Monday, September 17, 2007

T-Minus 8: Canadiens 3, Penguins 2

We would like to draw your attention to two things.

Firstly: There was a Habs game. Regarding this game, we would also like to point out the following facts, as helpfully pointed out by Mike Boone in the understandably pessimistic (original) introduction to his game liveblog:

Canadiens dressed tonight with no NHL experience: Kyle Chipchura, Janne Lahti, Corey Locke, Mathieu Carle, Sergei Kostitsyn, Andrew Archer
Penguin with no experience: Angelo Esposito

Total NHL goals last season by Pittsburgh's lineup: 194
By Canadiens: 78

Secondly: They won.

1. So many bachcheha, so fast and hard-working and eager to prove themselves. It’s adorable. Sad to think that someday they’ll grow up into bored, battered, cynical, NHLers, only to then be supplanted by a new round of bouncy bunny kids, but such is the circle of life since the days of Ibn Khaldun. [wistful sigh]. Anyway, Kostitsyn al-Akbar still looks awfully useful, Grabovski is hella fast but somehow fails to excite our interest as yet, and we (like a good many Habistanis) are quite interested in this Chipchura- he looked pretty jittery, but seemed to have a nice way of getting into the middle of everything that we here at the Theory have always admired. And Lahti, despite supposedly being born in July 1982, is obviously an unusually talented 12-year-old with a fake ID. Seriously, there were children getting photos taken with Youppi! who looked older than this guy.

2. A very, very tough game for defensemen on the Habs’ side. Archer decided to take advantage of one of the best ways to get yourself remembered while playing less than 2 full minutes of ice time in a game, namely, getting your face pounded for no apparent reason by Laraque, bleeding all over everything and then leaving for x-rays. That, combined with Carle hurting his knee and missing almost all of the 3rd, meant that the remaining 4 D ended up having to take a lot of ice time. Conclusions: If Markov and Komisarek can continue to play 30+ minutes a night, we’ll be okay. What? That would kill them? Shit. Well, fortunately it’s not like we lack for a wide variety of defensemen to choose from these days, and if Carbonneau can resist the urge to shift him forward Streit should be admirably useful in his proper role. Gorges, I think, acquitted himself well under the circumstances, although he wasn’t particularly stunning.

3. C? What C? If perhaps you feared that The Venerable Sidney would be changed by all his newfound wealth and responsibility, that he might have gotten as bland and sensible and mature on the ice as he tries to be off it, let me put your mind at rest: still whiny, still theatrical, and still thoroughly venerable. And as much as I certainly missed getting to see him play, I think perhaps I missed even more getting to see him whine and bitch and spew profanity. There’s nothing quite like being able to heckle the Best Player in the NHL and feel good about it.

4. Komisarek is obviously either very adrenaline-hyped to be able to get back to hockey, or he just really doesn’t like the Penguins, because the boy could not restrain himself from getting into yelling, shoving, shouting matches with all and sundry. Good thing he doesn’t know how to fight properly or we’d have been down to 3 defensemen for the game. Mike, we know you take the comments about the Habs lack of toughness personally, but don’t worry: nobody’s forgotten that you’re big and like to hit things, and we love you for it. Now chill the fuck out, we need you on the ice, not in the box.

5. Kovalev. We will tolerate him. For now. Because he did get 2 assists and the game winner. And he only made us hurl invective at the television set twice, which is low for him. But I’m pretty sure if you look carefully at the footage of that last goal, you can actually see him calculating how many shifts he can sleepwalk through on the goodwill he’ll get from that one glorious, dramatic moment. Yeah, I know, I should be happy, I should be loving him right now, but as far as I’m concerned, he still owes us a hell of a lot from last season, and I’ll believe the hype when I see such moments in games that count without a tradeoff shitty performance in the next match. For now, the best I’m doing is tolerating.

6. Huet: Still better than lychee gelato. Although presumably with a less creamy texture.

Okay, it doesn’t count for anything. Preseason game, nothing on the line, no points to be had, no standings, no prize. That team on the ice wasn’t even ‘the Habs’ in any meaningful way- very likely less than 1/3 of those guys will make the actual team. For us, it’s really little more than a scrap of evidence that our darari are coming along fairly well, and an all-too-rare opportunity to see them on the main stage against difficult opposition. It likely bears very little resemblance to the in-season games still to come. So I shouldn’t be this excited. I shouldn’t be bouncing through this morning with a residual giddiness I haven’t felt in months. I should be reminding myself that it means nothing.

But you know what? It does mean something, to me anyway. Because it was the Bell Center, unmistakable in all of hockey for its overly-dramatic lighting and its classless, brutal, lunatic crowd. Because it was ahbabi, resurrected and reshaped and not-quite-complete, but still familiar in places. Because it was invisible hooking penalties and broken plexiglass and messy facial lacerations. Because it was live, new, real hockey.

Because it was a Habs game. And they won.


Kaz said...

...because e is back, posting comments that manage to break down a game into its most fundamental elements.

Faraz said...

I love your writing and analysis, but somehow I especially love your little dashes of Arabic, which makes your writing sound like I'm talking to a friend. Kudos.

Matt D said...

Thank God, you're back.

Now, more, please.

Anonymous said...

SC was worse than I remember but that could just be the hate of SC87 commercials talking. I guess the captain gets to whine a little bit.

Robert L said...

Just what I needed, perspective for my perspective.

As always, a flattering piece of work, and I know you're just getting rolling.

A big welcome back - you been missed!

Julian said...

You say whiney and theatrical, I say competitive.

Or maybe I just don't understand the dislike of Crosby because I don't see him making fools of my team four times a year.

More likely though, I just want to see the myths of the future go untarnished.

PS, welcome back. The more writing you do, the better it is for the rest of us.

ACJ said...

Come one, come all, and hear the story of Crosby of Nova Scotia. With jut delusions of grandeur dancing his hand, little C went out into the brave big world of the NHL. The myth was started, but not of a kid who was great and would still be greater, but of a kid. A kid prone to tantrums and whining. A kid, who from day one, expected Jordan rules. Perhaps with time our young prince will grow into an actual man, learn to concentrate on the game instead of his acting career, and grow into that big C that he was given before his time. And then, just maybe, he'll be great.

E said...

yeah, habs start playing again, i start writing again... funny how that works... anyway, nice to see y'all are still coming by, it's good to know my summer depression didn't alienate everyone.

and julian, if you like, i can start referring to tvs as "competitive", with the quotes on, where "competitive" translates as "throws tantrums like a 4 year old girl". and as much as i understand the desire for myth-making, i don't see why tvs's whining hurts that. it's perfectly understandable- possibly anyone with his level of talent and his way of seeing the game would find it difficult to control their frustration when the reality doesn't live up to their vision. so yeah, he whines, and yeah, he gets to because he's sidney crosby and he gets full rights to behave in ways that'd be frowned upon in an ordinary player because he isn't an ordinary player. the myth-to-be should be able to incorporate that, without euphemisms or dissembling. and i promise, i have my own minor contributions to make to that myth, in time.

but until then, when he's not searing my eyes with an incredibly beautiful move, i'm going to continue to make fun of him for acting like a little girl. wait, sorry, being "competitive".