First of all, multifarious apologies to any and all readers for my conspicuous absence over the past few days. I did indeed watch the games, and sketch out recaps, but for reasons that will (hopefully) soon become clear, I got a little behind on my writing. But I’m making up for it, now and in the coming days- if you scroll down, you’ll see comments on both the Penguins and the Thrashers games. Of course, blogging is a timing game and it’s not particularly worthwhile to put up a bevy of consecutive, lengthy posts in short periods of time, but I’m doing it anyway, for the sake of thoroughness. Might be that way (i.e. crowded) for the next little bit, since I’m going to be playing catch-up with a couple weeks’ worth of events, so I hope that any interested parties will take the time to look a bit down the page when they drop by. Insha’allah things will settle back into the post-per-day rhythm shortly. But of course, I always say that, and it seldom happens.
I looked at the standings today. Generally speaking, I haven’t been looking at the standings. Partly burnout from looking at them three times a day every day for the last two months of the previous season, partly because it’s still so early that other than those at the very top and very bottom of the list, the rankings don’t mean much- the results of any given night’s matches can completely rearrange everything in the middle. And I rather expected that the Habs would be hanging around the middle for quite a while. But I looked today and… wow. 3rd overall, points-wise, behind
1. Ahh, the Flyers, what do we know about them?
a. They don’t suck as much as they did last year. This is largely because they changed out significant portions of their team via free agency and trades, with the result being that they appear to me as a sort of Frankenteam cobbled together of players I associate closely with other teams. This impression was enhanced by the fact that Briere and Smith were easily their most noticeable players of the evening, although not for exactly the right reasons. Although I suppose getting booed mercilessly and running around with long trails of blood down your face (respectively) aren’t bad ways to get noticed in the hockey world.
b. They like to smash opposing players into tiny little crumbs of displaced brain-matter and assorted skull fragments. Hshuma alayk, Philly, just because you have Biron to play adorable PR agent doesn’t mean you can get away with anything. Or, I guess it does, but it shouldn’t. We’re definitely lucky that so many of their dudes were on suspension of some sort for this game, though, otherwise ahad min ahbabi would probably have gotten badly broken for us having the effrontery to skate circles around their lumbering asses. Not like they didn’t try, but fortunately my Habs have always been a team that can take punishment with minimal appreciable affect on their play- they may not throw out a lot of violence, but they’re not readily beaten by gratuitous displays of it either. Also, as a note to future opponents, just because Komisarek can’t fight competently doesn’t mean you can actually beat him. It’s rather like punching a tree: you can’t hurt it and it probably won’t hurt you, but there’s no real point- you’re just going to tire yourself out and get your knuckles all scraped up.
2. And speaking of violence, if you watched this game and didn’t emerge with a serious case of the warm fuzzies for Kostopolous, you’re probably made out of balsawood and bits of twine rather than flesh and blood. First, he’s not the biggest, toughest guy in the world, but is nevertheless so willing to take responsibility for the extracurricular beatings that are occasionally necessary in hockey. Second, that short-handed goal was a thing of manifest glory. And third, how awesome was his attempt to speak French with the RDS crew? It was wonderful, by which I mean, it was terrible- he sounded like I do when I attempt it off the top of my head- but if you ask me that takes twice the balls of getting into a fight with some Flyer-thug.
3. And speaking of French, there are few things in all of Habistan more fun than Koivu when he’s pissed off about something. I have more to say about St. Saku and the whole language thing, but for now it’s enough to mention that our captain makes his points on the ice, not with his press comments, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even leaving aside the lovely goal, he’s setting up the sort of plays lately that would have the whole Bell Centre singing grand opera, if only Higgins and Ryder could finish more of them.
4. What is it with Kovalev and the unassisted goals? Is he just trying to irritate Plekanec? I imagine him muttering semi-coherent rants under his breath all game long- idontneednoczechkidtowake meupwhattheythinkidonthaveitanymoreillshowthemiwill fuckingkidswiththeirfuckingplaymakingwhatdotheyknowicando thisbymyselfdontneednofuckinglinenohow.
5. It’s nice to see the team give Huet a night off- kept the Flyers to 19 shots, and for once Cristobal gets to be bored for a while. Biron, on the other hand, we put him through hell. I know five goals looks like a lot, but he really did play as well as- better than- anyone could expect in the circumstances. But hey, he wanted to be a starter…
This brings us to the end of the delayed game recaps. Coming up on the Theory: brief comments on language politics and the value (maybe) of Kovalev, some live game comparisons, a few travel stories, nostalgia, personal lives, enforcers, and an immoderate love letter to Mike Komisarek. Stay tuned.
P.S. This week will also be the week of the great sidebar link update- if you've emailed or commented to me with a request that your site be added, rest assured I haven't forgotten you and will be adding you shortly, as well as a whole list of others I've stumbled across in the past few months. Anyone else who wants to be added, let me know by Monday. Please note that, unless you can give me a compelling reason to make an exception, I only link to hockey-related commentary/analysis/news/discussion sites. Sites whose primary purpose is the selling of goods or services are usually not considered.