Post-match thoughts

Saku Koivu is five years older than Alex Tanguay – nearly exactly to the day – but he seemed like the pupil listening to the prof last night.

And in this case, the prof was 28-year-old Tanguay, a newbie in the Habs’ scheme of things, while Koivu is a pillar of the organization.

“The way (Tanguay) is thinking the game, and after the shift the little details he wants us to do, tells me he’s a pretty smart hockey player and sees the ice very well. So there’s a lot of potential,” Koivu said.

It’s their very first game together, and Saku is the captain, and Tanguay, apparently, isn’t shy at all about telling his new linemates what he wants to see happen.

The funny thing about that is that Tanguay is incredibly soft-spoken, a very gentle-looking soul. You don’t, upon first impression, pick him as a yapper on the bench. Which tells you that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

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Patrice Brisebois looked like a kid at Christmas after the game.

It was only his second game, and he said he hadn’t even skated that much. And he said skating is absolutely nothing like the speed of a real game. But at the end of the second period, only Bruins ironman Zdeno Chara had more ice time. 

Josh Gorges had caught up to Brisebois by the end, beat him by about 15 seconds, but who’s the first star? The Breezer.

Brisebois joked that his father wasn’t on hand tonight to make the picks. And he basically said that both he, and the media, know what his role is, which is to be there when somebody else goes down.

That said, he couldn’t have been happier on the personal front. But he said the most important thing was that the team was playing well, and that the chemistry was already there. He said it didn’t even feel like preseason, the way guys were blocking shots and doing all the little things.

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Guillaume Latendresse said he was watching 35-year-old Tomas Holmstrom of the Detroit Red Wings – the go-to guy in the league in terms of being that physical presence in front of the net – Tuesday night to get some pointers.

He also said that goaltender Marc Denis, who would have been on the receiving end of some of that "presence" in his career, has also been helpful.

For some reason, that’s surprising. Certainly too bad Denis won’t be around the big club, if he’s going to be that kind of helpful to the younger guys. Certainly the two young front-line goalies don’t have the kind of experience that would allow them to dispense such wisdom.

Latendresse said that, as usual, the media was making a bigger deal about him feeling "pressure" from the young prospects, that he really wasn’t feeling it.

 

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It’s a small sample size, but it appears the Canadiens might be even more circumspect about injuries than they have been before.

Defenceman Francis Bouillon left the game in the third period and didn’t return. But head coach Guy Carbonneau wouldn’t even specify if it was an "upper-body" or a "lower-body" injury. "He’s injured," he said, with a sly grin, adding they’d know more when Bouillon sees the doctor Thursday morning.

You hope it’s not serious; you also wonder it, should it be something more than a little "something," whether it might change the life of Yannick Weber.

 

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It was Boston defenceman Chara’s first start of the preseason, and he logged a yeoman 27:16 – five minutes more than the next most-active player on the ice.

 

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The Canadiens tried various things on the power play tonight. They had Robert Lang on the point; they had Alex Tanguay on the point (he bobbled a couple of pucks early, but got better). 

First unit on the first power play late in the first period was Koivu, Kovy and Tanguay, with Weber and Brisebois on D. Lang replaced Brisebois for the last 12 seconds of the period, during which they didn’t shoot.

"Maybe the guys weren’t aware there were 12 seconds left," Carbonneau said.

There was so much power-play action in the first six minutes of the second period, that Kovalev-Plekanec Andrei Kostitsyn ended up taking a regular shift in the middle of it.

Midway through the second, they had Latendresse, Plekanec and Higgins, with Tanguay on the point for the first PP unit. And Latendresse scored.

 

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A somewhat invisible player tonight, to my untrained eye:  Kostitsyn.

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Brisebois really, really likes Dandenault on defence. We don’t know if that’s because they’re pals, and he sees the writing on the wall for Dandy up front. He also had nice things to say about little Yannick Weber – who was the one who laid out former Hab Michael Ryder on the boards, taking a penalty for his trouble. Brisebois said it said a lot about Weber that he was able to bounce back so well from Tuesday night’s sub-par effort. He also said he really liked his shot, and his outlet pass.

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Ryan O’Byrne did not take any dumb penalties in his 21 shifts and 16:30 of ice time. Carbo thought he had a much better game. No doubt those two facts are related.

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Robert Lang was 8-for-11 on faceoffs. Kyle Chipchura was 2-for-8. Koivu was 8-for-16; Plekanec was 6-for-14.

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The Canadiens fans are going to have a heck of a good time when the Bruins come to town, especially if their first power-play unit stays the way it was last night.

They booed Chara because, well, because he’s Chara, I guess. They booed Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron, we’re assuming, because they’re francophones who don’t play for the Habs. And they booed Michael Ryder, well, mostly because he set a high standard for himself through two 30-goal seasons, and he was unable to reach that perch – even on his tiptoes – last season.

The Bruins had all four on their first PP unit. No need to pay careful attention to who was touching the puck; the fans could just boo for the entire first minute of the PP. And they did.

 


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