29 April 2010

'Nuff said.

23 April 2010

No Tomorrow Scenario For Habs, Probably One Goalie

Well, the Habs are down 3-1 to the mighty Capitals in their first-ever playoff match-up. While the fact itself wouldn't surprise anybody who hasn't seen any of the games, for those of us who have sat through every minute it is a major disappointment. The Canadiens have dominated significant portions of Games 2 and 4, but both times could not sustain the effort for a full 60 minutes and thus ended up on the losing end. It *could* have been 3-1 the other way or even a tie series, but bad breaks, bad breakdowns, and bad third periods have made the series what it is.

Tonight is Game 5 in the Caps' home barn. The crowd will of course be "Rocking the Red" and will be its usual boisterous self in support of Ovechkin and company. They will want to close out the series tonight to maximize their rest until Round Two begins, as a date with the Flyers looms on the horizon. For the Canadiens, there remains only a faint glimmer of hope. They will have to be perfect tonight in order to force a Game 6 back in Montreal. They cannot play very well for only 20, 40, 50 minutes; they must play excellent for a full three periods...and maybe even more.

The greatest burden of all falls on the shoulders of the goaltender. It is he who must stop the lethal offence led by the game's most offensive dynamo. This is the biggest game of his NHL career because if he does not win tonight, the future becomes very uncertain.

That goaltender is Jaroslav Halak.

It pains me that it is not Carey Price. However, I accept it. Halak has earned the right to bounce back tonight after Price couldn't stop the onslaught the other day. He has been very good many times this year. He will have to be tonight, because if the Habs lose tonight, not only will their season be over, but so too could the career of one of these two young men with the organization.

Both are restricted free agents this coming July, and you have to think that one of them will be moved prior to next season, whether it's a trade at the draft or via an offer sheet come July 1st. The ongoing sideshow doesn't benefit either player or the organization. Both are highly valued commodities: highly-skilled and -talented goaltenders in their early 20s that have demonstrated that they are capable of handling #1 responsibilities and carrying the load for a team. Price has the higher pedigree, but Halak has shown more this year than he has in any previous year. At 24, Halak is entering his prime years. At only 22, Price is not there yet. Both want to be #1, and there's only one goal in Montreal to tend. Something's gotta give...

Here is my ideal scenario at this point:
1. Halak is traded to a Western Conference team for a high draft pick (1st or 2nd round) and/or a prospect. This gets him out of Montreal and into a situation where we will not have to regularly deal with a Price v. Halak debate.
2. Re-sign Carey Price to a medium-term deal for decent money. Two years would be ideal, since he'd only be 24 and thus not yet eligible to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the contract but the Habs would be able to make the judgment at that time whether he deserves the long-term deal that keeps him in the bleu, blanc, et rouge for life.
3. The Canadiens acquire a veteran goaltender that can provide leadership and mentor Price. They can be assured of seeing 20-30 games (depending on their performance as well as that of Price) in order to quell the ego but still give them enough moxie to want to push Price hard to earn the role. I really wish they'd pushed to bring in Olaf Kolzig for this after Huet was traded, but that didn't happen; Price hasn't really been the same without that veteran presence since. Marty Turco is the ideal candidate. At 35, he may still field offers to be a #1 making #1 money from some teams who really need someone like him. The Canadiens may have to overpay a little bit to secure his rights. I'm not sure what other goalies are available, but he's my first pick.

I'll get into other, less happy scenarios, later.

But for now, enjoy the game. Go Habs Go!

16 April 2010

That is all.

15 April 2010

The Fun Continues

The puck hasn't even dropped yet and the Habs-Caps series is already a ton of fun. First we had the neat Tomas "Don't Call Me Jagr" Plekanec/Jose "Not Quite Martin Broduer" Theodore commentaries, and now we get this:

"The situation in Washington this season is different from years gone by. In the franchise's early days, the Caps courted fans from out of town. But the arrival of Alex Ovechkin and an upturn in the team's fortunes have made such moves unnecessary.
In fact, the Capitals actively discouraged sales to Pittsburgh fans when the Caps met the Penguins in the playoffs last season. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who made his money with AOL, had the Capitals' online ticket sales programmed to reject bids from fans in Pittsburgh."

That's actually pretty funny, and I wonder if they've done it again this year. Two really cool organizations going to battle. When the series shifts to Montreal it's going to escalate to a whole new level - 21,273 going crazy to deter Ovechkin and his band of merry men.

13 April 2010

"Plekanec States the Obvious" - Should Have Been the Headline


I appreciate the gamesmanship and on top of that, I think it's the truth. Yeah, Theo and Varlamov had pretty good seasons, but I think that Price and Halak are better too. Doesn't mean that the Caps' goaltending is brutal, just that the Canadiens get the upper hand in that department.

Also, this:

10 April 2010

Habs Playoff Scenarios

So I'm thrilled that we're in the playoffs, earning one point in our final 3 games to really demonstrate that we're ready to hand with the elite teams in the NHL. And I say that because we will be playing one of them.

By "virtue" of their 88 points the Habs presently sit in 7th place. They can finish no higher than that.

Habs finish 7th if the Rangers defeat Philadelphia tomorrow.
Habs finish 8th if the Flyers defeat New York tomorrow.

Washington will finish in 1st place.

Buffalo will take 2nd place if they defeat New Jersey in regulation tomorrow.
New Jersey will finish in 2nd place if they defeat Buffalo tomorrow or if they lose in OT/SO.

So here are the potential first round matches and what will have to happen to force it.

If the Rangers win and New Jersey wins/loses in OT, Montreal plays New Jersey
If the Rangers win and Buffalo wins in regulation, Montreal plays Buffalo.
If the Flyers win, Montreal plays Washington.


09 April 2010

3rd Post of the Day for My Habs' 1st Star

Couldn't happen to a better guy: http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/32513

Way to go Josh!

Pat Burns


This article has me literally biting back tears. Having just lost a loved one to that bastard killer, it brings up a lot of emotions. I hope that when Pat lets go of life he is at peace and with those who love him most.

My WTF Moment of the Day


I'd really be curious to know who those 10% are and what their motivation could possibly be to disagree with such a notion.

Also, my 29th birthday was awesome. Pics soon.

06 April 2010

He May Not Be "Our Bastard" Any More...

There's an old adage in realist politics that deals with unsavoury characters and the often-necessary need to side up with less-than-reputable folks:

"He may be a bastard, but he's our bastard."

For a good long while many people have been highly wary of Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and his unwillingness to tackle corruption, move forward on women's rights, and certain other tactics he's employed during his leadership of the country. The rather lame defence of Karzai in this context is that he's the least bad option available and that alternatives to his leadership run the gamut from much worse dictatorial types all the way to the Taliban. Well, the times, they may be a-changin':

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai twice threatened to quit politics and join the Taliban if the West continued to pressure him to enact reforms, legislators said Monday."

01 April 2010

Idiots Booing Carey Price

I didn't hear about the latest round of booing of Carey Price when he was announced as last night's 3rd star until this morning. I was watching the TSN broadcast and they cut to SportsCentre pretty much right after the final whistle. I think it's absolutely revolting that he can stop 25 of 26 Carolina shots, getting beaten only by a legit superstar and Roman Hamrlik, and these idiots decide to point the finger at him. Well, these so-called fans are likely to end up getting a bigger one right back if/when Carey leaves town. I know that this is what Montreal fans do - they've done it to every goaltender going as far back as Ken Dryden (and probably beyond) but the sheer ignorance of it all just disgusts me.