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Just like Eric Gagné waved to the crowd in a pre-game presentation, the Habs waved goodbye to a win in the game’s final minute.


Against a Florida Panthers team that is just behind them in the standings, the Montreal Canadiens came up with another uninspired effort and in the end came out of it with only a point. It could have been worse, thankfully Theodore gave them a chance to win by making a few clutch saves down the stretch… but Jose would have to wait for his 100th win.

The Habs let the road team keep it close, by playing an emotionless game… yet somehow they looked like they were headed to an undeserved 1-0 win thanks to a 3rd period power-play goal. But Rivet was called for holding with 2 minutes left, and the much maligned PK unit couldn’t kill the penalty with the game on the line.


This is going to be a short recap, because frankly nothing much happened.



Montreal 1-0: For the first two periods the Habs get a few chances here and there, but all in all it’s a game that had you reaching for some caffeine just to avoid losing consciousness. Just be thankful you didn’t 100$ to see it in person like those poor saps in the stands, and if you are one of those fans… my condolences. Well back to the game now. In the 3rd period the Habs get a break when Bégin, him again, gets high-sticked and Van Ryn gets 4 minutes.

The Koivu line, who has been getting the job done on the PP since they were put together, did it again. Ryder comes out from behind the net, hangs on to the puck an extra second instead of going for the short side, and surprises a solid Luongo between the legs.


Florida 1-1: Late in the period, the Habs get a raw deal when Rivet is called for holding when he barely touched the guy. With two minutes left the referee has to have better judgement… he has no excuse for making such a bad call. But that’s what the Habs get for allowing Florida to stay close, in the end they only have themselves to blame. Well the PK unit that Julien had been saying was all better now, couldn’t kill that all-important penalty with the game on the line. And the Habs not only lose a point, but give one to a Florida team they’re fighting with for 8th spot… so in effect they lost 2 points tonight.

And they’re lucky they didn’t lose it in OT, as Florida hit the post and Theo never knew what hit him.




          With Quintal was back in the lineup and Markov out, the Habs had themselves a pretty tough defensive corps tonight. Quintal, Souray, Rivet, and Komisarek gives you pretty good size and Bouillon likes to hit. And yet I didn’t see them punish the opposing forwards as they could have. And now the question is what happens when Markov comes back?

         Souray was the key to another PP goal for Habs tonight. His shot from the blueline beat Luongo but hit the post, then Breezer got the rebound to Ryder behind the net and he put it in before Florida knew what was going on. What’s so amazing is not only the strength of Souray’s shot, but the accuracy… he hits the net more than any other Hab, and that is why he’s so successful. It all starts in practice, when I went to one of the practices during training camp here was Souray & Brisebois alone on their side of the ice practicing their point shots. They’d put a half dozen puck in a line and do the rapid-fire drill… not only were Souray’s shot at least twice as hard as Breezer’s but 90% of them they were in the top corner right under the crossbar, while Patrice was all over the place. I was impressed, and wondered why Souray hadn’t been more of an offensive threat in his career with a shot like that.




Habs’ hero: Hero… are you kidding? Well ok, there was Theodore who kept the Habs in it with some terrific saves… namely a few breakaways. He was on his way to a shutout and win #100 until the Habs’ lack of passion caught up to them in the form of a bad call. Komisarek was used on the left side with Markov injured, and though he only played 9-10 minutes he looked very comfortable… it would be nice to see him get some more minutes as the season progresses.


Habs’ zero: Not Rivet, for once. He didn’t deserve that dumb penalty call… and at least he cared enough to be really pissed off about it. I looked at the bench all during the game, and I’d see guys looking down, even some having a laugh… that bothers the hell out of me. There’s no pride on this team, Gainey must be on some mighty heavy medication not to be losing it right about now.

This team has no leadership, Koivu might be a guy who gives all he has on the ice every night… but he’s not captain material. A captain’s job is to rally a team together, and he’s been unable to do that from day one. I even think he’d be better off without that burden, and just keep showing the guys how it’s done on the ice. If he could volunteer to give it up, that would be ideal.


Well who then some of you may ask? It has to be someone who is respected in the room, can talk because he performs on the ice, is old enough that he’ll be taken seriously but young enough that he’ll be here for a while longer. And he has to be able to rally this team together. We might not have this type of player in Montreal right now, but I’d give Sheldon Souray a shot.

He’s one of the few players who have come to play this year, and I think the captaincy would actually motivate him to be an even better player. Quintal is too old, Komisarek too young… forget the forwards on this team and a goalie can’t be captain. To me Souray is the only candidate among the players we have now.


Final Thoughts:


While the Habs continue their inconsistent play, one has to wonder how patient Bob Gainey can be. The team looks like they’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, despite Gainey saying just last week that a trade was not imminent and they should focus on figuring out how to win with the players they have now.


There are still some positives if you look hard enough. The first line has stayed together and they are playing pretty well, the 2nd line has had it’s moments the last few games, Souray is the leading scorer among defensemen, even Brisebois has been surprisingly effective, and now Komisarek has looked good since being called up. And even if his numbers don’t show it, Theo has been pretty solid this year… he’s just not getting much help. You could even add Higgins who is looking great in Hamilton.


As bad as things look right now, there is reason for hope. As Thanksgiving weekend in the US comes a close, let’s just focus on what we’re thankful for… at least until the next game ok?


It’ll be Tuesday night vs. the impressive Tampa Bay Lightning, and it’ll be Andrei Markov bobblehead night… isn’t that exciting?

Actually Theodore didn’t play last year when it was his bobblehead night, Quintal missed his bobblehead night earlier this year because of his irregular heartbeat and the birth of his child. So now the suspense continues, as we’ll see whether Markov’s ankle will improve enough for him to be in the lineup on his big night. There seems to be some kind of bobblehead hex going on with the Canadiens, if I were them I’d stop that silly practice all together.