I somehow reverted to my 40-minute saved version.
Anyhow, you’ve been reading all night. So you know what I’ve been thinking and writing.
This was a great team win. Captain K scored twice, including the winner in OT. The power play produced three goals, and the PK killed off seven penalties, including two two-man advantages.
Players I REALLY liked: The Captain, Cristobal Huet, Mark Streit, Patrice Brisebois, Roman Hamrlik, Markov and Komisarek, Tomas Plekanec, Tom Kostopoulos, the whole darn fourth line, Francis Bouillon.
And once the (Belo)Russians get rolling … lookout
Fortunately, my bungling didn’t affect the Comments section.
So if you want a full picture of what happened tonight, read the posts.
The season just couldn’t start any better.
On to TO.
My bungling blew out the third period and the OT.
Suffice it to say it was a heckuva win.
Everyone worked hard.
Do it 81 more times, guys.
Two good periods for the Canadiens.
Huet has been excellent.
Maybe it’s early-season optimism, but I think the Canadiens are playing better team defence. There’s still some running around in their zone, but the forwards are generally diligent in helping out.
I’m still waiting to see some sustained offence. The Koivu line has had its moments, but the (Belo)Russians are having trouble getting untracked. I would have thought they’d wreak havoc on a Carolina defence that includes 56-year-old Glen Wesley.
They have to get some pucks on Ward.
Brisebois has played more than 14 minutes and I agree with Jacques Demers: he’s been the best defenceman out there.
Second Period 00:00: Great. PP to start the third.
Second Period 00:30: Great work by the fourth line … especially Dandenault.
Second Period 02:42: As was the case early last season, Huet is saving their ass.
Second Period 06:00: Canadiens manage a bit of a flurry toward the end of the PP. But most of it was a mess. I don’t know what Latendresse was doing out there … a confusion he seemed to be sharing.
Second Period 07:14: Ugly PP.
Second Period 09:14: HS on Breezer. Four-minute PP.
Second Period 09:00: Seven penalties. Two 5-on-3s. And the game is still tied. Go figure.
The D is SO much better than last season (Thanks Roman … and Patrice. And the forwards are getting back.
Second Period 09:21: Good shift by Kostopoulos. Very hard worker. Likes to hit.
Second Period 12:12: Let’s see some offence, guys.
Second Period 13:03: Carolina has the best of the early going. The penalties are brutal, Plekanec was great in the 5-on-3, but they’re playing with fire.
And memo to the posters who have bashed Brisebois tonight:
SHUT THE ^%$# UP!
He’s playing well.
Second Period 15:39: I hate that rule, but the Canadiens have to stop breaking it. Seven penalties already. Sheesh!
Second Period 16:22: Bad shift by fourth line ends in a Smolinski penalty.
Second Period 18:03: Two terrible line changes. That will cost them if they don’t smarten up.
• • •
Hey, great period … and the Canadiens looked pretty good.
The five penalties were a problem. That’s something they have to work on. But there were many positive signs:
• Canadiens competed 5-on-5
• Patrice Brisebois played a very solid 7:32.
• Guy Carbonneau rolled four effective lines
• I didn’t notice Roman Hamrlik (until his interview just now) … and that’s good for a defenceman. He played 8:08.
• Bryan Smolinski is better than Radek Bonk
• Michael Ryder, starting his campaign for a big UFA contract, is very involved.
• Huet is a thoroughbred.
Reffing is brutal. They’re killing the flow of two skating teams.
My dogs aren’t used to hockey season. I’m getting wicked dirty looks here because they know they’re not being walked till 10 o’clock or so.
First Period 01:55: What have we come to when Kovalev can’t deke Mike Commodore. And another Carolina PP.
First Period 02:58: Great PK work. Huet saw all the shots.
First Period 03:53: Teerible call. Streit for … what? Breathing on Andrew Ladd. Terrible.
First Period 04:14: Eric Staal strips Komisarek, who promptly hooks him. Another scary PP.
First Period 06:59: Who needs Souray? Nice screening of Ward, and Streit pops one. 1-1
First Period 07:54: Finally, a Canadiens PP.
First Period 07:31: Carolina PP is just killing the Canadiens. No goals on that one, but constant pressure. Please, NO MORE LAZY, CRAPPY O-ZONE PENALTIES!
First Period 10:47: They’re reviewing a miraculous stick save by Huet. Shot didn’t look like it crossed the line.
First Period 10:47: End to end and I can’t type fast enough. ANOTHER offensive zone penalty. And Carbo is on Kerry Fraser. That’ll help … NOT!
First Period 13:49: Canadiens are getting chances. Skky man Ward is hot.
First Period 16:24: Did Huet see that? Might have been redirected. Whatever … 1-0
First Period 16:37: Huet doing his best Aebischer imitation, flopping like a flounder on a Carolina PP.
First Period 18:12: Great sequence. Christopher Higgins feeds Koivu for a shot right on. Carolina defence is in chaos. Can’t handle Canadiens’ speed.
First Period 19:06: Carolina unis look too busy.
First Period 19:49: Nice tie, Guy
• • •
Whoah! Saku ended his interview with Rénaud Lavoie by saying “Merci.” That’ll keep the jackals at bay … for a day or so.
• • •
Pierre Houde and Yvon Pedneault looking good in HD.
Nice threads, guys.
No goofy logos, like the HNIC schmucks wear.
• • •
Here we go, live and in High Definition:
HD personnel decision,
One of the pleasant surprises of the exhibition season was the happy combination of Tomas Plekanec, Guillaume Latendresse and Bryan Smolinski.
A slick centre, a big forward, a heady veteran. Pleks and Gui play up and doig in the offensive zone, Smo hangs back to protect against breakouts.
Nice skills combination.
And as a bonus, the Canadiens were entering the season with THREE lines that could score.
Well, it’s Game Day. And tonight in Carolina, Plekanec will centre Latendresse and Tom Kostopoulos. Smolinski moves to the fourth line, between Steve Begin and Mathieu Dandenault.
As an insurance policy for Patrice Brisebois. Having played exactly one exhibition game, Breezer may have his problems tonight against the skating and aggressive forechecking of the Hurricanes. If he falters, Dandenault can move back to defence.
I’m bummed already.
George Gillett is looking to go .500 on the day.
Liverpool lost its Champions League game to Marseille 1-0. First French club to win at Anfield.
• • •
Jacques Demers, who always sees the glass as half-full, says Patrice Brisebois will help the Canadiens because he makes good first passes.
Benoit Brunet likes Mikhail Grabovski.
• • •
Will Huet’s head be in the game?
His wife is in the hospital with complications in her pregnancy?
• • •
There are 25 pounds less of Cam Ward than there were last year.
• • •
Dany Heatley: six-year extension with the Senators. $45 million.
• • •
Luke DeCock, Hurricane beat guy, says Canadiens will finish 14th.
And no local TV. Fans in Raleigh are getting the RDS feed … en français, par exemple.