Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Game Fifty-Eight: Bruins v Habs

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!! Sorry, you're totally single and desperately lonely? Well then I guess it sucks to be you. Enjoy the day!

So last night. Habs were undone by a pretty ferocious one-two punch. Firstly it was Eric Staal, who played out of his mind for Carolina (Habs really need a Staal-like guy to move the team to "the next level"), and propelled his team to a nifty comeback. Secondly, it was Tomas Kaberle, whose inept play, careless giveaways, and statuesque speed around Staal, really helped push Carolina over the top. THANKS KABERLE. Just three more years of you to wince over. Oh, JOY.

Anyway, while Kaberle was doing his impersonation of the awful, Emelin continued to build his reputation as a premier body-splattering defenseman. If you don't believe me, go ask Anthony Stewart. Alexei Emelin. What a tremendous pickup he's become.

STUFF AROUND THE LEAGUE. Rick Nash is available! The Blue Jackets are kindly taking offers from interested teams. Bidding starts at ...ohhh ... half of your organization's prospects?

Who'd be interested? Probably the Sharks. Or maybe the Caps? Or the usual suspect, the Flyers? As per the norm, Leafs fans are probably salivating in anticipation, under the hilarious presumption that they actually have a shot. They don't, of course. But from a distance, we can still laugh at 'em. Adorable!

But really, the Eastern Conference is a mush of mediocrity right now, the addition of Nash to the Bruins, Flyers, Rangers, Devils or (gulp?) Panthers would make them favorites to grab a spot in the Cup Finals, where they would then be destroyed by either the Wings, Canucks or (my pick!) the Blues.

So BIG game tomorrow night against the despicable Bruins!! Remember the bloodbath the last time these two clashed when there was three minors called in the first 40 minutes? Wow. You could just feel the hate!

MORNING PRACTICE SQUABBLE UPDATE: Eeeek. So Scott Gomez and Randy Ladouceur got into a reportedly heated fight a few minutes ago in Brossard. Here's a pic of 'em going at it face-to-face. This isn't the first time Ladouceur has grabbed the attention of onlookers, if you recall the recent talking down he gave to Subban, also during a morning practice.

I dunno. Maybe Ladouceur isn't a morning guy?

I'm sure the scribes will be all over this after lunch. Will post more later, I'm assuming.

POST-FIGHTIN' UPDATE: So it's all a just big misunderstanding, see? Not a big deal, see? Just a coach trying to get a player to do a drill right, see? Nothing to see here. Just move along.

Anyway, video reaction here from Gomez. Believe it or not, the Gazette actually produced a little bit worth reading here

The Habs are (obviously) dismissing this as "no big deal". But this is Montreal, this is Gomez, and you just don't see a player and a coach have a public meltdown like what happened today. We are not examining normality.

LATE-NIGHT HAPPY SCORE UPDATE. Jets and Leafs lose!! Wow, how big were those two lost points against Carolina looking now? At the very least, opportunity is at hand, but we gotta get past the Bruins to seize it tomorrow night.

GAMEDAY UPDATE: So very little is coming out of the Habs camp today about tonight's lineup, but insider indications are that Gomez and Kostitsyn WILL be in the lineup, although their positions on the Habs roster are now considered tenuous at best. In other words, after a two years of suffering, Habs fans may finally see the whole Gomez situation arriving to finality - either he starts producing, or the organization may look at more draconian options (waivers, or a straight-up demotion, the later would almost certainly end Gomez' NHL career).

Kostitsyn? I'm not sure what's happening there. For the most part, Andrei has been pretty good for much of the season - not a brilliant producer, and at times hampered by inconsistency, but he's certainly not an outright disaster. He just never seems to be on the good side of management's temperament. Carbonneau had his issues, Martin *really* didn't like him, and now Cunneyworth seems to have placed him in the indefinite doghouse.

It's all a mystery to us outsiders. Kostitsyn is an apt, productive NHL winger. He ought to be pursued for a contract extension. Perhaps he rubs off on authority the wrong way, perhaps he has an indifferent attitude in the dressing room? (although we know he's popular amongst his teammates). So it's all very perplexing.

Point being, the Habs have significantly bigger player issues right now that Kostitsyn. Gomez is (and has always been) a big issue. Some of the performances by some of our defensemen have been an issue. Injuries are an issue. Coaching seems to always be an issue. Uncertainly with front office personnel is an issue. And yet, for some reason, Kostitsyn seems to garner a lot of negative attention.

So there you have it. Gomez and Kostitsyn will likely start tonight. If they do, it'll be interesting to see how they respond.

STARTING LINEUP UPDATE: Ryan White *will* play tonight. That we now know.

RICK NASH SWEEPSTAKES UPDATE: The Bruins have reportedly voiced interest in making the acquisition. Sounds good to me!! Let's hope Columbus takes them to the cleaners.

Meanwhile in the "Centre of the Hockey Universe" .... oh dear, Toronto. You crack me up. So much self-importance, but so lost in the wilderness of reality. You really think you have a shot, don't you? You're SO ADORABLE!

LINEUP UPDATE: Cunneyworth reportedly says Gomez/Kostitsyn/White (3rd? 4th?) line will go tonight.

Tim Thomas will start! Maybe he'll even Facebook some crazy stuff later, and give us two more days worth of hilarious nutcase material to write about. Maybe!

Hah. Speaking of Thomas, since his little White House meltdown, the Bruins have won just 3 of 8. MORE OBAMA PLEASE!

- Pulushaj (who's struggled) and Moen (who's hurt) are scratches.

First Period:

- Habs doing good job containing Bruins (so far). Like the physicality tone set as well. Offense still sputtering a bit.

- Emelin UNloads on Thornton. That really oughtta charge up the bench. Com'on guys.

- Gomez takes a hefty cross check, but draws the penalty. Early goal would be nice.

- Good puck movement. Couple of good chances. No goal, but PP continues to look pretty good.

- Still applying nice pressure, drawing penalties. Bruins lacking discipline so far.

- PP snuffed short by a cross check. STILL, like how so many are driving Thomas. Something will give if they keep this up.

- Hall Gill not making a very good case to get more ice time. 1-0 Bruins.

- Eller gets four for the high stick. The worm turns fast against a team like Boston.

- Habs really played well first 13 minutes. But then the Bruins began to take over, and cashed in on their opportunities.

Second Period:

Wow. Darche! To the net! Subban with a terrific effort, that's how you score against this Boston team. Game tied.

- White hasn't missed a beat. No rust on this guy, it looks like he's been playing all season.

- 4th line really humming tonight. We have to have more of these fights at practice.

- Pouliot. Never saw that kind of individual effort while he was wearing the CH. Campoli made to look like a rookie. The weak links on defense hampering our efforts again.

- Kostitsyn with a marginal interference call. Will Cunneyworth now show him the bench?

- Darche with two brave shot blocks on the PK, one on Chara.

- Ferocious pace right now, very much a playoff atmosphere game. These teams aren't holding back.

- Thomas doesn't hold back screaming out of his net to cut down the angle. One successful pass across, and he has no chance.

- Really? Goaltender interference for the crime of taking the puck to the net on a semi-break? Wow. Horrible, horrible call on Cole.

- Never seen Cunneyworth so angry over any referees call as that one. Nothing even close. He was fit to be tied.

- Bruins didn't technically score on the powerplay, but Habs couldn't get their players off, and the Bruins scored an easy goal against an exhausted defense. Credit that goal to the officials.

- Marchand does it again with the dirty hit. This time on Emelin. Gill talking it over with the ref. Nothing is done. Horrible officiating tonight.

- Habs with 2nd worst record in the NHL when trailing after 2 periods. They're down 2 to the Bruins. Impossible? Probably.

Third Period:

- Well, if the boys have a big third period comeback pass in their pocket, now is as good a time as any to use it.

- Watching hit by Marchand on Eller on replay. The League may review it closely later, in view of Marchand's dubious history.

- Kaberle with a 35 mph wrist shot on Thomas that even I could easily stop.

- Bruins just blanket the crease and everything that surrounds it. This is part of how you hold 3rd period leads.

- Desharnais with a shot that Thomas should have stopped, squeaked past and Pacioretty with a goal than even I could have made. Habs are back in it!

- Subban making a run at Marchand away from the play with Habs on PP.

- OMG. Chara. Just. Robbed. Cole. That close to tying the game.

- Habs with some serious mo' going here. Just need to keep pushing for the tying goal. You can do this guys.

- Doing the right things. Crashing that net. Thomas is giving up the rebounds, but the puck isn't quite bouncing our way. Habs really owning this period.


- As I said, keep going guys. You can do this. One more. Just one more.

- Ohmygosh, Darche nearly with his 2nd. That line just rolling like crazy.

- Another juicy Thomas rebound right to Bourque, wide open net. Puck bounced over his stick.

- What an incredible game. The pace is dizzying.

- Even salvaging one point would be huge.

- Bruins pushing back here. Feeling nervous.

- Methinks Thomas is really fighting the puck. So many shots rebounding off him tonight, with more fortuitous bounces Habs could be winning this by 2 or 3.


- What a PK. Price fantastic!

- Price making some great clutch saves here in OT. Giving us a huge chance for a great win.

- Karma is a bitch. Marchand off the crossbar.

- Darche's play the past three weeks making a strong case for a contract extension.

- Can't say Price didn't want this one badly. No way we have a chance without his play in this game, especially this OT.


- This isn't Price's thing, but his play tonight you have to favor him in this silly thing.

- Bourque too cute. 0/1

- Shot beats Price, not the post. Whew.

- Pacioretty. Just. Got. Robbed.  0/2

- Price ... not good. And it's all on Eller.

- Eller. Use that spinorama thingy. No ... not .. that. Oh well.

I hate the shootout. Always have. Always will.

But still, probably the best game this season. It never let up. 

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