Not the whole sick crew, but 33.3 per cent of Hockey Inside/Out’s crackerjack staff is in Calgary with the Canadiens.
Patrick V. Hickey is taking some time off to recharge his batteries for the final playoff push.
Dave Stubbs is monitoring Jean Béliveau’s recovery and seeing to family business.
So by process of elimination …
Yeah, it’s the ol’ live blogger, dragged kicking and screaming off the couch in his basement to do something resembling honest work.
I’ve packed enough undies, socks and meds to see me through Sunday in Vancouver; and I’ll be covering the Canadiens’ western swing, starting Tuesday night at the Saddledome in Calgary … where it’s snowing like stink on this fine Monday evening as I drag my fat butt back to the Westin after an expense-account feast at Joey Tomatoes.
The Canadiens have lost their last five games in Calgary. They’re riding a 2-7-2 streak into Edmonton and are 2-8-2 in Vancouver since the 1999-2000 season.
The trip got off to an inauspicious start. Three Montreal writers – myself, Marc Antoine Godin of La Presse and the Journal de Montréal’s Jonathan Bernier (not the goalie) – staked out the Flames’ morning eeting, hoping to speak to the ever-quotable Mike Cammalleri.
It was not to be.
Cammalleri sustained an upper-body knack in Calgary’s 3-2 loss to Dallas Sunday night. It will keep him out of the game against the Canadiens, and injured players don’t talk to the media in these parts.
In any event, the big news was back in Brossard, where Andrei Markov had his first full-contact practice with the Canadiens.
Maybe we’ll see Markov is one of the four games of a road trip that concludes in Buffalo Monday night.
I share Hickey’s opinion that the Canadiens ought to play him before the season ends.
Let’s see where Markov is at, recovery wise.
A good fix on the defenceman’s condition will be one less concern heading into training camp in September. The Canadiens began the 2011-’12 season with a big question mark hanging over Markov’s head – and we’ve all seen what happened.
So here’s the deal on HIO while I’m living out of a suitcase:
Business as usual with the liveblog, but I might have to shut ‘er down during the third period to write buzzer-beater stories for the dead-trees Gazette.
There will be Reader’s Digest versions of About Last Night … because I’ll be doing room quotes for the Gazette web site and catching early flights to Edmonton and Van.
Multimedia is iffy because I’ve only got two hands. I’ll give it the old college try.
And I’ll be counting on the dedicated Commentariat to stay up late, watch the games and fill the site with trenchant observations.
Hark! The room-service masseuse is at the door.
• • •
Freed from the shackles of a non-compete clause that ran until March, former La Presse sports columnist has launched his Journal career with a blistering attack on the three men he blames for the Canadiens’ troubles: Pierre Gauthier, Bob Gainey and Geoff Molson.
Love him or hate him, Tremblay is always a great read.
• • •
Huge win over Buffalo in Winnipeg, where the Jets have won 21 of their 35 home games (vs. the Canadiens’ 12 wins in 35 games at the Bell Centre.
The Jets are sitting eighth, but 10 of their last 15 are on the road, where Winnipeg’s 11 wins are fewer than any Eastern Conference team except Carolina.