1. It’s a little scary how irrelevant our injury ‘woes’ are starting to seem. No Koivu, Komisarek, Bouillon, Ryder, or (incidentally) Grabovski, and yet no obvious deterioration in the Habs’ overall game. Not to say that I don’t want those guys healthy again for the playoffs, but there is clearly more to the team’s success than just good luck with bones and muscles. Still, I think the Montreal Canadiens’ Childrens Foundation should have a reciprocation day: get a bunch of adorable kids to come to their physical therapy sessions and sign their jerseys. In the meantime, I expect each and every one of you to get out your crayons and send a nice get well card.
2. However, one man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity, and Matt D’Agostini is very lucky that the injuries and illnesses have hit at such a seemingly awkward moment. Who knows, he could be the Drew Miller of the Habs. Although he wasn’t particularly prominent in this game, and showed nothing of his rumored scoring touch, he did make a couple of nice defensive plays, knocking Sabres off the puck or keeping them from getting to it. Good policy. This time of the year, competence is a lot more desirable than flair in a call-up.
3. Bryan Smolinski: World’s Most Selective Sniper. Few realize it, but many years ago, young
4. Hshuma, Begin, hshuma alayk. I understand that the Habs’ tougher players must feel pressured to be doubly aggressive because of all the accusations that the team is soft, but opening a game by grabbing an opposing defenseman’s head and smashing it into the glass is going too far. The Canadiens aren’t the sort of team that needs to do that to win or to be interesting, and the fact that they can play tough without resorting to pointless sadism is part of what makes them great. So next time, Steve, put on your ‘rational behavior’ helmet and don’t do that kind of shit.
5. For a game with such a low score, lots of Habs got great chances: several close calls by Plekanec and A. Kostitsyn, some shockingly fancy moves by Gorges, and one of Latendresse’s best non-scoring games of the season. However, after watching him closely for several games (prior to and since his injury), I feel comfortable in asserting that Latendresse does not play the bang-around-the-boards style commonly attributed to him. Sure, he hits, but I think the most common Latendresse bodycheck is to slam an opposing puckcarrier behind the net just after the puck has been dished around the edge to the blue line. Most of the time, though, he seems to prefer to play more in the mold of the rest of the Habs’ (smaller, faster) youth- carrying the puck into the zone on the wing, then firing from somewhere inside the right circle. Lapierre is the one who does the digging in deep to recover the puck and pass it forward again. Not always, of course, but certainly more than Latendresse does. Please note that I don’t mean this as a criticism, I don’t much care what style he plays as long as he does it well. I’m just saying that I don’t think he’s actually the kind of massively physical player that many seem to perceive him as.
6. I hate it when people bully Pleks. But nevertheless, I’m going to miss Lindy. Never has a coach made the suborning of late-game goonery seem so righteous.
This win ties the Habs with the Penguins for the Eastern Conference lead. If we get more points than they in the final game, the regular season conference championship is ours, whereas fewer or equal points will leave us in second. I don’t know what to hope for. Getting the title would be thrilling, but if
[Apologies to Sabre fans for the flippant tone- I'm actually sad to see you go. But more on that later.]