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Saturday, January 19, 2013



Well it's finally arrived, the start of the 2012-2013 NHL season. Kings fans must be ecstatic -- they can at least raise their one and only Stanley Cup banner and get on with it. We know the media is jumping for joy -- they now get to do what they're paid to do.

For us poor sod fans, we don't get much except what we wanted all along. That is, the chance to root for our home teams and debate about it at work. Is that so much to ask for???

But what about those rumours of free NHL CentreIce for us fans? What about something concrete to make us feel better about having our one and only pleasure watching hockey being robbed from us??

You know what we got? An apology... an apology from the NHL in the form of a letter, which ran this week in various sports pages, thanking us fans, asking us for forgiveness, and mentioning that our local team will be running special promotions for us.

Sounds like Nixon's famous secret plan to end the Vietnam War.


I'm not coming back because of anything other than the fact that I love hockey in all its forms and rooting for the Montreal Canadiens is who I am! I'm not going to let "them" take that away from me. I (we) already lost the Expos. And even if the Habs were "lost" last season, at least there was something to talk about, carnivalesque or otherwise.

And just so it's clear:

  • I'm not spending any money on anything NHL-related this season;
  • I'm not paying to see a single hockey game in person and if I do (should tickets should fall into my lap), I ain't spending a dime at the rink. I'll bring my own popcorn, thank you very much.


Here we are: a 48 game season kicked off with the Habs vs. the Leafs in Montreal. And what can us fans expect? Who knows!? Probably a lot of injuries.

Already Carey Price has tweaked a groin and as a goalie, I'm a bit concerned. I played through a groin injury one season a few years back and what happens is that it gets better as you rest it, then you play and it gets re-aggravated.

"I'm sorry. There will be no free NHL CentreIce this, or any other, season. I still get my huge salary though."

Over and over and over. Until you say finally, "I can't play for a few weeks" to let it heal once and for all. And that was just playing twice a week. So let's say I hope that Price and the medical staff know what they're doing, because it can really affect his performance and without a Carey Price at top form, the Habs are toast this year.

But will that be such a bad thing? Should our hopes really be high for this year!?

There's so much up in the air with this team, but one thing is for certain: the atmosphere has changed for the better, the talent on the ice is bigger and stronger, and a lot of players have a lot to prove:

  1. Andrei Markov: can he be the gamer we knew and loved? And keep those knees together?
  2. P.K. Subban: can the team move on without him, if necessary? (see 1.)
  3. Colby Armstrong: playing for the team he grew up loving, can he stay healthy and still play an effective, physical game?
  4. Rene Bourque: can he shut the naysayers up and show he's got what it takes to perform in the pot of pea soup that is Montreal hockey?
  5. Brian Gionta: can he lead this team once again with grit and perseverance, and stay healthy?
  6. Michel Therrien: from the land of RDS, can he stay within himself and not let his emotions get the better of him?
  7. Tomas Kaberle: fitter than he was last year, can he show that he still has it?
  8. Tomas Plekanec and co: can the pivot play with the same wingers for more than 3 games this year so he can form some sort of chemistry with them?
  9. Alex Galchenyuk: you made the team and that's great. But can you show us that you are ready for this stage full-time?

Scott Gomez of course would have been on this list too... speaking of which:

So now that Scott Gomez has been officially bought out by the Canadiens, the man is free to sign with another team and good for him. There's reportedly been a lot of interest, and he may end up back in New Jersey.

Veteran defenseman Wade Redden signed a one year deal with the St. Louis Blues. Wow talk about coming out of exile. He played for the Hartford Connecticut Whale in the AHL last year. He must be happy to at least show he still may have a few years left in the tank. Or it could be a disaster, but from the Blues' point of view, there's not much to lose.

And our old friend Steve Begin has signed a league minimum one year deal with the Calgary Flames. Couldn't happen to a better guy. He never gave up, trained his arse off and came to camp ready.

Now what about Matthieu Darche? No contract as yet, but he's still with the team.

And then there's l'Artiste... AK27, way down in white-belt, white-shoes-land. ALEX KOVALEV MADE THE FLORIDA PANTHERS!!! The man is back, and not only that, he'll be in Montreal on Tuesday to play against the Habs. LOVE IT!!! Will he pull a Guy Lafleur and score a couple of goals? I hope so (Habs 6, Panthers 5).

Btw, I was following and tweeting about Kovalev all week without any fanfare, response or mention by any of the pro sports media. Then he gets a contract and it's news. You know, this twitter thing let me tell you, it's cool for instant info, but then you get hundreds of people tweeting the same thing and it's kind of boring.


That's what I'm trying to do folks. Follow me: @HabsFanLeafLand

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