We need a laugh today, and it doesn’t get funnier than a brawl in Lingerie Football.
Hey, when it’s time to drop the flippers, your Montreal Canadiens could kick the thongs off either of those teams.
Sorry, I get a little giddy as the days count down to Christmas.
But, seriously folks …
Andrei Markov was injured in the final game of the regular season and missed the playoffs in 2008-’09.
He missed 37 regular season games and 11 playoff games last season.
Markov will miss 75 regular-season games this season … and the playoffs, if the Canadiens get to the postseason.
But the team has never felt the loss of Markov more acutely than during the recent slump.
For an analysis of Markov’s value, I refer you to my great and good friend JT.
From where I’m sitting, the D is a shambles.
The Old Czechs are a year older than they were when filing in so admirably fo Markov last season.
Josh Gorges is playing hurt. Last night probably was his worst game in two years.
Hal Gill is great on the PK but decent, at best, 5-on-5.
P.K. Subban is an exciting Dman – in many ways.
Alexandre Picard is a hardworking journeyman. The Canadiens are his fifth NHL team.
The D is old, slow, soft and lacks puck-moving ability.
The forwards help in Jacques Martin’s system.
And there have been nights when Carey Price has been lights-out.
But if any of those crucial components are missing …
I’ll admit to a bit of a fetish about defencemen. I don’t love them as much as Stubbs loves goaltenders, but hey, the pope doesn’t love baby Jesus as much as my man David loves goaltenders.
Defence is difficult. With the exception of guys like Bobby Orr (for me, the best to ever lace up), it takes a while to master D at the NHL level.
We’re seeing growing pains with P.K.; and after the Yannick Weber call-up, the cupboard is bare in Hamilton.
Because of their strong start and unless they go 0-7 on this road swing the Canadiens likely will limp into 2011 in the top tranche of the Eastern Conference.
But they need help on the blueline. So I know what I want for Christmas.
And as explained in that excellent Basu piece, the forwards have to do a better job of puck support. That goal by Karlis Skrastins was a mess: four white jerseys standing around ineffectually while Price was doing the backstroke had Benoit Brunet delivering one of his best Oy-Oy-Oys of the season.
On the other hand, it’s tough to criticize an effort that limited the top team in the Western Conference to 17 shots.
Dallas was opportunistic.
And the Canadiens can’t finish.
If Benoit Pouliot hustles on his 2-on-1 break with Max Lapierre, it’s 3-2 and an interesting game.
But Benny did not turn on the jets.
• • •
Speaking of the forwards, what were your thoughts watching Brenden Morrow mug Alexandre Picard in a 5-2 game?
I was thinking: “Gee, it would be great to have that guy.”
Or Adam Burish or James Neal or … any forward with size and scoring ability.
Max Pacioretty – seven SoG and a willingness to go into the dirty areas – shows signs of becoming that guy.
• • •
Apart from being deked by Stéphane Robidas and sliding out of the play on the sequence that led to Burish’s goal, Lars Eller played a decent game on the Tomas Plekanec line.
The kid worked hard, but the line was not physical and okayed on the perimeter.
The stat sheet says Pleks had five SoG. I can’t remember any of them.
You have to think Jacques Martin will bring AK46 back against Carolina.
• • •
Can we all agree it’s a good thing Scott Gomez’s injury was minor?
• • •
Contrary to my Quick Hits riff, Jacques Martin won’t bag-skate the Canadiens this morning.
He’s cancelled practice.
But it should be a lively morning skate in Carolina tomorrow.
• • •
Stat of the Night: Dallas skaters blocked 20 shots.
That’s eight more than Carey Price.
• • •
A guest Comment from spos080808:
You look at the 5 goals tonight and the minimal amount of shots on Price.
(1) A deflection off a glove, (2) A breakaway, (3) A scrum in front of
the net where the pucks get dug out of Price’s pads, (4) A deflection
off Gorges stick, and (5) a deflection from the slot.
I have a
hard time faulting Price on any of these. I want, I want to say he let
the team down just like they let him down. But he did everything he
could tonight, including a sick save when the score was 3-0.
maybe he could have been better on the breakaway, but a breakaway is a
crapshoot. Then you have 3 deflections and a scrum in front of the net.
Some are saying he is tired?
think this game tonight proves nothing. Based on the goals scored, it
would not have mattered if this was his 15th start or 50th start in a
A fluky night in terms of the goals scored on him and you
could tell he was pissed off. Yes, the team did not deserve to win, and
yes the team played very poorly in the Dzone and nuetral zone, but those
goals tonight, you do not see those go in on the vast majority of
BUT when you are playing well, you make your own luck,
like against Boston. When you are not playing well, like tonight, those
bounces go against you.
HUGE game v. Carolina because a loss
inches Carolina closer to the 8th spot which could soon enough make
Boston or Montreal out of the playoffs!!