Thursday, September 30, 2010

We have a captain?

Yes we do! It only took about 16 months but the Montreal Canadiens have a captain again.

The bosses love him. His teammates approve. The fans (about 99% of them) are pleased.

We salute you, Captain GG. You run this town now, and you've got what it takes to do so. And if a few years down the line there's any sort of backlash against you, we will have a word with those people and try to shut them up.

Now, if you'll excuse us, we have some #21 shirts that need an extra letter.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My 12: Rookie breaks her own rules

Usually I hate playing armchair GM. (Notable exceptions: my vocal desire to bring Jarome Iginla, Evgeni Malkin, Drew Doughty, and a few other players to Montreal. Ask Czechtacular how many times I've asked her if we could have a bake sale to help pay for a big-money contract.) However, at the request of some of my blogger friends, I'm attempting to make my picks for 12 forwards that I'd like to see at the season opener.

Disclaimer: This isn't who I think will make the team, just who I like. And yes, I know that I'm not the most qualified person to judge chemistry between linemates, but I'll do my best.

Let's get the obvious out of the way: The top two lines.

Michael Cammalleri & Tomas Plekanec - can't have a team without them. And they've shown how well they can play together (see? Me, talking about chemistry!)

Brian Gionta & Scott Gomez - as if I wouldn't put my captain and his sidekick on the same line.

Benoit Pouliot & Andrei Kostitsyn - I haven't decided which of these players would play on which line, but they'd both add a little size to either of the top two lines and help complete plays. Their potential motivation problems will hopefully be appeased a little bit by playing with guys who have experience and leadership skills.

The tricky stuff: Lines 3 and 4.

Jeff Halpern & Travis Moen - We bought Jeff Halpern for a reason. And there's no way Travis Moen isn't making this team, if he has the man-parts to take on NHL baby Erik Gudbranson. I'm naming them together because they're both sure bets, but they'd probably be on separate lines.

Tom Pyatt - He's great for our supporting cast, and Coach J-Mart loves him, so he's in. Maybe on Moen's line.

Ryan White - After everything I've said about him, how can I cut The Great White? He makes the team for sure, maybe on Halpern's line since Moen is capable of fighting five guys all by himself.

Maxim Lapierre - Only if he can be as good as he was at the end of the season. We have Ryan White now so he'd had better shape up, unless he wants to be replaced by the other Max.

Dustin Boyd - he's my affirmative action, "choose a player we traded for" pick. But, again, Pacioretty's waiting in the wings and he's just a bit bigger, so the Boyd had better bring it.

Players tend to get angry when you cut them

Pressbox boys: These two have pretty good chances of seeing lots of ice time, in case Pouliot needs a night in the pressbox or Lapierre underperforms. I choose Max Pacioretty, who I have a lot of faith in for this season, and Lars Eller, who I think would make more of an impact than the guys I'd send to Hamilton.

To Hamilton: Mathieu Darche isn't an absolute necessity for the Canadiens (PR purposes notwithstanding) but he might prove useful for a callup. Otherwise, the Bulldogs will need a guy with Darche's patience and experience. Ben Maxwell has been overshadowed by a lot of his peers, so I don't think I'd give him much time in Montreal. You never know, though, because he's been getting better, so I'd keep my eye on him just in case.

My twelve

Taking this challenge was supposed to be no sweat. After all, the rules can be summed up in twelve Habs' names, opening night, and your own opinion, so it's not as serious as it would be if it were cemented in stone, right?

Then the telling word. Explain. Oh. Uhhh.

If I were to totally go nuts with this my first line would look like Palushaj-Desharnais-Dumont but I'll spare you having to read any of that because JMart's spared ME the possibility of even imagining it (rude).

So, somewhat rational thinking ahead:

Pleks is the main cog of this line and I just don't see the other two away from him. Kostitsyn, well, we've tried him with other guys and it just doesn't seem to have the same flavour. I do not see him anywhere near Gomez, that's for sure. Relegating him any lower than that is silly and will surely only backfire. Meanwhile, Cammy and Pleks seem to have Siamese-brain complex. One always finds the other no matter where they are on the ice. The result, if they don't overthink it, is usually the back of the net. No issues there.

In which I am laughed out of the blogosphere. Probably. Okay. Injuries and whatnot have indeed gotten in the way of Pac's development and I've read a lot of arguments in favour of giving him more time to blossom in Hamilton--I am not fully against this. However, this is still just opening night. It's not for nothing that he's still around, and he should be given a few games to get his bearings and at the very least, enjoy the company of two bona fide veterans like Gomez and Gionta and work hard like we know he can (and has lately) to stay there with them. If it doesn't work out, fine. There is a taxi squad for that. And here again, I see him benefiting from more ice time, not less.

Grit is the usual term associated with this line and they have it. While Eller is probably more technical than shutdown, he has enough savvy to be both. The energy that the other two bring should be nicely complemented by his vision and they can support (and defend) him if needed.

Kid line? Energy line? They don't have a name but come to think of it, they probably don't need one. All three are battlers in their own right, with varying levels of experience but just looking for the right chemistry that they just haven't found yet.

Extras: Halpern, Pouliot
Having followed Pou's camps in Minnesota to some varying degrees of success, nothing ever really stuck out for me, as I am sad to report is the case again this year. He'll have chances to work at it for sure, I'm just not entirely certain he warrants a curtain call right now. And Halpern probably fits in at 4th line, I just saw Boyd fitting in better. As for the Darches and Maxwells of the world, try as I might to rearrange their names up in the 12+ they just didn't stick anywhere I placed them. I need better tape. Or rosters just need to be longer.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taking shape

In the last couple of days, the Canadiens have cut 23 players from camp. Some cuts were more surprising than others (my apologies to those of you who expected Robert Mayer in net).

As I said yesterday, the Habs' roster is pretty full as it is, so a lot of players who might have had a chance at cracking the roster on an emptier team (perhaps an Engqvist or a Palushaj) have been sent to the Bulldogs.

If you ask me, no player under the age of 25 is safe. (Except for Carey Price, but his place on the roster is the only thing that's safe. His sanity and the chances of some outraged fan egging his car? I'm not so sure.) Even players with more or less permanent roster spots last year, like Tom Pyatt and Benoit Pouliot, aren't sure bets to make the team, simply because of the excess of young talent we've seen at camp this year. Opinions abound on Pouliot, by the way, and my two cents is that his success or failure this season will speak volumes about Jacques Martin.

The good news about all this is that camp has shown us just how good our prospects can be, and what's in store for our Hamilton Bulldogs. They're going to be an awesome team this year. (Don't remind us that they would have been better with Guy Boucher still around.)

On another note: Matthew Ross, host of Game Points on The Team 990, has been looking for new in-studio correspondents to share opinions that listeners send in via Facebook and Twitter. Tonight, I'll be visiting the studio to see how it all works. Nothing super exciting, probably, I'll just try not to sneeze on-air or anything. Wish me luck! I really don't want to sneeze on-air!

The Great White

If you're wondering why some people in this city are going to be making "the right stuff"/"the white stuff" puns for the next couple days, I'll tell you right now that the answer has nothing to do with New Kids on the Block. (Sorry to disappoint.)

Ryan White was probably the biggest reason why Monday's game against the Florida Panthers was so incredibly awesome. There are many other reasons, and for that, I'd like to thank the entire team (today is my sister's birthday and no one wants to see the Habs lose on their birthday).

Knowing that they survived an 18-player cut bolstered the young Canadiens who appear to be on the bubble, trying out for spots on the roster that may not even exist. At the very least, they're making an impression in the preseason, hoping to draw attention for a chance at a callup. Some people may say that Ryan White is working his ass off to make the team. I'm sure that tonight was just an indication of the way he is.

I've been a fan of his since I went to a Hamilton Bulldogs home game in March 2009. I had no idea who he was. The Bulldogs played a fantastic game but he really stood out. It seemed like every rush, every nice play, every fight, every everything involved White. He was all over the place. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of this guy. Now, anyone who previously may not have known about him certainly does.

There may still be room for improvement, and if that's the case, I have a feeling that Ryan White could be the player that we always hope Maxim Lapierre is going to be (but that he isn't on some nights). He combines skill, speed, and scrappiness. He gives the team everything he's got. And if it's not game time, he dials down the intensity. Brian Wilde interviewed White today while making his rounds in the locker room. White seemed patient and friendly, and I can only hope he'd stay that way after a few crazy seasons in Montreal.

I'm definitely not worried about his work ethic. Ryan White may be itching to make the team, but he's capable of being the kind of player he was tonight any time during the season. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Dandy Retirement

(There's a game preview of sorts in the previous post, if that's what you're looking for)

Mathieu Dandenault announced his retirement yesterday, finally giving us an answer to the ever-present "What happened to that guy?" question.

In all seriousness, though, I wish him happy trails. I wasn't his biggest fan at first; I didn't really see his impact on the ice and there were some games that I didn't notice him at all. He eventually won me over thanks to the "Get To Know Your Habs" videos, of all things. I don't think I've seen a player have as much fun answering those questions as he has. (Potential exception: Hal Gill and the Randy Johnson answer.) Dandy always seemed to be patient and in good spirits, exactly the kind of guy you'd want on your hockey team. And he was dedicated.

Czechtacular and I were at the Bell Centre for a certain game against Calgary. My eyes were on the ice as Dandy broke his arm, kept playing, and only sought medical attention once he left the ice at the end of that shift. Did I have any idea this had happened? No. There was no suspense, no theatrics. Dandy just kept playing and I found out about the injury the next day. That's dedication.

Dear future Habs: Take a page out of this guy's book. Be nice. Be patient. Try not to break your arm, but if it happens, take it all in stride.

New layout, Panthers mini-preview

In celebration of our one year anniversary, I decided to spruce things up a bit here at HIHW. It was definitely time for it!

Meanwhile, the version of the Habs affectionately known as Team B won again tonight at the Bell Centre, a 4-3 win at the expense of the Minnesota Wild and a familiar face we all know to love, hate, and can't help but want to feed (now that he's gone, anyway). The line of Dustin Boyd, Ryan White and (inner celebration) Max Pacioretty was the best for the Canadiens as Andreas Engqvist and Brendon Nash were two others who got on the board.

Tomorrow the action FINALLY returns to proper television. My crush on Felix Seguin is well-documented but this "on the fly" business over at RIS has been more painful than useful in terms of keeping up with our boys.

Opponent: Florida Panthers
Just in time for the game, has a reader on Chris Higgins. The ex-Hab did not play in yesterday's game against the Bruins.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have recorded wins in all three preseason contests disputed thus far. Youngsters Erik Gudbranson (drafted third overall this year) and Keaton Ellerby have played important roles and will be featured in their fourth straight game tomorrow, and Florida is also expected to play Tomas Vokoun along with notables Stephen Weiss, Radek Dvorak, David Booth, Dennis Wideman, Bryan McCabe and Bryan Allen. (source)

And hopefully Dmitry Kulikov. Just sayin'.

A variation of Team A that, according to Renaud Lavoie, doesn't include Louis Leblanc or Jarred Tinordi (gasp!) will be on hand for the Habs. It all gets underway at 7:30. Cue the remotes (finally!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Top 5: Now that summer's over...

On Wednesday evening, we sat down to the first Canadiens game in months, hoping to forget all of our offseason boredom by finally seeing our Habs again. Instead, we were forced into another few hours of booing and negativity towards Carey Price, and a slow start on the part of our skaters. And what we're hoping isn't another Latendresse story with the premature canonization of Louis Leblanc. (What? Someone had to say it.)

All it did was remind me of everything I didn't like about the summer.

Top 5 Things That Sucked About The 2010 Offseason

1. Free agents. I know that discussing who should stay and who should go is supposed to be fun, but it's not always. We lost Halak. And Metro. And Moore. And Sergei. And Mara. And Mara's beard. They've all moved on to interesting new teams, but I valued them as Habs and it sucks to let them go. I'm still trying to move on, much in the same way that I've advised others to do... but what's going to happen to Mara's beard in sunny Anaheim?

2. Not enough summer love. I feel like last year, after the Penguins won the Cup, NHL fans were subjected treated to The Summer Of Crosby. Kid was all over the news: we saw him take the Cup all over the Eastern Seaboard, we watched him blow out his birthday candles, we asked him about the Olympics... heck, even his mom got her time in the sun, and I had almost forgot he even had a mom. This summer? Sure, the Blackhawks won the Cup, but 2010 felt like a weak sequel to the Summer Of Crosby. I was hoping it would be the Summer Of Toews, but apparently naming a lake after him was a cardinal sin and the wedding is off. Maybe the Summer Of Keith, what with his Stanley Cup, Norris Trophy, and gold medal, but I still know nothing new about Duncan Keith. And then most of the Blackhawks got traded and the world was confused. Sorry, everyone hoping for a new boy of summer.

3. Not enough shocking controversy. I'm sorry, but if you think causing a stir on Twitter is interesting enough to make you headline news, you're mistaken. Paul Bissonette's inappropriate first run at Twitter and Dan Ellis' spoiled whining just weren't as illuminating as, say, a tell-all book or an arrest. (I guess that's why we have Khabibulin?) Okay, yes, the whole Toews Lake thing, but even that wasn't particularly offensive or shocking. Since no summer scandal was big enough for me this year, can I keep making jokes about Patrick Kane and taxis?

4. Some stories never end. I've been told that the Ilya Kovalchuk contract story is over, but I'm having trouble believing it. And we all know how long it took to sign Carey Price. It feels like endless contract negotiations were the biggest story of the summer, probably contributing to the lack of Toews excess/general controversy. Because of that, I'm just a tad less interested in seeing Kovalchuk play, and as we saw on Wednesday, the Price haters are still singing the same song.

5. No hockey. Yeah, I know, that was an obvious one. But completely true, right? It got to the point that I even missed players and teams that weren't the Canadiens. My visit to the Staples Center last year made me miss the Kings. I woke up one morning a few weeks ago wondering when I'd see Drew Doughty play again. It was strange.

Anyway, Game 2 is on, so my offseason woes are no more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A whole year? Really?

A little over a year ago, we celebrated Czechtacular's birthday by rounding up a bunch of hockey girls and heading out for drinks. It was the same day that Canadiens tickets had gone on sale, and none of us (seriously. not a single one.) had managed to get tickets after an insane, endless wait in the virtual waiting room. We were so dejected we couldn't even talk about it. But, even before our drinks were ordered, she and I decided to finally start that hockey blog we'd joked about for a few months.

I had always said "I have no idea what I'm writing about."
She had always said "I'd never write."

Within a few weeks we'd decided on a name for the blog (yes, that took a few weeks) and figured out a couple of regular features and what we wanted our readers to know about us and our hockey obsession. My unofficial first post was written the day after we decided that Brian Gionta was even better than we were told he'd be, and we knew we were in for a great season of #21. A year later, GG is thisclose to captaincy, and we're writing for an ever-growing, responsive audience and still having a blast.

So thank you, everybody. I really appreciate your readership and support. I can't even put it into words without being really cheesy about it.

Go Habs Go!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The language thing, again

It's an issue that gets brought up about once a month here during the hockey season. I shouldn't be surprised, then, that this year, the Quebec nationalists started bitching and moaning about Les Habitants and Québéc culture as soon as the team reconvened. Preseason hasn't even started yet. What, are the PQ training for a solid season of more bitching and moaning? Are they hoping to get better and better at it, and come June, their side will win? They insist on crying about a lack of francophone players wearing the CH, as if a political party didn't have any other issues to worry about. (In a perfect world, maybe.)

All Habs discussed this same issue earlier this week, in much fancier words than I'll be using here, since I just don't have the patience anymore to listen to any PQ-related news.

I love living in a place where it was completely normal for some children to speak two languages at school every day. However, I think it's complete hypocrisy that in this same province, there are francophones who didn't have a half-day of English class when they were kids, and either marvel at my bilingualism or criticize my French because it's not as perfect as theirs. Pauline Marois, of all people, should know that language is divisive in Quebec.

I can bring up all the same arguments that we've seen a million times over: the talent of our non-Quebecois players, some players choosing other teams over ours, league expansion... but we've heard it all before and there's something much more important than that. The Canadiens, like all other sports franchises or means of entertainment, shouldn't be politicized.

I like to think that all the PQ blowhards who keep perpetuating this so-called problem don't actually look around when they come to Montreal. Canadiens fans come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. It's been said already that hockey is like a religion in this city, and I'd like to be idealistic and think it's the only "religion" that can't somehow get ruined by the rest of society, but leave it to people in politics not to leave well enough alone. By criticizing the Canadiens, all the PQ is doing is insulting the very province it claims to love so much.

How about you catch up with the rest of us, PQ? There's incredible diversity among Habs fans. Oh, and they've been called the "Canadiens" for a century now, so if the name was some kind of secret nationalist code, you cracked it in record time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So, about that training camp roster...

Now that the rookies have hit the ice, and the regular Canadiens have joined them (was THAT ever a surprise at Brossard yesterday), we can finally say it's almost hockey time.

You may have seen the roster announcement for training camp, and now I'm going to use my Canadiens expertise to analyze this roster. Who's going to be cut? Who'll stay on board?

Michael Cammalleri, Scott Gomez, Travis Moen, Tomas Plekanec, Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt, Andrei Kostitsyn, Jaroslav Spacek, Andrei Markov: Don't need them. They'll get cut right away. That Spacek's got like zero NHL experience.

Carey Price: Who's dis guy?

Brian Gionta: Yeah, we don't really need a leader right now, but thanks anyway, GG.

P.K. Subban: Bad at hockey. And he has a terrible attitude.

Ryan O'Byrne, Hal Gill: No tall dudes.

Maxim Lapierre, Louis Leblanc, Philippe Lefebvre, Dany Massé, Mathieu Darche, Sébastien Bisaillon, Mathieu Carle, Marc-Antoine Desnoyers, Alexandre Picard, Frédéric St-Denis, Olivier Fortier, Gabriel Dumont: No French dudes.

David Desharnais: Didn't we say no French dudes? AND no tall dudes?

Yannick Weber: Breaking the "No French dudes" rule because technically he's Swiss. Chocolate and watches for everyone!

Ben Maxwell, Max Pacioretty: We've got these two and Lapierre. How many Max's does one team need? We traded away a perfectly good goalie just to stop having so many Jaroslavs. And don't even ask about the Andreis.

Ryan White, Ryan Russell: Again with this? OK, Ryan Russell, we're changing your name to "Russell Crowe." No, it's good, you'll restore some honor to that name.

Jimmy Bonneau: We've been kicking this guy around our system for a while. Maybe we should cut him loose, and he'll be really good at golf, and it'll be just like Happy Gilmore.

Alex Henry: Will only make the team if he takes jersey number 8. Because "Henry the 8" is a good nickname and people can repurpose those Komisarek jerseys.

Alexander Avtsin: Well, we didn't hear about this guy at all during the summer.

Lars Eller: Perfect. We've been looking to diversify the team, and an albino Hab fits the bill.

Jeff Halpern: See? This is what we need! Guys whose names sound like characters on The Office.

Dustin Boyd: Is he as mean as Dan Ellis?
Morgan Ellis: Is he as mean as Dan Ellis?
Brendan Gallagher: Is this the watermelon smasher guy?
Ian Schultz: Is this the Charlie Brown guy?

Brendon Nash: If we cut Ben Maxwell, we can give #61 to this guy!

Hunter Bishop, Andreas Engqvist, Kyle Klubertanz, Nicholas Champion, Andrew Conboy, David Urquhart, Aaron Palushaj, Joe Stejskalt: It's names like these that sell jerseys! Welcome to Montreal, boys.

Alex Auld, Curtis Sanford: It's a one-two punch of bald goalies! Tough luck, Peter Delmas and Robert Mayer.

James T. Wyman: Captain.

Jarred Tinordi: He only makes the team so we can spite the Canucks. (But in all seriousness, I can't believe he just got drafted. He's talented and tenacious and he plays like a guy with at least a couple more seasons under his belt than he actually has.)

So... we might have a full roster come October. Maybe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just Two Guys

Wow, in the same day we got news about two former Habs stars signing up for new projects.

Guy Carbonneau will be joining the RDS team, and I'm not sure what that means but I have a few ideas:
- RDS are a bunch of idiots for not hiring him earlier;
- We're done with Benoit Brunet and/or Joel Bouchard;
- There will be one man on RDS who wouldn't be caught dead in the fugly brown jacket;
- Carbo's chances of getting an NHL coaching job anytime soon are only slightly better than Bob Hartley's.

I watch more RDS than CBC, so this means a whole lotta Carbo for me. (I will not make a "carbo-loading" pun here, because come on.) Jacques Martin needs to be on his toes all season. One stupid move, one moment in which he's too calm, one ugly suit, and I'll be comparing him to angry Carbo. Who looks at himself in the mirror before he leaves the house.

We also found out that Guy Lafleur will be going on a farewell tour, playing seven games across the province from October to December. Why do I feel like this is going to be the hockey equivalent of every recording artist's farewell tour ever, which usually lasts three years, coincides with a new greatest hits album and a memoir, includes an appearance on Oprah, and is only a "farewell" tour until the market is ripe for a reunion tour?

Or, does this mean that we have to say goodbye to The Flower, who is the Guy Lafleur that everyone loves, and brace ourselves for even more Chatty Old Man Lafleur? Please, no. I like Hockey Lafleur. I don't like that other guy. Whether this "farewell tour" also implies retirement from unsolicited opinions remains to be seen.

We didn't go away! (We promise.)

We're working on a few more articles, and have been trying to write more often now that the season is upon us.

I just wanted to link to a couple other articles we've written, in case you haven't seen them:

Czechtacular is writing about the Q again, with a piece on the Juniors' season opener and a general Q preview.

I wrote about hockey cards a few weeks ago for All Habs, and followed it up with an article on the tackiest NHL merchandise I've found so far. (The fact that it's pink is actually the least of our worries - that's how bad it is.)

They're worth reading if you haven't seen them yet. We've been hard at work not only for this blog, but also for the people who somehow think we're good enough to write for them. It still surprises me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Time for the rookies

A lovely sign pointing towards the opening of the season (more or less): fresh faces in the Canadiens' dressing room.

Jeff Halpern's arrival among others pretty much ensures we won't see a lot of these guys for awhile but it's still exciting to see where they've all reached in terms of their development (am I alone in this thought? Yes? No?). Here are the names of those invited to 2010 Montreal Canadiens' Rookie Camp (and I'm sad to say that our own Rookie is not among these):

In my lovely (not) graphic here I highlighted some of the QMJHL alumni that I might be able to tell you a bit more about if and when I get the opportunity to poke my head in to some of the scrimmages next week. And yes, these goalies have been around. Now see which team there is the most of and tell me why I'm so darn happy :D

I might also be happy because the lovely @amanada11 secured me tickets for Phoenix @ Montreal so that I can make a living embarrassment of myself in 6 weeks' time. My dear friend and partner in crime @smileinfectious and I are also going to see some kid from Kingston who's supposedly a big deal...while our mothers continue to commiserate about the loss of Sheldon Souray.

Anyway. Details for the camp, while there are few, are the following:

Who: The guys whose names you see up there
What: Are you paying attention at all?
When: Ah, here's some new information. September 13-16th

"Players will take part in on-ice practice sessions and tests as well as off-ice conditioning sessions. Scrimmages will also take place and open to the public on Monday, September 13 and Wednesday, September 15, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m." -

Where: Complexe Sportif Bell, Brossard
Why: Because the future is now.

Sue me for that last one, I've been up since 7.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Twitter Saga: it never ends.

(If you need more info about the opinions swirling about this Dan Ellis Twitter mess, read this and this.)

So, last night I wrote about Dan Ellis quitting Twitter. As soon as I was done, I went to bed, since it was late and I wanted to be up early. When I checked my Twitter feed around mid-morning, I was kind of surprised by what I found.

"So let me get this straight. 
Since I went to bed last night, I've become a villain for causing Dan Ellis to quit Twitter."

That's the only thing I could say about this situation: there was a sudden backlash overnight against everyone who apparently drove Dan Ellis away. I could go on and on about this situation, as many people have. Instead of using social media as a way to get closer to his fans, Ellis alienated some of them by talking about class differences (poor little rich boy). The fans then used the same medium to voice their own opinions, but the fact that Ellis is one person, and the people who reacted probably numbered in the thousands, made it seem like bullying.

Thus, many mainstream journalists took Ellis' side. They've probably met him in real life, and I'm sure he's a nice person, but he clearly lacks the tact to deal with the situation he got himself into, and that's the problem. After Ellis decided to quit Twitter, he became a victim. A bunch of people who simply reacted when provoked committed the crime of shaking a professional athlete's confidence and it was out of line.

But it's not out of line, for some reason, that an entire city ganged up on Carey Price at every opportune moment. The mainstream media agreed with (and/or influenced) the masses in that situation, so there was nothing wrong with it. I'm not saying that tweeters didn't affect Ellis, but if he couldn't handle the reactions he elicited, all he had to do was avoid reading them. It's a little bit harder when you're getting booed at work, or being stopped on the street just to be told that you suck, or having to defend yourself to a horde of reporters. The mainstream media finally saw things Carey Price's way when he was booed for being named third star of the game, late in the season. No one cared when he said that the only newspaper he can't read about himself in is USA Today, and no one even tried to debate Jack Todd after Todd wrote multiple columns about the exact same thing. It's a double standard.

Fans shouldn't turn their backs on players. I took part in the roasting of Dan Ellis, but it was all in fun. I didn't think I'd suddenly be the bad guy. But I still think that players - and journalists - shouldn't turn their backs on fans.

And with that said, I promise to be a bit less serious. I know it's been a heavy couple of blog posts!

New media. Same old story.

I was typing up the last blog post when Dan Ellis quit Twitter. Obviously, my work here tonight is not done.

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dan Ellis made a long announcement through his Twitter feed that he was going to stop microblogging, stating that the uproar he caused among fans was overwhelming and that he wouldn't want to do anything that might negatively affect his teammates. Earlier in the day, he apologized for having offended people*.

What caused an uproar - twice - is that Ellis posted multiple comments that sparked his followers to notice the class differences between NHL players and NHL fans. The fans buy the tickets that pay the contracts, as many fans said after Ellis tweeted about money. But Ellis just kept going, saying either that he deserved his seven-figure salary or that he worried about his money. A lot of fans (including myself, and for a couple of minutes I got carried away) reacted adversely, thinking he was acting like the ignorati that we'd hoped would have lost some money during the recession but instead got richer. My other theory is that he said these things on purpose, hoping to stir up some attention and maybe have the spotlight shine a little brighter on him come training camp. He took it so far, though, that I have to wonder how much attention he craved. Either way, he certainly wasn't expecting the backlash he received.

After his most recent rant (saying he worried more about money now than ever), some Twitter users started sarcastically listing what other problems might plague Dan Ellis. (One such example: "Help guys! I can't remember which garage I parked my Jag in.") Maybe it seemed rude to do so using a medium where Ellis might read it, but it's become a part of our Internet and celebrity culture to skewer famous people. TMZ has made some people very rich by doing just that. I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying it happens. It's an unfortunate, unwritten clause in the contract that every NHL player signs. Maybe Ellis was prepared to hear criticism from his coach, his teammates, beat reporters, and the occasional "You suck!" on the ice, but he wasn't ready for the consequences of his own words.

In fact, at least parts of his apology and his sign-off tweets sounded canned, which leads many people to believe that this may have not been his decision. After all, why would someone who attacked some of his critics with personal replies suddenly relent? It definitely seems like he may have been influenced, or perhaps forced, to stop using Twitter. It's the kind of medium that can get a person in trouble very easily, and athletes are trained to act on a moment, so the eruption of a scandal isn't surprising at all.

What's surprising is that Ellis didn't expect people to react when provoked.
What's positive is that this story ended (at least for now) before he could try to "stir the pot" again.

*I thought it was pretty much known, in both PR situations and real life, that it's rude to say "I'm sorry if I offended anyone." People are offended by words and actions, and apologizing for causing a reaction isn't the same as apologizing for what caused it.

For more on Ellis and the potential ramifications of Twitter, have a look at The Goalie Guild's article written yesterday, before the apology and resignation.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quebec City: the last straw

I'm not the first or the last person to enter the debate about bringing NHL hockey back to Quebec City. I haven't spent much time in Quebec City but I like it there. And, obviously, I might like hockey. I think there are good arguments on both sides of the debate, but I've made up my mind. Sorry, old Nordiques fans.

I don't want a team in Quebec City if I have to pay for it.

As you've likely already heard, there's a push within government to pay 45% of the construction costs of a new arena/amphitheatre in Quebec City. I can't be the only person out there who finds this a bit ridiculous.

First of all, the Colisee is still an adequate venue for concerts and public events. I went to a concert there last year and it wasn't in shambles. It's a little old, and not as shiny or as spacious as the Bell Centre, but there's nothing wrong with it as a venue for concerts and whatnot. If by chance an NHL team moves or is added in Quebec, then a new arena to house the team is a good idea. Otherwise, it's not a necessity.

If there's so much interest in bringing the NHL back to Quebec City, how come there isn't more money involved at this stage? There are a few wealthy people in this province, including those who entered the fray when the Canadiens were up for sale last year. Surely some of them are legitimately interested in buying a sports team and weren't just taking advantage of the Canadiens' centennial anniversary and its press coverage. (Okay, I'm being naive here.) Has Jim Balsillie decided to give up on the dream that used to keep him in the news? Does he know that there's been more and more talk about this bid to get another hockey team in Canada? (Please ignore the can of worms I opened by saying "Canada") Maybe Balsillie has stopped trying, realizing that Gary Bettman (not unlike the iPhone) will beat him every time.

State-of-the-art arenas don't exactly come cheap. Building the Bell Centre cost about $270 million. Three levels of government will be paying for about half a stadium. Can't our government's money be better spent? We have bridges that need repairs, roads that need paving, and flaws in our healthcare system that should have been fixed already. Our CEGEPs are overcrowded and our unemployment rates could probably be better. Why can't this money go to public transit or any other more pressing matter before making lofty promises to hockey fans?

I don't want two hockey teams to be the only pride of this province. I'd prefer it if our government took care of our needs before our wants, because there are some things that private investors can't take care of.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is something missing?

Maybe you reader people know me better than I thought you did. I was half-expecting to hear from someone asking "You're a hockey girl and a TV girl. How come you haven't said anything about Battle of the Blades yet?"

You didn't ask, but I'll tell you anyway. I'm trying to avoid it if I can.

I sometimes have this perverse curiosity about Dancing With The Stars when they announce a new cast, just in case there's a "star" competing that seems really out of place. One season of the show had comedian Adam Carolla as a competitor, who was just about the last person I'd expect to see on such a show (except for maybe Stephen Hawking). So I watched Adam Carolla dance for like ten seconds, and I was done. (It was boring.) Otherwise, Dancing with the Stars is almost everything that is wrong with television. (The rest is Charlie Sheen.)

Battle of the Blades is the same deal, except with skating. And it airs during the hockey season, so why should I watch it? If it were on in the boring abyss that can be summertime TV, if shows like White Collar and Royal Pains didn't exist, and if there were no such thing as a DVD, maybe I'd watch it. But to be honest, I only read this season's casting news because I wanted to know what the fuss was about.

The fuss was about Georges Laraque. Yes, apparently you can get him to do something on skates when there isn't a team and an entire fanbase relying on him. He's like the Lindsay Lohan of hockey players (minus cocaine): he craves attention, yet he refuses to do what made him famous in the first place. It's like the only two things he won't do these days are play hockey and eat meat.

Patrice Brisebois should know better, and also I thought he decided that driving cars was his new pastime. What's with the figure skating?

Now that Theo Fleury has come face-to-face with his troubled past, he's back in the spotlight and it's probably a good casting move to get him on BotB, since he's been in the news recently but this gives him a chance to get some positive attention.

PJ Stock isn't such a surprising choice. He's a combination of the hammy class clown and the ABC network property that are always on Dancing with the Stars. I'd prefer that he remain the colour commentary guy, since all of those buffoons at Hockey Night In Canada laugh at him already, even though they wish they were as much fun to watch as PJ.

In conclusion, yes, I will try to avoid Battle of the Blades like a communicable disease. And yes, if PJ Stock does something hilarious, I want YouTube links.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ticket sales and a trip back in time

What you're about to read is vintage Hab It Her Way, written before HIHW was even a thing. I posted it as a note on Facebook one year ago, before individual game tickets went on sale. This year, I'm preparing those of you who'll try for ticket packages. A few of the references are now a little outdated, but I've decided to keep the original note as is. You probably won't be surprised by how strange it is. Enjoy.

So, tickets for all this season's Canadiens games go on sale this Saturday. Lunatics everywhere (myself included) will be stuck at their computers trying to buy tickets, spending their hard-earned money to be a part of history, or to boo the Leafs, or to see superstars in action (although chances of another Alexander Ovechkin ass goal might be a tad slim.)
Thanks to ticket sales, the Canadiens get big money!
(oh, boo yourself)

Why am I writing a note about this, do you ask? Because it's an insane ordeal. It used to be complicated and then it became a nightmare. You have to access an "online waiting room" before tickets go on sale to even get a chance at buying them, then hope that you randomly get selected to buy tickets early so that you don't have to wait forever, and even at that, hope that the game you want isn't sold out, that you get the seats you want, and you have to choose quickly before the powers that be get angry, and of course, you can only get up to four tickets for one game on one credit card. It's barbaric. And on top of that, your aforementioned wish for a short wait probably won't be granted, and you're stuck at that computer for hours at a time, staring at a screen that doesn't ever change, watching as the most anticipated games sell out to those more fortunate than you, hoping it'll be your turn soon, begging the universe for reprieve, and generally hating your life.
(But they promise it'll be better this year. Fingers crossed.)
Even cute puppies get angry when they wait too long for hockey tickets

After trying for a ten-game package last year, then getting stuck in last year's "technical difficulties" fiasco, I've learned to be ready in case the process takes all day. (Because it might)

So if you're gearing up for an epic day of um, sitting, here are some ideas to get you through the day.


You're going to get hungry, especially since you have to be in the waiting room by noon (thanks for basically ruining lunch, HOCKEY. You really don't seem like a sport that would support brunch but whatevs, I won't whine).
Get your favourite snacks. And stuff that's easy to assemble and/or eat. I'm going to try and regulate my Nutella consumption.

Have something to drink handy, so that your throat doesn't get too dry while you stare at your computer screen and say "COME ON! WHY IS IT NOT MY TURN!" A bottle of water. Some caffeine to keep you going. A can of Molson, if you want to go meta and tip your hat to the Molson brothers. It's also a good choice if you're in the habit of drinking alone at home, in front of your computer, in the middle of the day. (... ?)

Maybe a sandwich or a bagel if you don't mind assembling it while THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE hang in the balance!
Don't eat anything too hot or messy (that's what she said).


I hope you have DVD-Rom (do people still not have DVD-Rom? I don't know) because obviously watching something will pass the time. Or Youtube. But what, you ask?
If you're going for a DVD, first of all, maybe don't watch it fullscreen so you can see your waiting room status whenever you want to. Also, you might want to make it something you've seen before. (Then again, I don't know what moron would be like "Hey, let's bust open this Mulholland Drive DVD just to help pass the time! I hope the movie's good")
I watched some Arrested Development on Saturday trying to get a ten-game package (I've been rewatching the whole series just because), and I definitely recommend it. Something you've seen before, that makes you happy, half an hour at a time? Nothing wrong with that, at all.

There'll be two episodes of Glee on the Global TV website by Saturday. Glee is delightful. Watch it. (Unless for some reason, you watch hockey but can't stand to hear "Don't Stop Believing," which would be messed up.)

Youtube is awesome for times like this: you only commit a few minutes to each video, and you can pause it, and ... Okay, I know you're familiar with the concept of Youtube so I'll shut up.
If stand-up comedy's your thing, stick to shorter clips in case the comedian's really funny. Half an hour of Carlin will zoom by, but if your punishment in the waiting room ends and you get through to buy tickets but somehow miss your shot, you've got no one to blame but yourself. (No, you cannot blame George Carlin. Doing so makes you a humongous douche.)
There's Jeff Dunham, comedian/puppetmaster (yes, that is his shtick, he makes funny and then brings out the Muppets on crack, and he's who everyone's husband got for Christmas if my days as a video store employee told me anything) who's funny enough to keep you entertained but he also won't Carlin you out of a Centennial jersey game.

If you want to keep it really short, probably the best 15 second clip I've found on Youtube is this.
 As if you haven't seen a Walken impression before, but still, funny.

Or, if you're going to spend an afternoon memorizing any song, make it "We Like Sportz." Because la ville est hockey. 

Get some music, obviously. Last year I tried out like a dozen radio stations on iTunes and busted out a Beastie Boys cassette. Yes, a cassette. 

If you're going to waste half a day for three minutes of ticket-buying, you need something to sing along to.
Greatest hits of mullet rock, anyone?

Make some playlists. How about those "my playlist"s? You can choose one and just go with it (I won't tell you which player had the most songs on his playlist that were already on my iPod), or you can make some sort of huge massive combination of all of them.
So do it Henri Richard's is the most recent one so you should find links to all the others. Beware of the Milli Vanilli on Laraque's playlist, which is proof that truth is stranger than fiction.
No, seriously.

Think of a new life for those player name and number T-shirts that you might not wear anymore this season because they're chillin' with Selanne, or you don't want to waste your patches and glitter paint covering up that "Higgins" with "Gionta."
Don't bother with anything but the first page of this article.

Make a headscarf, and then if you know any Rangers fans offer to make one out of their old Scott Gomez shirt and then you can have gang wars.

Or frame your shirt (I've already suggested this to some people, *cough*MY SISTER*cough*): 

There are also instructions online to turn your shirt into undiepants but that seems a bit odd. Or maybe not. I don't know.

Do you have a laptop? Do you have a treadmill or a stationary bike? Stick the laptop on a table in front of your treadmill and walk while you watch the Centennial anniversary game sell out.

Clean your keyboard.

Paint your toenails.

Look at pictures of Chris Pine. (What? Who said that?)

Call up a friend, maybe someone you haven't talked to in a while, or maybe someone else feeling the sting of waiting more time to buy tickets than you'll probably spend watching a game (post-game stuff and CH Express notwithstanding), and sing them a really bad song. Like, just terrible. Try to get it stuck in their head. It's a terrible thing for one human being to do to another, but maybe it'll help pass the time.
In case you're not sure what I meant by "really bad"

Magazines. You can get out some Canadiens magazines and re-read them, or - even better - go buy a couple of ridiculous celebrity gossip rags and have yourself a laugh. Or just pick up a Saturday newspaper, I guess, but there'll be less crosswords with clues about Speidi and Dancing With The Stars, so that's your call to make.


Sure, you can just make witty Photoshops with pictures of players, but if that's not your kind of thing there are tons of other ways to pass the time while remembering why you're spending a lovely afternoon indoors.

Mike Cammalleri. That is all.

You can do the hockey Youtube thing: watch Jeremy Roenick cry at his retirement press conference, watch highlight reels, rate stuff on, watch fan videos (Mike Boone can tell you what all the good ones are... they pay him for that, because obviously the universe SUCKS), watch players get pied in the face... whatever you like, T.I.

Make lists. Who grows a good mustache? Who can breakaway like nobody's business? Who would you draft to be your ultimate NHL Rock Band musicians? Who'd be on your All-Star teams?

Make a card for Tom Kostopoulos to say how much you're going to miss him.

Look up anagrams to Habs players' names. There might be something funny, like how David Letterman rearranged spells Nerd Amid Late TV. Or Justin Timberlake makes I'm A Jerk But Listen. (Yes, this idea sucks, but they can't all be winners, can they?)

Go to and do not stop until you find the absolute ugliest, most ridiculous, most unbuyable item on the entire site. If this were football it'd be easy. Dog shirt with Michael Vick's name and number on it? Done. But maybe it'll take a little longer in the NHL shop.
Maybe it looks something like Chara's FACE.
(I apologize for making you look at it)

Whatever you do, I'm hoping you don't have to wait too long and you get awesome tickets to games that turn out to be really great. I hope we win like crazy and kick some ass and make the highlights every night, and all that other stuff that hockey fans say.
(and I hope I get to see Jarome Iginla again but I hope the Habs win)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Carey Price signs!

Dear everybody who found us by Googling "Has Carey Price signed yet": finally, we have an answer for you. Yes he has. We've got him locked down for two years and if you're complaining about two years, just think about how many morons would have complained if it was a long-term contract.

(And to the person who googled "has carry price signed yet"... I hope you found some other things to read in the meantime, like the team's roster.)

I wasn't able to hear the conference call live, but thanks to Habs Inside/Out it's available for streaming. According to Carey, the rumours of him being on strike are completely untrue. No other major revelations: he's happy to be back, he's been training, he wanted a short-term contract, and he's coming into this season with more lessons learned. Like a lot of us, he wasn't sure if he or Halak would return to Montreal.

It's kind of strange to finally see this finally happen. I know I said I'd run out of patience and things to do, and longed for this day to come but now I have no idea what to do with myself.

My original idea for this post, a fictional phone conversation between Carey and Josh Gorges, was already written by JT over at The H Does Not Stand For Habs a couple of hours before I even started writing it out. Go read hers, it's probably funnier than mine would have been.

So here's my contribution: a very cheesy pop song, that we love anyway because apparently Gwen Stefani is in town and let's be honest, none of us are cooler than Gwen Stefani.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Little distractions

So, it's September 1st, Carey Price hasn't signed yet, and the rumours are swirling about why that is. I don't even want to comment on the idea that he might be on strike, because someone created a firestorm out of one tweet by a journalist who isn't known for breaking rumours like this, and as usual Price is considered guilty until proven innocent. Any further opinion on the matter would just be more frustration and run-on sentences.

In other news, it still feels like the offseason in Montreal because it's so hot outside. Almost unbearably hot. Like, buy a frozen treat and start sweating as soon as it's finished hot. This heat wave alone should convince people that the STM needs to find an affordable way to air-condition buses and metros. At least it's helping to distract me from this Carey Price drama.

I was reminded of a video I watched earlier this summer. So, instead of thinking about a BC-born goalie and the Montreal heat, let yourself be distracted by a Montreal-born goalie in the BC heat. It's a short little lol.

And since that video is only fifteen seconds long, if you're still bored here's some Cat Empire you can use as background while you make yourself some ridiculously oversized rum-based drink to enjoy outdoors. (Song starts about 35 seconds into the video)