Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stretch Run

Just a quick post to acknowledge that the Habs really stepped up for the stretch run. I was particularly impressed with Gomez, who, after a pretty mediocre start, really stepped up his play.

It helps also that the team is playing as a group, and that everyone is on board. The CBC had some really great words about how well the Habs have been playing as a team, before going off on their Blue-and-White love in (I finished the game on RDS).

But yes, Gomez and Gionta, not to mention Sergei and Darche, amoung others, are really stepping it up. Defensively the team seems solid, and I have confidence in all those guys. I mean, I think Hammrlik and Spazzchek are our worst pair, and that's not a bad pair in the big scheme of things.

And Halak has been playing great. I mean, when Glenn Healy was complementing him on his stoic play, rebound control, and controlled style, it confirmed 2 things: 1) Halak is really in a good place, and 2) Healy is an idiot. (There were a couple Halak attacks last night, just so you knew who was in net.)

They lost to the Leafs in overtime, but the Leafs were playing a really tough game. The Habs looked kinda slow and un-coordinated on the offense, but defensively they held it together. Proof that things are going well is seeing all of Gomez' crazy back passes actually finding players :)

Yesterday's "Loss" was not really that bad -- they got a point against a really aggressive opponent, and can now move on to other fish. I say keep everything the same: no line juggling, and Halak should stay in net until he loses the job -- why break up a good thing? (I knew the Habs were not gonna win when Jacques started juggling his lines around. Its a sign of weakness.)

Go Habs Go! Go Halak Go! Keep playing as a team, les boys, and something special might happen in the post-season!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Halak is the Real Deal

When it came to the Price vs. Halak debate, I have mostly been on the side of Price. I loved the way he played in 2007/2008, and I think he's got the talent and the size to be awesome. I still hope he can find his game and become a top tier goalie.

But this is about Halak!

Halak has done what backups tend to do - take a chance to make good, and go with it. Halak has gone from an immature puck-stop to a fully-qualified goalie! Right now he is composed, reactive, and prep'd. He is playing the best hockey I have seen him play. His rebound control has gotten better, and the team obviously responds to him (ref: comeback victory over Anaheim.)

Halak has "gone pro" whereas Price is still struggling. As a result I hope we ride Halak all the way to the playoffs. After that, well, its anybody's guess :)

Congrats Mr. Jaroslav Halak! Hats off! You have matured and come into your own, and opposition better take note! The Montreal Canadiens Win With Halak!!

And Price, well, hopefully he's ready when called on. He's had some tough luck, but that's why the puck is round: what goes around, comes around, and he will get a chance to prove himself again soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

NHL and the Olympics

I am getting real tired of hearing about how the NHLers shouldn't be involved in the Olympics.

This Guy Is An Idiot.

He claims that events like the Miracle On Ice can never happen with the Pros playing. Does this goofball even understand what the Miracle On Ice is? It was an ameteur USA hockey club beating a Pro Hockey Team! (As much as the CCCP team could be Pro. It was their best of the best.) That's what made it a Miracle.

The hockey world has changed: there are successful professional leagues all over Europe. And every year there are 2 International tournaments: the World Junior Championship and The IIHF World Championship. Add the Spangler Cup in there, where Canada is invited as a nation to play against top clubs, and the market is getting pretty crowded for Yet Another Hockey Tournament.

People want to see the best against the best. This is something none of the other hockey tournaments can offer.  The drama of the Swiss beating Canada in 2006, and taking them to a shootout in 2010, is only thrilling because it is against the best Canada has to offer. We want to see the best challenge each other for hockey glory. And since there is a lot of resistance to keeping the Canada Cup / World Cup of Hockey alive, especially by the NHLPA, then where else are we going to see this showdown?

The other complaint is that its tough on the hockey players. No doubt! So is that the fault of the Olympics, which is every 4 years, or the NHL, for having 82 games + 2 months of playoffs + (now) trying to bleed revenue from even the preseason (+another 4 weeks).

I'm not saying the NHL and the NHLPA don't deserve revenue from the Olympics  -  that is a sweet pot, and you are a fool if you think the IOC is doing all this for the 'purity of sport'. Its a mad cash grab. So why not let the NHL get in on the action? Let's face it, it is the marquee sport at the games (the biggest money maker.) It is a benefit to both sides!

Without the Pros in the Olympics, both sides suffer. The Olympics lose bigtime money from having the best in the world competing at their event. The NHL loses exposure to a massive captive audience; because let's face it, a hockey tournament in the middle of July like the WCoH is hard for anyone to get geared up for.

Some sports bring their pros; summer has basketball and the beach volleyball. The snowboarders are "pros" in that they are on the world cup circuit getting sponsorship cash. Soccer, on the other hand, does not have the pros involved: because they have the World Cup and the Euro Cup and so on. Also, keeping the soccer pros out of the Olympics gives 'lesser' countries like Iraq a shot at an international title (like at the summer games in Australia): but hockey isn't that big!

Anyhow. There has been a lot of negativity around these Olympics in Vancouver, and I guess I'm just sick of all the Negative Nancies finding scabs to pick. That was an awesome hockey tournament, and the only folks that should be upset are the Russians, as they had the harshest exit.

I say keep the Pros in the Olympics, until there is enough competition where its no longer needed - which will be soon, if the European leagues keep growing. (But not within the next 12yrs, I'd say.)

Told you...

... Meteoric Rise to HOCKEY GLORY!!

Congratulations Lads!  

You'll be hearing from my cardiologist!!