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Sunday, January 20, 2013



It's a funny thing:

The Canadiens kicking the season off against the Leafs usually results in a loss -- last year they went down 2-0.

The Canadiens ending the season against the Leafs usually results in a win -- last year they won 4-1.

And so far this year is no different even with a condensed schedule; the Habs lost the home opener and will finish the season here in Toronto, probably with a win. Hopefully it means something.

It is universally accepted that the Habs' pregame ceremonies are the best in the business and last night was true to form.

Unfortunately for the Habs the results on the ice weren't that different either, putting in a lacklustre performance and falling to the Leafs 2-1. At least this time around they scored, though it took just over 54 minutes to get one.

Luckily for me, I had a previous engagement and didn't end up wasting my time watching the game. But I did check in from time to time over Twitter, and when I read Arpon Basu's tweet that the Canadiens' best line was the White - Armstrong - Prust line, you know it's going to be a long night.

And so the season begins with a dud. As my friend said: "It's an embarrassment to lose at home to the Leafs to begin the season." Hard to argue with that. The team's troubles at home continue and hopefully this isn't a carry-over from last year. There were some highlights though:

1) After being out of position on the first Toronto goal, Carey Price played a strong game and gave his team a chance to win;
2) Brian Gionta ended his scoring drought and so avoided the "Gomez treatment" of websites counting down the anniversary of his last goal (December 2011);
3) Brandon Prust dropped the gloves, showed grit and won his fight;
4) Alex Galchenyuk didn't impact the scoring sheet, but he didn't look out of place either.

Unfortunately though, the Habs put themselves behind the eight ball right from the get go by taking senseless penalties, with the game winning goal coming on a bit of an odd one: Plekanec got two minutes after giving goalie Ben Scrivens a snow job. While I don't agree with the call, Plekanec should know better than to put himself in that situation.

And the Canadiens' powerplay looked powerless even if their only goal was scored with the man advantage. This team continues to have trouble scoring goals.

And then of course the chants rang out for P.K. Subban. But let's be clear about something: last year's powerplay was pathetic, and P.K. was there the entire time. He is just one part of a larger cog, and is not the saviour of this team. Haven't we learned that it's a major mistake to base a team strategy around one puck-carrying dman!? Btw Andrei Markov got clocked from behind but is okay. He ended up playing 24 minutes.

Losses early in the season will play to Subban's advantage for his contract negotiations.

Whatever happens, happens. But let's hope it happens soon.


VANCOUVER: It was a rough night for many home teams around the league. But what about the Canucks? Couldn't have gone any worse for their goaltending situation. Schneider gave up five goals only to be replaced by Luongo, who's now starting their next game. Nice. Personally I think that team missed their chance and are trending downwards anyways, no matter who's in nets.

FLORIDA: Jonathan Huberdeau lived up to the hype and had an immediate impact helping the Panthers win last night. But lookee here, l'Artiste Alex Kovalev turned back the clock scoring once and assisting on two others. He even tried to get out of the way took a hit to make a play on Huberdeau's goal. He's now tied for the league lead in points!!! And Florida is in Montreal to play the Habs on Tuesday. Canna wait!

DALLAS: Jaromir Jagr also had a big night with two goals and an assist. What's with these old guys eh? Maybe it makes sense that these guys can benefit the most with the majority of players still in preseason mode. Let's be honest. Yesterday's games will not be labelled and shelved as classic NHL hockey, as predicted. The game will eventually catch up to them for sure. But for now, it's fun to watch guys like Jagr and Kovalev contribute.

Maybe Dominic Hasek really should make a come back?


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