Don’t be fooled by the final score.
That was a 3-0 game. And if Florida had more snipers, it would have been 6-0.
Hey, maybe the Panthers need a trigger man. Let’s trade them Michael Ryder for Olli Jokinen.
I’m only jokin’. But the day of reckoning for poor Ryder draws nigh. He played another nothing game last night: nine minutes, zero shots, one shot attempt. He did, however, have three hits and was on the ice for Andrei Markov’ssecond goal, which made the final score totally misleading.
Have you heard of the "non-compete clause". It’s a feature of business contracts. If I sell you my sushi restaurant, I agree not to open anoher one across the street.
I think the Canadiens signed a non-compete clause with the Panthers last night: if you skate and play aggressive, hard-nosed hockey, we agree to dick around disinterestedly for 58 minutes.
La Presse’s François Gagnon came up with some telling numbers: in Detroit on Saturday night, Florida gave up 46 shots. In Chicago on Sunday, the Blackhawks had 45 shots against the Panthers.
In the first period last night, the Canadiens had three shots. Roman Hamrlik and Francis Bouillon had two of them.
Shall we chalk it up to growing pains? Ten players dressed last night were 25 and under. Maybe they learned something.
My friend’s father, who believed corporal punishment builds character, used to say "kids’ ears are in their asses." Presumably Guy Carbonneau will be on their butts all through the holiday road trip.
And the kindly old coach should reserve a few cat o’ nine strokes for his veterans, none of whom distinguished himself last night.
Cristobal Huet will start in Washington Thursday night. That’s a no-brainer.
I’d like to see Sergei Kostitsyn and Josh Gorges stay in the lineup.
Guillaume Latendresse should be back, probably at the expense of Ryder or Tom Kostopoulos.
I think the fourth line should be kept intact. Maxim Lapierre was one of the few Canadiens who skated and looked interested last night.
This was the point last season when the team began to tank.
The six-game road trip will be interesting.
• • •
A lot of talk about booing on the radio phone-in shows after the game last night.
Are Montreal fans too demanding?
I don’t think so. Yes, many fans remember the glory years. But they’re realists who recognize that in a 30-team league with some very sharp general managers – oh, why can’t they all be Mike Milburys and Bobby Clarkes, like they were in Sam Pollock’s day? – it takes time to build a winner.
All those years of glory, however, produced sophisticated hockey fans who can tell chopped liver from chicken droppings. And when they pay upwards of $125 a ticket, the very least they expect is 60 minutes of high-octane hockey from the home team.
Too often this season at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens’ effort has fallen wel short of that expectation. And when that happens, the team has a boos problem.