Friday, April 29, 2011

Thank you Habs

This was the year of the triple low five.

And what a year it was.

The 101st season of the Habs involved ups and downs quite similar to and yet unlike any other before.

Once more we lost our best D to injury. And that would have been tolerable were it not for the fact that we lost our second best D to an injury he'd been hanging onto for 7 years. Josh why in the world would you not get that fixed?! Ah, but I don't blame him. Poor guy's a rock for us and I know he plays with heart. See this if you haven't already to see what I'm talkin' about.

I love the "Nos Canadiens" series. Seriously. I haven't watched a lot of episodes (gotta save something for the long offseason) but I loved what I've seen. I hope next year we can get more stuff, like the Oilers got "Oil Change" or the Pens & Caps with the "24/7" series. Good stuff.

About this season...we improved from last year. New additions to the team really helped out, especially Jeff Halpern in the faceoff circle. But we're still severely lacking. How does a team go from an 8-1 blowout to being shut out in three consecutive games? Seriously? With the Habs futility in February I knew we wouldn't bring home the hardware this year but by that point I was wondering if we'd make the playoffs. Thank goodness for the strong start in October and November.

Though the team struggled, nothing was as frustrating, probably, as that road trip in December. Why does the NHL have this every year? It's like their sadists or something. Really. No one in Montreal or Eastern Canada in general can see the Habs during the holidays. Unless you go to Long Island if you're up for that long road trip. Is this fair to the most passionate fans who continuously fill the largest arena in the NHL? Hell no. Don't talk to me about snow birds in Florida. You can have two road games there and come back here for the other 5 or so games. But a road trip that takes you out west as well is just crazy.

Then there's that Pacioretty-Chara incident. Everyone was bothered by that. I greatly respect Henrik Sedin, Tanner Glass, and Joe Thornton for speaking out against Chara. A team with an injured player like Marc Savard should not go around hurting people like that. Accidentally or otherwise. And Dr. Recchi should know better. I'm tired of hearing jokes about people calling 911. So, were the people in Vancouver who called the cops when Bertuzzi went wild also idiots who shouldn't have called the cops? If I were in the arena I would have been crying for Patches really looked like he had died. His good luck saved  him from getting a displaced fracture or Chara would be facing murder charges. Stop acting like it was a hockey play. Hockey plays do not get penalties and game misconducts. If a penalized action on the ice is a hockey play then I say the NHL has gone to the dogs.

The team wasn't the same after that. I mean, not just the loss to St. Louis. I wonder if some people were disappointed with that game, since it was the big Halak vs. Price game. Halak even came back from a hand injury. But really, Patches' injury overshadowed everything. We went on to having a pattern of wins and losses up until the blowout in Minnesota after which we imploded. The win against NJ and the subsequent playoff berth clinching OT winner vs. Chicago righted the ship a bit. But we were never able to challenge for 5th or even 3rd. And the gap between us and the Rangers grew dangerously small. It's sad for the Rangers that Chara broke one of their most important players' leg or else they would have had a better end to their season. And of course, we never won five games in a row again. Our best win streak of the season and our best point getter in 2011 were done after that game. Gotta say thanks to those fans from Long Island and even Toronto and everywhere else that booed Chara afterwards. A screenie of the standings on March 9.

And I got to see that wonderful game 82 in Toronto! It had two near hat tricks with Gio getting 2 goals and Ryan White getting a goal and a fight (both in the first period no less) for 2/3 of the Gordie Howe hat trick. It was a beautiful game and had a very festive atmosphere because it was Fanapalooza. Some Leafs great were in attendance as well. I was a bit relaxed, not having to worry about qualifying. I never want to go to a game in which we are worried about qualifying. Loved seeing the captain score, and I've become quite a White fan after the Savage Garden thing so I was delighted that he's the first Hab I got to see score in person. ;) And Turtle Pleks finished off the scoring. One guy who couldn't buy a goal that whole night was Mike Cammalleri. He was trying real hard, I think he had friends and family in attendance. But it just did not work out. While the no goal call was quite surprising (I saw the puck cross the line) the crowd was full of Habs fans. We even started the ole chant a few times! And some guy proposed to his girlfriend during the 2nd intermission. I swear, the game had everything (except hat tricks, a shut out, a penalty goal, and OT/shoot out--so most everything). It's great that it was a Habs win and the buddy I went with (an exchange student from Scotland) got to see it all. Especially the triple low five! <3

Habby is also celebrating White's goal in the arena up there on the opposite side.

Never have I felt hate for the NHL until this season. Not only did the league show its incompetence in dealing with serious offences (still waiting for Crosby's concussion causers to get something), they made me realize just how powerless I am as a fan. The latest incidents that reminded me were the finger that Ferrence gave all Habs fans around the world. If that was the Wiz, I'm sure he would have gotten at least a game. What does he get instead? A fine that people in Boston are willing to chip in to pay. As Mike Richards would say, this kid's got no respect. And the hits in games 6 and 7. Another turnbuckle/stanchion incident involving a Bruin hitting a Hab. And a shoulder to the head that even Logan Couture thought was intentional. Jumbo Joe was onto something, eh? I don't know if the Flyers will beat the Bruins. I'll just say this: I hate the Flyers for breaking my heart twice but at least they've never tried to kill one of our players before (as far as I know...might be something in history) so I hope they can teach these classless "hockey players" all about respect.

And I hate the fact that we keep getting eliminated by the Ruins and Flyers every year. Ugh. Can someone else eliminate these guys for us?

We need more offense. Game 5 of this series proved for the millionth time that while Carey can stand on his head and keep it a one goal game, WE NEED PEOPLE TO SCORE. I thought after last year's terrible showing against the Flyers with us getting shut out so often there would be some changes. I'm going to say that even if there were, they did not help.

Gomez...I don't need to elaborate. But man, this guy is a rock for the wrong reasons. He's the rock sinking our salary cap ship. Bad analogy, but this guy needs to get it together. We need more from the guys we have because our roster's core won't change. We don't have the money or trade power to move the highest paid players.

I wonder if we hurt ourselves by going for 6th place. Would we have had a better time against Philly with their goalie problems and without Pronger?  Can't help but wonder if winning that kinda useless game 82 might have actually hurt us.

I'd like to see P.K. Subban signed to a contract extension if he can keep up his numbers next year. Same for Carey, except I'd like to talk after the playoffs. He wasn't bad, but we need to see if he can keep it up.

Lars Eller is one tough man. Popping in your dislocated shoulder and continuing to play...sheesh. Hope our guys get some rest and rehab in the months to come.

Price not getting nominated for the Vezina despite Brodeur's support: terrible. Rinne and the Ruins goalie who falls a lot are understandable. Luongo? Meh. I like him as Canada's goalie and all, but in no way was he better behind his stacked team than Price was. Oh well. I still hope it's Luongo or Rinne over that other guy. 

This was my Stanley Cup moment of the season:

I can only imagine what the real celebration would be like. :D

The 10-11' season is over. Nothing more can be done about what's happened. Take this summer to regroup and tweak and make the Habs a contender once more Monsieur Gauthier.

Go get 'em next season guys.


Image credits: triple low five, White's goal celebration, "And I buried him"

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