Thursday, November 08, 2007

11-8-07: Canadiens 2, Bruins 1

It’s a very strange thing to have a ‘good’ team to follow. I was rather accustomed to the Habs being a bad team; certainly after all the criticism they took for their actions and lack of actions over the summer, I was prepared for them to be a bad team. I was fully prepared to spend the entire season being in turns hysterically upset and self-righteously defensive, to spend recap after recap searching for a couple of good points I could defend after yet another hard-fought but ultimately futile match. This isn’t to say, of course, that I didn’t think they could be good, but I didn’t think they’d ever make it look this easy.

1. Higgins needs some of whatever Plekanec has been having for breakfast, because after weeks of good chances that didn’t finish, Pleks is finally getting points reflective of his effort and ability. Really, both goals in this game should be his, Kovalev essentially stole the first one with a well-planned but very unnecessary ‘redirection’. But the real dazzle was Kostitsyn and his super-duper-extra-pretty set-up work. Carbonneau’s going to have a hard time rationalizing benching him in favor of Latendresse again. With Ryder’s slump and Higgins crap luck, the ‘second line’ is essentially the first line now, in that they’re getting most of the goals and generating most of the team’s offensive energy. Koivu must be having conniption fits under that stoic Scandinavian exterior.

2. Personally, though, I was extraordinarily impressed with Chupacabra this game. Although billed and used primarily as a defensive forward, centering the 4th line, the kid’s got some good hands and some real ingenuity in the offensive zone. Maybe it won’t amount to a whole lot on the scoreboard, but it’s hella fun to watch- he and Begin were made for each other.

3. Can somebody tell me what exactly happened to Ward? Dude took some kind of thwack that left him twitching on the ice for a while, but RDS’s cameras somehow missed whatever caused it altogether. Looked like an accident involving Bouillon, but I’ve really got no idea what was involved. Any intrepid commenters want to fill me in?

4. And speaking of nasty moments in hockey, Bergeron gives a press conference for the Francophone media in town about his condition and the hit that led to it. Like most hockey players, he’s doing the love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin thing, refusing to condemn the guy that hit him while lamenting the hit itself. I’m not sure I could be so magnanimous.

5. Other notes: Still a weird habit of taking stupid penalties in the last minutes of the game. Puck-over-glass? Come on, that’s almost as ludicrous as the final-five too-many-men they got a couple games back. But Dandenault makes the ensuing 2 minutes of 5-on-3 more difficult for Thomas than one would generally suspect- this is why switchy-type forward/D players are so useful. Price was very good, not particularly spectacular, but he didn’t need to be, and that won’t stop everyone from swooning over him for the next couple of days. And Komisarek really, really, really shouldn’t be trying to provoke Chara. We need you functional, Mike.

6. Finally, is it wrong of me to say I’m sort of happy that Murray got sent down? Honestly, I never really understood why they kept him around in the first place, but apparently whatever reason it was wasn’t sufficient to keep him around while injured. Presumably this means that they want to make room to bring someone else up. Lapierre, insha’allah, although possibly the last thing we need is another kiddie center these days.

Not a spectacular win, but a very efficient, economical performance against a very, uh, conservative team. As regards the Bruins, I think Plekanec said it best when he used his intermission soundbite to say STOP FUCKING TRAPPING US, YOU USELESS WHORES. Okay, he didn’t actually say that in so many words, he was much more politic in his phrasing, but we’d like to think he was screaming it with his eyes. Still, those defensive, Barbie-head-stuck-in-the-bathtub-drain-type teams used to be instant death for the Habs, whose scoring once upon a time was low even with the best and most frequent of opportunities.

Not anymore.


Anonymous said...

e, I love reading your column, and I have been content to politely disagree with your opinions on Kovalev, but this time I really think you're dead wrong. Kovalev's tipping the puck over the goal-line was not "completely unnecessary". The puck was spinning, almost dancing along the goal line, and there was a Bruin about to swipe it away from harm. Kovalev did what ANY hockey player is supposed to do--he made sure.
If the puck had been swept away, it would have gone to a review, so Kovalev made sure there was no room for debate.
In the course of your early fanhood, you may have occasionally seen a puck rocket in and out of the goal very quickly. In some of those instances, another player will swat the puck back into the net, just to be certain. Things happen fast out there, and there is no time to debate whether you are "stealing" someone else's goal.

I really think you ought to be praising Kovalev for not giving up on the play and making sure the puck was in. Would you rather he gave up, assuming the goal had been scored, and then have the agony of a video review? My sense is, you would have been upset at him either way.

E said...

anon- in this case, i meant unnecessary in that i thought the puck would easily have gone in either way. if i can i'll recheck the replay, but i didn't think it was so close to being swiped away or that it would likely have gone to video review whether or not kovalev had intervened.

that said, i don't disagree at all with kovalev's instincts in the matter. you're right, in all cases, better to be sure than sorry. my comments about him 'stealing' the goal were meant in a fairly light-hearted fashion, not as a serious criticism.

Julian said...

E does have a penchant for the odd bit of hyperbole now and then.... and there's nothing wrong with taking undeserved potshots at players you don't particularily care for.

E said...

"the odd bit of hyperbole"? without hyperbole (and cheap potshots at kovalev), this blog would be nothing. everyone knows those are the foundation of good literary style in hockey.