Sunday, October 07, 2007

Game #2

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Saturday October 6th, 2007
Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs
Venue: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON


Team Stripes


Final Score: 3-4 (OT) - Loss

Habs starting goalie: Cristobal Huet (OT)
Opposition starting goalie: Vesa Toskala (W)

Habs goalscorers: Mathieu Dandenault, Andrei Markov, Andrei Kostitsyn
Opposition goalscorers: Ian White, Alexei Ponikarovsky (2), Tomas Kaberle




2007/08 first
There's a first time for everything, so they say. What they didn't tell you is that every game, something happens for the first time, you just have to look harder in March...

1st Habs Loss
1st Overtime Loss
1st Goals for Dandenault, Markov, Kostitsyn
1st Points for Dandenault, Kostitsyn, Begin, Brisebois, Smolinski
1st Loss for Huet
1st Game in Toronto since we let them eliminate us
1st SH Goal For
1st Even-Strength Goal For



Play of the game
The play you're straining to see on the press catwalk monitor...

It is always hard to think of great plays after a tough loss like that, a game that should have been won. The Habs did show a few great moments tonight and we did have some really good plays.

Since I still have a very bad taste in my mouth I won't elaborate too much, I will simply just choose one play.

Tonight is has to be Kostitsyn's goal, thanks to the hard work of Kovalev. He showed incredible strength and puck control to keep the puck and eventually slid it no look into the slot where Kostitsyn was waiting. AK was even able to make Ian White look worse than he already looks.



Game puck
Trophies are for the end of the year, play well in the game, you get a lovely puck...

Christopher Higgins

A beautiful play to set up Markov's goal showed again what a force he can be on the PK. He was incredible in both ends tonight and can really make a chance out of nothing, as he did a few times tonight.



Dome hockey team
We're going into the last minute with these 6 (and they're attached to the ice, so they're not coming off)...

Forwards

Bryan Smolinski
- He seems to be fitting in very well. From what I have seen he has no interest in being the next Dackell (Bonk, Sundstrom, Bulis...). Good effort in both ends, great grit

Alexei Kovalev
- A great play on goal #3 as well as great play in the offensive zone. A blistering slapper off the crossbar was how close he got to ending it

Christopher Higgins
- Until our defence and goaltending let us down tonight he was on pace for hero of the game (both teams)

Defencemen

Andrei Markov
- One error cost us huge, a shame though because other than that he was having a fantastic game

Roman Hamrlik
- A strong presence on the blueline tonight, a great shot and throws his weight around. He also has to compensate for a certain someone on every shift

Goaltender

Carey Price
- It looked like Huet was destined for another solid outing, but tonight, not being Huet grants you access to the Dome



Eyes on Kovalev
Did he flit and float? Someone ought to keep track...

A second good performance from Kovy in a row. He makes good defences around the league look bad each game, he made Toronto's defence look pitiful. Unfortunately tonight he didn't get the support behind him. He made his linemates better tonight and brought them into the play more. Grabovsky especially looked better this game, hopefully he's feeling his way around a little better day by day.

Kovalev's Assessment - Good


Overall Comments

The good news is we got a point. The bad news is that the team we will be battling with all season got one more than us. Tonight things were going well, but our defence and goaltending really let us down. Huet's pass to Sundin was his best pass all night, making me wonder why a goalie so useless at handling the puck even does it. Over the course of a season it will cost us quite a few goals. I would argue that him handling it will cost us more than if he were to never leave his net at all. Huet, however, was hung out to dry quite a few times and did bail us out most of the time tonight, but on a couple of occasions it was just too easy for Toronto.

The refs tonight proved again that they really have no clue what is going on. What are the Habs supposed to do when there are 4 fouls on them in the first minute of overtime? Should they decline the penalty? (Wish we could). Because we all know that when that first one is called against the other team it's over for us. Yes, we get a chance on the PP, but if we don't score the refs will make sure the other team gets their fair chance on the PP and with our PK...well we know what generally happens. I guess Toronto has it right though, knowing that the refs will even out the calls anyway, you may as well be the dirtier team, that way they get the best of both worlds.

We did get 3 of 4 points this week which is good, but we all know we should have gotten 4. It's over, let's move on.

3 comments:

Stevens said...

Alright, let's get down to business.
Firstly, I am a fan of the game by game review. On the off-chance that a Habs fan misses out on a game, this update fills the emotional and informational gap in ways that Jay Onrait, Dan O'Toole, and The Hedge can only dream of....Please, give me Rodsky and Dutch any day.

I do feel however that a few alterations should be taken into consideration.

1) The Dome. Since only one puck per game is alloted, the Dome is a great consolation prize to the nightly runners-up. However, i would like to suggest that a spot in the Dome be limited to those players who actually played in the game. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about Carey Price (I'd like him a whole lot more if his name was Jaroslav Halak...but that's besides the point). Giving Price a shot in the Dome simply because Huet had an off-game doesn't make any sense at all. If you think about it as a real-life situation, would you honestly swap in a cold goaltender in the last minute because your starter has had a rough 59 minutes?

I say a place in the Dome should be reserved for 6 rock solid players who have proven their worth in that night's game. In other words, if Huet sucked, pull him and put an extra D or a 4th sniper out there.
If not, can I nominate Josh Gorges for a spot in Game 2's Dome? Granted he didn't even dress, but he probably would have done a better job than Komi that night.

2)Eye's on Kovalev?
Look, I think he is definitely worth the trouble other's suggest he causes, but to have an 82-part recap of his performance is a bit much. I think it takes the focus off the ultimate goal (a cup me thinks?) and just redraws the line in the sand between the supporters and nay-sayers of a guy who is just another member of the team. The horse is dead, stop beating it.
How about "Eyes on the Prize"? Pick players who go above and beyond all the time....But if a section dedicated to only one player is required, I'll accept "Booing Brisebois" a nightly recount of all the botched plays and give aways that just make you want to cry.

Aside from that...Go Habs Go

Topham said...

Thanks for the comments Stevens. I hear your concerns about the dome, but it is what it is. Imagine it's a series of up to 5 (street hockey) contests, no subbing. Which 6 players get on, no Shovel-daes or Garth Snows allowed...

I also agree the Kovalev bit may seem excessive, but I sort of wish I had this from last season to actually respond with facts about when he played well or not. I happen to think he plays well more often than people give him credit for. The reason it's him is because we think he does more than play simple hockey (a la Begin), his puck controlling and time eating are worth noting. Plus we love the big guy here at LIW. We'll see if this piece of the review lasts, as nothing is set in stone...

Stevens said...

I agree that a real live person in nets will probably make more saves than a snowman with strategically placed equipment held up by tree limbs, but then again it all depends on your definition of the Dome....is it a 5 game street hockey series, or is it the final minute of one game? Let us know what the concensus is.

Basically all this banter boils down to getting a free ride. The 5 skaters earned their place, but the backup getting in on the merits of the starter sucking still seems off....and I think Price has had his fair share of free rides for now. If the french press supported Kovalev that much, he would be GM, Head Coach, and Youppie by now