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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Price of Admission

Well well. The Winnipeg Jets have officially taken off and good for them. After 15 long years, NHL hockey is finally back in Winnipeg and let's hope this time its for keeps.

Habs rally around injuries to play an all-around team game last night in Winnipeg. Montreal won the game 5-1.
Photo: REUTERS/Todd Korol

Especially if the Habs keep getting results against them like they got last night with a 5-1 win to ruin the Jets' party. But unfortunately as has been the case over the past few seasons, the price for the Habs to win was extremely high.

Both Jaro Spacek and Mike Cammalleri left the game in the 1st period: Spacek was checked into the boards by Evander Kane and was favouring his ribs -- oh oh; and Cammalleri, who scored the first goal of the night (as well as the first in Winnipeg for 15 years and for the Habs' season) with a great individual play picking off an Oduya pass then sniping it past Pavelec's glove -- was cut in the lower thigh by Yannick Weber's skate blade. Hoo boy.

Last time we saw something like this, it was the beginning of Markov's snafus with injuries. They say right now that it'll be 2 weeks -- let's hope that's all it is, because if tendons were torn, he's out of months. Spacek I'm guessing is a goner with a broken rib. Just the way he immediately reacted makes me think he himself heard a crack, but let's hope for the best.

Price is making the big saves and looks to be picking it up where he left off from last season. Photo: REUTERS / Todd Korol

Is there more of a dangerous position these days than to play defense for the Montreal Canadiens??? Better not be akin to playing drums for "Spinal Tap."

But to Jacques Martin's defense, he juggled a few players around and made the night work. And to Pierre Gauthier's defense, our newly acquired depth seemed to pay off with contributions throughout the entire lineup.

The team rolled up its sleeves led by Tomas Plekanec who was strong on all sides of the puck. After penalty trouble put them down two men at the end of the first, Plekanec and company shut it down, the Jets going 0-7 on the night with the man advantage. Later, Plekanec stole the puck from Oduya (who had a tough night obviously) and went in alone to beat a helpless Pavelec with a snipe off the high post.

Yannick Weber went back to the blue line and contributed with a power play goal, showing off that shot we've been waiting -- and hoping -- to see.

Travis Moen was moved up and played a solid game, creating a few chances and potting his own goal on a breakaway. The man with hands of steel showed a deft touch on this play.

And Max Pacioretty showed the world that he's back and not ready to let Gomez or Gionta fall into an early season funk by picking the top shelf for Montreal's 5th goal.

But on a night where the Jets carried most of the play, I really liked what I saw from Raphael Diaz and really loved what I saw from Josh Gorges -- who slowly but surely seems to be getting back into the swing of things.

Then of course there was Carey Price, who is living up to his pedigree as Prime Minister Harper looked on in the audience. Price was outstanding. Nothing was fancy or overplayed but boy was he focused and sharp.

When a team sees their goalie playing like that, they decide to work hard too and good things can happen and they did last night for the Habs -- on the scoreboard at least. Price is giving notice that he's prepared to carry this team because at times last night the Habs looked confused and disorganized in their own zone and were prone to penalty issues.

But with Price and Plekanec playing their best, the Habs could be that opportunistic team we saw in the 2010 playoffs. In fact, last night kind of reminded me a bit of that. The Habs were outshot and maybe outchanced but when they got a scoring opportunity they were able to capitalize.

Habs return home for some turkey and to prepare for their home opener on Thursday against the Calgary Flames.


We'll know more about Cammy and Spacek in the coming days, but unfortunately for Chris Campoli the news is not good. Campoli is out for months with a torn hamstring

And it seems the Habs couldn't bet on Betts. Blair Betts was sent back to the Flyers because he was injured. Why should we pay for an injured player. We'll have to go without him. But with Lars Eller set to come back to play any day now, we should be okay. Engqvist was solid last night too.


Leafs GM Brian Burke, who was at last night's game in Winnipeg, was in serious discussions with Pierre Gauthier. Will there be some body's moving down the 401?


... but couldn't find the exact play I mentioned in my last post -- the one with Chris Nilan on a breakaway as called by Dick Irvin. But this is as close as it gets:

Classic. Bob Cole with the call, Gary Dornhoffer on colour. Mats Naslund, Guy Carbonneau, Larry Robinson and Craig Ludwig on the ice to congratulate "Knuckles." Man we had it good and when I watch old clips like this, it just makes me that much more adamant that it's time for the Habs to bring the Stanley Cup back home where it belongs...


The CBC put out a statement over the weekend distancing themselves from Don Cherry and his outdated rants/opinions. What a cop out. Do the right thing and lose the guy. I read somewhere that when others have slipped up in the past (like Jimmy the Greek on CBS during a football telecast in the '80's) they're given their walking papers. And why not Cherry? Grow a pair CBC.

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