Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Game Fifty-Five: Habs v Isles

SO. WE ARE ON A WINNING STREAK!! Two games, baby! And the lowly Islanders tomorrow night to make it three! Well, let's be fair here, the Isles of today aren't exactly the Isles that we've come to known the past 10 years or so. These guys are sorta, kinda building towards being competitive. They have a *very* good first line, and ... well .. after that it gets a bit murky. But point IS you can't take these guys granted for two points any more.

TIM THOMAS IS HAVING A CRAZY MORNING UPDATE: Okay, I don't want to get into non-hockey issues stuff into the even murkier world of nutty American politics, but Tim Thomas has stuck his neck out again on Facebook today, this time in defense of "Catholics in the fight for Religious Freedom."

Anyway, there's nothing particularly scandalous about standing in support of religious expression, or Catholics, or Muslims, or Buddhists, or even for Scientologists. But Thomas also posted a very famous passage on his FB from Marin Niemoller, who was German anti-Nazi theologian.

So what's going on here? Well, there just so happens to be plenty of uproar going on right now among some very conservative folks in opposition to the Obama Administration's enforcement of health care legislation that mandated religious employers to provide birth control to patients and employees.

The jest here being that Thomas is more or less following the same nutty insinuation tactics that Obama is a Nazi-in-disguise by quoting Niemoller. It was Niemoller who fought the Nazi's, and now Thomas is doing the same, see?? We already know that the Tea Party radicals from whom Thomas has expressed commodity with have long made the insinuation that Obama is just another Hitler. So this is just part of that pattern.

So anyway, Thomas is once again expressing some pretty radical views in a very public fashion.

What exactly, he's hoping to gain, we're not sure. Maybe he wants to run for office after he retires? Dunno. But if he continues to wade into these touchy topics, then he'll continue to raise the specter of controversy, and ultimately cause significant distraction upon his current employer and teammates.

Just sayin'.

UPDATE: Deadspin picked up Thomas' posting this afternoon, not really adding much to what I'd written this morning. But his comments are being noticed.

HABS VIDEO GOODNESS: Here's the usual Q&A stuff from morning practice. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, Blunden is probably gone for the season, since there won't be much hockey to be played in Montreal beyond April.

TRADES THAT NEVER HAPPENED: Apparently way back in 2007, the Wings and Devils were very close to finalizing a deal that would have sent Pavel Datsyuk from Detriot to New Jersey in exchange for one [drum roll please] Scott Gomez.

Wow. Sucks to be Jersey. In the end, Gomez ended up signing a monstrous contract with the Rangers, and the rest is history. Too bad that '07 deal didn't happen. Otherwise the pill might not be so bitter over losing this guy.

SPINORAMA SHOOTOUTS: If you read my game blogging from last night, I was in a bit of a tizzy over the spin-o-rama goal scored by Malkin in the shootout, questioning its legality (I mean, com'on, technically the puck and Malkin, if only for a brief moment, stops completely which, if it were a penalty shot, would be ruled illegal). Why the League has two sets of rules for what is essentially the same thing is puzzling. The Habs' site picked up on that a bit more today.

LAME TWEET OF THE DAY: It's not even close. The winner is Brian Burke, Neophyte General Manger of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

You hear that people? Toronto it still the CENTRE OF THE HOCKEY UNIVERSE. It's the centre, because of the glorious winning history of the Leafs, the greatest team in the history of teams.

Anyway, Leafs fans can now stop complaining about never being invited to these silly outdoor games. Whatever. It's all passe now. Toronto can have 'em for the rest of eternity. The rest of the hockey world has already moved on.

Oh yeah ... one more thing Brian. You'd better hope the new CBA gets hammered out, or you could be waiting a long time for your little outdoor scrimmage.


REALLY? HAS IT COME TO THIS?!? I guess we shouldn't be suprised, after all, Montreal is the place where Mark Twain once observed "this is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window." But since you guys started the ball rolling, has anyone there maybe consulted the Pope about miracles? 'Cause that's what it's gonna take to get this team into a playoff spot.

First Period:

- Well that's a pretty good start. Pacioretty, via a nice little feed up the boards by Cole, catches the Islanders defense napping and beats Nabokov with a nice, albeit stoppable wrister. Pacioretty's 20th of the year.

- Price with eyes on the back of his making two brilliant saves on Okposo. Definitely one of his best this year, keeps the Isles off the board.

- Habs D having some trouble keeping pace with the speedy New York forwards. Price very solid so far.

- OTHO, our defense isn't nearly as slow as the Islanders'. Canadiens are generating quality shots by simply jetting along the wing and firing at will. Nabokov can't stop then all (he's already been beaten).

- Gill probably should have been called for interference playing the body that removed from the puck. Refs are lettin' 'em play.

- And just as I upload that post, Desharnais goes to the box for a hook.

- Pretty even as periods go. Shots were 10/10. Faceoffs 9/9. Blocks 6/6. As they say however, scoreboard is all that matters.

Second Period:

- Islanders with great puck movement on the PP, Price with 3 or 4 gem saves.

- Price simply superb tonight. If I were an Islanders fan the frustration would be mounting.

- Habs very sloppy and sluggish in their own zone. If it wasn't for Carey, Canadiens would certainly be trailing on the scoreboard.

- Kostitsyn with a nice feed to Gomez right in front of Nabokov. Gomez had his stuck way off the ice as the pass drifted harmlessly past. And some are perplexed why Gomez never scores? I'm not.

- Halfway through the second, Habs have one shot on Nabokov.

- That Kaberle/Campoli pairing always leaves me more than a bit nervous.

- Habs very outplayed this period, but Islanders checkers being way too soft on Pacioretty who snaps another past Nabokov (from a better angle) to give Habs a 2-0 lead.

- Bailey can't handle a rebound off of Price. Otherwise he has a wiiiiide open net and all night to snap it in. Bullet dodged.

- Moen and Darche, brlieve it or not, now leading all Habs in icetime tonight. Cunneyworth playing it very close tonight.

- Emelin and Moen combine for a terrible giveaway deep in the zone, but Price is playing out of this world tonight. Islanders can only look up and wonder what it's gonna take to score.

- Gill's days in Montreal are almost certainly numbered. I must admit I'm going to miss watching that lug lumbering around in Habs

- New York with 12 shots so far in the second period, most of then of the tough-save variety.

- Islanders the better team in the 2nd, they battled and worked hard, creating far more scoring chances. Certainly deserved a better fate than being down 2 goals. But so far, this has been Carey Price's night.

Third Period:

- Habs really playing Islanders tight, Price so far pretty much untested through 7 minutes.

- Nabokov doing his part to keep his team still in this game. One more and it's over. Gorges and Kostitsyn just robbed.

- SCOTT GOMEZ. SCOTT GOMEZ. SCOTT GOMEZ. Finally, finally it ends.

- Seriously, Gomez has played a very good game tonight. It's a richly deserved goal, and here's hoping now that the monkey is off his back that a few more goals soon follow after tonight.

- It's very telling how Gomez was swarmed by his teammates after scoring. He's a very popular guy on the team, and I'm guessing his teammates are just as relieved that this long nightmare is over as he is.

- These guys were right on the ball. The site immediately updated:

- Eller with a careless high stick giving Islanders a PP and threatening Price's you-know-what.

- Yup. Poof there it goes. Borderline high stick by Moulson but it'll count.

- Ut oh ...

- Gomez give, Gomez taketh away. And now we have to sweat the last 1:40.

- Hate second-guessing after the fact, but you really want Campoli on the ice at that stage of the game? You sure about that?

- If Islanders tie this, Eller might not want to join the team on the plane ride home.

- Habs hold on. Barely. Just barely. Eller breaths a sigh of relief. So do the rest of us. Streak is now three. If they can win another Saturday night, it's gonna start to get interesting.

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