Explaining the zebras


Still puzzled by some of the calls and non-calls on Saturday night?
This might help you understand.

•  •  •

A great Comment from Un Canadien Errant:

A moral victory for the Canadiens tonight, instead of the genuine article. They lost due to their own lack of discipline, and the sharp-eyed referees made every call except the first one, which should have gone against the Rangers.

Early in the game, Mike Blunden stepped off the Canadiens’ bench and laid a solid hit on Brandon Dubinsky, who was carrying the puck at the time. Play continued into the Canadiens’ zone, where Ryan Callaghan caught up to Mr. Blunden and started to fight with him. A scrum ensued, with other players grabbing each other, notably Hal Gill with Brandon Dubinsky, and Petteri Nokelainen with Michael Sauer. When it was all sorted out, the penalties evened out, except for the Canadiens receiving a minor for too many men on the ice, and another minor for obstruction. This was a clearly blown call by the referees. We can’t really argue the too many men penalty, but the obstruction call is questionable. If Mr. Blunden can’t throw a clean bodycheck on the puck carrier, he will have a short career in the NHL, since he won’t stick strictly on his pugilistic skills, as can be seen on YouTube and as he demonstrated again tonight.

The fact that there was no instigator penalty called on Ryan Callaghan is a travesty. He skated from the neutral zone to deep in Canadiens territory to catch up to Mr. Blunden, dropped his gloves first, and went after him in obvious retaliation for his clean (I want to stress this) check on Mr. Dubinsky. If anything, Mr. Shanahan could use this sequence to illustrate Rule 46.11 in one of his training videos. Obviously, based on tonight’s game as well as any game the Canadiens play against the Bruins, the consequences of this infraction are so severe, namely an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting and a ten-minute misconduct, that referees are loath to call it. This non-call was pivotal in the game, since it provided the Rangers with a 5 on 3 powerplay, whereas it probably should have only been coincidental minors. The Rangers used this two-player advantage to gain the lead that they would never relinquish.


The Braying Asses on Hockey Night in Canada are perennially prophesying the end of the NHL, the end of hockey, the end of Western Civilization if the instigator rule is not repealed. If only they removed their heads from each other’s colon, they could observe that it is effectively a technicality on the books not to be enforced, like insider-trading or false-advertising statutes.

The good side of the story, which provides the moral victory, is that the Canadiens never quit, and this game could have gone either way. They were creative and dangerous around the Rangers’ net, hit two posts, and threatened all night. Erik Cole and Mike Cammalleri pinged the posts, and seem to be getting the hang of each other. All summer we predicted they would play together, only we thought it would be with Plekanec at centre, and the two do seem to be a good combination.

I paid attention to Jaro Spacek and Andrei Kostitsyn, since they’ve been a bit of a hobby-horse for me, and I wanted to observe their positive contributions. Andrei made it easy by scoring a nice goal, and by seeming to be hungry for the puck. Mr. Spacek also played well, and I was impressed to see him absorb a few bodychecks yet remain standing, as opposed to imploding or suffering a controlled collapse or spontaneously combusting, as he did last season and during the Winnipeg game earlier this season. I admit that he is effective, but I still advocate that Alexei Emelin should be given his icetime.

Maybe the icetime should be subtracted from another player though, and I’m thinking of PK Subban. He has been up and down this year, sometimes getting caught being too aggressive and/or trying to do too much, but tonight was another hiccup. I was mildly impressed that he made simple plays, and on the powerplay also kept it simple and effective, choosing to make easy passes and blasting a few shots at net. Just as I was formulating this thought, he skated up to Henrik Lunddqvist and braked hard, giving him a snow shower. He earned two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, thwarting the Canadiens’ comeback attempt.

I know PK is a work in progress, and is still young and has time to mature. I want the coaches and veteran D-men to work with him and get him to understand that he doesn’t need to be an ‘agitator’, that he has too much talent to waste his energies that way. I want him to play hard and tough, to hit opponents cleanly, and to use his creativity as a break in between the majority of the time when he makes the simple, easy, effective play. I want him to stop needling opponents and jawing at them, to stop the little hooks and slashes, followed by his head-swivel-to-the-referee-with-a-full-shrug-palms-up-plee, to stop embellishing when he gets (often) deservedly pushed or shoved or popped in the mouth. Is it too early in the season for his Jacques Martin-approved “Cure de Jouvence sur la Galerie de la Presse”™ ?


  1. axman88 says:

    hmmmm…..apparently when you google Dean Morton, not too many pleasant articles pop up! :-/

  2. NLhabsfan says:

    Price a disappointment… WHAT part of the world have you been… Can’t be watching Montreal play… Jeez can’t believe some of the comments… Oh and by the Robinson was a nervous wreck when he did coach. Asked to be removed a few years ago:)

  3. bmmak88 says:

    In response to DickandDanny… I totally disagree with your comments about PK. You might as well be Mike Richards ( when he was playing with Philly ) making comments about PK … and then be shipped out of town because he was the one partying too much on his team. Point I am making is no one is perfect.

    PK is a player that has his own style and the best thing for him is not to resign with Canadiens. Your comments are out of line when you take shots at his father. PK is old enough to make his own decisions. If you don’t like his style then so be it. I am sure you raised “perfect” kids.

    PK is a talented player and he is not your “traditional” player…but then again the game is very different now. Montreal Canadiens are always going to struggle with an identity if they hang on too much to the past.

    • Shakewheat says:

      bmmak88, Do you travel in time? your post was sent at 2:13pm and it’s only 1:26pm

      nevermind my post is an hour fast too!

    • Tony McLean says:

      Pernell had a fine rookie year but the Canadiens gambled on Markov and lost. Wisniewski was not signed and Hamrlik wasn’t either. The D is small, soft and inexperienced and PK’s youth and defensive shortcomings have been exposed due to the lack of depth on defense.

      Esoteric speechifying about the past is irrelevant. Bottom line is the past is all we have. I saw all the great teams of the 60’s and 70’s and with the exception of Patrick Roy, a couple of pretty exciting years from Stephane Richer and the ’93 team it’s been awful since Pollack and Dryden retired.
      Bring Larry Robinson home.

  4. DickandDanny says:

    Some good comments regarding PK, especially from one poster who also backed up his comments with stats regarding PK’s ability, or should I say inability to hit the net from the point. Thanks for including those because they confirmed what I suspected all along. PK is a very raw talent, a very rough around the edges type of player with some very good upside. However, I have to question something. If PK wanted to play for the habs, as he has led us to believe, because his father was apparently this long time Habs huge fan, do you not wonder what his father must be thinking about young PK’s on-ice antics. He must be squirming in his seat, rolling his eyes going OMG, this kid could never have played for Bowman, Burns, Lemaire, or Demers. They would have sat him so far up in the press box he couldn’t even have gotten a famous Forum ‘hot dog’. Which really is what PK is attempting to be, isn’t he? The lack of depth for our D-men, primarily the absence of Markov, and not re-signing Hammer, or the Wiz, or even Sopel for that matter has allowed our defensive corps to be dimiinshed to the point where PK is able to run around acting like Sean Avery some nights. Anyone who disagrees, check out the snow to the goalies face trick. That’s Bantam age crap and only someone as lowly as Avery would pull that stunt, especially in a one goal game. So, if Mr Suban Sr is listening, take your son aside and lead him around the Bell Centre and show him the Larry Robinson, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, and Serge Savard displays. Help teach him that these players had the respect of every player in the league. Show him that they earned that respect by the way they played the game, not by hot dogging it, or crying to the refs, or secret handshakes with the goalie. As a long time habs fan I know I am not impressed by that stuff and neither are his team mates or the players of the NHL. This kid needs a lot of guidance 101. And soon.

    \”A cannoting blast from the wing, by Lafleur\”

  5. wall2bay says:

    I missed the 1st period but caught the hit on Dubinsky and the ruckus that followed after on highlights.

    What I’m curious to know is what was JM’s reaction to the blown calls at that point and even after game. I mean in all seriousness a house league ref could’ve made that instigator call so the response should’ve been livid.

    Could you imagine if it happened the other way around and Torts was on the other end of the raw deal? I don’t expect JM to throw sticks on the ice or throw F bombs on a press conference but he needs to show the world that he won’t simply bend over and take it. Because in some ways, I think officials subconsciously know this and react to it.

    “I kind of feel sorry for players who never got a chance to be a Montreal Canadien” – Cammalleri

  6. Marc10 says:

    Wow. People are going WAY overboard with the whole PK thing. So the kid is a bit all over the place. Big deal! Cut him so slack. He’s just trying to do too much. Hey the Wings and the Bruins collectively have been sucking until this past weekend… Let’s try to keep it a bit in perspective!

    PK is going to be fine.

    How bout that Nokia guy on the fourth line? Is it just me or is this guy a decent find. Sauer is one tough SOB, non? Come the trade deadline, I think PG owes it to all of us to use the remaining cap space to get Chris Neil (assuming he’s still going at the current pace…) Nokia, Neil, White, Moen, Darche… That wouldn’t look too bad. (I’m assuming we make the Show of course…)

    Messenger Boy: The Thessalonian you’re fighting… he’s the biggest man I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t want to fight him.

    Achilles: That’s why no one will remember your name.

  7. Habies says:

    Everyone needs to calm down.
    We beat Boston twice and also Philly… and Ottawa. One hot team, and theo ther two teams won by 7 goals. We lost to NYR because we were short-handed for nearly an entire period. So, please pipe down.
    We have Markov coming back to reinforce the back and ease up some of PK’s minutes, Eller and Cole are outperforming what we had expected, White will fill the anger role you all seem to seek, and Price will be the starting goalie for Canada in Sochi.
    We’re where we want to be, and if you all want to hang Gomez or anyone else, I ask you two questions: If DD of Eller or heaven fobid Pleck get injured, you’ll all be happy we have Gomer… so isn’t that I nice thought? If not, at least we put Eller or DD on the wing and Gomer steps in. The next question: Imagine you happened to miss the last game against the Rangers… would you all still be relishing the 4 game win streak? Yes. So stop being such knee-jerk impulsive reactionaries, and have some mature perspective because after all, we are the team who embraces history… and not just the annual type, but the type that can focus on weeks instead of days or hours.

  8. habs001 says:

    this hab team is really a 500 team…to reach 90 plus points it will have to win games in o/t and get more breaks in games tied in the third …it is just not an elite team…

  9. The_Franchise31 says:

    I doesn’t matter how hard of a shot you have if it misses the net. All the best defence men on the points don’t blast of a shot they just make sure it hits the net

  10. habs001 says:

    it would be interesting to see where the gms of all the other teams would rank the habs d and forwards as of today among the the other 29 teams…

  11. Everlasting1 says:

    Re Subban, JM should limit his ice-time. He needs tempering. His D is spotty, often erratic, but above all he’s a penalty liability. Already on pace to shatter his previous team leading PIM of last year. Few doubt the raw talent, but c’mon..top minutes? Horrible coaching and mismanaging.

    “And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain.” – Deuteronomy 2:33

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    • Shane1313 says:

      Na roll it out. Subban will be and is among the best in the league. His play at this time won’t change that

      • Everlasting1 says:

        Denial is not a river in Egypt.

        “And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain.” – Deuteronomy 2:33

        “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    • habs001 says:

      we dont have the talent level on the d to replace those minutes..if pk played less the opposition forwards would spend even more time in our zone…our other d are much worse at getting the puck out of our zone when pressured…

  12. W35T5ID3 says:

    OK this team needs a stud.For years now we’ve lacked a top tier big-time gamebreaking player.A guy who could be the go-to no-doubt about it type of player.A 50 goal guy every season.A guy ya just dont get unless drafting top 2 in the league.

    So i propose a major shake-up in the form of a blockbuster trade.Too bad goats aint gots a pair-a you know whats.

    To Columbus: Mike Cammalleri,AK46,,Jared Tinordi,Yannick Weber,1st rounder
    To Montreal: Rick Nash

    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

  13. Everlasting1 says:

    One glaring stat that I’ve come to realize, and deemed less significant/telling is the SOG differential of any given game. The quality chances, and fortunate bounces are more often that not the difference makers.

    “And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain.” – Deuteronomy 2:33

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

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