Personally, I’ve had enough. When Mike Ribeiro comes out and tells the Journal de Montreal that there wouldn’t be as many problems in Montreal if Ryder finished more of Ribeiro’s good passes, well, that’s classless. It shows he’s not accepting responsibility for his own actions, and by stating it publically, he’s proving once and for all that he’s a ridiculously disruptive force that needs to go.
The game tonight was decent enough; at least the players showed up to play the game. In particular, our defence was strong, and for the first time in a while we came out hitting – true it was at the bigot Avery, but hitting it was. It was pleasing to see Bulis score, but of course, if that goal counts, then so does the goal that Markov scored a few days back when the goalie was interfered with by his own teammate. I mean, the net was even off its moorings tonight when the defender hit Garon…
Inconsistent reffing as usual. Oh, and anyone else noticing the obstruction creeping back into the game? It’s getting boring again.
Theodore: Solid game. He made the saves when necessary, and even made a couple of very important stops at critical times – something he hasn’t done a lot of recently. A-
Streit: First rule of defending, know where the puck is. Sometimes he goes into the corners to take out his man, but he turns backwards, tries to angle out his guy, and in the process completely loses sight of the puck. He puts himself in trouble when this happens. Other than that, the learning process continues. Some excellent shifts, some not so good. C+
Cote: Must be a rookie since we barely saw him. Shame, because I’d like to see what he can do against a more physical club like LA.
Dandenault: I’ve been reading here and there that people are down on his game. Huh? He’s been solid in his own zone making very few errors. Sure, he’s not contributing to the attack, but to say he’s awful? Perhaps actually *watch* the games. B
Bouillon: Another very strong game. He played 27 minutes and more and he was responsible and positioned well. For a guy fans were itching to get rid of a few years ago, he sure is playing well. Once again, had those fans watched the games back then, they might have seen how good he was. B+
Rivet: Super solid all night and he was belting people as well. He covers up for mistakes that others make, and he’s such a strong leader on the ice. Isolate on him next game if you can and watch all the gestures and commentary that he’s engaged in. A
Souray: Someone had a chat with Mr. Inconsistent because he was MUCH better tonight. Everything was simple (well, almost, I remember one play where he tried to do too much and lost the puck) and that makes all the difference in the world. If the rumours are true and he’s going to ask for a trade to be closer to his child in LA, then he’s making himself worth a bundle. B+
Murray: I fail to understand calling someone up to sit on the bench the entire game. Sure, he was an injury replacement, but was there no instance where he could have gone out?
Kostitsyn: Disgusting the way Julien has treated this kid. Sure, he’s basically an injury callup, but he’s also supposed to be a large part of the future of this team. He played, for the second game in a row, one lousy shift. Must have been great fun for him to sit there and watch a game. I just don’t understand this philosophy at all. That’s not developping a kid, that’s destroying his confidence. Even if you TELL him that he’s there to sit, that’s gotta feel awful.
Perezhogin: If the team has absolutely no interest in playing him, then I wish they’d return him to Hamilton to develop rather than keep him here. Keep Murray instead. Utterly ridiculous.
Sundstrom: Much better game than he’s had lately. He was strong on the puck on the walls, and did some good forechecking. B-
Higgins: I love him paired with Begin because the two work so hard they make things happen. Obviously coach likes him as well because he plays so much. Can you see me rolling my eyes? Thanks for the confidence coach. B+
Begin: Everything we’ve grown accustomed to seeing and more. He nailed everything that moved and the winning goal was all him taking advantage of the Kings blueling and rushing the puck up ice on the PK. A
Ryder: Was it me or did he seem a little out of sorts tonight. He didn’t receive more than a pass or two from Ribs despite being more open than Dags. Talk about shooting a guy’s confidence: thanks for dissing him publically, Ribeiro. C+
Dagenais: No doubt his best game ever in the NHL. He even laid in a couple of doozy body checks, and his first goal was art: brilliant pause then wrister within an inch of both post and crossbar. Honestly, if he could only do this every night, I’d keep him for my fourth line all the time. Too bad we all know he can’t. On the other hand, almost any goalie in the league saves that second goal, and Dags looks like a moron for wasting the puck. One thing that made me downright angry was the way he got angry at Ryder for taking a good shot on net, rather than feeding him the puck to go for his hattrick. Nice team spirit, buddy. B+ (And a big fat F for team spirit.)
Ribeiro: Everyone is going to say he had a great game with his two points, yadda yadda yadda. Fact is, he was handed the puck by the Kings, which he subsequently gave to Dags, for the first goal. Sure, he did a better job controlling the puck tonight, but he also lost it one heckuva lot. I don’t know how he doesn’t get dinged with more official giveaways, because I watched his lousy passes go to the opposition team at least a handful of times. I guess that goes in passing stats… Ribs is perhaps a complete anti-team player in every sense. He disses his teammates and he has no clue about shift length. Julien has said it over and over, 45-50 seconds. Yet there is Ribeiro over a minute long on his shifts. Imagine what it would have been had he not had to make 25 second shifts late in the third. B- (And an F and suspension for what he said to the press in my books)
Bulis: Well, as long as the net is completely vacated he can pop one in. Hopefully this jumpstarts his year, because just before the goal he’d missed a couple of absolutely golden opportunities. There’s no doubt he works hard, but he still doesn’t look comfortable on that line. B
Zednik: I was chided for getting on his back after the last few games, but here’s my point: Yeah, the guy is super strong and he can control that puck by himself a lot. Sure, he wins a fair share of his battles in the offensive zone because of that strength. BUT… is he out there alone? B-
Plekanec: Entertaining game. He made things happen and if his linemates could a) finish, and b) pass the puck, his numbers would look a lot better. He’s got a great future ahead of him because he has some good skills and he works really hard. I really, really enjoy watching him work at both ends of the rink. A-
Julien: “Works well with kids.” Sure, as long as they aren’t on the Habs. He has done well with the gap between forwards and defence, though.
PP: We don’t have the guns out there to control the puck, so we’re really struggling at the moment.
PK: We killed them all off, so there’s some good news. We’ve really been struggling lately, so this is a good sign, particularly with the talent LA can throw out there.
Fan’s Game Puck: I’ll have this one to Begin who created the game-winning goal and who belted half the opposition on this night. After that sickness he had, the level in his game dropped, but he looks to be close to normal now.
I must confess that, despite the win, I didn’t much enjoy this contest. After reading what Ribeiro said, I had a sour taste in my mouth all night – I still do. I find that there are a few aspects of this team that I really don’t like at all. I’m tired of ego’s and the half efforts. I’m also frustrated with the way the coach is using certain of the players. This is a playoff team, but not a Cup team. We’ll never get past the second round with Ribeiro as a #2 centre. We’ll never get far if Dagenais is on the 2nd line wing. And we’re not going to improve unless we let the kids develop. I feel under this coach we’re spinning our wheels now.
But I’m just an outsider, and what do I really know.
The team gets an entire week off (great scheduling – can you see me roll my eyes again?) before we take on the Ducks at home. With any luck, Koivu Bonk, and Komisarek should be back in the fold and playing healthy and hard. Perhaps this week will give Gainey the opportunity to evaluate where everyone is on the club as well.
A Concerned Fan