Friday, November 28, 2008

Herding cats......

I, as many of you have been puzzled and left scratching my head over the Habs performance this season. Considering it was the same core team as last year with a couple of good additions, this year’s edition should be at least as good if not better, right?

Hmmm. …. well it hasn’t quite worked out that way. During the Detroit game, I had a light bulb moment; it became clear to me that the problem was not due to lack of coaching abilities. The coaches had done their homework on this one, a plan was made, a specific blueprint drawn and the team followed it to perfection.

For the most part, I believe Carbo & the coaching staff let the guys do their own thing last year, they were playing great offensive hockey, having a blast and winning a lot of games along the way. Making the playoffs was the main goal; it wasn’t a serious cup run.

Carbo (whom I suspect may know a thing or two about hockey) knows exactly what this team has to do to be successful on any given night, the tough part is getting the team to buy into it and sticking to it, that’s what his big challenge will be. Not easy, kinda like trying to herd cats. There’s an abundance of talent on this team, which up until the Detroit game has not been reflected on the ice.

Gainey is serious about a cup run this year, so any strays that are deemed “uncoachable” (and yes, that means you too Kovy) could very easily find themselves put up for adoption.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

On Patrick Roy

When the announcement came that the Habs planned to retire Patrick Roy’s jersey on November 22, I started thinking about his years with the Habs and realized (a little sheepishly) that I don’t have many memories of him.

Ken Dryden defined the Habs for me, starting with the Canada / Russia series and through the seventies when the team captured six Stanley Cups. A decade of excellence and a very spoiled fan was born.

When the cups started dwindling, I must admit so did my interest, I didn’t follow the team that closely during the eighties and nineties. After the win in ’93 I actually had the audacity to say “meh, it wasn’t one of our best ones.” Wow, can you even imagine having the luxury of saying that now.

Fifteen years later, being older & wiser and having suffered through the longest Stanley Cup drought in Habs history, I’ve started to appreciate what Patrick means to a whole generation of younger fans and why they worship him.

I had to go through several YouTube videos to truly see what the fuss was all about, so now the verdict is in. He was sensational.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lowering Expectations

How much lower can I go, the snake’s belly is in plain sight…

For the first time in my many years of Habfandom I actually wanted them to lose this game tonight. The last thing they needed was another win that they didn’t deserve, paving the way for more of the same crap we watched tonight.

I’ve lowered my expectations, no more silly notions of miracle cup runs, or a sense of entitlement because it’s their centennial year, but when a team finishes first in the Eastern Conference they have a responsibility to at least play some decent hockey for their fans, we’re not even getting that. I’m officially pissed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time to get real!!

I, like most Hab fans have been caught up in the hype of the Habs’ 100 year celebrations. Let’s start by pushing that fact aside (and I know it’s difficult) so we can take a more realistic look at the team and our expectations of them.

Detroit has set the standard as the elite team in today’s NHL. They have managed 100 point seasons in eight consecutive years and hoisted three Stanley Cups along the way.

The Habs have had one really good season in fifteen years; does that automatically qualify them for a Stanley Cup this year? Right, it doesn’t.

We’re still a work in progress; there are still missing pieces to our puzzle. By Christmas we should have a fairly good idea of where this team is headed. If we are realistic ”down to earth” fans our biggest hope should be that they are a good competitive team that can hold their own against teams like Detroit. Anything beyond that is not being fair to our team or our collective sanity.

FYI…...Zeller’s has red velvet Habs Christmas stockings with a nice CH logo embroidered on front. Good value for $9.99. So now, my game ritual includes light a candle, have a picture of Secretariat on my laptop and gaze at the stocking hanging from my fireplace. I do have a confession to make; I have to take partial responsibility for the Bruins brutal beating on Thursday. I only lit the candle after the first period.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

After the Boston debacle.........

After the Boston debacle, J.T (from – Other Wing) made an interesting point. in her third period review. “There’s something missing with this team”. Indeed there is, but what is it? I’ve spent some time thinking about it and this is what I think is the missing ingredient.

I do admire the Pittsburgh Penguins after watching their playoff run against the Detroit Red Wings last year. One thing that struck me, they never gave up although at times it looked like men versus boys on the ice, those Pens hung on like tenacious little terriers. Ultimately Detroit prevailed, but one couldn’t help but feel the pain of loss in the faces of Crosby, Malkin & the sight of Fleury just lying in the goal crease. (Reminiscent of the scene in Braveheart when he realizes Robert the Bruce has betrayed him).

I’ve yet to see the same reaction from the Habs. In comparison to the Pens, they “conceded” to the Flyers.

Saku Koivu made a comment after the Toronto game last Saturday, “when you have played on a not so great team for many years, you don’t take a loss seriously”. (Note to Saku: Habs fans take losses deadly seriously). Koivu, through no fault of his own, doesn’t “hate to lose”. Sid the kid does. The great Habs of the fifties, sixties and seventies hated to lose. Patrick Roy hated to lose. That’s how championships are won.

Saku is a great leader on & off the ice, his show of heart and work ethic are second to none. But until he and his team “hate to lose” we won’t make it to the Promised Land.