Thursday, March 22, 2007

3-22-07: Canadiens 6, Bruins 3

Here’s what I don’t understand about the Habs: If they can play this well, why did they spend 2 solid months sucking? In fact, why did they spend the first two periods of this game sucking? This is the officially the Greatest Mystery of Hockey- when I go to mountains of Pakistan and at last find the lost city of Shambhala, that’s what I’m going to ask the great sages. Oh, you might say it’s a lame question, I should ask about why human beings perpetuate injustice, or why there is something instead of nothing, but be honest: if you’re reading this blog, you’re more interested in why hockey teams that don’t have to suck so often suck anyway. Anyway, it’s useful knowledge; think of what some teams would give me in exchange for exposing the secret causes of hockey suckage. But that’s off-topic, because:

1. Behold the power of one really good period! Habs go into the 3rd down 2-3, and end up winning the game 6-3, no empty-netters neither. Here’s a miracle: half power-play goals, half even-strength. Now, all the Bruins’ goals were even-strength, so this just goes to prove my original (by which I mean, since early January) point: the power play is the life…

2. As thrilled as I am that the kids are doing well, they’re starting to make me feel as though I’ve wasted my life. Lordy, I am never going to be as good at anything ever as they are at hockey right now: Higgins (1 G, 3A), Plekanec (1G, 2A), Halak (32 saves), and hell, throw in Lapierre (1 G), Komisarek (1 A), Kostitsyn (1 A), and Latendresse (nothing tonight but don’t forget he won the last game). This isn’t even a matter of having faith in the future anymore, this isn’t oh-the-kids-will-be-so-good-someday, they’re getting freakin’ platinum-glittery right before our very eyes- it’s almost an insult now to say they’ve got potential. And after an entire season of seeing the Habs again and again put faith in underperforming veterans in the hopes that they’ll come around, it’s just so exciting to see guys out there who really want their ice time. The best of the best tonight: Halak, who kept them in the game through two weak periods and set the foundation for the glorious comeback, and Higgins, whose goal was yet another sexy little wraparound and who also pulled off one of the slickest keeping-the-puck-in-the-zone moves I’ve ever seen.

3. But aging isn’t necessarily bad- Markov decides to go on a rare scoring binge, by Markov standards, with a goal and an assist, and Koivu picks up another 2 assists for his collection (such a helpful guy). Ryder gets revenge for an uncalled high-stick by topping off the game with an extra embarrassment goal. But then there’s Kovalev- sometimes doing virtually nothing for 5 months will leave one a little rusty, apparently, for although he’s clearly trying, he nevertheless ended this game with no points and -3 (a team worst). Ya get a little older, suddenly scoring at will ain’t so easy no more, eh? That’s what we call karma.

4. I suppose that’s pretty much it for the Bruins, in terms of making it to the postseason. Better luck next year, but keep it for next year, because it’d be really nice if they could drop the last game they’ve yet to play against the Habs in similar fashion.

5. An unrelated point: I think Stephen Colbert is having more success promoting hockey in the States than the NHL has had over the past decade. Suddenly I have miscellaneous friends from home asking me questions about the Saginaw Spirit- even though, ironically, they live much closer to Michigan than I do. Umm… go Random OHL Team? Wait, am I allowed to support anything affiliated with Ontario? What’s the policy on that?

In spite of the predictions of nearly everyone outside Montreal, the Habs are stubbornly refusing to die, and are even starting to nibble gently at that last playoff spot. Of course, the Hurricanes, Islanders, Rangers, and (shudder) Leafs are also refusing to die, so there’s still no real reason to get excited. Pick your cliché: One night at a time, every point counts, there are no easy games, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, a game in hand is worth two... uh… overtime losses? Actually, that doesn’t make sense, does it? But whatever, any cliché works, because the whole point of clichés is to make anything excessively dramatic- good or bad- seem ordinary and conventional. So let’s just pretend that this is a very ordinary win and a very ordinary 2 points, and all hold our breath and our judgments until Saturday and beyond.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go dance around the living room in my jersey while lip-synching badly to obscure late-90s Midwestern ska.

Really, I’m not getting excited.


Simonus said...


You root for the London Knights.

Sergei Kostitsyn.

- Simonus

Matthew Macaskill said...

Get the feeling that Montreal is ending the seasons the same way they started it? Playing possum for the first have (or first two-thirds) only to wake up in the final frame and destroy their opponent?

It's not the best way to win games, but we need the wins.

Robert L said...

The answers received tonight begin with the question, "Why are the Bruins in 13th place?"

It all has to with stability and patience versus instability and rotating parts.

It will all mean little should the Habs drop more than 1 of their final 7 games.

E said...

simonus- wow, is there anyone else i'm rooting for without knowing it? can i use this power of super-secret fandom for other things? if someone is telling me about some ECHL team or something, can i be like, oh yes, i've always subconsciously supported them? and what happens if (heaven forbid!) there are ever habs-stamped kids playing on opposing teams??? (*anyeurism*)

matthew- you know, i thought it looked a little familiar... but honestly, now, i care very little whether they win games in the best way or the worst way, so long as the 'destroying the opponent' part happens. seriously, if they could win by pelting the rival goalie with very small gherkins and triggering the latent pickle-phobia of all goaltenders, i'd be all for it (providing that doesn't draw a penalty, which it probably does, but i didn't want to think of a realistic example). i'm through hoping for things like consistency and reliable scoring, they've never had them and won't start now, but it's actually possible to win anyway, thank god.

robert- yes, yes, i know. but hey, the way they were playing a month ago, we could be at the point now where none of these games mean anything. anyway, if there's one thing the habs have proven this season, it's that they can beat 'good' teams and lose terribly to 'bad' ones, so losing to the 13 place guys (or the 14th place guys, for that matter) is certainly possible. i suppose the critical remaining question is whether they'll find a way to solve the rangers...

kazmojo said...

Hockey suckage? Pickle-phobia? I'm not sure what is a bigger reason for reading your blog: the insights into all Habdom, or the Jon Stewart-like random expressions of hilarity.

Simonus said...


You root for the Cincinnati Cyclones, the current ECHL affiliate of the Canadiens. They have (for instance) Mathieu Aubin, Cedric Desjardins and a few relative longshots for NHL rosters. Last year I rooted for The Long Beach Ice Dogs in the ECHL because they were the habs affiliate.

For me, at least, minor league cheering is mostly mutable. If in a few years some fantastic prospect is playing for the frontenacs, I'll root for them for the season. For right now I like the Knights. In addition to Kostitsyn, part II they have Kane and Gagner - 2 kids that have been wowing draft prognosticators.

If you 2 teams have good habs prospects on them, you can have 2 teams you "like." When they play each other, you can say you are "scouting."


E said...

hmmm... you know, i always thought that more knowledge of the various sub-professional leagues would be liberating, in the sense that i'd be able to support other teams, perhaps ones with incredibly silly names and even sillier jerseys. and yet this support wouldn't conflict with being a habs fan- it would be like an alternate universe of hockey, in my fantasies anyway. but no, everything hooks up with everything else- there's probably proto-habs and ex-habs all throughout everywhere that i have to root for or feel guilty. evidently being a canadiens fan is more or less like being married- a full-time, exclusive commitment. oh well.