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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Markov, Draft and Laffs

So the Habs as a team have decided they do have pride, they do care, they do want to win. And it actually looks like they're having fun again. Better late than never I guess.

How else do you describe 7 points out of a possible 8 when the season is gone gone gone... I mean lost!?

I'm so happy to see Pacioretty get to the 30 goal mark and Erik Cole now with 27 and closing in fast.

It seems lately they're the only ones that score, along with Desharnais and Subban.

I'm a bit concerned though. Now the Canadiens have 67 points and are tied with Carolina and Long Island, but only remain last in the Eastern Conference because those two teams have a game in hand which they use tonight. It looks like our best chance to pick up Grigorenko over the summer is to finish 3rd last but this might be tough now, with the team playing for pride and now even the lowly Maple Leafs, on a death spiral unmatched by any other team in the league this year, are only 1 point up on the Habs.

Oh yeah? Speaking of Cole's goal in last night's 3-2 SO win over the Senators, he officially takes the cake for one of the funnier moments for the Canadiens this year by high-fiving the referee after scoring:

Sigh. What can't this guy do??? He scores, makes us laugh. His 27 goals this year tops his 26 scored last year for the Hurricanes. Great job Erik!

It was like a dream this past Saturday night. I'm on my couch, game glow from tv washing my face in the dark. I turn to my dog to see him licking himself when I first hear it: "Markov over to Subban..."

Wait a sec! This can't be real. I must be dreaming. I turn back to the tv: "Markov makes a terrific outlet pass to Eller, he's in all alone!!!"

I swear, I felt like crying. I've done enough of that lately with the death of Gary and all, but this was a great moment. It was like looking into the past. It didn't seem real. But it was. And boy did it ever feel good to see that no-look, one-time touch pass from Markov right into Subban's wheelhouse for a goal on the powerplay. Markov jumped into P.K.'s arms. Good for him.

Andrei Markov makes his return to action in his first game since November 2010 against the Vancouver Canucks this Saturday. The Habs won 4-1. Pic: Rich Lam/Getty Images.

I wish you all the best Andrei. Stay well. Your skill and poise makes me wonder what the year might have looked like had you come back in November as originally advertised. I'm sure Jacques Martin is thinking the same thing right now.

Markov's return brings to mind another key figure absent from the ice: Brian Gionta. Oh yeah, remember him?


The Laffs. Death spiral. What was I singing last year!? "Freefalling" by Tom Petty? Yeah, that's right. The Maple Leafs, no playoffs for you. But you know what really makes me laugh!? It's the way the team has been covered all season by the local press. "The Leafs" have turned the corner." "The Leafs are on their way to the playoffs." "The Leafs need to rest Reimer for the playoffs" blah blah blah.

What a joke!

How can it be that I was the only one to see how that Maple Leafs team led by Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul were seriously overachieving for the first half of the season!? That the team's good start was only going to make their fall that much greater by season's end. I mean, the team was scoring as if it were going out of style. Did you really think Kessel was going to score 70 goals? It's one thing to win games by 6-5 or 5-4 scores like they were earlier in the season, but the thing that was completely overlooked by Leafs Nation was that they had to shore up the defense otherwise, they were doomed. And now, they're doomed.

And that's exactly it. The Leafs were doomed because secondary scoring has been streaky, Kessel and Lupul came back down to earth, and the goaltending didn't change. That is, whoever is in nets is letting in 3 goals plus per game. Not gonna cut it.

And I blame now former coach Ron Wilson 100% for mismanaging the goaltenders. All along they were like "If it wasn't for Gustavsson, we'd be out of it." But then he goes and starts Reimer, the eager yet technically-flawed "real deal" goaltender who -- let's face it -- is having a terrible season. What message does that send to Gustavsson?

True Reimer had that concussion which certainly could account for his play upon returning to action. But look at Ryan Miller. After fighting his own concussion issues he's now playing lights-out hockey. But Reimer has been over-valued. He's not that good. His technique is flawed. He's often out of position. He swims around his crease. He plays too far back. He crouches too low.

He needs help. And now they've fried Gustavsson who for sure has let in more than his share of stinkers this year. But I know goaltending is a tough mental position and when your coach praises you then starts the other guy, tough to play your best. At least Randy Carlysle recognized this and played Gustavsson for the last five games or so. Even if he did lose all but one, that one being against the Habs.

Got to wonder about Burke's decisions as GM for this team. Signs Colby Armstrong -- hurt more than he's played. Signed Matthew Lombardi -- disappointment. Signed Connolly -- disappointment. Signed Reimer to a big contract in the offseason after putting up decent numbers last year when no pressure was on him -- major disappointment. And of course -- and there are others -- trades away the team's 1st round draft pick in 2010 to the Bruins for Phil Kessel. That pick became Tyler Seguin, who is making a name for himself around the league, has tremendous speed, great hands, good head on his shoulders, and best of all, is a Leafs-killer. Phil Kessel? Sure, 30 plus goals. But 20 of those were scored before the end of December... and now Damien Cox is writing that now's a good time to trade him. Yah!? If only they can find a dance partner. Good luck with that.

So check out this great video parody, if Hitler were a Leafs fan!! I gotta start doing some things like this. Next year folks, get ready for HabsFan in Leafland taking it to the next level this summer.


  1. Gone, gone, gone, she been gone so long, she been gone, gone, gone so long...(Chiliwack, circa 1908s)After I finished laughing my head off enjoying the attached video parody (Maple Laffs!!), I realize that this season was never meant to be for the HABS. All the off-ice drama could have been made into a hit TV series, and the players taking turns either excelling or flopping; trades and injuries; and finally playing to their potential most recently and not giving in when the going gets tough...Can't wait to see next year's blogs.

  2. Yeah I like that song. Nope you're right. The season has been a sh!% show and that's the end of it. As many have been saying, fix what needs to be fixed on the 2nd floor (ie management) then work things out on the ice.