Monday, November 29, 2010

Plus/Minus got busy this week

Today is the 86th anniversary of the Forum's opening. Plus, four hockey games and a Grey Cup win, all in the same week. It's a little overwhelming!

from Als Inside/Out, who probably really like ending their season with a Grey Cup win, so let's hope that mojo moves on to H I/O
+ The Alouettes won the Grey Cup!!! More congratulations are in order to Jamel Richardson on being named MVP.
+ Thank you, Carey Price, for your awesomeness. I love it when things go well: Carey's playing well, he has a great attitude, the team has a pretty decent record, and the fans are happy with him.
+ The Kings fans I met at the game on Wednesday were among the best hockey fans I have ever met. Don't get offended, blogger friends. You're the other best hockey fans I have ever met.
+ Congratulations on your first goal as a Hab, Lars Eller! Now if you can stop getting penalties, life would be peachy.
+ Brian Gionta had a three-point night on Saturday. It's the kind of game that makes you love your captain even more.

What did poor Jonathan Bernier ever do to you?
- Best wishes for a clean bill of health to Anthony Calvillo, who announced he'll need surgery on his thyroid. His team might need him but his family needs him even more, so I really hope it's not serious.
- Anyone who boos their own team. How many times do I have to say this? Boo jerks who play for other teams. Or save your boos for something really awful, like if a Hab kicks a kitten.
- Dear Habs: please don't make it so easy for Atlanta to beat you.
- Have we seen Yannick Weber since the Flyers game on Monday? Will he ever be used properly? I know I shouldn't complain about coaching when the team is doing well, but he's a solid defensive prospect and will be of use to this team if he has the right experience. I want to see him with a good defensive linemate he can learn from, playing in games that aren't supposed to be huge nonstop fights.

Big day today outside of Habs games, but neither of us were able to take part in it. czechtacular is en route to Ottawa to see the Oilers play the Sens before they - and she - hit the Bell Centre on Wednesday. (Yes, between this and my LA Kings love, we're both aware that we're really bad at being Flames fans.) I had a previous engagement but I hope that at least one of you readers gave blood today. Or, you know, anytime would be good. I would have loved to attend the funeral mass for Pat Burns (presided by Cardinal Turcotte) but I'll say another prayer for him and hope that his passion continues to influence NHL players and coaches for a very long time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Reigned in

After last night's (fantastic) game, I feel pretty safe making a confession:

I think I like the LA Kings.
Maybe they like me back, I don't know.

fightin' over me?
The Kings may not have played a great game yesterday, and while I'm pretty sure it's not just because they wanted to make the Habs look good in front of me... you never know. Regardless of their recent mini-slump, they look pretty good. Or at least, they did, sort of. I was happy just to be at the game, despite my seats in the Molson Ex Zone (I tried to get tickets to next week's Sharks game, but it appeared to be sold out so I "settled" for the Kings. It was probably my subconscious telling me I'm a closet Kings fan). The last time I saw the Kings, I easily found tickets in the 8th row of Staples Center. The last time I saw the Habs, my fabulous friend Cathie scored seats at the back of the reds. And here I was, trying to watch the game from way up high, surrounded by a more rambunctious (read: irritating) crowd than I'd seen in the reds.

Part of the reason why the Kings lost this game is because rookie goaltender Jonathan Bernier is still finding himself in the NHL. He wasn't stellar, but he showed promise. I was really impressed by a glove save he made about halfway through the second period. I'll have to watch Canadiens express when I get home later to have a closer look at all of the Kings and their style of play, but a few of their stars shined bright.
Drew Doughty was solid. I will neither confirm nor deny reports that I turned to my sister and asked "Can we keep him?" As if he were a puppy or something. Juvenile, I know, but... can we keep him?
Anze Kopitar didn't get a point last night, but he looks so good on the ice. (No, not like that.) Every now and then there'll be a player on an opposing team that I just can't stop watching, because they're so good. Kopitar is that guy. I can't quite describe it. He's just so good.

On the Canadiens side of things... how can I not talk about Lars Eller? He's really starting to take shape now that he's found the right linemates and is getting some much-needed ice time. (Not that much, but nine minutes is better than four.) I think he still needs time to reach his full potential, and I'm still not sure if he'll be the franchise-saving superstar that some people think he is, but he's proven that he can be an asset to his team. So happy he finally got that goal! Now if only Tom Pyatt can score his first of the season...

If you think my reasons for contemplating the Kings as my #2 backup team are a little thin, let me end with this: I think I'm done with the Molson Ex Zone. I may not have loved the Staples Center, because it was too quiet and the fans were way too negative about anything that was not the Los Angeles Kings, but that's about as far as it went. They did not boo their own players. They didn't get in everyone's way on the concourses outside the arena (maybe because there's so much more space). They didn't block aisles when others tried to pass them. What did I see last night? Habs fans taunting Kings fans (of which I saw a few). Did the Kings fans get angry? Not really, they played along a little and were polite the rest of the time.
There were some pretty loud boos for Scott Gomez when the starting lineup was announced. I've been disappointed with him for a while, but I'd never boo a Canadiens player unless he disrespected his team directly (there are worse things than having a terrible season, you know). Then Scott Gomez scored and his name was met with cheers. From the same people who booed him. Heck, even the dim-witted couple sitting behind me couldn't make up their mind about half the roster. (Actual exchange: "Cammalleri's got the puck! He's gonna score!" "What happened? That idiot!") And then there was the completely useless Bernier-booing that started about 30 minutes in. Why boo someone you have no reason to boo?

I had the pleasure of sitting near two Kings fans, a father and son, in town from Los Angeles. They were by far the best fans sitting in my section. They were fun, but they weren't loud or obnoxious. In the last two or three seasons (basically the whole time I've known anything about hockey) they've been to over 20 road games to see their Kings. They went to Ottawa before coming to Montreal, and I think the father went to Buffalo and Boston as well. They haven't missed a single home game this season to date. (The son told me this, of course, after I raved about that dynamite game against the Stars, which he obviously attended.) In fact, they've barely missed any games at all.

They found the Molson Ex Zone a little bizarre, and who can blame them? It's the section billed as "the fan section", but is it really? People pay less attention to the game in Molson Ex. The random beer girls (who my LA friends compared to ice girls, UGH) are pretty useless when you think about it: they're just there for eye candy (when there's an NHL HOCKEY GAME going on) and to get the crowd pumped up (which shouldn't be necessary, we're the loudest fans in the league). How about Molson stops wasting their money on hoochies and second-rate rock bands and gives it directly to the Canadiens? I think I speak for all fans when I say I'd rather have lower ticket prices than a "fan zone." The entire Bell Centre is supposed to be a fan zone. That's why every game is sold out.
I spent the entire third period talking to the son (I forgot to thank him for giving up Jeff Halpern) and now I miss Los Angeles. We talked about the team, the city, and its sports fans. Sure, not all Kings fans are as classy as he and his dad were yesterday, but they don't boo their own team.

Oh well. At least hockey fans here don't stab each other like football and baseball fans do in California.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Game Preview: Feels a little like '93

The last time the Canadiens encountered the Kings, they won. Quite easily, I may add. Will the Kings, coming off a rough last few games, turn the tide and beat their old Stanley Cup rivals on their home ice? Will I be able to cope with the average view from my seats tonight? Last season I sat in the 8th row of the Staples Center, next to the Canadiens defencemen. (And it wasn't that expensive!) This season, my tickets cost less, and it's the Bell Centre, so obviously I'll be a little closer to the ceiling than the ice.

Look at all the swag I got at Staples Center last year!
So I won't be paying a dollar for a program, or getting multiple team rosters for free, but at least I won't be surrounded by fans booing the Canadiens, still sore about Canada's gold-medal win in hockey. (They were passionate, just not in the right way.)

Both teams are having pretty impressive seasons so far, with almost identical records. The Kings have lost a few games recently but were still at the top of their division until Phoenix knocked them out of the top spot last night. They've only got one point less than the Canadiens. I have a feeling that this game will be less of a bust than Monday's outing against the Flyers.

Which players are worth keeping an eye on, regardless of where your seats are? I had a few guys that I thought were worth mentioning, but a great interview with The Fourth Period's Susan Crosby last night on Game Points gave me even more to talk about. (Big thanks to Susan, by the way, who was knowledgeable and enthusiastic.)
- Jeff Halpern will get to say hi to his old team. But we'll keep him in Montreal, thanks. He'll have Mathieu Darche with him again, hopefully to get some of that PhD magic going. (Yannick Weber is the odd man out here. I would've liked to see him against a team like the Kings, but these decisions aren't mine to make.)
- Drew Doughty, arguably the best defenceman in the West, is showing no signs of recurring concussion symptoms.
- Banner season for Justin Williams so far. Same goes for captain Dustin Brown (who's a pretty good follow on Twitter, by the way).
- We've all seen Quebec-born goalies bring their A-game when visiting the Bell Centre (except maybe Roberto Luongo a couple of weeks ago) and it's likely that rookie Jonathan Bernier will be no exception in front of his dozens of guests. Susan Crosby says he's not at the same level as Jonathan Quick yet, so at least the team's renaissance isn't hindered by a goalie controversy just yet.

 Have fun in Montreal, Los Angeles Kings. I know it's cold, but you guys welcomed me to the Staples Center with a torrential downpour, so... even.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time for Round 2 in Philadelphia

7:00 PM.
On a Monday.
Philadelphia, PA

So last week was fun. The Flyers tried to break the Canadiens, and then whined a little bit when they got their feelings hurt.

I'd write a half-assed game preview, but it turns out that my half-assed preview from a Flyers game last season is still mostly relevant. It boils down to: the Flyers are ugly and also evil. And if you need a reminder of just how good the Canadiens are, our friend Will has it covered in his latest blog post. It boils down to: the Canadiens know what they need to do to win right now, and they're doing it.

As for this PK-hate business, I guess we'll find out tonight if the Flyers really mean it and turn this into a rivalry for the ages, or if they were just whining and need a time-out.
I'm prepared to make Team PK shirts if necessary.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Plus/Minus: Shutout edition

If you're wondering why I haven't posted anything since the last Plus/Minus, it's because nothing came to me. The Andrei Markov injury had me so upset that I could barely do anything all week. I shuffled around in my pajamas most of the day, I rarely answered the phone, I couldn't sleep properly, I told everyone (and I mean everyone) that Eric Staal is the worst person on Earth... all in all, I've had better weeks. Some people. however, have certainly had worse weeks.

How sweet it is
+ Two shutouts in one week. Carey Price is just fantastic. I'm probably not the only one who's been getting overwhelmed right when I realize that the game is really going to end in a shutout, then (of course) celebrating the team's win, then go over the edge a little when I see him point to the exact people he's throwing his First Star pucks to. Oh, and I'm not being a fangirl, but I might have been when I backed Laura from The Active Stick in an argument with a Leafs fan.
+ Thank you, Pat Burns, for your encouraging words to Carey Price. Clearly, they paid off. This is proof that nothing can stop a good coach. Rest in peace, Coach.
+ I'm adding myself to the long list of people who loved the Pat Burns video tribute. I somehow didn't burst into tears watching it. I'm not sure how that happened, but if it was a minute longer, I probably would have.
+ Lars Eller's been taking advantage of his (slightly) increased ice time.
+ Two Bulldogs in particular: Max Pacioretty is lighting it up, and Gabriel Dumont scored a game-winning goal which will hopefully prevent him from being benched more often than he should be.


- I wrote an article for All Habs this week about the Price/Halak "controversy" and how it still hasn't gone away. But some people still just don't get it.
- So last season nobody could stop bashing Sergei Kostitsyn, then he comes back to Montreal for the first time with his new team and he's nearly invisible. If I were a TV producer I'd milk this for all it's worth and turn him into some kind of cartoon villain. However, I forgot that the Nashville Predators also have some random non-Hab Quebec-born player, so obviously he takes precedence.
- Ryan White is injured?
- It's been said already, but I can't believe Mike Richards decided to whine about PK Subban's attitude and apparent lack of respect. First of all, PK was probably the most aggressive player in that game, and that's kind of required when you're playing the Flyers. What, do you want my entire team to put their trenchcoats over puddles so Jeff Carter's new shoes don't get wet? How about not? And, seriously, Mike Richards? You looked like you met PK word-for-word. What could he possibly have said that could offend Mike Richards, who almost killed David Booth? One of these players is shooting off his mouth, that's for sure. But it's not the rookie.
- Speaking of concussion-causers, Andrew Ladd has been named captain of the Atlanta Thrashers. In this case, the C stands for "Couldn't he have been suspended even one game for destroying Matt D'Agostini last season?" Yeah. I hold grudges.

- Oh, Colin Campbell. If you're going to be a jerkstore, you should at least get a Gmail address or something and try to pretend you didn't send those emails. Doesn't everyone know by now that you don't use corporate email for personal purposes?
- All kinds of RDS graphics fails this week. I wish I had pictures. They got their dates mixed up for the CFL East Final, and tried to tell me that there is a "B. Byfuglien" in the NHL. In which case, Atlanta might want to start printing up T-shirts that say "Bustin Moves" or "Bustin makes me feel good."
- Oh, I almost forgot: Shut up, Don Cherry.

So, four games this week, including one against the Kings, which I have tickets to. What are the odds of me finding a way to keep Drew Doughty in Montreal? What if I remind him that Markov is injured and cry? Too dramatic? I'll keep working on it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Plus/Minus is a little bit frazzled

What could be a better indication of Plus Minus than the week that was? The Canadiens were undefeated but lost a key player to injury. Again. What on earth could Andrei Markov have done to deserve all these injuries? I'm not even sure I can format this Plus/Minus into organized thoughts.

At least we still have PK, and he's a great guy
I give a PLUS to the Canadiens for their solid victory over Vancouver. They looked pretty good from the back of the reds...
but then there's the MINUS of knowing that it's one of the few games Andrei Markov played in the first half of the season.

I'd give a MINUS to the Vancouver Canucks for being nearly invisible on Tuesday after last Saturday's high-scoring thriller...
but let's be honest, those pictures of Ryan Kesler make up for it. PLUS.

I give a PLUS to all of the Canadiens for really showing up this week and ending whatever worries we had, especially on Saturday against the Hurricanes. I'm in awe of Carey Price's miraculous save and tumble, and of Maxim Lapierre's fancy spinning goal.
I also give a PLUS to Ryan O'Byrne for looking pretty good so far as an Av. He got an assist tonight, and I'm actually not that surprised.
I'm still pretty sure that Dustin Boyd was the victim of curly hair discrimination, so... MINUS.

A huge PLUS to Carey Price for earning the honour of First Star for the week (and Molson Cup for October).
But (surprise, surprise) a MINUS to Jack Todd who finally stopped ragging on Price, for obvious reasons, but is unable to give up his vendetta and insulted Price fans in his column today. In case it wasn't obvious, there ARE people in this world who aren't as single-mindedly hateful as he is. There might be some fans out there who "hate" Halak, but there's no use in generalizing. I really don't need to beat this dead horse again, do I? They're both excellent goaltenders, and I like them both a lot, and I'm very happy to have Carey here in Montreal and that Jaro has found success in St. Louis. That's it. This conversation is beyond over.

This week will bring old friends (Bouillon! love!) and older enemies into the fray. I'll probably be okay as long as my other favourite Habs remain intact.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Off Topic: Rookie goes to the NFL, Part 2

So, the first half of my search for an NFL team to cheer for yielded little fruit. I skipped over entire NFL divisions and didn't find a team. In part 2, I promise to try harder to find a team, so get ready for lots of reading. I cannot, however, promise to leave no stone unturned. What? There are just some divisions that don't interest me as much as others, OK? I narrowed the list down to some perfectly acceptable candidates.

o hi there
Green Bay Packers: Okay. Well, this used to be my go-to football team, for obvious Brett Favre-related reasons. I've spent the last two years not quite knowing what to do with myself: stick with the team or follow the quarterback? It feels odd abandoning either one. My second reason to love the Packers was the cheesehead hats, but recent problems with lactose have taken the fun out of that too. Still, I can't quite shake them. Aaron Rodgers is a good QB, and I'm so frightened/impressed by Clay Matthews and his largeness that I feel like I have to cheer for him so he won't eat me. Great names include Atari Bigby and Dimitri Nance.
VERDICT: Contender. Please don't eat me, Clay Matthews.

Dallas Cowboys: In some ways, the Cowboys would seem like a winner. I love cowboys, and I already have an Australian rugby team called the Cowboys. (Incidentally, go Cowboys!) I know how big of a deal football is in Texas, and as a Habs fan in Montreal, I can relate. The Cowboys wear silver pants. To work. And they're still threatening despite being men in silver pants. Dez Bryant is one of this season's rookies to watch. They've got a few great names, like Tashard Choice, Kevin Ogletree, and Alan Ball (he's a screenwriter AND a cornerback? Wow). But the downside is that I'm just not feeling them. This isn't a banner year for the Cowboys, and I can tell from the games I've watched. Plus, now that Tony Romo (who looks more like a VJ than a QB) is injured, they're probably not going to get much better. Is it worth cheering for a team that I know won't win much, just to hang on until their next season of glory?
VERDICT: Sorry, Cowboys (and Texans), I'll keep my Texas football teams fictional. Go Dillon Panthers!

Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning is the kind of athlete that people will tell their kids about someday. Plus, he was pretty funny when he hosted Saturday Night Live (which yes, is a pretty big selling point for me). 
I hope, for your sake, that you've seen this sketch
As mentioned earlier, I have experience cheering for them because I thought they'd win the last Super Bowl. And I can't remember why I like Adam Vinatieri but I do. Great names on the team include Jarraud Powers and Keyunta Dawson. They're not really the most entertaining team in the NFL name-wise.
VERDICT: Probably not my team, but I like them nonetheless. I felt bad cheering against them after I predicted an Eagles win in week 9.

New England Patriots: The Pats are one of those go-to teams that are so popular you can tell people you like them and don't have to get into a lengthy explanation of it. Just think of how many Patriots fans you know, and then of how many Jaguars fans you know. Yeah. The most logical explanation for this is Tom Brady. Who, by the way, was very funny on SNL five years ago.
I hope, for your sake, that you've seen this whole episode
However, this year, Tom Brady needs a damn haircut. His hair indicates poor decision-making this year and I don't want that from my quarterback. Go ahead and judge. The Pats do have some guys with pretty cool names, I'll give them that. None cooler than BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Law Firm.
VERDICT: They'd be lower on the list if (hockey team aside) I didn't like Boston so much.

Minnesota Vikings: Brett Favre plays for this team. And I like Brett Favre, in case that wasn't obvious. (Please, no jokes.) Minnesota is the American state that's most like Canada, so I like it. I'd have no problem wearing a Vikes jersey because I like purple. (The last time I said "I like purple," it didn't even need to be said. My purple sweater, coat, nails, and purse said it for me.) Great names include Jamarca Sanford and Visanthe Shiancoe. The only disadvantage is that as far as I can tell, the closest thing to a real Viking the NFL has is Clay "please don't eat me" Matthews, who does not play for this team.

New York Giants: If I like Peyton Manning, I've got to spread the love to his little brother, right? The seasons since 2004 are referred to as "The Eli Manning Era", or at least they are on Wikipedia, so in case you need it spelled out for you, we can expect good things from him. I once saw the building where Eli Manning lives (or used to) in Hoboken, home of hipsters and Frank Sinatra. The New Meadowlands Stadium, which they share with the Jets, is actually quite close to where my aunt and uncle live in New Jersey. Okay, the name doesn't sound as cool as "Arrowhead Stadium" or "The Louisiana Superdome" but still. I could totally go to a home game, provided that tickets are easier to get than Habs tickets. Plus, from what I've seen, Eli has good chemistry with a wide receiver named Mario Manningham. Manning and Manningham? You can't make this stuff up. 
VERDICT: The Giants look pretty good on paper, I guess. It's not that I don't like them, it's just that I've found someone else...

New York Jets: They're my frontrunner right now. Do the Jets have everything? It sort of looks like they do. They're having a great season and leading their division. Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof is a fan. Their original name was "The Titans Of New York", which is a great team name. (I know, I know, but Tennessee doesn't have an "of" in their name.) I enjoy watching their games (although I am really mad about Week 8, where they were shut out coming off a bye week, which might as well have been two weeks of no Jets).
Oh, and have I talked about Mark Sanchez yet? What's not to love about a talented Spanishy quarterback? ("Spanishy," by the way, is a word because I said so.) He isn't the absolute best quarterback in the league (he's ranked somewhere around #16, behind both Manning brothers), but he's pretty solid. If I'm not mistaken, his 336 passing yards last week were second only to Brett Favre's 446. I can handle having a QB who comes in second to Favre. Oh, and did I mention he's been on SNL?

Yeah. He didn't host or anything, he just showed up for like ten seconds to pose as Tina Fey's fake husband. He has the Tina Fey seal of approval! The only other team that might have that is her hometown Philadelphia Eagles. The fact that they've got some really catchy names is just a bonus at this point: former favourites Santonio Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson have very stiff competition in D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
Let me say that again: D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Best name in the NFL, yes?
VERDICT: Jets, I think I like you. But it's OK if I see other teams, right? The Canadiens don't seem to mind too much.

Did I leave out your favourite team or maybe something important about them? I'm still accepting NFL team feedback. I might as well, if you just finished this mammoth post, so send me your pros, cons, suggestions, and reasons why I should have mentioned the St. Louis Rams.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Off Topic: Rookie goes to the NFL (Part 1)

No sport could ever replace hockey for me, ever. (Except maybe roller derby.) But my new role as the female voice of reason on The Team 990's Game Points has made me increase my passing interest in football. It used to be that I watched the Super Bowl every year, occasionally watched a few minutes of a game, and thought Brett Favre was awesome. That was the extent of my football fandom. It may sound pitiful, but keep in mind that even five minutes of sports used to count for me as "Look! I'm watching sports! I'm well-rounded! Now what's on the other channels?"

So I've started sitting down and trying to figure things out for entire football Sundays. Yes. About 90% of this sport's games are played on the same day. I figure the best way to have a chance at knowing football even half as well as a real football fan is to have a team to cheer for.

I've had a few people encourage me to start following their favourite teams but I should probably put a little more thought into it than that. I already have my (ridiculous) criteria, I just need to find a team that fits it.
So who were my candidates for Football Team Worth Following?

New Orleans Saints: I might as well name the defending NFL champions first, right? Even though I thought the Colts would win the Super Bowl? Drew Brees seems like a cool guy. But he should have told his buddy Reggie Bush that I don't care about Kim Kardashian. Otherwise, there are a few choice names on the team, starting with Will Smith. Yeah, it's pretty awesome that they have a guy named Will Smith. Other names include Jon Stinchcomb and Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
VERDICT: I could get jiggy with Will Smith's team, but the Kardashian connection might be a dealbreaker. They're probably not #1 team material.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Who doesn't love pirates? These guys have a pirate ship in their stadium and fire the cannons after every touchdown (proof here around 0:10). That's their major selling point. Plus, if ever I went to one of their home games, I could scour Tampa for any potential Guy Boucher merchandise or news, and Czechtacular would be very proud of me. Ronde Barber plays for them, and I wasn't even sure if he was still playing. Great names on the team include Stylez G. White, Niko Koutouvides, LeGarrette Blount, and E.J. Biggers.
VERDICT: Cannons.

Buffalo Bills: A contender because they're one of the only teams that I have merchandise for.
I never said it was still relevant merchandise
Their touchdown song is "Shout" by the Isley Brothers, which is a great choice, so they get points for that. However, they haven't won a game yet this season and I can't name a single player on the team anymore. A roster check for awesome names was quite fruitful: Jairus Byrd, Mansfield Wrotto, Ed Wang (hee!) and "sounds like he'd be a hockey player" Paul Posluszny. Yeah, except I hadn't previously heard of any of those guys.
VERDICT: Uh, maybe not. I tried to take an interest last year when Terrell Owens was on the team and I asked my brother for a T.O. shirt every time he went to Buffalo, but I never got that shirt, so I don't really owe the Bills anything.

Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers: Going for a cat-themed team would seem like a great choice for a girl like me, whose cellphone wallpaper is a picture of her cat. But none of these teams really jumps out at me, save for maybe the Bengals. The tiger-striped uniforms are probably the flashiest and coolest in the NFL. I'd get to continue watching the larger-than-life Terrell Owens and get the bonus of his "Batman and Robin" bromance with Chad Ochocinco (who, unfortunately, was cooler pre-Dancing with the Stars). But I encountered a roadblock when I found out that someone I know, who isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, is a Bengals fan. Do I really want to be associated with fans like that guy? I'm not so sure.
VERDICT: My reputation as a crazy cat lady will probably stay out of the NFL.

Stay tuned for Part Two, in which I ramble a lot more but find a few good teams.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We have no Ryan O'Byrne

We have a Michael Bournival instead.

via Francois Gagnon on Twitter this morning:
Ryan O'Byrne vient de quitter le vestiaire du Ch avec son équipement sur une épaule et Scott Gomez qui transportait ses bâtons à ses côtés.
Yes, that's right, just as we were all practicing a moment of silence for our veterans and fallen and current soldiers, I found out that Ryan O'Byrne was traded.

Of course he was. We all saw this coming a mile away. He barely had any ice time this season, and wasn't necessarily impressive when we did see him. I think (and hope) he'll improve in Colorado, not unlike his former teammates who've found their place in the Western Conference. And yes, I am one of those people who think that he might not have been developed to his full potential. I might not be able to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong or who's at fault, so to speak, but I think that O'Byrne's best games were proof that he was capable of more than what we saw. Maybe he just needs the right coach, or the right teammates, to give him that extra push. Maybe if his play improves in the next two seasons, someone will finally start to wonder whether some Canadiens' prospects were improperly developed, rather than just bad draft picks.

And maybe, just maybe, after combing through the details of his career to date in light of this trade, we can stop making "Ryan O'Byrne stole a purse" jokes. Or at least make a whole lot less. Don't people know by now, that those have been replaced by "Patrick Kane in a taxi" jokes?

So, get with the program, people. Wish Ryan O'Byrne good luck in Colorado and make sure you've got a Patrick Kane joke up your sleeve. Oh, and brace yourselves for the eventual arrival of Jarred Tinordi, who I'm hoping will be Ryan O'Byrne with a happier ending.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dustin checks out

I have so much to say about Dustin Boyd now that he's no longer a Canadien. (Dustin? Justin? I really can't remember anymore.) If you think this move came out of nowhere, I've got a few theories about why this happened.

Maybe the 10 minutes he played all season took valuable ice time away from Lars Eller.

Maybe this team didn't want a player with a full head of curls. To which I say, DISCRIMINATION! Is this part of a greater conspiracy? Did I just figure out the real reason behind the Maxim Lapierre faux-hawk?

Maybe Pierre Gauthier wrote Boyd's name down to remember that he is indeed a "Dustin", but accidentally wrote it down on his spare set of waiver papers.

Maybe those waiver papers were intended for Scott Gomez because Gauthier was told once and for all that Montreal would not get Jarome Iginla. (But Iginla for Gomez would make me happy.)

Maybe it's time for Boyd to play in Edmonton or Tampa Bay - we all know the best way to play there is to be a former Canadien.

Maybe someone in the Habs' front office doesn't like the list of "Boyd" puns I keep in my back pocket.

Maybe he was not the Boyd we're looking for.

Maybe we'll start seeing some forward lines that make sense without having to worry about the odd man out.

Happy trails, Justin Dustin.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Plus/Minus looks good this week...

...because after almost two weeks, the screen of my Macbook is finally fixed. Finally, the 268 hours of anguish are over. I can stop panicking about my laptop. I can stop waiting for the phone to ring, with an anticipation worse than calls about a job or a boy. I can stop having separation anxiety and asking my friends at the Apple store to take good care of my Macbook.
Oh, and there was hockey stuff too.

Thank you, friends at the Apple store.
+ Due to my aforementioned laptop woes (268 hours), this week's first Plus goes to Laura from The Active Stick, who's the kind of writer that all female hockey bloggers should be. And male ones too. But aside from wit and all that, she let me use her laptop to post last week's Halloween-themed Plus/Minus thing. If that's not supporting your fellow bloggers, I don't know what is.
+ Carey Price, keepin' it real.
+ Look at you, Jeff Halpern, racking up points and being all +7. You get another plus from me. And yes, you can share it with the rest of the PhD line, because you've earned it.
+ The news that there is a Stephen Gionta. Yes. He exists. I know he's the same height as his big brother (har har) and that this team needs more tall guys, and that usually guys play their first NHL game before the age of 27, but... can we have him? IT'S A SECOND GIONTA!
+ A fantastic game by the Hamilton Bulldogs, who looked like an excellent team from the second row at the Bell Centre. (I have to stop wishing for prestige seats to Habs games... I wouldn't be able to handle it.) Ryan White played with his usual energy and badassery, Alex Henry got physical, and Gabriel Dumont delivered the biggest hit of the night.
+ Oh, and the little boys sitting behind us at the game knew as much about the team as we did, if not more. I probably missed parts of the game because I was trying to listen to their analysis. They couldn't have been older than ten but they're just as smart as most of the hockey fans you know.
+ I... this:
This is what happens when you say you miss Los Angeles. Awesome.


- What, so everyone forgot that Ryan O'Byrne exists? If it weren't for the pictures some of our friends took at FestiFan today, I wouldn't even remember what he looks like. (If you forgot: Tall. Black hair. Sometimes wears #20.)
- I know I don't often make suggestions for lines, but um... what's the use in breaking up the top line, who've been consistently productive, just to breathe some life into Gomez and Gionta? Sure, I'm all for breaking those two up in an attempt to get them going, but why mess with a good thing?
- I think I went through this with Carey Price a few weeks ago: WHO let Tomas Plekanec get sick? Please, someone build a sneezeguard around him or something.

So, yeah, sorry that there's no blog called "Hab It Three Really Smart Nine-Year-Olds' Way." We'd totally read it too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

'Dogs are in town tomorrow...

There's a new breed of Bulldogs coming to Montreal tomorrow night.

The Movember kind.

Scary thought of what that holds aside, our farm team's not doing too shabby as of late. After taking forever to kick off this season (seriously, the rest of the AHL was 3 games in going "where are you?") they've now got a record of 6-1-1-2 and 15 points, good for first on the leaderboard in the North Division. While Oklahoma City and San Antonio also have 15 points, only Wilkes-Barre and Portland are ahead of them in the whole league.

David. Desharnais. He's a long way from that Canada/Russia Series five years ago where I pointed out that Guillaume Latendresse could eat him in one bite if he wasn't too careful. Most notably he has a point in every single game, 14 in ten games to be exact, 6th in the AHL overall. Max Pacioretty, who recently commented that the best thing for him would be to play all of this season in Hamilton, isn't too far behind. Dubbed "Maximillion" by 820 CHAM's Derek Wills, he has played every bit like the player we eventually want to see in Montreal, racking up 12 points in ten games.

Any lamenters of PK Subban's departure have also zipped their lips by now (or must have been hiding under a rock as of late if they continue to go on about it). Yannick Weber has stepped up where needed and bolstered the blueline in addition to putting up six goals, the most of any defenseman league-wide.

The Binghamton Senators, their opponent tomorrow night at the Bell Centre, haven't been quite as fortunate. Sitting at 6th in the East Division with a 4-3-1-1 record, they've struggled a little in terms of consistency and stringing wins together as their key forwards have struggled to produce. Right winger Bobby Butler, however, has notched five goals in nine games and at least a point in almost every single one. Also, goaltender Robin Lehner is back after a stint with the big club, which will be another thing to look out for tomorrow night.