' performance last night.

But we're not ready to admit it yet.

We were almost feeling like this again, as November draws to a close.

But we're not ready to say so yet.

We love Star Trek, but the Vulcan hype on this blog has seriously slighted that other other galactic saga we all know and love.

This is an old clip, by internet standards, but I am bold enough to say that it's in my all-time top 5 internet videos.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fuck, we're running out of ideas to fix this - Sabres at Habs Preview and Open Thread

This is what you get when you type in "Buffalo Sabres girls". Fine with us.

Alright, I give up. We go with Emma and free-form verse and win against the defending champs, we go with Emma and lyrics from KISS and turn in a putrid performance in Washington. I'm just gonna throw the info out here, hope that the almost-as-schizo-Sabres take their turn to blow tonight, and probably avoid watching altogether.

Waiting in line details: Habs coming home to start longest homestand of the year, seven games that will go a long way to determining how the season goes. Rumours of CBC coverage, plus the ever-faithful RDS. 7:00 pm start. Habs coming off last night's Theo shutout; Sabres won last two versus Pens and Bruins. Oh.

There are no hot Habs. Don't even pretend. No one, and I mean no one, deserves the "hot" label. Fuck em. Everyone looks terrible, even if they don't. Some people (Greek Lightning, Gorges, Koivu) are playing hard, but everyone else is brutal. Okay, Price and Halak are playing fine, but it might be time for them to steal one to right the ship.

For the Sabres, Tomas Vanek may never be worth his crazy contract, but he has twice the goals of Montreal's leader Tanguay. Drew Stafford and Derek Roy are very talented co-pilots. Maxim Afiniganov is currently trade bait. Ryan Miller is one of Bettman's poster boys, a smart, well-spoken American ... but he's been terribly average in almost every way this year.

Is there a better blog name than Die By the Blade? I think not. Go there for all your Sabres needs. Go to Buffalo Bill's near the old Forum if all this Buffalo talk has produced a hankering for wings. Don't worry if they don't serve beer. Bring them into your favourite downtown pub; our buddy the Chibougamu Cowboy used to bring McNuggets into pubs "because they don't serve McNuggets here". Waitresses never questioned his logic.

Thoughts, memories of grand Buffalo sporting triumphs, still harbour a burning hatred for John Van Boxmeer or Bob Sauve? Let's hear it in the comments.

Mr. HF29 Goes to Washington - Caps 3, Habs a big fat nothing thanks for coming 29

The first blurry image of HF29 hits the intertubes

Mmmm, that's not Molson Ex

Not pictured - scoreboard showing "Habs Suck"

Well that was fun. Ha. In lieu of an actual review of that mess, we'll just make one long rambling list of Pithy Observations of Questionable Importance (TM SLC):
  • Pretty good atmosphere in that place, I must admit. I was impressed with the Caps fans generally;
  • Pretty good building too, way better than our Phone Booth;
  • There was a "stats scoreboard" which rotated a bunch of stats like faceoffs won, hits, time on ice. Thought that was cool;
  • Why the fuck were both Bégin and El Dandy on a PP in the 3rd?
  • In general, what the fuck was up with those lines? I know Tangy was out and god help me I love me some Greek, but Kosto is not a first line player;
  • Proof there is no such thing as karma - during a TV timeout, the hostess played a game called "What year is it?" with some fans. One of the 3 clues? "KISS records Rock and Roll All Nite";
  • It was very easy to start the Olé chant in the hallways before the game. After the game? Not so much;
  • When the Caps score, the scoreboard shows Will Ferrell clips - I caught the cheerleader from SNL and the moment after Frank the Tank does the beer bong;
  • Also on the scoreboard during timeouts? YouTube videos of people getting injured à la With Leather;
  • More scoreboard - they showed replays of stuff that just happened while the play was still going on (sponsored by Verizon!). Are you supposed to watch the replay or the live game?
  • I think we had no shots through the first 12 minutes. Seriously, are we playing the trap now? Kill me;
  • Ovie is a great hockey player;
  • Kovy, right now, is not;
  • I enjoy Yuengling beer;
  • I also enjoy the Red Rockers;
  • Habs played a great 2nd period but it didn't pay off;
  • While Theo got a shutout, he was totally shaky all night. Too fucking bad we don't seem to have the skills anymore to take advantage.
  • I'm all out of bullet points.
Huge thanks to FHF official graphic designer / photographer and my DC host Wendell Semaines for the photos; thank god he had a camera because mine died five minutes after we left the house.

The Game Day Skate for Saturday, November 29

Bullet points on what you missed when you lost your bowl bid because your biggest rival scored 10 points in the last minute and a half:

More on the mess in Washington later today ... maybe 29 has some in person insight. Sick of the Habs bi-polar play? Take some time out to enjoy College Football rivalry week: Alabama/Auburn, Florida/Florida State, Oklahoma/Oklahoma State, USC/Notre Dame are all on tap today.

Friday, November 28, 2008

And now for something really completely very similar to the different stuff we tried last time - Caps Game Preview and Open Thread

Well, when we tried something completely different the last time, it totally worked ... and as Ken Dryden says, you don't mess with a streak. So here's the lovely Emma Andersson, hot Swedish something and fiancée of Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg. Here's the same video of her frolicking in lingerie with Victoria Secret models. I think. It's still all in Swedish.

Now, I'm no epic poem writer like 29, Limerick Dude, moeman, or the great lyricists of the newly-adopted FHF house band KISS. But maybe I can take heart that tonight we face Ovie and his Semitic nose armed with the power of the most famous greasepaint wearing sex fiend singer-songwriters that Judaism has ever produced, Mr Chaim Witz and Mr Stanley Harvey Eisen (Gene and Paul to most of us).

Tonight, the Habs venture into the Firehouse that is the Verizon Center in Washington DC to face the God of Thunder himself Alex Ovechkin. Ovie and his running mate Nicklas (Dr. Love) Backstrom go together like Cold Gin and lime and are currently Hotter than Hell. Alex Semin was a Destroyer earlier in the year but has come back to earth somewhat. Mike Green (who can Rock and Roll All Nite) is injured, and the rest of the Caps defence is not exactly Dressed to Kill. Will we see our old friend Jose (Creature of the Night) Theodore in net?

The Habs are not going to make anyone Shout it out Loud with their inconsistent play. Some of the Flaming Youth like the Tits brothers, Rhino, and Pleks are having their issues, and Kovy hasn't pulled out his Love Gun of talent nearly enough so far (man, that sounded way more disgusting than it should). Sometimes on the back end it looks like All Hell's Breakin' Loose because DOOM is still out. Josh Gorges is doing his best to make sure Montreal isn't A World Without Heroes. If I Sure Know Something, it's that this team can still win a lot of games as long as Price is calm and cool while Heaven's on Fire around him. Can the Habs repeat their success from Detroit Rock City? Let's hear it in the comments.

* Special Notice! Special Notice! Keep your eyes peeled for our very own HF29, live and in person at tonight's game, reveling in the great selection of local brews on tap at the Verizon and probably wearing his favourite (possibly blasphemous) half-home, half-away Habs jersey. No word on whether he's sitting with our good friend Capschick from Capital Addiction.

The Game Day Skate for Friday, November 28

Bullet points to sum up what you missed while having nightmares about another possible election ...

Habs in Washington tonight. Ovie and Backstrom tearing it up. HF29 live at the game. Much more later.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bi-Polar Reflections on a Habs Win: Montreal 3 Detroit 1. No, Actually: Habs 3 Wings 1

Who knew the path to enlightenment ran on a steel rail?

HFF 33 and Panger discuss the impact of last night's game on the rest of the Canadiens season:

HFF33: Habs Win! Habs Win! And I think everyone will agree that beating the Stanley Cup Champs in Detroit means Montreal is the clear favorite here on in. It's a sign of their return to dominance.

Panger: Are you mental? I don't think anyone agrees with that. They are still inconsistent at best, Cup contenders they are not. Not yet anyway. Carey Price saved their ass last night, he was awesome.

HFF33: He's still not as good at St. Patrick!

Panger: Yes, yes, I know. Let's move on. Look, on the first goal, Mad Max was standing behind the net when he shot that puck -

HFF33: And in off Nik Lidstrom, the best D in the league. See, it can happen to anyone! That's Karma's payback for the Rhino brain fart and -

Panger: Yeah yeah, fine. Maybe. Is that why you chose that picture? Karma? Anyway, the point is they rode the ensuing momentum to add a couple more goals, and then fell back and did nothing while Price held the fort. It's only a sign they got lucky.

And don't interrupt me again, pric.

HFF33: Sorry. But don't you need karma, or luck, or a certain I don't know what, to win a Cup? Maybe Rhino's own-goal will be remember as the turning point of this Stanley Cup winning season - the Habs filled up their karmic bank account by offering to score for their opponents, and now the universe will reward them in spades. We're on track for the Cup now, baby!

Panger: I'm admit that winning a Cup win usually involves good karma, but it's not as important as effort and talent. And the Habs have been utterly inconsistent in both departments thus far this season -last night's game is just more proof. Giving away a game at home against the Islanders, then beating the Wings in Detroit two days later? I-N-C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-T. And that might as well spell "loser" - inconsistent teams don't win Cups. That's why I choose the picture: it symbolises the up and down season thus far. And while they look happy, in fact they're heading downhill -another symbol to represent the fact that all a Detroit win is going to do is increase already unrealistic Cup expectations.

HFF33: Wait, I though I choose the picture? Whatever. OK, they have been inconsistent, but that's all in the past: Higgins potted his first in a week, Pleks scored his first goal in 9 games and it was the game winner - isn't that also a sign? The consistency is coming, I can feel it.

Panger: That's probably the meth. And how many did Kovalev have? AK27 is the offensive engine that drives this team, not Pleks. And he sucks donkey balls right now. Big Tits? Little Tits? Did you notice them at all? Plus Tangy's probably going to join DOOM on the sidelines for a month. Did you see that hit? My teeth hurt just watching it.

HFF33: No way man, Alex is going to be fine! Carey is going to win as many games as we'll need, and Kovy is going to score a hat trick next game. you'll see. The Cup is as good as ours.

Panger: You're an idiot.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, November 27

Bullet points as you travel in empty airports because no American can afford to go home for Thanksgiving (bon voyage, HF29!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And now for something really completely different - Wings Game Preview and Open Thread

Well, when we tried something completely different on Monday it worked... for 55 minutes. So what if The Burner passed the puck to the ghost of Bill Durnan? Who wasn't in his net because he was pissed that his number hasn't been retired by the Habs? So what if he was a six-time Vézina winner and six-time first team All-Star? Oooh, rambling tangents - that's really completely different. Or not.

ANYWAY, the lovely lady above is Emma Andersson, hot Swedish something and fiancée of Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg. Here's video of her frolicking in lingerie with Victoria Secret models. I think. It's all in Swedish. Go Wings! Go Henrik! Go Emma! Go (my) pants!

To be really completely different, I will now attempt to write this preview in freeform verse.

Oh the night of Wednesday at seven and a half hours
The Habs and Wings shall play in the heart of Michigan
While TSN forces MAGUIRE upon the masses again
Our gallant warriors are 1-1-2 in their last four; while
Our gallant foes ride a 7-0-2 streak
Oh how we weep
We mourn the loss of HockeyTownTodd
as we direct you to Red Wings Corner
Our heroes lately are the odd names of Kosto and Gorges;
with some Lang thrown in
While Pleks, Kovy, Tangy and Higgy burn in the icy pits of hell
Oh how we weep
Datsyuk Zetterberg and Conklin we envy your heat
though Hossa and Draper struggle as modern man does every day
The Wings are 33% on the PP
Oh how we weep
Price will be on guard facing Lord Conklin
BGL, DOOM and Gui! lick their wounds
the female form is praised at Bouzouki
We weep not

I'm sure you can do better in the comments. Limerick Dude, away!

The Game Day Skate for Wednesday, November 26th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of another leaders' debate...
Bring on the Wings tonight. This could get ugly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Esco'byrne Seals Habs Fate: Isles 4 - Colombia 3 (drive-by S/O)

There isn't much to say.

Habs were up with roughly five minutes to go in the game. All seemed well.

The Canadiens then drew a penalty and Carey Price did what goalies do, THEY LEAVE THE NET FOR THE EXTRA ATTACKER.

Then sub-performing defenseman Ryan O'Byrne engaged in a foot race with Doug Weight, who is now in his ninetieth year. Ryan beat dead Weight to the puck and then fired it into his own net, because he wanted to throw it back to Carey. You know, because Carey is this awesomely smooth skating attacker who could glide to the blue line and deliver this perfect outlet pass to one of the forwards waiting to break in alone on Norm Madconald. Oh yeah, I totally see it, amazing idea, NO!, GENIUS!

A Carey in the crease, there wasn't. The puck made its incredulous path towards the gaping net and the game was suddenly tied on the own goal. And Ryan Esco'byrne was born.

Just a quick word for Esco':

Ryan, hola.
Ryan, besa mi culo, puto.
Ryan, baboso, hijo de puta, tu eres más feo que el culo de un mono.
Ryan, hueles a mierda .
Ryan, cago en tu leche.
Chinga usted.

The Morning Skate Theatre for November 25th

We're sure things happened in the NHL last night besides this, but we're also sure that no one is going to be talking about much else today. If you're just waking up and missed the game, here's the story.

We are now taking ideas for a clever name for this, this thing, in the comments. We're leaning towards "Ryan O'Burns his own team leading to years of psychotherapy", but that's a mouthful.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And now for something completely different... Isles Game Preview and Open Thread

You know with all the focus on strippers and hot hockey wives and hot chicks with tenuous relationships to hockey and Danica McKellar, we never have the chance to post random hot chicks from elsewhere in the world of sports. In an effort to shake things up to see if the Habs can actually win a game, today all that changes. The lovely ladies pictured above are Bia and Branca Feres, Brazilian synchronized swimmers. And twins. 'Nuff said.

And on with the preview! We're doing the freeform rambling paragraphs today, again, in an effort to shake things up. Habs welcome the Isles to the Bell Centre tonight at 7:30 PM. Habs are a sparkling 3-4-2 since the 8-1-1 start. Isles have actually won 4 of their last 5 games. Really? Uh oh. Habs won the one meeting so far this year, 5-4. Check out The Drive for Five for all your Isles blogging needs.

TFS (tm) has some hotness for the Habs. Greek Lightning seems to be doing well on whatever line he plays on. And Gang Bang Lang has had his moments lately. On the other side of the ledger, Pleks has zero points in seven games. Ick. Higgy has no points in his last 6, and Markov seems to have cooled off offensively. Kovy may be a zombie. Let's face it, when you've scored 9 goals over the span of 6 games, you're not getting alot of hot players. Habs have climbed all the way to number 23 in the PP rankings! Damn, we were so close to last I could taste it.

For the Isles, Doug Weight is relatively hot and the Isles' leading scorer. Also hot and second in Isles scoring is a certain Swiss Mister. They've been riding the hot goalie play of Joey "Jo Jo Junior Shabadoo" MacDonald (who?), 4-1-0, 2.17, .936 in his last 5 games. He's scheduled to go tonight. Not too many cool players over there, but plenty of injured ones. DiPietro, Comrie, Okposo, Sillinger and others all injured (though technically Sillinger is healed, he's on the farm rehabbing).

The line-up for the Habs is anyone's guess. Rumour has Carbo putting Koivu, Tangy and Higgy back together. DOOM, as we know, is out 4-5 weeks and Gui! is day to day, and may play, but most likely not. TFS gets the start.

Here is the paragraph where I make many witicisms in talking about how much the Habs suck. As this is the preview that is completely different, here's my witticism - Habs suck. Seriously, though, I thought I saw a few signs of improvement Saturday night. But not too many. There seems to be a few too many players out there floating around like pot smoke when you hotbox a bathroom. OK, maybe one witticism.

For your post-game entertainment, you need to check out the last episode of Prison Break until February. Last week's ep ended with what looks to be an awesome Mexican stand-off (is that racist btw?). Should be epic.

Try something different in the comments. How about making observations?

Quiet Discomfort

It’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate because after Saturday night’s game and everything it was supposed to mean to the organization, the evening fell flat.

Unfortunate because with the promise of the interesting undertones drawn by the blanket thrown over Milan Lucic by Habs enforcer Georges Laraque, that fell flat too.

A game, played on the heels of an emotional ceremony, with the guest of honor being the only player most of today’s young Canadiens could actually call their own hero, a game with a legendary number reaching the highest of heights, also fell flat.

An eagerly awaited ceremony and the much anticipated “I’m so sorry for leaving too soon”, with the most awkward family gathering you’ve ever seen at centre ice, it too fell flat.

Patrick Roy came home on Saturday night. Je rentre chez nous. His speech hit the right notes, with the speaker unafraid to broach, albeit rapidly, the very delicate topic of his turbulent departure. If the fans made it clear they would take all the time required to let The Reason two more banners were raised to the rafters his number would join know that all was forgiven, the participants in the Roy camp were just as loud in their quiet discomfort. Instead of a celebratory disposition one may expect for a moment of this magnitude, both it and Roy actually felt lonely. He seemed distant, removed. No tears, no visible emotion, which of course is not to say he didn’t feel everything inside, but it was not in rhythm.

The puck was dropped and the nostalgia washed away, swept by the very immediate concerns trailing these Montreal Canadiens. Claude Julien learned a lesson and would let his respect for tradition and history take a back seat to his duties as coach. When he insisted on having his players sit through the entire ceremony for the Canadiens’ centennial home opener, an awestruck Bruins allowed the Habs to pummel them in the first period, with Montreal jumping to a quick 3-0 lead. Not this time. While Roy was being honored in this all-important ceremony, in a career on which Boston left an indelible mark, the Bruins were nowhere to be found. They could have been at the hotel for all we know.

It was a good move. The Bruins started the game fresh. No complexes, no intimidation. On equal footing. This time it was the Habs who couldn’t shake-off the hour-long wait. This is obviously a vastly improved Bruins squad. These are the Bruins who had the Habs figured out by game 2 of the first round of last year’s playoff series. This is a team that has plugged the many offensive holes that made them welcome mats for too long. And Tim Thomas looks like a real goalie, awkward, yes, but real.

The Lucic-Laraque billing left fans wondering what the point was. Lots of talk, during play, on faceoffs, from the bench. Yap, yap, yap. Whatever. Lucic finished the game with a goal. Laraque finished the game in irrelevance. It’s time Georgie Porgie, cashmere! stops waiting around for players to invite him to dance and make the suggestion himself, if that’s what he intends on doing. As Lucic quickly learned, the Laraque shadow is an easy one to slip by, because it’s as slow as the guy who’s casting it.

Carey was great. A fitting tribute to the money goalie Patrick was and that fans still miss. Greek Lightning was inspiring. But, by and large, the Canadiens failed to respond to the challenge on Saturday; they didn't live up to the billing and showed that their unwillingness to work will, more often than not, leave them on the short end of the draw. If Patrick Roy did in fact come home last night, the game, as a whole, although interesting at the end, could have and should have given us far more to write home about.

The Game Day Skate for Monday, November 24th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of Anthony Calvillo shitting the bed in yet another Grey Cup...
Islanders in town tonight. Hey, a team we might be able to beat! I said might.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Worshipping At The Alter: St. Patrick's Day Game Preview And Open Thread

I admit that a major part of my being is being a Canadiens fan. I define myself by it in many ways - not the least of which is devoting hours of otherwise free time to a blog devoted to all things Habs. I have asked myself on many an occassion - admittedly, almost exclusively after a particularly frustrating loss - why I'm a fan of this particular franchise. Yes, in its origin it was no more than an accident of geography, little 13-year old Panger being no exception to the general rule of thumb that teams choose their fans - not the other way around - through proximity or by the passing on of genes imprinted with (invariable, at least for my generation and prior) their father's team's logo. And let me be clear, I mean no slight to fans of other teams who I am sure feel just as strongly about thier team. In other words, this is about us Habs fans, not anyone else.

The Canadiens are different, special, unique. The root reason is obvious: the club predates the very league in which they play, and has dominated like no other franchise in hockey history. The combination of time and winning led to memories, then tradition and, ultimately, myth. I use the term myth very particularly, in the sense that it is a sacred narrative that holds religious or spiritual significance for those who tell it - or, more to the point, participate and believe in it. This is my preemptive strike on those who believe themselves clever and try to twist my words against me to claim the subject of today's post is only a myth. To these critics, I say that you are missing the point, that a myth is born in some fact but its importance emerges regardless of what the actual facts may be. The Canadiens, and so many of its former club members, transcend sports fanaticism, and I have a deeply held faith that fans of Le Club de Hockey Canadiens have an emotional, spiritual and - I daresay - religious link to this hockey club and a handful of its players.

I expect more than a few readers are asking where this comes from, so I admit my bone fides: While little Panger had the Habs foisted upon him, grown-up Panger trotted off to university to search for the meaning of life and before being sucked into the world of law, this search earned a Master's Degree in Hockey History. Look it up; look hard enough and you'll find a 1998 thesis in the National Archives about Hockey in the Second World War which, in retrospect, lays bare the author's fascination with Maurice Richard and all things Habitants.

This experience immersed me in the history of this franchise in a way I suspect few other hockey fans have - or, admittedly, would be interested in and emerges from studying not only Canadiens history, but NHL/NHA history and sports sociology (especially Marxists). [Not that I think this makes me better qualified necessarily - my only point is I've probably spent way too much time thinking about this kind of stuff.] What emerged was a history of the Montreal Canadiens showing a narrative with a deep and pervasive foundation in its community and beyond that is rooted in history, a history that has become intertwined with a people and nation, with the club itself imprinted onto Canadian history and society. It is part of the identity of Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Hockey. It is part of my identity. I suspect, if you have plodded this far through this all-too unfunny post, you are too.

The time of my studies and introspection on being a Habs fan coincided with dark times in Habs history, the universally lamented Houle-Tremblay era . I admit this put my own hockey values to the test. Living in Ottawa, sporting a brand-spanking (well, resurrected) hockey team, there seemed to be an option which never presented itself before: could I switch allegiances? Although a cardinal sin according to Bill Simmons (see #19), it passed through my jaded, Tremblay/Houle-loathing mind. But it would not come to pass; it could not come to pass. The pull of the only franchise I've ever loved was too strong. Why? It meant something to me to be a Canadiens fan. For a history-geek, it was natural to follow a franchise that is steeped in it.

The team's famous dressing room motto serve as the opening lines of the narrative: From Failing Hands We Throw The Torch: Be Yours To Hold It High. Not coincidentally, excerpted from one of the, if not the, most famous Canadian poem in the nation's history, shows the culture of Canadian society. Words that embody strength even in weakness, envision and implicitly expect sucess, just like the franchise.

Of course words go only so far, and the deeds of man must take the proverbial Torch and hold it high. The Torch was lit by early martyrs, the Chicoutimi Cucumber (the original #1) and the Stradford Streak (7), figures that stand almost above the game through their devotion to it, cemented by lives given to carry the Torch when it was theirs to hold high. The Torch lit riotious mob fires in defence of thier humble, soft spoken superstar with fire in his eyes and viciousness in his wrists - and make no mistake, there was more underlying these events that the Canadiens lost a chance at extending their record Cup run on that cold March Montreal evening in 1955. The Torch never burned brighter than during this, the Franchise's Greatest Generation, backstopped by Masked Man (another 1) and a Gros Bill (4), combined with a Boom Boom (5) Pocket Rocket (16) and Moore (12). It passed through the quick hands of a Roadrunner, supported by a Flower (10) and entrusted to a lawyer-later-MP (29) and a Senator (18). It took the broad sholders of a Big Bird (19) and the world's most complete hockey player turned The Bob We now Trust (23) to carry the Torch across the bridge from the generations of the 50s and 70s to my own in the 80s. Even through the late ninetys and new century, while the Torch burns less bright running on fumes from Cup victories past, the link continues through not a native son, but a foreigner adopted as our own. There is an aura that surrounds a figure like #11 for those who choose to see it. An auru that emerged through lean times, figuratively and unfortunately literally for a man who all-to-closely came to following the the footsteps of the early martyrs. Special numbers all, born out of mythts, not just to the franchise, but to the faithful.

But there is as much myth, in the sense of falsehood, in the preceeding paragraph as truth. The truth is, Rocket did touch an official, a transgression that today would unquestionably merit sanction. Plane was a moody and aloof innovator, the Flower a chain-smoking quitter. Morenz could be labelled the Alexei-Yashin of his era for his contract demands (the difference being he was holding out for a living wage, not a larger wad). Dryden quit on his team for an entire season to pursue an avenue which would have been just as open (and laborious) after his time on ice had expired. All details, minor and unimportant next to the accomplishments and memories they each invoke for entire generations of devoted fans.

But Patrick Roy is criticised principally for an event that was out of his control, since even pampered modern day players cannot trade themselves. It is not his fault that, unlike the other players mentioned, he did not spend his career with the club. The undeserved criticism heaped on Roy I consider unfortunate and a symptom of the short-sightedness of some people whose only contribution is criticism, unable to frame events - and men - in historical and societal context.

HF29 has already covered what I suspect is the narrative that cemented the myth of St. Patrick for a generation of fans like me. He was unbeateable in OT in the 1993 playoffs (actually he lost one game before the streak). The hockey gods meant for the Habs to win by performing a miracle in the form of a last-minute powerplay, leading them to the Cup (which in fact had more to do with Marty McSorley's brain cramp). Let me share some other reasons little Panger worshipped at the alter of St. Patrick.

Being a geek-historian is also part of my identity, as is being a goalie. Initially, the only reason I can recall for preferring Roy over Hayward (the only suitable candidaites for idolization by a 11-year-old die hard fan in 1987) was because Roy had a way cooler mask. The simple predominante "CH" on the forehead, and a clever little "33" in the place of the "H" on the chin may be boring by today's standards, but it was less boring that Hayward's. It was distinctive only because of its wearer. In retrospect, even his vanilla white '86 model was distinctive to an admiring 11-year old, the plastic throat guard constantly swishing about, the cords popping out, drawing attention to the seemingly massive airholes through which they were looped.

But the real unhealthy man-crush developed in 1988-89, the year Roy helped the Habs lead the Prince of Wales Conference almost wire-to-wire, only to fall to a loaded Calgary Flames team. I'll never forget how Al MacInnis' slapshot was like kryptonite to my masked superman, but I don't care. From that time on, and forever more, Patrick Roy would be Saint Patrick to little Panger.

Because of the extravagent gloves saves. Because of the first 10 shots in OT against the '86 Rangers . Because of the Wink. Because of the 11 OT wins. Even because of The Trade, because he was right and Tremblay/Houle were wrong. But mostly because little 11 year old kids would bounce super balls against their basement walls for hours and practice those flashy, arrogant glove saves, pretending they bore the hallowed "CH" on their foreheads.

Because of this, St. Patrick is a hero to me, earning St. Patrick the place in my generation reserved for his predecessors like Vezina, Plante and Dryden to miniature goalie wannabes in their respective generations. He deserves his place alongside giant Canadiens like the Richards and Beliveau. Not only does he deserve to be there, we fans deserve to have him there.

This is why jersey number 33 is being - and should be - raised to the rafters tonight. Not only because of all the accomplishments over his career - and make no mistake, no one can ever convince me that anyone else approaches St. Patrick as the greatest money goalie of all time and has the numbers to back it up. No, his jersey is going up to hang with the legendary club's hallowed greats because he was the reason for a generation of little kids growing up and around the Montreal franchise to believe in the ghosts, to believe in the divine right of the Canadiens to Stanley's Cups, to feel in their bones the magic and inspiration of this glorious franchise.

To resent St. Patrick is to betray the mythic quality which makes this franchise special. Of course this is a controversal position to hold, given the polarization the man inspires. There is no doubt that Roy the man, as is any man, was flawed: egotistical would only be the opening salvo of his detractors. And much ink and bandwith will be wasted debating the merits of the man, and whether his transgressions serve as santions to strip him of what his on-ice accomplishments have obviously earned him. Just as I truly believe it would have been for his predecessors if they played in the media-hounded fish bowl of the modern sporting world.

But my point it is this: it is not the man's number that is being retired, it is the myth. To disrespect the myth of St. Patrick is to disrespect the franchise, and what makes it important to its devotees. It is a betrayal. It is - and I say this with full knowledge and intention that this slur is the greatest I can hurl at a fellow Montreal Canadiens partisan - Mario-Tremblay-like. And that is why I am calling out HF4, formerly known as HF33:

With the greatest respect to HF4 as the outstanding individual I know and admire, HF4 as a Canadiens Fan, you sir are a TRAITOR for betraying the myth.

Now, I can hold no grudge for selecting the number of the embodiment of class, the thorough gentleman that is the Great Jean Beliveau. But to do so by disgarding the number 33, virtually spitting on a numeral that means what it means to this franchise is to spit on the franchise.

It is a wrong that I can no longer tolerate. I must do what I must to make it up to Vezina and Morenz and their fellow ghosts that no doubt also inhabit the internet vicariously through their devotees. I must do something to honour the inheriter and standard bearer of the Torch for my generation. Today I have a goalie mask not unlike St. Patrick's Canadiens-era dome. Every so often a ref or opposing player will jokingly ask if I talk to my posts. I do. I bobble my helmet, too. Because that's what St. Patrick used to do.

And becaue of my worship for St. Patrick, I too will change my name. I will be a Habs Fan forever 33. Little Panger Promises.

HFF33 aka Panger

This is technically the game preview, so if you've beeen living under a rock here are the details:

Ceremony: 7pm, CBC, RDS TV; CJAD/CKAC Radio

Puck Drop: 7:30pm

Price v. Fernandez (probable). Bruins are hot, first in the division, coming in full of confidence after finally getting the Habs monkey off their backs last game; Habs - individually and collectively - generally not.

Post those comments people. This is a special evening, treat it as such.

It's St. Patrick's Day on FHF

Well this is it. #33 goes to the rafters tonight. Whatever controversy about whether or not the Habs should retire Patrick Roy's number, or whether they should be doing it now, is behind us. Well, probably not, because I am sure that will be the main topic of conversation in the comments today and in the thread tonight. Ah well. ANYWAY, I'm not here for that. I'm just here to start the day off with my own memories of St. Patrick. You know, from on the ice. FHF resident goalie Panger will be bringing you the main feature this afternoon, that will be your preview and open thread for the big bad (yet now Easter Conference-leading) Bruins tonight.

For now, let's take a trip down memory to that beautiful time of 1993. David Koresh went postal on the ATF. Pearl Jam was slowly taking the grunge mantle from Nirvana. The breakup of Czechoslovakia ensured that Jagr and Hossa would never play together. And the Montreal Canadiens went on the greatest playoff run I've ever seen, led by #33.

It started like crap. I remember watching the first two games against the Nordiques at the old Lincoln Pub with some friends from school. One of them was a HUGE Habs fan, and was very upset that he would only see the first two games, because he was off to France for the summer. After we lost those first two (leading to the fans and media calling for Red Light Racicot!), he was happy as he left us and went home to pack. "Now I won't miss anything - Habs will be out in four straight."

You all know what happened next - Habs reel off 11 straight wins and 10 straight overtime wins on their way to the Stanley Cup over the Kings thanks to a bad-ass curved stick. It was magical. But what I really remember was Patrick. I have never seen a goalie like that either before or since, and I've seen alot. You talk about sports stars being in a zone, but this was beyond the zone. After a few games you just knew, if the Habs got to OT, Patrick wasn't letting in a goal. I'm really not sure what you could compare it to. Maybe Mariano Rivera for the Yankees in 1999, or Michael Jordan for the Bulls in several of those championship years. You just knew if the team kept it close, those guys would close the deal. Patrick was like that in 1993.

His GAA from those playoffs was merely very very good, at 2.13. But the numbers don't tell the story. It was the feeling, that with Patrick on our side, destiny would be fulfilled. I barely remember the rest of that team (Brian Bellows? Gilbert Dionne?) because that team was Patrick. Patrick carried a mediocre team on his back, something he did time and time again. That's what I'll remember, and even smile at, when that 33 banner goes up.

Sports Illustrated recap of the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs

1993 Road to the Cup on YouTube

Friday, November 21, 2008

Maybe I'm Saying Too Much, But...


Fuck fuck fuck.

Fuckity fuck fuck.

Get use to seeing Georgy-boy next to Markov, 'cause DOOM is out for a month.

I miss him already.

I miss his board-rocking, glass-shattering bodychecks.
I miss his big blue eyes and military-cut blond buzz cut.
I miss his smell, his musk.

(P.S. Mrs. Panger: I know you wanted kids and all, but I though you should know.)

Habs Overcome Breast Reduction to Defeat Senators: MTL 3 - OTT 2 (SO)

The Canadiens can seek comfort in two more undeserving points. Fans can cozy up to the fireplace with a cup of warm cocoa, resting with the delightful vision of Alex Tanguay backhanding his way to glory. But alas, we can't. Because these are hard times. Because we've lost something and for things to be the way they once were, we need that something back.

Because the Canadiens have lost their tits.

While the organization was hard at work over the summer building the appearance of a contender, two brothers in Belarus concocted a plan that threatened to throw the team in another direction.

Vanished. Pouf. Disappeared. Scooby-I’m-starting-to-get-a-bad-feeling-about-this gone.

FHF headquarters in Belarus is telling us that the brothers have done this before.

When they were children, while often left alone at home, the young Kostitsyns would spend hours on end making time pass by indulging in a game of hide and go seek. We are told that one cold winter morning many years ago, an amused Sergei told his big brother Andrei, “ok, I hide you seek”, and darted away. Simple instructions, even for the simplest of men, but that day Andrei had been distracted by the television and a new game he had recently discovered: Wheel of Fortune. The night before, 8-year old Andrei confided in his younger brother: “I want to go to America to turn letters like Vanna. I dream to turn letters”.

So as Sergei was telling Andrei that he would be seeking while Andrei would be hiding, a dazed Andrei understood the opposite, resulting in them both hiding. The Kostitsyns are known for their voracious tenacity, and so both brothers, unsuspecting and unaware of the miscommunication, stayed in hiding for days, each brother waiting for the other to find him. They were also plenty shrewd, and so their parents couldn’t find them for days. They were sure their children had run away. Mama Tits even told her husband that she had noticed how mesmerized her eldest had appeared in front of the television lately. Maybe he had darted off to America to fulfill a dream, to learn how to turn letters, and would return to Belarus as the country’s first Professional Letter Turner. Maybe, upon his return, he could even open a school where he could teach the craft of letter turning. The Academy of Letter Turning Technology of Belarus. Dare to dream, she thought, if only that were the reason her boys were gone. A mother can only hope.

Ironically, only hunger saved the boys, who had both been hiding in the same bed under the covers, oblivious to the fact that they had been 3 inches away from one another for nearly two weeks.

Now, alas, it seems the Canadiens, like the Kostitsyn family before, have lost their Tits. Don’t look beyond this fact when trying to conjure up some kind of logic to explain the team’s shortcomings so far this year. The tits are hiding under their metaphorical covers together again. And as the whole organization attempts to retrieve the Tits, by calling out Where Are You Tits? you can just hear the two giggling uncontrollably , tempting fate and defying the searching coaching staff.

But you know what, Andrei, Sergei? It’s not funny.

Your antics have extricated the zip out of what were intended to be two pure offensive lines.

Kovalev is doing just fine, as he still brushes strokes off his palette to paint pictures of wizardry. The Koivu line is carrying the team. But without the two tits in full force, this team loses much of what made it so menacing and multidimensional. It loses speed. It loses grit. It loses pure skill. It loses the advantage.

Last night’s game was the perfect testament to this. And don’t let Sergei’s two assists fool you, this was not a game the Habs won because of his efforts. Not in the least.

The Habs keep getting outplayed because the four lines Carbo rolls out are producing at half the rate they are meant to: two of those lines are stalling, because the two brothers are playing as if the first 50 games of the season were nothing but meaningless tune-ups. The agony.

You know what Andrei? You had dreams? We all had dreams. So you wanted to turn letters for a lifetime. I wanted to go on tour and sing backup for Barry Manilow. Cry me a river. Get over it. It’s time for the Canadiens to grow up and grow some tits.

The Morning Skate loves him some Tits on Friday, November 21st

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of having awesome readers like Booche who send in photos from their trip to watch the Habs in Philly...
A hearty Mazel Tov to the Als' Anthony Calvillo who took CFL MVP honours yesterday. Go get 'em Sunday Anthony.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

HF29 asks a simple question for the Sens Game Preview and Open Thread

Carbo looks up to the heavens for answers. Not pictured: God laughing

Let's just get some preview stuff out of the way before I get all inquisitive. Habs-Sens tonight in Ottawa at 7:30 PM. Game is on Sportsnet East for you Benoit Brunet-phobes. Both teams suck. While the Sens played well in their last game according to SLC, they are currently in last place in the Eastern Conference. Last place! That amuses me, but not as much as it should. Habs have their own brand of suck, one crappy win in their last four games. We have a whole five goals over that span! The Habs are meeting the Sens for the first time since Ruutu tried to maim Mad Max last week.

For the view from down the 417, when we always mention Five for Smiting (oh, SLC, why can't I quit you?) we are not giving the rest of the excellent Sens blogosphere their due. So check out Sherry and Dany Heatley Speedwagon over at Scarlett Ice. Those guys rock. And maybe even roll.

Everyone sucks for the Habs, except maybe TMS. Habs I/O reports Carbo has come up with this for tonight: Guay Tender Saks reunited, Pleks with Kovy and Higgy, Lang - Big Tits - Greek Lightning, and the rest. Okaaaaay. Sens suffering with injuries to Chirs Neil and Fish, though they weren't playing that great to begin with. Cody Bass has been called up to fill out the roster. The Auldinator (tm SLC) may yet save the Sens season.

K that's enough preview for the Battle of Suck. Now it's time for the question, which you have no doubt figured out by now:

Is it time to fire Carbo?

FHF regular Number31, over at her own outstanding The Notwithstanding Clause, really got me thinking yesterday when I read this:

"I ain't in the camp of the pitchforks and torches calling for the a new set of coaches or the explosion of the entire team. IT'S FUCKING NOVEMBER PEOPLE! WE AREN'T TAMPA BAY!!! AND WE DON'T MAKE OUR DECISIONS AFTER EA SPORTS NHL09 SIMULATIONS!!! At least not yet, anyway. December/January...that's when I'd get pitchforky."

While I agree it is November, the fact is Habs have played 20% of their season already. So I think it is perfectly legitimate to ask that question. My god, Habs fired Jacques Demers after five games once. Admittedly, it was during the Serge Savard and Reggie Houle front office experiment, but still.

Now, I've made no bones about my disdain for some of Carbo's "coaching" moves. But whether he's a good coach or a bad coach is not the issue here. No, really! The issue is whether the team has stopped playing for him. I am not sure if it's the case, but I am sure it's time to ask that question. The one lesson I have learned from watching sports over the years (alot of fucking sports over alot of fucking years), besides "hot babes will make me drink crappy beer like Coors Light", is that once a team gives up on the coach, it's over. There's no going back. You have to clean house.

Actually I guess there is maybe one issue of Carbo's coaching. He says he has a "system." I don't see it. Do you? Oh, and the constant line-juggling. Oh, and forcing an offensive team to play defensively. Oh, and staking your success on a fucking tie. OK, maybe several issues.

So is it time to fire Carbo? I don't know for sure, but I know the question needed to be asked.

Let's hear your answer in the comments

Skate For a Good Cause

This Sunday, November 23, 600 children will experience a real thrill by skating on the ice at the Bell Centre alongside some of their favorite Habs.

Proceeds from the event will go directly to Enfant-Retour Québec. You can call for tickets.

This is a great cause as too many families suffer unimaginable pain in the ongoing tragedies of missing children.

Our thanks to Enfant-Retour for their incredible efforts.

The Game Day Skate for Thursday, November 20th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of keeping alive your 15 minutes of fame as a prostitute...
Sens tonight, in a game we would be really excited about if both teams didn't suck.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Are All a Bunch of Ingrates!

Dear all of you negative sissy-pants:

You all suck! You ungrateful schlubs need to zip it and respect the overwhelming awesomeness of this year's Montreal Canadiens! All is well, all will continue to be well, and if you don't like the way that this year's squad of excellence personified is going about it's awesomeness, well, off the bandwagon with you, and don't come a crawlin' back when you see this team about to hoist the Cup. Go find some team that doesn't reek of brilliance. Ingrates! ALL IS WELL!

So you think Price is overrated, can't stop a beach ball? Suck on his 51-save awesomeness! Think that shows an inconsistency and inexperience that may haunt this team? Wrong! It is a testament to the TFS that after all the blatant cheating that resulted in goals being scored that he can repel half-a-hundred shots from the most dynamic offensive machine in hockey history, the Carolina Hurricanes, who are on pace for 1473 goals. Why, 11 of twelve goals scored by the Bruins and Leafs last week occurred during stoppages in play, the intermission, or when Price was over at the bench during timeouts! Look at the video. Only one goal was scored on our Saviour while he was in his crease, and that took three deflections and was shot by the ghost of Syl Apps.

So, you feel Rhino was embarrassed by Sergei Samsonov on his goal last night? Nay! Rhino is well aware of the referee's protection of the gifted Samsonov, face of the league and so talented the NHL passed a league rule that he must be shared equally by all teams in one-or-two year increments ... one hand laid on the Russian maestro would have resulted in a multiple game suspension to our most valued big-bashing defender. Rhino smartly avoided that catastrophe, just as he has avoided similar suspensions in almost every game he has played this year.

You complain that our own Russian master has reverted to his previous infuriating form? Nay, I say! Kovy has merely reached another plateau of excellence, and his less than otherworldly teammates have yet to attain the same level of consciousness. When they do, look out! All the seemingly useless stickhandling and blind passes will result in artistic feats of fancy so beautiful they will be awarded two goals instead of one!

Do not say a word about the limited offensive contributions of Plekanec or the Tits Brothers! You do not understand hockey enough to enjoy the subtleties of their game! You miss the defensive brilliance exhibited by these dedicated warriors, and probably misunderstood the greatness of our own Hall of Famer Bob Gainey, the greatest hockey player in the world according to legendary genius Viktor Tikhonov. Are the Tits Bros and Plekanec about to take the mantle of greatest player in the world from Gainey? You won't be around to find out, you bandwagon ingrates!

Say nothing of the scoring slumps of our French-Canadian standard bearer Gui! Gui! Gui! or the erratic play of his compatriot Alex Tanguay! Did not the great Guy Lafleur fail to live up to your overblown expectations for his first three seasons? Yet now you lionize him for his brilliance! For shame, you turncoat frontrunners! When the cheers of Gui! Gui! Gui! rain down from the rafters for our multiple Art Ross and Stanley Cup winning superstar, your treachery will not be forgotten! You are not invited to the parade(s)!

Do you doubt our great and powerful Carbo? Lament his seeming inability to steamroll the opposition? Scratch your ungrateful, cloudy heads at his line combinations, strategies, power play set-ups, and goalie rotation? You are not alone! Every coach in the league is flummoxed by the great and powerful Carbo's magic. Only the sheer evil of the NHL head office and it's corrupt officials prevents his tactical brilliance from defeating all comers!

In short, you must all walk away from the greatness of this team with your heads hanging in shame! Those who know the truth will glory in the awesomeness and magic of this, the most gifted, talent-laden, warrior-poet ensemble ever to grace a sheet of ice, and when the rapture comes, it is YOU who will feel the shame and disgrace of ever doubting Les Glorieux. The Gods who walk amongst men in that hallowed dressing room know their terrible powers will result in the ultimate victory. YOU will not be welcome at their glorious coronation!

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, November 19th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a majority...
  • Habs sucking = bad for my heart and liver + good for blog material. We got a feeling there will be many rants around here in the days to come. Canes 2, Habs 1. Sergei Fucking Samsonov was the second star. Bring on the free fall. More later today;
  • Other games were played, but we're just too fucking annoyed to write anything else. May we recommend MYFO's Making Puck for your daily recap wrapped in wittiness? It comes along a bit later than TMS, but it's clever and has themes and, like, good writing and stuff.
I'm off to slit my wrists. Back soon! Kisses!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This is about as much stripper as you deserve, boys - WhalerCanes Game Preview and Open Thread

Hopefully with a decent win tonight they can move up to the fun areas

Waiting in line details - 7 PM start, RBC Center, Raleigh, NC. Another U.S. arena named after a Canadian bank. Are Canadian banks that good? Take your service charges and fuck yourself, CIBC. Habs have won two of their last five games. Huzzah! They still really, really suck. Canes 9-7-2 overall, but have lost 3 of their last 4. It's a suck-off! Habs won the sole matchup this year in a shootout.

Pay your cover charge to - the only Canes blog worth reading, Carolina on Ice. And thanks to our old friend Wufpirate from COI for pointing us to this Price-bashing over at the only other Canes blog worth reading.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - [checks roster] hmm, hmmm, uh, uh, I guess Tangy is still good. Big Tits had 4 seconds of exhilirating hockey Sunday night.

Skanky Habs to watch - the lot of 'em.

Hot sexy Canes to watch - Brind'amour at a point per game pace lately. That's about it. Wait, Brind'amour is still playing?

Skanky Canes to watch - Jordan Eric Staal has no goals and one assist in his last seven. Sergei Samsonov is not playing too well either. I'm SHOCKED I tell ya! Generally, Canes have some goalie issues, and can't really score much. Just like us!

Pay attention kiddies - Carbo thought that the Blues game was so good, he's sticking with the same whacky line combos:

Tangy - Kaptain K - Kovy
Lang with two pairs of Tits
Higgy - Pleks - Greek Lightning
Gui! - Bégin - El Dandy

Normally I'd complain, but anything that relegates Tenderness to the 4th line is OK in my book.

Oh, I haven't mentioned yet - Habs riding an awesome 0 for 20 streak on the PP, which is now 26th in the league. We are SO close to the bottom, I know we can do it!

Post-game adult entertainment - skip the strip club and just masturbate to this photo gallery of Hurricanes Storm Squad member Ashley.

Get you hand out of there and comment!

The Game Day Skate for Tuesday, November 18th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of trading your stock before it's time...
Hurricanes! Raleigh! Our 0-20 PP! Tonight!

Monday, November 17, 2008

QUANTUM OF SOULLESS: Habs 3 - Blues 2 (so-so) - Our Inaugural 2 in 1 Game and Movie Review

This is a new feature here on FHF, where we combine a commentary about the previous night’s game along with a review of a movie we have recently seen. Fresh on today’s menu: The Habs’ win over the St-Louis Blues and the new 007 flick, Quantum of Solace.

The Game: Soulless

How unbelievably kick-a-frying-pan-into-my-forehead boring. I’ve been more captivated by dust particles reflecting off light bulbs on my night table.

It starts with Andy McDonalds breaking his leg. I’m loving it. That takes care of the Blues’ number one centre.

Now if we could just find a way to infect Keith Tckachuk with tckolitis, or give him tckataract, or have him come down with tcklamydia.

Coach Carbs decided to energize his dormant lineup and threw out a first line comprised of Koivu, Tanguay and Kovalev, probably to jumpstart Kovy who’s been feeling the effects of that second hand smoke blown by Tomas Plekanecamsonov this season.

Laraque and Lapierre were both Labenched. Too bad. Until Laraque decides to quit the Nivea Defence face washing every opponent that freaking STEAMROLLS OVER EVERY ONE OF OUR PLAYERS WITH A CIMENT TRUCK, he can sit lefack down. Hey, Lapin Lapierre, the Man upstairs decided to grow two healthy, perfectly functional legs on each side of your genitals. HOW ABOUT USING THEM TO PLAY HOCKEY!!!?

La shit, la merde. Futck.

Habs play 3 full periods of some of the most incohesive, the autistic passes the puck to the dyslexic, brand of hockey seen on RDS since, hum, … saturday night.

Even the “highlight goal” scored by Big Tits felt like a sham. Did Blues goalie
Manny Legace look like an octopus masturbating or what? AK’s power skate through the time zones of the earth was a sight to behold; but the finish was served on the finest sterling silver one can find.

The team came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, and looked plenty bad doing it. Kovy sealed the deal in a shootout, none for the ages, with a signature move that often culminates in a shot gone high or a post hit hard. This time, the move was calibrated to perfection.

Carey Price looked alright, with the Blues controlling play for the better part of the game. He looked alright, in the bland way, not the cool, Bob Marley sounding way.

Nevertheless, and let this stand as the true Manny Legace of the night: it was a tckrappy game and it was soulless.

I repeat: the game had no soul.

The movie: Quantum of Solace

What the Aston Martin fuck were they thinking when they made this complete waste of my time?!

Daniel Craig may have had 6 lines in the whole movie, tops. Action scenes that so tested my ADD, leaving me asking, how did this start?, what’s happening now? What’s with the title?

I felt immediate comfort in turning to Mrs. HF4 who asks me with this blunt look on her face “are you totally lost too?”. Yup, babe. Lost, bored, should have stayed home and vacuumed the place.

If Casino Royal was to Bond fans what the first 10 games of the season were to Habs’ fans, then this aneurysm of a movie was as painful as the team’s slide of late. As soon as the movie ended, I turned to everyone I was with and just said, “Quantum of so-so”.

No beginning, get over your girlfriend drowning in the elevator it happens to all of us, thank the good Lord for Judy Dench, a plot as loose as the connections in Darcy Tucker’s brain shitty brand of suck movie. No blood crying, metallic asthma inhaler puffing villains to drool over. A Bond girl on a revenge mission that was so damn obvious that they just should have called her Cliché, or Die Right Now in this Next Scene Bond girl.

This movie, it too, had no soul, making it soulless.

The Morning Skate for Monday, November 17th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of living in Burlington, Vermont...
Blog you may not be reading but should be
If you're like TMS and go out of your way to avoid all things Maple Leafs, you're missing teh funneh over at He Score, He Shoot! When a Leafs blog has a poll like "Who or what will Ryan Hollweg next hit from behind?", you know they don't take things too seriously.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holy Fuck. The game starts at 6??? St Louis last minute open thread with no preview

??? 6 PM? Okaaayyyyy. Stand by, we'll find some sort of photo ASAP. Enjoy this chick bending over. Like the Habs in every game lately.

You watching? Of course you're not. Habs suck. Stand by for 2.5 hours of snark from me...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Please have a seat, it's gonna be a long season - Flyers Game Preview and Open Thread

Sure, no one is more for freaking out and fearing the collapse than me - just see TMS from yesterday - but for one night, we're gonna do the Zen thing. It's mid-November. Still a LONG way to go. So when the Habs hit the Phone Booth ice at 7 PM with Jaro and Bégin but without DOOM, we're just gonna grab a delicious beverage and take some deep cleansing breaths, remembering a long season has tons of ups and downs.

For all you guys saying "yo Goober, where's the meat? Especially against the Flyers? After that Bruins disaster? I don't come here for flaky liberal bullshit.I'm eager to go psycho! Get angry MOTHERFUCKER!!!" I hear ya. Like I said, still a LONG way to go. If this doesn't work, I'm sure I'll be twice as angry tomorrow.

Meditate with me in the comments, omm, omm.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, the motherf*cking humanity.

The Battle of Cannae. Flodden Field. The Munich Air Disaster. Music From the Elder. Ishtar. Lynne Spears, parent. Last night.

Panger said it best: "There was a game last night? Someone should have told the Canadiens"

Bad start. Bad middle. Bad ending. Was this the true nature of this Canadiens team? It's not an aberration if it happened on Saturday too. That's a dozen goals shipped against our two most hated of foes in less than a week. A comprehensive victory against a team that just lost to the Islanders does not make it palatable. This is a team that has some serious issues right now, and the one saving grace for them is that they have banked points they will desperately need later in the year. The East looks tougher than it was expected to be. Maybe they right the ship and finish as "the class of the East", as so many trumpeted them to be. But the Rangers show no signs of slowing down, Buffalo is back on form, the Leafs and Bruins are clearly not automatic points in the bank, and teams like Pittsburgh, Philly, and Jersey are awfully talented. If the Habs thought they were waltzing to another first-place finish those thoughts had better be gone now.

The Sky? She's fallen: Price was burned repeatedly, with requisite hand wringing from Montreal fans and "overrated" talk from opposing fans. The Canadiens have gone all in with a pair of very young goalies and there will be more nights like this. Be ready. I think Price will still be very, very good. But he's not starting for the 2010 Olympic team yet.

Milan Lucic/Cam Neely comparisons are starting to worry me. I don't see him play that often, soI have no idea what he's like against Florida or St. Louis, but he cranks it up against the Habs. He won that fight with DOOM fair and square and is clearly in Komisarek's head. He's going to be a major pain for the Habs for a long, long time. Please let him price himself out of Jeremy Jacob's range quickly. (Is there a silver lining to DOOM losing a fight, possibly breaking his hand, and being out for weeks? Perhaps the twits who continue to claim he never fights/backs up his talk will shut up. DOOM fights as often as is necessary for a guy who is usually busy shutting down opposing top lines ... the claims that he hides behind the ref are garbage. He usually has better things to do than tussle with some idiot like Ryan Hollweg.)

The defence still needs strengthening, more so if DOOM is out for any length of time. The need for a top-four defender becomes more apparent every time Price gets hung out to dry for a half-dozen goals.

Less stupid penalties would help too.

A little more toughness when the going gets rough couldn't hurt either. Guys like Plekanec, Tanguay, and Big Tits are never going to thrive in last night's game, and the toughness of Koviu, Higgins and Little Tits is all fine and dandy but they aren't exactly monsters. If you aren't aware of the value of Greek Lightning in games against teams like Boston and Philly, you're blind. By the way, if someone could poke Big Georges with a stick and wake him the fuck up, that would be nice.

Plan the Parade: In the words of HF29: Ha ha, I kill me. There better be a goddamn parade of Canadiens puking over the boards because Carbo skates them into the ground this morning.

Well, it was a fun 12 games: 12 straight over the Bruins was fun. But it was bound to end sooner or later, and the odds were it was going to end badly, in front of a baying crowd of Fleet Centre/TD Banknorth crazies. Maybe it takes a few of our more zealous fans down a notch so we can start looking to win on merit rather than on paper. The last two losses better serve as a serious wake-up call; we all know the earlier great escapes didn't.

Next evil foe: Oh, super. The Flyers. What is it, goons and idiots week at NHL headquarters?

The Morning Skate for Friday, November 14th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of spending your vacation time on the new planets...
Blog You Probably Aren't Reading But Should Be
In an attempt to get the crappy taste out of our mouths, we're introducing a new semi-recurring feature here at TMS Central. TMS should be more than just snark and TSN links. So we're giving a shout out to some lesser known blogs (well, to us at least) we've come across we think are good, in hockey and even beyond. They're TMS approved!

Today, we present to you The Notwithstanding Clause, from FHF regular commentor Number31. Clever little witticisms about the Habs. As a bonus, she already has her game review from last night up! Sample:

"I have a message for our defense: pylons are usually orange."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One game does not "on fire" make - Bruins Game Preview and Open Thread

Whew I'm getting hot and sweaty. Not sure why. Many lap dances to FHF good friend Robert over at Eyes on the Prize for the photo. In case you hadn't heard, EOTP is well-deservedly getting the coveted Official Habs Blog status over at SB Nation. As a last free and liberated act before he heads over to be edited, Robert has given the Habosphere one last Habs Girls Pictorial. Not to worry though, Robert has shared his Habs Girls secret with us and we hope to have the series live on. Or get beaten up by psycho meth-head biker boyfriends while trying to take pics.

Oh right, hockey! Habs played an amazing game Tuesday. That was Tuesday; this is Thursday. See what I'm saying? On with the preview.

Waiting in line details - 7 PM start in the Boston arena named after a Canadian Bank. B's are as hot as the chick in the photo above, winning their last four against quality opponents like Buffalo, Dallas, and Chicago last night. I guess this game is for first place in the Northeast, if things like that matter in November. Habs have already beaten the B's once this year, in one of those games we managed to win by playing only about 20 minutes of decent hockey. Habs have beaten the B's in 12 straight regular season games. That's gotta end sooner or later.

Pay your cover charge to - the aptly yet long-titled Cornelius Hardenbergh and the Hockey Blogging Adventure. While I enjoy the irony of Cornelius' initials, it's high-quality Bruins reporting and opinion. HF10 will be featured in his game preview which should be up around 4 PM. Given HF10's, uh, distaste for the B's, it promises to be a good read.

Hot sexy Habs to watch - lots of players had their best games of the year Tuesday - Higgy, Rhino, Gorges, TFS. Even Gang Bang and Little Tits had solid games. Can they keep it up? Pleks and Tangy also taking two minutes for looking so good lately.

Skanky Habs to watch - well, Gui! got a goal Tuesday but I don't think he's out of this space yet. I'd like to see the 4th line get a goal sometime. Big Tits is still not the Tits from last year.

Hot sexy Broons to watch - Tim Thomas, 5-1-0, 1.15 GAA, .965 save % in his last 6 games. Yikes. Marco Sturm has 5 points in his last 4 games, and Savard leads the team with 16 points.

Skanky Broons to watch - ah, it's nice to see Milk Carton Mike here again. Pointless in 3 games. Pshaw, 3 games? He went pointless for dozens of games last year. PJ Axelsson also pointless in three.

If ain't broke, yada yada - Carbo keeps the exact same line-up as Tuesday. Carbo's best coaching moves are when he does nothing.

FHF discussion topic du jour - big debate here at FHF intergalactic headquarters whether the All-Star Balloting is a fucking joke or not. All six Habs are leading at their positions, all of them by ridiculously huge margins. Discuss.

Post-game adult entertainment establishment - Centerfolds Boston seems like a classy place. Be sure to sign up for the golf tournament!

K, let's get hot and bothered in the comments

The Game Day Skate for Thursday, November 13th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of a poisonous ceasar salad...
Big Bad Broons tonight. HF10 is foaming at the mouth already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sorry I Can't Come to the Phone Right Now, I'm Too Busy Loving Horrible Music

Word to the wise, nobody call Carey Price at home right now, cause you just know he's screening your calls, and too enthralled by the Country Music Awards to pick up the phone.

Have a heart folks. Leave the man alone and let him watch the three douchiest hours of television of the year.

Look Ma, No Suspensions! Not-the-Flyers 4, Sens 0

Plan the parade: Hey, remember when we all thought Higgins was gonna be a 40 goal, 40 assist, Cup-hoisting Captain for life? Oh, it's back on, baby! Hey, remember when TFS was TFS, and shutouts, Vezinas and Cups were going to rain like ... um, rain? Plan the parade! Remember when we feared the Sens juggernaut and the inevitable SLC smackdown? Nah, me neither. Remember when Gui! was the next John Leclair - except we weren't going to trade him just before he exploded as a first-line force of nature? Well, he snapped home a nice goal last night, so that's something. Remember when the Habs were a clean, hardworking skill team, not the bunch of cheap-shotting quitters who showed up in Toronto on Saturday? Let's hope Carbo made a tape of that speech.

The Sky is Falling: Forget Marian Gaborik or Ilya Kovalchuk or Mats Sundin and get a large, angry, top-four defenceman who will punch someone in the fucking mouth if they get to close to TFS, please. Saturday was an abomination, with Leafs running rampant through the crease and dressing room poison Grabs throwing a butt-end with no consequences. Last night wasn't as pitiful, but the Sens sure had a lot of time to shove their way into the blue paint. It's got to stop.

Know what else needs to stop? Big Tit's penchant for tripping/slewfooting guys on races for the puck. The one on Saturday against Leafs saviour Luke Schenn was bad enough, and he pulled the same thing last night. He's gonna kill someone. It's a dirty play and someone needs to tell him to knock it the fuck off and start scoring goals.

Somewhere, Jacques Parizeau weeps: The Flying Frenchmen sent out this power play unit: Two Belarussians, a Russian, and two Czechs. Later, on a four on three, it was a Finn, a Russian, a Czech and a Belarussian. Damn moneyed ethnics are ruining everything!

Chez Paree bound
: Post a shutout? Get right in. Throw up a "who needs Gaborik?" first career hat-trick? Get right in. Put all the power of your 5 foot 2, 93 pound body into your fists to avenge a head shot on your teammate? Get right in. Spend an entire penalty kill buzzing the opposing net? Get right in. Play a full sixty minutes like you mean business? Get right in.

You know, I hate to say this sort of thing, but: Alex Auld played fantastic and deserved a better fate.

Of course, saying things like this might explain why he didn't have a better night: I heard the names Spezza, Heatley, Alfie, Fisher, and Neil last night. I may have heard "Winchester" once, and Foligno was mentioned when he fell down on the third goal. That's seven forwards. Most teams dress 12. It's not a good sign when almost half of your attackers are invisible. I think Spezza and Fisher each played 45 minutes last night.

Meanwhile, on the Ocho (er, TSN2): The Pens and Wings took Rememberance Day to a whole new level by remembering what the NHL was like in 1988-89. 7-6 in overtime after the Wings blew a 5-2 lead in the third. Yzerman to Gallant looked like the winner until Lemieux set up Robbie Brown for the tying goal, then won it in overtime himself. Yowza.

Next Evil, Evil, Blackhearted,(did I mention Evil?) we-need-to-crush-them foe?
Bruins. Thursday. Urge to kill ... rising! Milan Lucic is ON MY LIST.