You're probably all missing Rookie right now, as I am not the most reliable of bloggers seeing as I have missed just about the last ...oh, five games in a row due to the holidays and really, just not being around. I even betrayed you all for a bit by entering the ACC at the same time the Habs were set to face off against Dallas. Note that missing this much hasn't happened in the last twelve years, which either says something about my poker-playing skills or bad train-scheduling abilities.
But the Habs haven't exactly made me feel terrible about missing their frustrating, heart-wrenching, goal-starved performances. My phone has almost been choked to death the number of times I refresh my GameCenter app, hoping it's lying to me. I get back in the car on the way home and callers always seem to be on the verge of becoming clone artists of Angry Sal. It's upsetting and certainly unsettling that this is what they're going through, but maybe sitting these games out is what allows me not to want to panic, and be almost alone in that boat.
Or maybe it's the experience. 1998 was not your bandwagon 2004 year by any means, and that's when I came on board. AKA slumps like these are not the worst I've seen.
This. This is probably the worst thing I've seen.
This year marked a lot of things for the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, which can (and should be) called upon to remember in times like these:
- Injuries, callups, demotions. Andrei Kostitsyn had knee surgery and Max Pacioretty ...he was just plain not ready. Despite all the flack he gets, Kostitsyn is still third in team scoring and leads with +9, whereas Pacioretty, after his excellent start in the AHL this season, was the lone guy to get on the board for the Habs last night.
- More injuries. The world seemed to end when Mike Cammalleri showed up in crutches to practice that day in February. Despite missing 17 games, he came back just in time for the playoffs and was instrumental in the Habs' run with 19 points in 19 games, 13 of them goals.
(But first we had to see him in That Suit. The one that did not look one bit like this one, unfortunately.)
- Pierre Gauthier named General Manager. In what can at best be called a bizarre move at a time no one expected anything from Bob Gainey, much less him stepping down, a new/old face stepped up to fill the void leaving Habs' fans more confused than before. He still gets questioned on a daily basis, but now it's "that Gauthier" instead of "that Gainey." More on what he HAS done later, though.
- Mid-February: P.K. Subban called up. His status then was God, with 39 points, a +29 and having all sorts of roles in record-breakers in Hamilton. His status now... not so much. I'm about to quote a girly movie, and I won't tell you which one, but we have to remember what used to be good, otherwise we won't recognize it if it hits us between the eyes.
- 24/7 has nothing on us. Possibly the best thing to happen to both the Penguins and the Capitals was facing the Habs in the playoffs this season. The two seven-game series were supposed to come out with different victors, but when does what's SUPPOSED to happen actually happen, anyway?
- Halaknophobia. Which is quite possibly the most amusing headline Canadiens.com has ever come up with, seeing as they're not Rookie. Who can forget the stop-signs and the walls and agent drama and goalie drama and putting that aside and just winning, for goodness' sake, and winning big. In the regular season, in the playoffs, bringing with it the hero status and The Trade. Oh no.
- And Pierre Gauthier's move eventually makes some bit of sense. The re-signing of Tomas Plekanec to a six year deal, keeping the guy who's currently leading the Canadiens in scoring where he should be and where he always pictured himself being despite the temptations of free-agency. It's a move that validates itself every day.
- Marc-Andre Bergeron: not re-signed. And thank your lucky stars. Could you imagine the state of the current D when he's what you have to rely on? Not that the suggestion won't be brought up again in these times of so-called peril #JustSayNo
- Guy Boucher named AHL Coach of the Year...only to wind up in Tampa Bay. And that's the last reference to last night's game that I think I'm going to safely be able to use in this post. But you have to admit it has enough bite to act as a motivator. Right? Right?
- Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd to Montreal for S. Kostitsyn. Harsh critiques and Twitter-wars of massive proportions ensued in what would ordinarily be considered the least blockbuster-esque move in pre-July 1st history. Now, slowly but surely, Kostitsyn has found his niche in Nashville, which at least some of us wished for him (and even those that didn't can take solace in the fact that he's so far from this division it doesn't even matter), whereas Carey Price didn't even need Ellis, and Dustin Boyd, after a tumultuous heart-breaking series of waiver-trips, has exploded for ten goals in the AHL's longest goal-streak this season.
- Finally, a Captain. Brian Gionta was given the 'C', becoming the 28th player to wear it in the Habs' history. He now leads the team in goals (tied with Cammalleri) with 12 and shots with 150 (where he's also eighth in the whole league).
- Markov out again. Emphasis on again, because that word implies that it's happened before. It's starting to be felt only as of late, even if people might forget it happened back in November. That in itself is how far this team has come. Josh Gorges joins him now, and that's going to hurt more, but with injuries to the D comes the reminder of the LAST line of defense, which leads to...
- The resurgence of Carey Price. First stars and Molson Cups aplenty for the guy most had given up on last season, including him in trade rumours of the worst kind that are hopefully documented in many places where we can laugh at them. Who's that guy that didn't even make it to the All Star Ballot and is only behind--who is it? Marc-Andre Fleury in the goalie slot? Hmm.
I'm set to miss a sixth game in a row, unless Santa brought my grandfather RDS and didn't tell him about it. I'm going to go with no. And tonight the opponents are the Florida Panthers. Despite it being the second half of a back-to-back, call it just a little hunch that this team isn't about to surrender a 2010-ending W that easily.