Friday, 3 February 2012

Game Fifty-Two: Caps v. Habs

Anyone wanna talk about last night? Yeah, me either. It was the usual pattern, start fast, build a lead, and watch it just fade away. With 31 games left, and 11 points out of 8th, I think it's pretty safe to call this season a wash. So let the fire sale begin!!

Actually, no ... let's not. At least in the sense of just dumping anything that will move, because this organization has a pretty good core of players. But let's at least take a look at moving a few commodities that really don't have much of a future in Montreal beyond the end of this season. Campoli, Gill are two obvious candidates. Moen and Kostitsyn as well, although I think there's much merit in retaining both for next season and beyond (especially Kostitsyn). Of course in dream land, we'd be able to figure out what to do with Gomez (we won't, we can't), and Kaberle, after starting out nicely, has pretty much fallen back into the abyss, so that little trade didn't pan out. I doubt, though, anybody would be remotely interested. So we're stuck with 'em.

We're really in next year mode, I'm afraid. It sucks, but this team, which had MORE than enough talent to easily claim a playoff spot, and even challenge for the Division, is now seriously tinkering with last place, period. You can't define a season like this as anything other than disastrous.

ANDREI MARKOV IS ALIVE: Basu snapped this pic of Markov skating (apparently much more) in Brossard this morning. Is it possible he'll be return before the Easter bunny arrives?

Or ... with this season now pretty much over, do the Habs really play the safe cards and wait until next fall before putting him back into commission?

UPDATE: Markov just finished his skate. It wasn't any longer than last time. 20 minutes. He's still miles away from game shape.

- Habs announced that Budaj will start Saturday afternoon against the Caps. Price, I assume, will start Sunday.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT LAST NIGHT OR TODAY: PK's hit on Larsson last night. It's a beaut, eh?

DIRTY HIT UPDATE: The hit by Elias on Blunden last night (which will probably keep the later out of the lineup for the two games this weekend) didn't go unnoticed by the League, who brought the hammer down via a fine of $2,500, or about what Elias gets paid per shift. That'll really show 'em.


Oh gawd. Really? Yup. Really.

If Cunneyworth had some semblance of humanity, he'd have Scott a healthy scratch today.

First Period:

- Campoli in, Weber out. Hopefully to showcase the former.

- The national anthems. My ears. They bleed.

- And that's why Budaj is the backup. A knuckleball, but still should have been stopped. Sinking feeling already started.

- Goals like that are moral killers, especially for a team as fragile as the Habs. Must respond quickly or this game could spin out of control quickly.

- A few cheers (jeers) as Gomez touches the puck. There was no song sung at 11:11.

- Maybe Budaj was a bit dazed from the anthems. I know I'm still in recovery mode.

- Habs trying to work the cycle, but Caps defense having little difficulty breaking it up.

- Linesman missed that offside, not that it matters much.

- Did I just see Kaberle attempt a shot on net?? It nearly deflected in.

- Not sure if it's because this is an afternoon game, but the crowd is really quiet.

- First impressions today, Caps are imminently mediocre, like so many others in the East. Makes it all the more frustrating that the Habs aren't competing for a playoff spot, there were so many games that could have been won, should have been won, against teams like Washington.

- Still a bit more about this mediocrity, Ovechkin looks terrible, at least by the standards of the Ovechkin we used to know. He's not nearly as fast, not nearly as agile. He still throws the weight around pretty good, but he strikes no fear. He's just an average NHL forward.

- Terribly forgettable period. No real pace, no rhythm. Two not very good teams clashing to produce a nothing result. I think the anthem set the tone. Please, get this over with so we can all go home.

Second Period:

- Gomez just recorded a shot on goal. With a shot that could and would never beat an actual NHL goaltender. #didgomezscoreyet

- The Caps were, remarkably, the Stanley Cup pick by The Hockey News before the start of the season. There's no way that's gonna happen. Not with this team the way they play.

- Carlson at 9:24 is currently the ice time leader for the Caps. Two years ago, that wouldn't have been possible.

- Eller/Darche/Gomez. That line has no chance. I mean, zero.

- Has Vokoun faced a single shot today that was even moderately difficult? I don't think he has. This is horrible.

- Vokoun just got tested, by Desharnais, who held on to the puck too long trying to go around the Caps netminder. Just shoot the puck, guys. Just shoot the puck.

- So penalty shot was called for Budaj trowing his stick? Looked pretty clear that it slipped unintentionally out of his hand. Oh well. It didn't matter.

- Habs just got their second scoring chance ... of the game. Six minutes left in the 2nd.

- Cole sets up Pacioretty with picture perfect cross ice pass, and he redirects it two feet wide. Pacioretty simply has to convert on those.

- Fans booing now. Mainly out of boredom, I suspect. At least the Habs are going to the powerplay. Now everyone can go to sleep.

- Habs have zero confidence. It's written all over this PP.

- Gomez sent out on PP. Crowd erupts with huge cheer.

- That was awful. The PP is a total disaster. The passing patterns were all mixed up.

- A lot of organizations would look at that 2 minute debacle, and immediately fire the coaches behind the bench. Problem is, we've tried that already.

- 20 minutes to go. It can't happen fast enough. The hockey on display today is a disgrace to the game. It really is that bad.

Third Period:

- Little push here by the Habs, but Caps are doing a pretty good job protecting their crease. Sensing a momentum shift, Washington calls for time (a strategy rarely if ever used by Cunneyworth the countless times the Habs were protecting a third period lead, by the way).

- Good number of shots on Vokoun coming from low percentage scoring spots. In other words, the Habs push is going nowhere.

- Budaj has trouble controlling the puck, Habs defense breaks down, forwards are standing around, and Hendricks scores an easy one. Total team effort by the Canadiens in giving up that goal. People already headed to the exits. Take me with you??

- The Bell Centre would make an excellent funeral home right about now. Hardly a sound to be heard. Maybe this is a good time to bury the season?

- There is 12 minutes left, but we already know there is no way the Habs will recover. That's a pretty sad, but true statement.

- Habs star of the game? Um. I'm stumped.

- Not to take anything away from Vokoun, but I'm pretty sure the game score wouldn't be much different if I was in goal for the Caps. Tough saves today: Zero.

- Subban gives a few fans something to cheer about with a check on Hendricks.

- Another wretched breakdown, Kaberle gives Semin a penalty shot and the Caps a 3-0 lead. Kaberle ... where to start? He's fallen back into the abyss.

- Very embarrassing game today if you're a Habs fan. I mean, really, really embarrassing.

- Is it too late to ask for Spacek back?

- See you again tomorrow!! It couldn't possibly be any worse than what we saw today, right?


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