I’m embarrassed to be a Habs fan tonight. The booing was childish, particularly after Sax came and spoke to the media. And some have the temerity to say we’re the most knowledgeable fans in sports. What a laugh. To those who did booing tonight, you’re a disgrace to the Montreal Canadiens and to the rest of the fans who can show class.
As to the game itself, it’s about time. Finally some intensity shown out there – and not just for a few moments. Kudos tonight have to go to Ryder, Markov, and Komisarek; the latter having played his best game in the NHL and surely showing why he’s such a highly thought of player. It’s such a pleasure to see the kids maturing with the club and displaying why they’re going to eventually bring us a Cup.
I’m having some concerns about the coaching. Putting Ribs’ line on at the end of the game was his way of letting everyone know that Ribs is his man, but that could have blown up in his face since it’s also a poor line defensively. Had the Flames scored, there might have been some explaining to do to his bosses.
Garon: Very solid tonight. Certainly, one would hope that the ‘tender would make those saves on shots from outside the circle, but when it’s a sniper like that and you haven’t seen any kind of game play in over two weeks, I suppose you can be cut a little slack. A little. Nice to see that he wasn’t over-pursuing the puck tonight and sliding himself out of position. B+
Bouillon: Good game, a typical one. He made some fine defensive plays and on a night like this when the opposition is very physical, it’s nice to see the small man come out and hammer a few of his own. B+
Brisebois: Terribly bonehead play to cost the goal when all he has to do is get the puck deep and let the forwards get in there. However, other than that I felt he played pretty solid tonight. B
The pair: They make a pretty good tandem and Bouillon’s hitting complements Breezer’s positional play. Sometimes two hitters means people are out of position, but on the other hand, two positional guys don’t give the opposition any fear. They handle themselves well and distribute the puck properly. They also communicate fairly well now, too. B+
Komisarek: Sure, he only played thirteen some-odd minutes, but if you weren’t excited about the way he played tonight, there’s something wrong with you. He was solid on the puck, moved it much quicker than usual for the most part, and was hitting really well. B-
Rivet: He’s come along way from the guy that got the boos earlier this season. His positional play is excellent and he’s making our need for a left defender moot. B
The pair: Interesting, but Rivet was the player who helped Markov to where he is today and now here he is helping out Komi. The fact that Rivet is still playing some solid D on the left is excellent. I believe he rises to the challenge of working with the youth and I’m starting to think he’s a very intregal part of the defence, perhaps for years to come, since he’s a good teacher and someone you can learn with. B+
Quintal: If someone with speed comes in on him, he’s a post. It’s unfortunate, but he’s just not got the speed necessary to keep up anymore and is getting burned more and more by it. Now, to counteract this, he does play pretty well positionally, however if someone challenges him while he’s still, we’re in trouble. B-
Markov: Nice to see his offensive game starting to come alive as well. He’s really been shooting much better lately and now he’s adding in those little moves that will make him one of the better puck-handling defenders in hockey. Defensively he was very good and is getting back to the point he was at last year. B+
The pair: Tough combination, if you ask me, and not one that I’d look for. However, Markov has the footspeed to be able to cover for Q’s occasional slow steps, and since he’s brilliant at the poke check, he cuts out plays quickly allowing Q time to react. B-
Langdon: Spirited game. Was he all hyped after having the chance to pass his glove across Ribs’ face? Whatever the case, for the little time he was on the ice, I felt he was very effective tonight – at both ends of the rink. A-
Perreault: Moved from one line to another here and there, but if we’re honest with ourselves, he really had a strong game. It was the best I’ve seen him play in ages and ages. He got himself into good position, wasn’t beaten badly defensively and led the team in shots. B+
Ward: With a fleet skating team like the Flames, his lack of turning really hurts him. He was flattened a few times because he just couldn’t do anything on his skates. His hits, while numerous, are also largely ineffectual as he throws his body weakly at his opponents. C+
The trio: They didn’t play together a whole lot so it’s hard to get a handle on it. Sure, Ward and Langdon were both hitting well and mucking well, but Perreault did his best work elsewhere. N/A
Dackell: Yeah, too small, ineffectual player. Pffft. Again, a very strong defensive game and worked with Begs and Sunny very well in the offensive zone. He’s brilliant on the boards and I’d say is one of the two or three best on the team. B
Sundstrom: On the one hand he scored that goal and was really good in the offensive zone, plus he was positionally good defensively. On the other hand, there were dozens of times where I felt he didn’t give that requisite second effort. I find that hard to take on a night when everyone else is. B-
Begin: Oh, I hate to say it, but Juneau who? Once again he’s given the reins of the third line and once again he does a stand-up job. He was hitting really well, creating offensively and, most importantly, extremely effective defensively. A
The trio: Who can argue with their game tonight? They were excellent all over the ice, scored, stopped Iggy, and were tough to play against. It’s a combo that’s worked well before and one that continues to work well now. A
Dagenais: Well, he scored two goals so I suppose he’s indispensable to the team now. Yes, he was on the doorstep – in the right spot – to score that second goal for the Habs. The empty netter I could care less about. But the simple fact is he was largely invisible other than that one play. He didn’t make a hit worth mentioning and still can’t pass the puck to save his life. Can’t argue with results though – unless you’re not marking him on one five second period of the game. D+
Ryder: Dominant. Absolutely dominant. He was the direct cause of two of the Habs goals and was all over the ice tonight. He was hitting very well, was making his wicked moves that wreaked havoc, and never stopped moving his legs. A
Ribeiro: Well, apparently he’s the number one centre with the Habs now – the numbers don’t lie. He was on the ice more than Sax at regular strength and he was on far more on the powerplay. The staff has decided that this is the way to go with this team, and while I’m a little shocked at the decision, we’re all Hab fans in the end so let’s get on with it. Tonight he was…. he had a great first, no doubt. The second was less great and the third even less so except for one dominant shift. He lost the puck in the defensive zone twice, almost leading to goals and I felt he stopped working hard once the lead was attained. B-
The trio: Thank heavens for Ryder or there would have been a lot of trouble for these three. Certainly, Dags and Ribs have chemistry, though it’s not apparent when Dags is close to useless. That Ryder made this line click tonight is a testament to his game. B-
Zednik: He was hitting and working harder than I’ve seen him work in weeks. He was stuffed a few times on the doorstep, which was unfortunate, but played a really good game otherwise. Even more impressive, though, is that he played defence. B
Bulis: On fire tonight. He was everywhere on the ice and had his best game since before Christmas. Reuniting him with Zed certainly has energized him, and I have a feeling that the rest of the season will look pretty good for him. A
Koivu: Well, less minutes, less chances on the powerplay, less confidence from the coach, and yet he was still the best Hab on the ice. He made more things happen than most others combined. It’s a shame that he’s slowly being run out of the city when he brings so much out there. A
The trio: By far the most dangerous and though they didn’t score, they had a plethora (love to work that word in) of chances and great chemistry. Alas, they have been demoted. A
Julien: I’m losing my faith in this guy. The system was great, for sure. Now that they’ve learned it, we’re looking solid. Ribby’s line at the end of the game? If Begs had just come off, which he had, would you rather see three guys who are weak defensively, or a line with two out of three who regularly play the PK? That one might have really cost us.
Well, we go to Toronto to play arch-nemesis Toronto and the band of merry whiners. If we play as we did tonight then we might get somewhere, but anything less and we’ll be smacked around. Now that we’ve played a full 60 and have won, it’s time to find some consistency and get on with it.
A Concerned Fan