Today’s theme: Acceptance. When you’re in love with someone who’s mentally ill, you have to learn to accept his condition as a fact of life. Sometimes he’ll take his meds and be perfectly normal for a few days, but you can’t let yourself start believing that he’s all better, because sure enough, one day you come home and he’s hiding under the azalea bushes, crying, naked, and slathered with peanut butter. The disease can be managed, but it can’t be cured. Such is the Habs collective mood disorder.
- Speaking of acceptance, the Canadiens have to accept that they don’t have a second period. It’s not just that it’s weak- it’s not even there. It’s been stolen by elves. They’re just going to have to learn to play without it. Tricky, but not necessarily impossible. Sure, everybody talks about how important it is to play a full 60 minutes, but really, very few teams do, and almost nobody does consistently. There are a lot of 40 minute games running around the NHL right now. The problem for the Habs is that having lost your 2nd period is somewhat more of a challenge than, say, losing your 3rd period, because it means you don’t even have a 40 minute game, you have two 20 minute games. Anyway, if they can consolidate their offensive lines (a big if), they should be able to up their scoring enough to compensate. It’s theoretically possible, anyway, and seriously, they don’t seem to have a better idea.
- Aebischer is probably going to bear the worst of the criticism for this one, as he did for the last two losses, which is too bad. The Great Montreal Goalie Debate has been annoying me from the beginning of the season. It’s one of those hockey things I still don’t really understand- what the hell was wrong with having two good goalies? Why does this make people all stressed out and itchy? Anyway, after loving him all through October, the fans seem to be pretty much giving up on Aebi, and people are already whispering (and sometimes yelling) about how maybe if we packaged him with Niinimaa we could get another center from somebody. Yeah, right. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to blame Aebischer- he’s not glowing the way Huet is, but the whole point of having a team is to be more than just the sum of one’s goaltending. If the Habs are really at the point where they can only win a game in front of Huet, than that’s a disaster.
- Oh yeah, Philly. They were there too, weren’t they? Were they? I suppose they must have played pretty well, huh? Wonder what they did that got Souray so pissed…
- On a side note, the CBC feed for this game looked like it was shot by an ADD 6 year old on an early ‘80s home video camera that had been liberally smeared with Vaseline. I know they're not exactly pro-Canadiens over there, but come on, you could at least let us see the freakin’ thing. Thank God for RDS.
Some wise person on the Canadiens’ message board recently said something to the effect of that the problem with the Habs lately is that they play to the level of the other team, meaning they muster their best games against really talented opponents and fall apart against weaker ones. Probably it’s a psychological thing- play harder when one expects to lose than when one expects to win. But whatever the reason, it suggests to me that maybe the real concern here is that, win or lose, the Habs still haven’t found their game yet, the distinctive rhythm that should come from what the team is in itself. Perhaps there’s a good reason for the existential despair- they really don’t know who they are and why they’re here.