Off The Hook

Washington did Montreal's dirty work and knocked Atlanta out last night. The Habs are officially in the playoffs. In there like swimwear. For that, we can thank the tender, tender groin of Kari Lehtonen, back when the season was young. Now, the groin of another star goaltender - that of Dominik 'Spaceman' Hasek - could propel Montreal into the second round. Could this be fate? Might those old Forum ghosts manifest themselves such that the Habs ride a wave of shattered groins all the way to the Cup?


The Leafs were finally 'mathematically' eliminated over the long weekend. That's as eliminated as you can get. Roll the credits - the horror movie villian has finally been extinguished. So long Chucky. So long Jason Voorhees. So long Teen Wolf, Frankenstein (actually, Frankenstein's monster), and all you slow but persistent zombies from Night of the Living Dead.


Red Fisher has been the beat writer for the Montreal Canadiens for 50 seasons. Mike Boone wrote a nice tribute/roast. If you haven't read them already, I implore you to read Fisher's series on his top 10 memorable moments and top 10 Canadiens while the articles are still available.


Many, including Jack Todd, have been wondering why David Aebischer has started three of the past four games. Consensus seems to be that Gainey has been coaching like a GM and is giving his pricier acquisition undeserved icetime.

Al Strachan has a theory that Aebischer allows the team to produce more offense. Granted, the Habs have produced 3.57 goals per game in the seven games Aebischer has started and only 2.75 in front of Huet. That's probably because the team has been relatively healthy, has played well lately, and has faced softer opponents.

For the moment let's pretend Al is right and Aebischer somehow provides that extra 0.82 goals per game. While we're on the topic of goal differential, how about we have a look at the team's goals against average with each netminder. After all, in addition to their offensive duties, goalies might have something to do with actually stopping goals too. With Huet, the team GAA is 2.09. With Aebischer it is 3.71. Aebischer's impressive offensive production doesn't come close to making up for his goaltending inadequacies. Ergo, start Huet, Bob.


Betbrain.com provides an amalgamation of odds from a number of bookkeepers. I made a copy of their Stanley Cup playoff odds back on Sept. 21:

Did anyone out there have the foresight to grab Buffalo at 150-1? Wow.


Pet peeve/Grammar Nazi rant OTD: It is playoff 'berth,' not 'birth.' I realize there is clinching involved in both, hence the confusion. Sorry, but I find phrases like 'Rangers Nail Down Birth' quite disturbing.


Blogger d-brave said...

I disagree about Huet. I think Aebischer has proven over time that he is the more durable goalie. Remember, Huet has never played more than 42 NHL games in a season, and he's already 31 (yes, I know that's partly because he came into the league late).

Although playing behind a much better team, Aebischer still has better career stats if you ignore this year's numbers. When he played 62 games for the Avs in 2003-'04, he had a 2.09 GAA and .924 SV%. Huet has yet to accomplish that feat in that many games and he's a UFA looking at a big raise.

I agree that Abby's numbers aren't great with the Habs this year, but every goalie needs a few games to adjust to his new defensemen and, after doing so, he posted two solid wins against a very potent Ottawa offense. Huet wasn't all that great in his first few games as a Hab, but took off when he adjusted.

Gainey's investing in the right man when he plays Abby, in my opinion.

4/18/2006 7:56 p.m.  
Blogger Ingmar "W" Bergman said...

Sorry to vent my anger here, but holy-hell!

The Devils did it again. Damn them.

This will surely lead to a boring Devils-Flames final.

Wrong forum I know, but Montreal had this game wrapped up.. :(

4/18/2006 11:28 p.m.  
Blogger Jeff J said...

d-brave: I'm still more inclined to go with the numbers. Huet's run has been Kipper-esque. Is Aebischer fully adjusted yet? Are the playoffs the time to allow a new player to adjust? Ah, well, I'll trust in Gainey. He has a few more cup rings than me.

And vent away, Mr. Bergman. Or, produce a profound metaphorical film in your oeuvre examining the postmodern dynamic of "devils" combating "flames" and it's subsequent effect on the human condition.

4/19/2006 1:21 p.m.  

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