It was a much more tame affair than the Ottawa-LA tilt on Friday night. Although they're not afraid to hit, the Canadiens can't afford to play games like that against a very physical team like the Kings. The Habs just don't have the muscle if things get out of hand. Predictably, Sean Avery was the centre of attention. The crowd booed his every move, and several Habs took every opportunity to run him. Otherwise, the game was less exciting than most I have seen this year. Yes, both teams looked tired, but it also looked like there was more obstruction than usual.
It's a shame. The Kings are a skilled, hard working, energetic bunch and a fun team to watch. But with a bigot like Avery in the lineup, I took pleasure in seeing them get beat on the ice and in the alleys by the Sens.
Craig Conroy, on the Avery boos:
"We expected that every time he was on the ice," Conroy said. "You know, I think he said something in haste and didn't think about it, and all of a sudden it spins out of control and by the time it gets here, it's huge. I don't think he meant to say it, it just came out, and if he could have taken it back, he would have."
Baloney. He could have taken it back and decided not to. In an interview saw, Avery apologized "if he offended anybody," but did not retract his statement. In fact, he made it clear that he stood by his comments. If the Kings management stands by this putz and doesn't even distance itself from his slurs, then I have no sympathy for them when their opposition goons it up. If Gleason had been injured by Chara, the Kings could have thanked Avery. Yes, that's blaming the victim, but sometimes the shoe fits.
The Kings will continue their parade through the Northeast division with a game in Toronto on Tuesday.
I have read a few comments by Hab fans complaining about Garth Murray and Andrei Kostitsyn being called up just to warm the bench. I don't have a problem with it.
The Habs have been playing without three regular forwards: Koivu, Kovalev and Bonk. Julien wanted to simply shorten the bench to get through the last couple of games before an extended break. Even if he was only going to roll three lines, why not call up some bodies to flesh out the roster in case of injuries? There was never any intention of giving a couple of early cuts from training camp any icetime. They were only there so Julien could fill dress twelve forwards instead of ten.
There are already three rookie forwards getting regular shifts. If things started getting too rough, Murray (1g, 1a, 46pim in 25 games in Hamilton) would have played. Kostitsyn (5g in 24 games in Hamilton) just isn't ready yet.