Will the real Montreal Canadiens please stand up? For yet another week this season, the Habs started off well, and then, to put it nicely, struggled vs Calgary, and then died on Saturday night. As for the Hamilton Bulldogs, well, they just died, without the strong start, another full slate of losses for them. League-wide, Bryan Berard tests positive, Dick Pound speaks yet again, and will the Leafs ever beat the Sens? This and more in the recap.
The coaching change continued to pay early dividends at the beginning of the week, with the Habs starting off strong against Dallas, holding on to a 4-2 win. Unfortunately, the success didn’t carry over to the beginning of their Western road trip, as they were all but beaten up in a 3-2 loss vs Calgary, and then failed to even show up in a 6-2 loss to Vancouver.
The Good: The Habs’ powerplay worked at 47% efficiency in their first 3 games with Bob Gainey and Co at the controls. Michael Ryder also scored his 20th of the season, only the 15th Hab to do so in both their rookie and sophomore seasons.
The Bad: A rule technicality cost Sheldon Souray the rest of Thursday’s game vs Calgary when he inadvertently hit Darren McCarty with his wrist brace in a fight. Under the league rules, that is deemed as intent to injure.
The Ugly: The first period of Saturday’s loss. Absolutely embarrassing, ’nuff said.
The Curious: Why exactly did the Habs call up J-P Cote? He’s been a scratch in every game since his recall, don’t see how that helps anything.
Another week, another losing streak for Hamilton, as they lost all 3 games to division (and Canadian rivals). Back-to-back losses to Manitoba were followed up by a home loss to the Marlies. The Dogs are approaching a double-digit deficit to get out of the basement, let alone into a playoff spot.
The Good: Uh, let’s see here…they weren’t blown out in any of the games, that’s gotta count for something.
The Bad: 3 games, 4 goals. Not gonna cut it, even at peewee level.
The Ugly: Total goals Pierre Dagenais and Alexander Perezhogin have combined for so far in Hamilton? 0
The Curious: Will Perezhogin request a transfer back home to Russia for the remainder of the season soon? Has he already?
Around the rinks:
Berard tests positive:
The 1st positive test has come down in the NHL. Columbus D Bryan Berard tested positive for the banned substance 19-norandrosterone. However, the positive test came from the US Olympic team testing, and not the NHL’s, which explains why Berard wasn’t originally named to the team. Because the test was before the NHL implemented its policy, they will not suspend the defenceman, however, he has been banned for 2 years from any international competition. What does Dick Pound have to say? See for yourself in my final thought.
Nedved on the move:
The Phoenix Coyotes finally found someone willing to take Petr Nedved off their hands. The overpaid and struggling centre was dealt to the Flyers in exchange for young defenceman Dennis Seidenberg. Unconfirmed reports out of New York suggest that GM Glen Sather was unsuccessful in bringing the Czech to the Rangers, which would’ve made about a third of their team of Czech descent. Wonder what other Czechs are out there…
Leafs blown out again:
If Hab fans can take any solace out of Saturday’s doings, it’s that the Leafs actually lost worse than Montreal did. The Sens beat up on their provincial rivals for the 3rd straight game, crushing them 7-0, and have now outscored them 23-2 in the last 3 contests.
Dick Pound is at it again, first proclaiming victory that the NHL is wrong in saying there isn’t a rampant steroid problem, after 1 positive test, that wasn’t administered by the league in the first place. He’s also taking the time to once again call the NHL’s policy a joke. On behalf of all hockey fans worldwide, I say do everyone a favour and shut up already! We know your stance, now go and bug another sport. Also, for the record, there has been 1 positive test, not 230 as he has predicted. Until there are that many positive results in a single season, I refuse to take any comment seriously from him (or willingly listen to one), and I suggest you do the same. Otherwise, we’re encouraging him to insult the league again, and that’s certainly not necessary, nor justified.