Sunday, 22 February 2015

Game 59: Canadiens 3, Blue Jackets 1

The Canadiens break a panic-inducing two-game losing streak with a 3-1 against the Blue Jackets, and quell the head-coach-defenestrating mood of the more reactionary Canadiens fans.

-The saying goes that your best players have to be your best players, and again that borne out for the Habs, with Max Pacioretty scoring two goals, Tomas Plekanec sealing it with an empty-net goal, and Carey Price smoothing the roiling waters on occasion, stopping 32 of 33 shots.

--Nathan Beaulieu getting lots of love from the Sportsnet crew, and Chantal Machabée on L'Antichambre.  She quoted Sergei Gonchar who claims that if he continues developing he can turn into one of the best defencemen of the NHL.  He did play a good-to-great game, skating with authority, claiming loose pucks and going the other way with it, and being creative in the offensive zone, notably on a beauty of a feed to Max for a one-timed goal.

--Why can Jared Boll put his stick between Jacob de la Rose's legs and push him on the back into the boards?

--Why can Fedor Tyutin hit Jiri Sekac square in the back into the boards face-first with impunity?  BecauseSportsnet's Jason York deems it a hockey play, a "good hit"?

--Why do Max and Gally get assaulted when they shoot on net half a second after the whistle blows, but Cam Atkinson can shoot on Carey Price with the friggin' siren going off, and no one says boo to him?

--Lars Eller appears unsure, unsteady, with or without the puck.  He took a 'lazy' tripping penalty by trying to harass an opponent while coasting, not moving his feet, instead of using his size and speed to knock him off the puck.

--Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn are doing the job while Alexei Emelin and Sergei Gonchar are injured.  They both played a respectable twelve minutes, doled out hits, and didn't get douglasmurrayed in their zone for minutes on end.

--Greg Pateryn was a little unlucky on his penalty in the third, when he clipped a Jacket in the visor with a high stick.  I'd just noticed, earlier in the same sequence, how he had the size and strength to battle along the boards mano a mano, as opposed to Raphaël Diaz or Jaro Spacek who would decorporealize when up against a Nick Foligno or Mike Hartnell.

--P.A. Parenteau and Alex Galchenyuk are two big pieces missing from the Top 6.  They can't come back soon enough, we're not going to win too many more with just Max scoring.

--Christian Thomas won plaudits from the talking heads for standing up to Cam Atkinson, going after him and dropping the gloves after getting run in the corner.  Still, it was a totally unnecessary sequence, needing only that the refs call a penalty on the Blue Jacket.  It was a clear case of interference, of hitting in the back.  It was goonery, anti-hockey, plain and simple.

--In light of the recent death of Steve Montador, and the announcement that doctors may be able to test for CTE on living patients, it's an odd time to congratulate two guys for whaling on each other and giving each other bloody noses.  But that's the NHL for you, letting the players 'police themselves', 'letting them play', as Don Cherry exhorts from his pulpit.   Which really means letting them cheat.  So it goes.

--Meanwhile Gary Bettman is making ice in San Fran.  Winning.

--Wouldn't it be in the best self-interest of owners to reduce this thuggery, this mindless violence, and not have star players on the sidelines and IR?  To not have Sidney Crosby fighting Brandon Dubinsky?  Shouldn't that slash-and-elbow artist be penalized for being in the same zone as Sidney?

--I'm still marveling at the transformation of Nathan Beaulieu, who's now an aw-shucks can-do guy, modest and deferential, a big change from a kid who was once characterized as cocky.  He did very well in his appearance on L'Antichambre.

--Not a great homestand, all-in-all, some 'easy' points were squandered, but the Canadiens are on top of the Eastern Conference with games in hand on Tampa.  Nice work boys.

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