Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Game Fifty-One: Habs v Devils

Happy Wednesday!! Did you enjoy taking Tuesday off? What's that? You had to work? It wasn't a stat holiday ... or something like that? Somebody shoulda told the Canadiens' lineup, because most of 'em booked yesterday off.

Well, everybody except for maybe Carey Price and Erik Cole and maybe ... Max Pacioretty? Emelin had that incredible 2nd period shift when he laid a licking on Jason Pominville behind, and seconds later, made a great block to keep his team in the game. I love this guy. Yeah, the season has been a pretty big disappointment, but what with Emelin, and Gorges, and Diaz and Subban, man ... that Habs blue line sure is shaping up nicely. NEXT YEAR!

Anyway, Cole was our best player on the ice, for the umpteeth time this season. Here's a nifty little article of just how valuable he's been to the club this season (and how Cunneyworth is one of his biggest fans).

Anyway, Cole ... easily the best free agent signing this club has made in 20 years. EASILY.

HOW COME WE CAN'T GET BREAKS LIKE THIS? Seidenberg last night against the Sens. Really?

MARKOV WATCH UPDATE: He skated this morning. That's two days in a row! And today it was for 20 minutes, which is 5 more than yesterday! My body is already tingling with excitement! Oh, wait. Nope. I'm having a stroke. Nevermind.

LET'S LET EVERYONE IN THE PLAYOFFS: Oooh this looks interesting. An article about expanding (wait, what?) the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs? It looks REALLY interesting, but you have to pay to read it? Bah. Somebody tell me what it's about, 'cause it looks really interesting!

JANUARY TRAFFIC UPDATE: The stats are in, and this humble little page saw an 239% increase in the number of visits compared to December. Wow. THANK YOU ALL for stopping by and giving me a reason to keep doing this revenue-negative page for no real reason other than I have a huge generous heart and brilliant Habs-related observations to share with everyone! (seriously .. .thank you all for coming by, I hope you've marked the page and will come back again in the future!)

DRUNKEN ZAMBONI UPDATE: If you've had a few, it's probably not a good idea to jump into that Zamboni for a little joy ride into the boards. Just. Don't. Go. There.

RYAN WHITE NOT QUITE BACK UPDATE: Andreas Engqvist didn't have the greatest game last night, taking a unnecessary 2nd period penalty, and generally struggling to adapt to the Sabres checking scheme (as was Cunneyworth, I suppose), so he got shipped back to Hamilton this morning. Louis LeBlanc has since been recalled, so it's fair to assume that White won't be back for tomorrow night's tilt against the Devils.

I'm thinking maybe Saturday? We'll see.

GM UPDATE: All I can say to this is NOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooo ooooooooo oooooo ooooo.

Seriously, this would be a pretty messed up appointment. Let the faithful now pray that it never comes to fruition.

CRAZY GAME LINES UPDATE: From the Twitteruniverse : Louis Leblanc jouera au centre du 4e trio avec Andrei Kostitsyn et Yannick Weber.

Huh? Did Andrei do something really awful to the Cunneyworth family the past 48 hours??

SHOCKING STAT THAT ISN'T ACTUALLY A CORRECT STAT UPDATE: Apparently some guy who has access to the internet says there's a team that's been worse than us in shootouts, and it's the Philadelphia Flyers??

Say huh? The Flyers have won just one shootout this year, which is um ... exactly the same as us ... and they've lost six ... which is ummmmm .... one less than our seven? Soooo yeah .. the Flyers are totally worse than us?!? #shrugs

LEADING CANDIDATE FOR SILLIEST STATEMENT EVER ISSUED BY AN NHL GENERAL MANAGER UPDATE: You know something has hit the fan when you see this put out:

"Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs -- given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see -- the delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10 - 10ths of a second before the delay -- this insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes That is not an opinion -- that is science -- amazing devise quite frankly."

Hah. It's an amazing devise!! Wait, what the heck is a devise? Devise and conquer? COULOMBS! What?? Is this a coulombs? Eh. Whatever. This story just keeps getting bigger, and the NHL has done an AWFUL job in responding to what was certainly a huge screw up. The bottom line is this: The Kings were awarded two points for a game they didn't win. The League could have simply awarded each team a point, and ordered both teams to play a special overtime period the next time they meet this season, and be done with it.

But no, the League basically said "the Kings won, that's the end of the story."

Hmm, something tells me this won't be the end of the story.

First Period:

- Lineups: Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Erik Cole

Mike Blunden - Lars Eller - Mathieu Darche

Rene Bourque - Tomas Plekanec – Scott Gomez

Yannick Weber – Louis Leblanc – Andrei Kostitsyn

Yup. Andrei gets moved down to the fourth line. Cunneyworth sticking to the Pleks/Bourque/Gomez combo which had nothin' going against the Sabres.

- Wow. Didn't know Brodeur had a sub .900 SP. Has it ever been that low this late in the season?

- Ah, the dreaded Chris Lee wearing the stripes tonight. Habs catching all the breaks /eyeroll.

- Bourque simply wouldn't be denied on that one. Brodeur a bit floppy. 1-0 Habs.

- Okay, I'm going to boldly predict that tonight, Gomez finally breaks the streak. Just because I said so.

- From watching the replay, it sure looks like Bourque's shot deflected in off of Desharnais' face. Colour me impressed. Habs winning by a nose.

- RDS just showed Cole leaving the ice for the dressing room. Oh man. What next?

- No better way of rubbing it in the coach's face than by scoring on your second shift. Kostitsyn gives Habs a moderately surprising 2-0 lead. Devils call time.

- Jersey's zone coverage has been pretty much atrocious so far. We'll take it.

- Oh Carey. Don't let them back in this with stuff like that.

- Cole back on the ice and seconds later is sent to the box. We'll take it. Wonder if it was an equipment problem?

- Jersey leads the League in shorthanded goals (11). #justdeclinethepenalty

- Watching the Habs PP actually makes me drowsy. Not joking. I'm feeling sleepy right now.

- Good grief guys. Don't make this any harder than it needs to be. Shoot. The. Puck.

- Habs period, really should be up by two, sans the gift goal.

Second Period:

- Wow. Devils really should have scored shorthanded there. Price in la-la land tonight. #justdeclinethepenalty

- Sheesh. Plekanec AGAIN with a shorthanded break, and AGAIN he doesn't convert, but Darche is there to clean up. Habs lead 3-1. Killer deflating goal from the Devis' perspective.

- Wow. Cunneyworth really has the hate on Kostitsyn. After going out and scoring on the demoted 4th line way back in the first, he's been given just two short shifts since. Dunno what's going on there.

- Cole just missed an empty net off the rebound. 4-1 would have been the killing blow. As it stands, Jersey still with time and hope.

- Kostitsyn finally gets a shift, and seconds after stepping onto the ice, is robbed of a goal by Brodeur.

- Marty keepin' his team in this.

- I have to question Cunneyworth's player management skills here. Kostitsyn got demoted to the 4th line, obviously the message being sent that his effort level recently isn't up to par. All he's done tonight is work his butt off every shift, scored a goal (nearly two), and yet Cunneyworth has kept him mostly stapled to the bench. What's the message being sent? Try hard and still not be acknowledged or rewarded?

- Kostitsyn at least now getting a few more shifts, but still mired on that 4th line.

- Shot from the line pinballs past Price. What are ya gonna do?

- That Cole empty net miss now looking bigger and bigger.

- Habs now making regular visits to the box. Not good.

- Eller with an excellent shift on the PK.

- And Cole with his best shift of the night, seemed like he was everywhere he needed to be.

- We've been here before countless times. Habs leading by one headed to the 3rd. How will they lose this one?

Third Period:

- All Devils so far. Habs have barely touched the puck. Ut oh.

- Sorry, I clearly don't know my New Jersey Devils history. Why is Gomez so roundly booed the (few) times he has the puck?

- Habs must score quickly, cause Devils are gonna tie this.

- And there it is. Oy. Price wiffed it?

- Naw. Shot was deflected in by Zubrus. Price had no chance.

- Devils winning nearly every battle for the puck. A loss seems inevitable.

- Habs get a PP. Great chance to grab a quick nap.

- Does Subban have the most blockable shot in the League?

- Habs just pass the puck around and (eventually) shoot from a low percentage place. This is why they're 12.4%

- The empty net miss by Cole in the 2nd. Just writing that again out of spite.

- In case you missed it, Blunden after taking a pretty good smack from Elias in the first, has a lower body injury. Only had one shift in the 2nd.

- Oh my goodness. Subban just destroyed Adam Larsson with a monster (clean) hit.

- Larsson in a whole lot of trouble. I'm not sure he's aware of what time zone he's in. Still trying to get off the ice.

- Devils really can't respond to that. Subban's hit was totally clean. They have to respect that.

- Elias gives Subban a taste of his own medicine along the boards, but not nearly as hard.

- Parise scores and Cunneyworth is going nuts thinking the play was offside. It wasn't.

- So yeah. How would the Habs blow this? We have our answer. The usual way. They are simply unable and unprepared to deal with opposition pressure.

- Larry Robinson, the guy who nobody in Habs management would return a phone call two years ago, gives the players direction behind the Devils bench. Cunneyworth behind the Habs bench. That is all you need to know.

- Habs lose. But then we saw it coming, and watched it happen, every agonizing second.

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