After spending the whole month of December playing about four games every hour, the Habs got two consecutive days off on Christmas Eve and Day. (Yes, even the Canadiens are allowed some time off... Alain Crete doesn't like it. But Alain Crete can't dress himself properly.) So, instead of lacing up their skates, sweating, and punching each other, the men of the NHL got to do just what we did for two days: spend time with their loved ones, open presents, and wish baby Jesus a happy birthday while wishing doom upon that moron who shoved the Pope.
The Habs gave us something to talk about this week on the days that they did play, so here's the week that was:
+ I'll be honest... I'm starting with my favourite thing from this last week: Showing up at a hockey game dressed up as Green Man from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is possibly the best idea in the world. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the pictures. I only wish I'd thought of it first. There's no feasible way to top the Green Men at that Canucks-Predators game... except maybe dressing up as Night Man.
+ If it weren't for a solid performance by Jaroslav Halak, the Atlanta Thrashers would have scored at least half a dozen goals on Monday night. He kept up the good work throughout the week.
+ Whoever designed the Canadiens PR team's Christmas card this year must have had a blast. They also get extra points for including the 100th anniversary team photo, which in case you were wondering will be available for purchase soon. (I wish I had an exact date for you. Sorry, readers.)
+ We broke the December 23rd curse. And how!
+ We knew that we shouldn't get too excited about the return of Andrei Markov, but he appears to have been the catalyst for the team's improved play this week, and thus Markie becomes the third player to have nearly as many Pluses here as he does in the standings.
+ Junior Team Canada won their first game, an almost embarrassing 16-0 shutout over Lithuania. I guess that new Canada cheer really works!
+ Scott Gomez got five points in two games. FIVE. In TWO games.
+ Tomas Plekanec continues to creep his way up in the standings. I hope he totally smashes Cr-- oh, is it too mean to smack talk while I'm writing a Plus?
- We still have no Brian Gionta, no Roman Hamrlik, and we re-lost Paul Mara (who by the way gets a minor plus for trying to finish his shift with a gloveless injured hand).
- Scott Hartnell and Marc Savard for their pretaped appearances on The Price Is Right, offering a showcase winner a wicked cool Winter Classic package. Savard (although it shouldn't surprise me) showed zero enthusiasm and personality on camera. I saw more genuine feeling in the Habs' holiday video greetings, which were taped MONTHS ago, before anyone even started thinking about Christmas. And yes, somehow their Price Is Right spot (on CBS, a network with no NHL affiliation?) was deemed Internet-worthy and was all over NHL.com the next day.
- Can I finally give my minus to the Winter Classic commercial?
It's beautifully shot, but the ad completely ignores the fact that the game takes place at Fenway. Instead, you'd think that the Flyers and Bruins suited up, snuck into a wardrobe and wound up in Narnia. Probably a Narnia in which there is no James McAvoy playing Tumnus.
- I'll be perfectly honest... I kind of keep on hoping that Sergei will drop his gloves and unleash some fury on Mikhail Grabovski, but so far none of that has happened this season. (The way that Sergei has been playing lately, though, definitely makes up for his lack of punching.)
- I may have missed some errors, but the graphics department at RDS was definitely suffering from a turkey hangover on Saturday's game. Typos galore! Apparently there are dudes in the NHL named "Pillips" (clearly Dr. House's favourite), "Pomminville" (awesome, because I love apple pie), and "Connelly" (hey, she won an Oscar!).
We already wished you a Merry Christmas (didn't we? Well, the sentiment was definitely there) and helped you with your holiday shopping.
Did you give or receive any legendary hockey-related gifts? Then tell everybody!