Le magnifique

For his second time,
Mario is calling it a career. Reports say Lemieux is looking forward to being a stay-at-home Dad for Sidney Crosby. You now, picking him up and dropping him off at the rink, making his PBJ sandwiches for lunch, etc.


Can we have a mulligan on the Garon + 3rd round pick for Radek Bonk and Cristobal Huet deal?

Jose Theodore's performance has been a big story all year, and lately it seems to be boiling over. Read all about it at
James Mirtle's.

Theo is making $4.5M this season. He's scheduled to rake in another $11M over the next two. In his last two starts, he has a 14.29 GAA and 0.655 Sv%. He now has a 3.27 GAA and 0.888Sv% for the year. That's bad. That's
Edmonton Oilers bad.

True, the team has not played well in front of him. However, Theo is the highest paid player on the team. He needs to make all of the stops he should make, and a good fraction of the stops he shouldn't make. He has to keep the Habs in the game when things are not going well. He has to be their MVP, their leader on the ice. The Oilers have no such delusions about their netminders.

It sucks to have to bring up Theo's salary but in a capped environment you have to justify earnings with performance. Otherwise, you are hurting the team by taking up cap room that would be better spent elsewhere. Right now, given the choice between the current team with Theo, or the current team without Theo plus a $4.5M per year defenseman, I'd go with the latter.

So, what's the answer? I have no idea. It's a catch-22. To get rid of Theo, he has to play well to be attractive to other teams. But if he's playing well, why move him?


Have no fear, Habs fans!
Here comes the cavalry!

The addition of Aaron Downey is probably directly related to the recent
wristbracegate scandal. If Souray can't stand up for himself and his teammates, someone else has to. Raitis Ivanans is out of the question, as he is still looking for his teeth. I was going to suggest bringing in a tough guy but Gainey beat me to it. Yes, everyone knows the goons are going the way of the dinosaur, but something has to be done.

Think back to the 2004 playoffs. After a full season where icetime was scarce, Darren Langdon was suddenly appearing regularly on the top lines against the Bruins. He wasn't suddenly a better player, but there was no doubt that he allowed Saku Koivu et al to be bolder. Tough guys are often among the most popular guys with their teammates, and if a player like this raises the spirits of the Habs he will be worth having on the bench.


A comment from Buccigross' latest effort:

"Alexander Ovechkin's goal (you know the one) against the Phoenix Coyotes last week is, in my mind, the greatest goal in NHL history."

Boy, just like Pierre McGuire, Bucci sure is heavy on the superlatives. Greatest goal in NHL history?? Makes me wonder what else is in Bucci's mind...

It was a helluva goal, no question. One of the highlights of the year, and an awesome demonstration of coordination and determination. But I don't think it's even Ovechkin's best goal this year. Contrary to Bucci's comments, there was a substantial amount of luck involved.

There was another goal, early on in the season vs. Carolina. I can't find the video, I'm afraid. Ovechkin was attacking from the right wing and Cassels (I think?) had the puck in the middle. Cassels passed to Ovechkin, and a defenseman deflected the puck up about two feet. Ovechkin knocked the pass - it was coming hard, too - out of mid-air, corralled the puck, drove hard to the net and scored on his backhand. It was an awesome demonstration of speed, hand-eye coordination, strength and guts.

Bucci is a great writer, but statements like the above are ill-conceived, if not verifiably wrong. As if to make my point for me, later in the very same section he says:

"When was the last time you saw something original on a basketball court, something we haven't seen 100 times before?"

Uh, Sunday night?

And speaking of Pierre McGuire, Bucci has this to say:

"Mike Emrick, John Davidson and Pierre McGuire are the smartest announcing trio in all of sports."

Smartest? I dunno. To his credit, McGuire was a lot better on the Saturday NBC broadcast than he usually is on TSN. They must have sedated him.


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