Comeback night in Montreal

It was a big night for comebacks in Montreal. Stéphane Dion roared back from fourth place out of eight candidates to win the Liberal party leadership, beating Michael Ignatieff ("Stephen Harper in a red tie," according to my wife) in the final ballot. The Canadiens came back after being down 3-1 in the 3rd for a win over the Maple Leafs. A great night for the Quebec boys over the big, rich Anglos!

Here are my notes in writer-friendly bullet-form:

- This is huge for a Habs/Leafs game on HNIC: Jim Hughson is calling the game instead of Bob Cole. Hughson did not disappoint.

- The Leafs owned the first period. I'd sure like to know why it looks like Toronto is always more motivated than Montreal in these high profile games. The shots were 13-5 after 1.

- Ian White = Beavis
"When you're young, it's pretty hard-core to get some skulls." -22 year old Ian White

Not exactly words of wisdom. But what do you expect from a drunk driver. Now, one might interpret my words as insulting to those who have tattoos of laughing and crying skulls. Allow me to clarify: if you have tattoos of laughing and crying skulls, I'm definitely insulting you.

- Boone, on Ryder:
"A real trigger-man, playing with Saku Koivu, would score 40 without breathing hard. Ryder is on pace for 20 ... and I wouldn't bet the ranch he gets there."

Yep, Ryder looks like he's regressed.

- Also Boone: "Pat Hickey says Kovy is out of sorts today because The Hockey News has named him one of the five most uncoachable players in the NHL."

Sisu says that's why a guy with $8M skills is currently under contract for $4M per year.

- Rivet took a hard shot off his right arm and might be out for awhile.

- Habs had a good 2nd period for a change. After two periods, the play has been even. Ryder hit Raycroft twice in glorious scoring opportunities, and Kovalev hit the post once. Not bad for playing with five defensemen.

- Alex Kovelev would have been ripped apart by the media had the Canadiens lost tonight. He took a double minor in the dying seconds of the 2nd which led to a Leaf PPG early in the 3rd. Kovy was called for a minor penalty for a one-handed "hook" on Ponikarovsky. In Kovy's defense, 1) Poni pulled the "tuck the guy's stick under your arm" trick and it worked, and 2) if a player has only one hand on his stick, he should never be called for hooking. Throw in the language barrier, his additional minor for unsportsmanlike conduct is very forgivable in my opinion. It was a chintzy call. If I had a Tivo, I could put together a highlight reel of 20 such infractions for each team that went uncalled.

- Ian White. His puck-over-glass minor in the 3rd period was karmic retribution.

- The cameras caught Raycroft scraping up the ice before the shootout. Goalies at every level do this in their crease. For the shootout, it looks like they do it all the way out to the hash marks.

- Carbo chose Sheldon Souray for the shootout. I confess: I groaned when I saw him line up for his shot because having a >100mph slapshot has little to nothing to do with scoring on breakaways. Souray smartly used his greatest strength to his advantage, faking a slapshot from the hash marks. The fake froze Raycroft like a statue and Shelly flicked a wristshot into the far side for the SO win. That's why Carbo is coaching the Habs while I'm typing notes and drinking beer in my underwear.

- Saku Koivu is a great player. It's amazing he's not a minus player, being saddled with defensive liailities in Ryder and Latendresse.

- In a post-game interview, when asked about his shootout performance Souray says (I paraphrase) "It worked, but I don't know if it will ever work again. I just hope Don Cherry stops showing me being victimized on all those highlight reel goals." Brilliant.

- To his credit, Bob Cole did an acceptable job with the play-by-play in the Colorado-Vancouver game. He must have had to swallow some pride.


Blogger Olivier said...

It was quite something to watch, last night, Koivu pick up the habs and shove them into OT. The Leafs knew exactly what he was up to and could only watch him go.

The guy is just a very special player.

12/03/2006 8:36 a.m.  
Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

"That's why Carbo is coaching the Habs while I'm typing notes and drinking beer in my underwear."

And writing like that, sir, is what keeps me coming back to your blog.

My only complaint is you don't update it enough! Oh, well, gotta keep your public hungry for more...

12/03/2006 11:14 a.m.  
Anonymous roddie said...

having a >100mph slapshot has little to nothing to do with scoring on breakaways.

Actually, I've seen Brian Rolston use his successfully in the shootout a couple of times.

He just got one in on a slapshot Saturday night against the Stars. I couldn't believe he'd even try it.

12/04/2006 5:35 p.m.  

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