I missed the occasional bit of news or game this week, so I'm a little under-researched, but I'm writing nonetheless. It'll give Max-Pac and Matt 36 something to read if they get tired of shopping at Aeropostale and living in Tim Hortons-topia. (As if. But if anyone's reading this, I kind of hope he plays for Los Angeles and can get me a TV writing job. In exchange I will bake you cookies and say nice things about you all over the Internet.)
Okay so since this Epic Week Of Everything Happening appears to have continued into Sunday (no longer a day of rest, I guess), here's what you may have missed during the last, like, ten minutes: Pacioretty and D'Agostini are Bulldogs again, and Ben Maxwell (who I thought might have been on waivers, but apparently isn't) is a Hab. Paul Mara's got some kind of upper-body injury, and seriously, the injury fairy has to start picking on someone else, stat. I feel like it's been a while since Sidney Crosby missed a game.
+ Almost $160,000 raised for Haitian relief efforts. I'm really proud to cheer for a team whose organization and fans are capable of such generosity.
+ 3 for our wins this week. One for New Jersey, and two for killing the Rangers... just because of the personal satisfaction I get out of beating the Rangers.
+ I forgot to wish elder statesman Elmer Lach a happy birthday, and yes, I'm aware that mentioning birthdays is awfully Access Hollywood of me, but who doesn't love Lach?
- We're glad to hear that Jean Beliveau is in stable condition, but upset that he had to be admitted to hospital in the first place. I know that bad things happen to good people, but I don't think anyone wants Beliveau to have health problems, ever.
- This is trivial, but why do the French newspapers always feel the need to specify that Benoit Pouliot is "un franco-ontarien," as if he's somehow flawed because he was born in the wrong province? He's quite francophone (I'm guessing La Presse reporters don't pay attention when he speaks English) and also, um, quite talented? Yes? Has he scored goals, at all, since joining the Canadiens? (The answer, by the way, is yes. About a dozen of them.) So, does it matter that he's from Ontario?
- This whole Georges Laraque mess. I'm about to air some grievances, so bear with me. Where do I start?
When Georges Laraque, as a Pittsburgh Penguin, made it through the playoffs all the way to the Stanley Cup final, I rooted for him. I had never heard of him before those playoffs (I think it was my official rookie season) and I quickly became a fan of this huge, tough guy who could get into huge fights and help his team win games all at the same time. I remember thinking it would be awesome if the Canadiens had a player like him (no, at the time I didn't realize that he wasn't necessarily the kind of player the team needed the most). I was out of the country when I found out that Laraque signed with the Habs during the offseason and I was really excited but had no hockey friends nearby to share the news with, so I suppressed my glee until a random Canadian I met asked me for hockey news. In what would turn out to be one of my best hockey decisions, I stopped myself (many times) from buying a #17 shirt until the start of the season so that I could see how Laraque would fit into the team. I never wound up buying the shirt because it seemed like the player who had impressed me so much in Pittsburgh had stayed there. He was nearly invisible except for the occasional fight, and he missed more games than he fought in. I like to stand by my Canadiens no matter what but even I agreed that signing Laraque was shaping up to be a pretty bad decision on Bob Gainey's part. I think I completely gave up a few weeks ago, when I read how many games Laraque had played this season and was surprised that it was a number higher than 5.
Then Laraque's contract was bought out and it was a firestorm of poor timing and poorly chosen words. I can understand why someone would be upset at losing their job, or that someone who worked for them didn't turn out to be quite the person they thought they were paying, but why does it always seem to get so ugly as soon as someone wants out or someone leaves a team?
I guess I'm kind of an idealist, but just once I'd like for there to be some kind of semi-amicable team departure. No whining on anyone's part, no wondering what could have been, no booing, just a guy who appreciates his old team for what it was and leaves and life goes on.
Then again, I'm crazy for thinking that this would have happened with Laraque, who was probably the team's biggest newsmaker.
Usually I try to end a Plus Minus with a "and what'll happen THIS week?" type of comment, but honestly? As long as it's easier to keep track of than the last seven days, I'll be happy.