Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Game Sixty-One: Stars v Habs

Happy Tuesday! How was the long weekend? I know how I spent mine. Mainly sleeping, taking it easy, just going through the motions, not really straining myself. You know, kind of exactly what the Habs were doing Sunday night against the Devils.

So another opportunity is blown. Oy. Last night the Caps were utterly dismantled - by Carolina. Watch out for the 'Canes. Kirk Muller has that team playing on all cylinders, and if that Habs can't get their act together to claim that last playoff spot, then Muller and Carolina will be more than happy to send the Leafs on their annual very early summer vacation.

So tonight ... Dallas will start their number one Kari Lehtonen, and will play their backup Richard Bachman Thursday night against Chicago. Why? I've no idea. The Hawks shut out the Stanley-Cup darkhorse Blues on Sunday, so you'd figure you'd want to start your 1st stringer against the Hawks. Oh well.

News out from practice this a.m. is that Erik Cole left the ice early. Ut-oh. That's not good. Cole, as you may recall, had to leave the ice in the 2nd period against New Jersey, seemingly favoring a leg. He did return later in the period, but was (for the most part) easily kept in check by the Devils defense.

Which doesn't say a whole lot, since pretty much everybody was kept in check on Sunday night.

So .. the Habs have another "must-win" game, just to keep pace with the Leafs, Caps, 'Canes, Islanders, Jets ... you get the picture.

And this Friday ... in Washington. Won't that be interesting?

POST-PRACTICE VIDEO INTERVIEWS GOODNESS: Here it is, featuring future Habs captain Josh Gorges.

RETHINKING HAL GILL TRADE UPDATE: A surprisingly complex deal just went down. Tampa sent Steve Downie to Colorado for Kyle Quincey. Then Quincey is sent to Detroit in return for a 1st rounder (which figures to be around 28-30th overall) and a spare part.

So ... Tampa gets a lower level 1st round pick Quincey (who ironically was originally drafted by the Wings). That's a pretty good premium for a young, albeit middling defenseman. Now, I'm not suggesting that we could have leveraged a 1st rounder out of Nashville, but the early pre-deadline deals are involving a lot of picks. At this point, the Bolts have 2 first round, and 4 second round draft picks. Not bad, although this year's draft isn't considered especially deep. Still, Tampa is kind of doing a semi-fire sale. Moving assets for picks, although not completely dismantling.

So ... if Quincey = 1st rounder, Gill = 2nd rounder (+ prospect), then Campoli = ???

3rd rounder?

UGH UPDATE: Plekanec is a scratch tonight. He's got the flu.

SCOUTING UPDATE: Word out tonight that Habs officials are in Columbus to take in the Sharks/Jackets game. We'll leave it at that.

First Period:

- So Eller fills in for Plekanec, Leblanc for Eller.

- Could this be Ribeiro's last game as a Dallas Star? The trade rumour network suggests it might.

- So far as long as the Habs still have "a chance" for a playoff spot, will Price always get the start?

- Both teams trading a few relatively harmless jabs, no real flow yet.

- Ribeiro/Ryder. Are they going to do as so many ex-Habs have done before: Come back to haunt us?

- Stars outshooting Habs 9-0, nine minutes into the first. Yikes.

- It took 10 minutes, 20 seconds, but Habs register their first (harmless) shot.

- Correction. Habs second shot at 10:20 mark. First was at 8:00 mark. Still stands at two shots, so this team is picking right where it left off from Sunday night, when it managed 4 shots in the first period against the Devils.

- Dallas defense isn't that good (tonight). Habs haven't been able to string together three consecutive good passes in the period.

- Good shift Eller/Kostitsyn/Darche.

- Habs defense out of place, and forwards wayyyyy too soft in front of Price, and in a split moment, Garbutt converts a feed to the back of the net. To be expected, given how poorly Habs have played in the frame.

- Campoli was probably the guy most out of position. If he continues to play this poorly, he might become untradeble.

- Well at least the Habs got more than 4 shots in the period. /graspingstraws.

- That was a pretty awful period by the Habs. Hopefully that was their worst of the night, and it's all up from here. /graspingmorestraws

Second Period:

- Habs PP more choherent that before, but still not clicking as well as it has the past two games.

- Cole with a perfect setup to Bourque, missed the open net.

- Price doing all he can (and needs to be done) to hold his team in this thing. Habs really have no business winning this game.

- This is two games in a row of the Habs simply bringing zero energy to the game. Totally unacceptable and inexplicable.

- Habs with four powerplays first two period, but the Starts are just too fast. Second period better than the first, but no *great* scoring chances have been generated.

Third Period:

- The question about old Habs coming back to haunt is answered. And it's name is Mike Ribeiro. Most of the guys wearing the C and H were coasting around in their own zone. Dallas leads 2-0.

- And seconds later, Price with a bad giveaway, Wandall scores and that's lights out.

- Campoli with a high stick. Well that's one way of keeping him off the ice, I suppose.

- Absolutely dismal performance tonight. The team clearly showing no incentive to stay competitive for a playoff spot. In fact, it looks like a good half of the roster has already thrown in the towel. The other half might as well at this point.

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