Thursday, October 11, 2007

10-10-07: Canadiens 3, Penguins 2

Is this really my team? I mean, I know they’re wearing my team’s jerseys, but as I recall the Habs were a crazy, schitzy unreliable team last season that were only supposed to be getting worse this year. And yet they keep coming out and looking all kinds of good- and not even good in that holy-shit-we’ve-got-to- play-one-dazzling-period-to-compensate-for-the-two-crappy-ones-we- just-finished way. Good like steady-levels-of-effort good. Solid good. Coordinated good. We-don’t-have-superpowers-but-we-can-work-as-a-team good.

1. Well, maybe they have a few superpowers waiting stage-left. Carey Price is not just cool under pressure, he’s totally cold. Not just ice cold, absolute zero cold. There are pieces of frozen rock floating through deep space a billion miles from any sun that are not as cold as Carey Price in net. The boy is so emotionless about his work it borders on the sociopathic, as if he is literally incapable of perceiving stress or pressure. In the past few days, since his start was announced, he’s been not only topic-du-jour in Montreal but everywhere, and at the center of all this anticipation and analysis, he seems… well, bored. And kinda sleepy (Sherry said this once before, about his days in Hamilton, and it’s very true.) But fortunately, he’s not my friend or relative, he’s just my goalie, and where goaltenders are concerned a little sociopathy isn’t necessarily a bad thing- especially when combined with a very sexy glove hand and lateral motion so clean it barely looks like moving. And although his stats for this game weren’t especially spectacular (26 stops to Fleury’s 32), and Huet has played plenty of much more dazzling games, he made enough improbable saves and looked stylish enough doing it that even I’m having a little trouble restraining myself from declaring him The Light and The Salvation. Hell, even Crosby couldn’t keep from throwing himself atop the poor baby goalie in an unseemly display of shameless lust.

2. Somebody needs to buy Higgins a rabbit’s foot, or some sort of dismembered rodent part, because he’s got real mojo problems. Never has anyone (okay, anyone on the Habs in the since mid-October 2006) with so much ability worked so hard so consistently for so little result. Just like long stretches of last year, he’s making smart decisions both offensively and defensively, setting up gorgeous plays, taking good shots, and just generally flinging every last scrap of energy he can collect into his shifts, and yet nothing seems to connect the way it should. You watch him all game, and think, “Man, he looks fantastic, it’s just a matter of time before something goes in…” and yet apparently there’s a vast conspiracy of goal posts, bad bounces, and out-of-position linemates designed to foil all his efforts. And it’s weirder still because his line, generally, seems to be clicking. Koivu and Ryder are playing as well as you could ask- that is, until Higgins is trying to feed them a really slick pass, and then they’re tangled up somewhere back behind the action. I hereby offer a free cake and my everlasting gratitude to any taxidermist who can find the right preserved animal piece to put on a keychain and change Higgins’ luck.

3. It’d be easier for me to list the Habs who did poorly tonight than those who did well, but a nice win just sucks the negativity right out of me, so I’m just going to revel in the awesomeness of the following: Plekanec, Markov, Komisarek. Without them, all Habistan would be weeping right now, and probably for the rest of the season.

4. Is it possible that I won’t ever have to use my brand-new Alexei Kovalev Annoyance Scale? Because miraculously, after nine regular periods of hockey and two OTs of watching him, I’m still not especially annoyed with him. In fact, I was considering perhaps reducing the level to -1 (equivalent to one of those tiny yappy dogs that people dress up in pastel sweaters- irritating, but slightly charming in an acquired-taste kinda way). However, it turns out that the AKAS does not have a negative-numbers function, so we’ll just stick with zero for now.

I’m not entirely sure what these Habs are yet, I don’t think we’ve seen either the best or the worst of their capabilities. And what can you truthfully say after only three games? How about this: they’ve got five points out of a possible six and are apparently fully functional. So far, so good.

No comments: