Saturday, November 17, 2007

11-17-07: Canadiens 7, Bruins 4

Somewhere, set in the heavens between the moon and the firmament, there is a hockey rink built entirely of diamond bricks, set with rubies and lapis; a hockey rink where the pucks are made of vulcanized platinum and the water bottles are filled with ambrosia and the ice is formed from the tears of very cold angels and is resurfaced every intermission by golden Zambonis driven by comely, long-haired, wide-eyed maidens. This is where virtuous Habs go when they die, and there they play the Bruins over and over again for all eternity. Coincidentally, it is also where evil Bruins go when they die (*pointed glare at Chara*).

1. The Canadiens’ approach to this game can be summed up with one word: MORE. More of everything. More shots (52), more goals (7), more minor penalties (13), more major penalties (4), more speed, more hugging, more thwacking. They essentially tossed the puck around like a bunch of sugar-addled four-year-olds with a SuperBall™. Dammit, why can they not play like this all the time? I know, I know, they didn’t exactly set a personal-best for defensive responsibility, and Carbonneau’s all infatuated with defensive responsibility, but isn’t it more fun- every now and then- to win like this than 1-0 or some such?

2. Okay, maybe not, because apparently other hockey teams are sore losers and get all crotchety when they’re being shamelessly blown out. But hopefully they’ll learn eventually that getting all thuggy doesn’t have much effect on the Habs, if only for the sake of poor Kostopolous’s self-esteem- the man can fight, but he can’t exactly win. In fact, I’ll admit it, pretty much nobody on the Habs can win a fight these days. Maybe Bouillon can, and Komisarek can sometimes make it a draw on sheer size advantage, but beyond that… well, I’m sure the clip of Kostitsyn-Stuart is up online somewhere by now, and that kinda says it all. Never has any player received a five-minute major for doing so little.

3. The refs in this game were huge fans of the simultaneous penalty, which is in keeping with the one-for-me, one-for-you rhythm this game had through the first two periods. Not that it wasn’t warranted, generally (hshuma, Begin, that was the most obvious dive in the history of diving), although it did cause some hilarious clown-car crowding in the penalty boxes. And anyway, any number of skaters on the ice other than 10 is good luck for the Habs- three power-play goals, one shorthanded, one 4-on-4.

4. A few points worthy of mention: The first line only gets one goal, but Ryder gets 13 shots on net and Koivu goes 63% on face-offs. Higgins also seems to take some sort of (*cringe*) ankle injury in the first, which makes Latendresse so excited he goes on to play one of the best games he’s had all season. Apparently all he needed was the right motivation, huh? Also particularly lovely performances by Chupacabra (my new favorite PKer), Komisarek (3 goals in 19 games? Insanity.), Kostitsyn (cute fake-pass move) and Hamrlik (I will never doubt Gainey’s genius again). Price must be pissed, though, somewhere down in his cold, robotic innards, that a very nice 32-save performance was still the less-impressive goaltending job of the evening.

5. The Bruins finish the game on a 6 minute PK, at which point close-ups of Thomas’s face become painful to look at- it’s the expression usually reserved for beef cattle in that moment before they go into the grinder, when the full horror of their situation dawns on them at the simultaneous moment that they realize they’re powerless to stop it. Poor guy.

Most of these Habs are probably a good ways off going to that sweet, shiny arena in the sky, but at least they get a preview a few times a year. Maybe it’ll inspire them to be extra-good in future- eat their veggies, say their prayers, mind their manners, backcheck…

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