Monday, 16 January 2012

Game Forty-Six: Caps v. Habs

No Habs-related post today, but I couldn't resist posting a link to what might be the silliest contest EVER. My bet's on 149,999. Thanks to the Jeff Skinner/Carolina Hurricane promotions brain trust for cooking that one up.

ACTUAL HABS-RELATED UPDATE: With a game date with the Caps just around the corner, Washington announced today that defenseman Mike Green is gone a month to six weeks following abdominal surgery.

SILLY CONTEST UPDATE: The correct answer was 253. So I was missed by just 149,746. This is why I stay away from Vegas.

CAREY PRICE LONG-TERM CONTRACT UPDATE: Winds of speculation are swirling that Price has turned down a $49/7 offer, wanting more years. $7 million per is a pretty reasonable offer, especially in light of precedent contracts that either turned into albatrosses (Roberto Luongo's trade value is severely hampered by his $64m contract, the Canucks are basically saddled with him until 2016), or the all-time long term folly Rick DiPietro, whose $67m, 15 year deal is now looked upon as one of the worst contracts in sporting history.

The point here being, Price is without question a very good goaltender, and he represents a very important part of the Canadien's future. But the organization should be very cautious about committing itself beyond a seven year period if only because history has taught us that there's substantial benefit in locking up a star player, but there's considerable risk involved if, for whatever reason, Price is unable to live up to long-term expectations.

The Habs most certainly do not want to willingly place themselves in the same conundrum as Vancouver or Long Island. So unless Price is willing to ease back a bit on his annum compensation for the sake of a longer deal, then the Canadiens would be advised to pause for consideration.

MORE NON-GAME DAY MUSINGS: Old Habs news front, it looks like Mike Komisarek, who's been hampered by a series of injuries, will be a healthy scratch tonight in the Leafs' game against the Senators. The question is raised if he's that far down the pecking line, will the Leafs keep him and his $4.5m cap hit salary beyond this season, or may they take more draconian action and bury his contract this summer?

First Period:

- Well that didn't take long. Mere seconds into the game, the Caps' tough guy Hendricks drops the gloves to settle the score on Bourque, and Bourque promptly thumps Hendricks to the ice. #revengefail

- Price didn't appear to see that coming. At the very least he was positioned way too deep in the net for Perreault's wrister. 1-0 Caps.

- Bourque just had an uneventful second shift.

- Ut-oh. Another iffy puck gets past Price, this time it's the 6'2" 205 lbs Johansson who completely outmuscled the 6'1" 214 lbs Kostitsyn for the puck. 2-zip.

- Caps really clamping down hard around the crease. Habs are feeding pucks and bodies there but having a hard time making anything out of it.

- I might be wrong but I don't think Kaberle has scored a point on the powerplay in some 13 straight games? #needsafactchecker

- Dunno if it's because he's out of his League or a matter of luck, but Gomez is snakebit. We're less than three weeks away from "celebrating" the one year anniversary since his last goal.

- Wideman takes an incredibly rare illegal equipment penalty by inadvertently playing the puck with half a stick.

- Habs powerplay might actually be worse now than it was at the start of the season. Totally lacking organization or flow.

- Linesman just totally blew an offside call on a promising rush led by Desharnais. #cantcatchabreak

- Habs keep anemic Caps to 5 piddly shots on goal. Problem is, 2 went in.

- Caps got a couple of questionable goals, while the Habs man advantage sunk to a new low. The hole has been dug.

Second Period:

- Major malfunction by Gill and Weber who failed to pick up Semin who waltzes past for a breakaway.

- Habs 30th ranked powerplay looking like it should be ranked 40th. Tres terrible.

- Bourque makes a nice takeaway, makes an even better move to gain a breakaway, and clanks the shot off the crossbar.

- Darche, who almost certainly won't be in a Habs uniform next season, with a very careless high stick on Johansson that probably will draw 4 minutes.

- Caps 8 shots. 3 goals. That's all you need to know.

- So in light of the unconfirmed speculation that Price turned down a $50 million contract and tonight's game, I suppose we're about due for the annual Montreal goaltending controversy.

- If there was ever a time when the Habs need to start playing desperate, this would pretty much be it.

- So where's the Habs team that came to the rink on Sunday night against the Rangers? #MIA

- Caps are much like the Blues were last week. Lots of shot blocking, and choking zone coverage. Neuvirth well on his way to a routine shutout.

- Period over, team is booed off the ice. Seems about right.

Third Period:

- Erskine draws three minors in the span of 10 seconds. How rare is that? Big opportunity for Habs.

- Weber with an ill-advised cross ice pass creates a two on one shorthanded break for Caps, Pacioretty given a bogus interference call. 6 minute powerplay ruined.

- Last year's Habs with last year's powerplay would have had this game well in hand. Amazing what a difference a year makes.

- Kaberle with an ill-advised cross ice pass creates a two on one break for the Caps. The game is nearly torturous to watch.

- Dunno if this explains the root of the problem, but the Habs defense has to be the worst for getting their shots actually on net than anyone else in the League. Seems like almost every one taken tonight was either blocked or wide.

- Ovechkin puts the puck over the glass, but protests vigorously that he ought not be penalized. Ovie. Chill. Not a big deal. Look at who you're playing against.

- The Caps with nine, count 'em, nine minors tonight.

- Habs with nearly a period's worth of powerplay time. Caps may not register 15 shots tonight. Yet Washington are cruising to victory. It's a funny game.

- Decibel records may be set tonight for the volume of boos that the team will roundly receive when the clock hits zero.

- If the powerplay has degenerated this far, what's the point of Kaberle anymore?

- We may not have quite arrived, but we are getting very close to the plug being pulled on the season, which means some big decisions will need to be made about aging players and others with tenuous contracts (Gill, Campoli, Gomez, Kostitsyn, Moen). There's more than a few draft picks to be realized from that list, although Gomez will probably be simply buried.

- Johansson just got buried by a questionable trip/knee given by Gorges. League might take a look at that later.

- Forget the game-ending boos prediction. There's hardly a body left in the stands. The Caps held to an astounding 15 shots, but win easily. Copy writers will have a field day with this one.

- Cunneyworth drops to 4-9-1. Looked terrible heading off the bench. I'd be sick too.

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